Facebook
Edutopia on Facebook
Twitter
Edutopia on Twitter
Google+
Edutopia on Google+
Pinterest
Edutopia on Pinterest Follow Me on Pinterest
WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated Instruction

More Related Discussions
137 Replies 6358 Views

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.

Comments (137 Replies)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

matthew bennett's picture

In my school we have been told to do DI in the classroom as much as possible. This is fine with me due to the fact that my college program was based on this type of education. My issue this year however is the fact that the main goal of the school is to have our students pass the state tests coming up in a few weeks. The admin here has given us a "cookie cutter" set of review prompts to get the students prepared for the test. I guess my question is why do we do DI in a regular setting but yet expect all students to review the same way for a test as important as this one?

matthew bennett's picture

In my school we have been told to do DI in the classroom as much as possible. This is fine with me due to the fact that my college program was based on this type of education. My issue this year however is the fact that the main goal of the school is to have our students pass the state tests coming up in a few weeks. The admin here has given us a "cookie cutter" set of review prompts to get the students prepared for the test. I guess my question is why do we do DI in a regular setting but yet expect all students to review the same way for a test as important as this one?

Jennifer Morrow's picture
Jennifer Morrow
Title 1 Coordinator, Sabina, Ohio

Cherie, Last year the school where I teach started giving short cycle assessment in math. We administer the assessment every two week and it covers the most recently taught skills and the next skills to be introduced. This gives the teacher some insight on what needs to be reviews as well as where the students are starting for the future lessons. It has been a very helpful tool for teachers to know where and what to differentiate and for which students. I hope this helps some.

Ashley Knaffle's picture

I am with Amy on this one. I have read many books on using literacy work stations when doing guided reading groups, and I still have not figured out the best way to use them for me. I try to have fun and engaging activities that don't take a ton of time to prepare. Sometimes though, they do not take the kids long enough and then they wander. I have not found the way that works for me. I look at other teachers and pick up pieces. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Marci's picture
Marci
Kindergarten teacher from Ohio

I teach half-day kindergarten and also feel that it can be very challenging to find the time to adapt all of the information. This year I have been using literacy stations in my classroom. I feel that this has helped me to accomodate my student's learning needs while not taking me hours and hours of prep. time. The students are in ability based groups because I meet with one group for guided reading a day. This works well as there are only 2-3 students in each group. While the students are at their stations they are able to work on activites that accomodate their learning styles and levels. These literacy station have helped some, but I still feel overwhelmed at the feeling that I should always be doing more.

Brandon's picture

I have found the book "Practice with Purpose" by Debbie Diller to be a fantastic book on literacy stations. Has anyone had a chance to read this book? Although I do not follow the book word-for-word as it has about 10-12 stations created within a classroom. I tried to modify it by introducing six stations to start and then replacing one of those stations once a month with a new one for different interests. I have found that students are mostly working with their own work and there is less time spent generating new materials.

Tami's picture

Jennifer, the short cycle assessments that your school does in math is very interesting. Is it part of the math program you use, or is it created by the teachers? We ability-group but the groups are supposed to be "fluid" based on the concepts being taught, but there really isn't much movement going on. I could see using the short cycle assessments as a way to regroup every two weeks depending on the pre-assessed skills. Thank you for your input!

Tami's picture

[quote]Unfortunately, school does not always model real life for students. For example, if we truly believe that students learn at different paces and different ways, then why do we give standrdized tests and common assessments? Why aren't our state graduation assessments more project based, and less paper and pencil? Why do we only go to school 36 of 52 weeks a year? Why do we still operate on an August to June schedule? [/quote]

I couldn't agree more, Brian! Standardized tests and common assessments should not be the "be all- end all" for measuring a student's knowledge. Project-based learning is something I hope to see integrated in more schools (including my own). What are some of the community members' experiences with PBL?

Jeff's picture

"Standardized tests and common assessments should not be the "be all- end all" for measuring a student's knowledge." yes that is a great point, my school site is all about using the data from standards to drive instruction.How ever, that is how the state judges schools, so we as teachers are forced to shoots for the API or APA points. So my question is do you think this will change in our future or will states continue to assess students by this way?

Amy Farmer's picture

Brian,
I would love to teach a student paced course. My HS physics course was taught in such a manner and I loved it. I always struggle with leaving some behind, or going to slow for others. Teaching an AP curriculum, I know they need to be at a certain level by the beginning of May and pace accordingly. This is frustrating, but something I have no control over. I have started to differentiate certain lessons in my course. I do not have the time to do it all at once, but hope to add a few a year to help bridge the gap. Thanks for your thoughts!

Sign in and Join the Discussion! Not a member? Register to join the discussion.