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Differentiated Instruction

Kim

I have been teaching for about 9 years, and every year I try to do a little bit more differentiation. This year I am ramping up my DI but it's certainly a lot of work, trying to analyze students' individual learning styles, multiple intelligences, etc. and then create different tiers of instruction and assignments. I am curious to hear from the group at Edutopia if anyone has suggestions and advice for creating a completely differentiated classroom, along with the management and preparation that goes with it.

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You have to change up the groups depending on the lesson your teaching. Try not to keep your groups set in stone because they should be ever changing.Differentiating is not easy.

ELA teacher and educational author

What and How to Differentiate

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Both the “what and how” of differentiated instruction instruction are crucial to successful implementation of DI in the classroom; however, the “how” must be teacher-directed and make pedagogical sense. Check out Differentiated Instruction-the What and How
to read this important dialogue between DI authors Mark Pennington and Rick Wormeli.

elementary tech teacher

Let's go ALL THE WAY....

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Perhaps a return to the first DI environment. Let's return to the one room school house, grades 1 - 12 in one room, with the teacher running non-stop trying to attend to every student's needs individually. We have now gone full circle, AGAIN...
The only real objection to ability grouping is the parent whose child is not in the high group. Other than that, it is the only effective way to teach.

ELA teacher and educational author

Nothing wrong with flexible

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Nothing wrong with flexible ability grouping, per se. However, once teachers examine student diagnostic data (See http://penningtonpublishing.com/assessments.php for examples), it becomes quite apparent that most fixed ability groupings do not make much sense in light of the unique and individual challenges of each student. The "bluebirds" group may actually be quite heterogeneous. My point is that teachers need to adjust instruction (the how) to the individual needs(the what)of each student. The instructional methodology will certainly involve some ability grouping and collaborative learning for efficiency sake. Few of us want the one-room schoolhouse. The point is not to find an "effective way to teach," but rather to provide an "effective way to learn."

elementary tech teacher

Great !! Actual Dialog on the forum This is super !!

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I don't expect to trade rhetoric with a published author, LOL, so this is only for the reality of it. Putting 4 G & T Students in a classroom with 4 special needs [read challenged or ??] and filling up the rest of the desks with your top of the bell curve doesn't serve the G & T students, the Special Needs students OR the regular "I'm ready to learn" group. Making the G&T students act as "peer tutors" is not fair to them, but that is what is done on a daily basis in the public schools.
As a constructivist, I am amazed at the quickness that seasoned educators discarded all their experience and now teach only to the "state standards" and to the "state test". Shame on all of us for letting government dictate every iota of content. [sorry, separate topic there Mark lol ]

First Grade Teacher from Marietta, Georgia

Our school district has begun

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Our school district has begun doing guided math groups using the same concept of guided reading. Introduce the skill whole group then call small groups based on readiness levels focusing on the skill. Other students are working on math tubs that reinforce the skills previously taught.

I will be teaching 2

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I will be teaching 2 co-taught chemistry classes next year. I would be very grateful for any suggestions to help differentiate instruction. I have been told these classes will have low functioning studets with poor math skills, discipline problem student and slightly below average students.

First grade Bilingual Teacher

I really appreciate the

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I really appreciate the information you shared. I was wondering if you might tell me is the book simple enough to integrate into the lower elementary grades? Any examples of what kind of things it talks about.It sounds like a book I may be interested in, I just want some more information on it.any help is greatly appreaciated !Thank you, = )

What students need?

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Many resources give ideas to what students need. I personally think students need a well rounded teacher who reflects on her practices and adjusts based on professional development and growth. Students need varied level of teaching to fit the individual student's need. Taking a look at the different levels of Bloom's Taxonomy and Multiple Intelligences helps the educator plan lessons that are more student centered and engaging. Technology integrated into the lesson provides stimulation to the studens who work well with online projects, manipulatives, and student response systems. Students need lessons where they are given choices and allowed to make decisions in their learning. Student interest inventories when used can help the teacher plan activities in differentiated instruction that will motivate each learner. The student also needs more student centered lessons that cause them to create, analyze, and produce the knowledge required in the standards. Students need activities based on student readiness and connected to their personal experiences. The student can take ownership and be successful in a caring and well managed learning environment that fosters flexible grouping, peer colloboration, and pure student-teacher relationships.

elementary tech teacher

31 years teaching

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In a bit of [tongue and cheek statement] -- Differentiated Instruction is much like a one room school house of old. The only difference is that we now take great care to put 4 gifted students with 4 special needs children and fill it up with the run of the mill kids. Now we have to create lesson plans for all, while letting the G&T students do peer tutoring on the run of the mills kids. How fair is THAT?

And mean time, we think this is progress ???

As I have said before: Differentiated Instruction is simply a reaction to the failure of heterogeneous grouping. Let's ability group the students to "accomodate" the G & T and the Special Needs. We will serve our students better.

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