George Lucas Educational Foundation

I'm looking for help with differentiated instruction

I'm looking for help with differentiated instruction

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Hello everybody, I was wondering if your school districts are requiring you to differentiate instruction. Any tips on how you collaborate with your team would be great. Having time to plan seems to be the biggest issue. Any thought would be great! Thanks, Erin

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Cristi's picture

any helpful ideas for differentation instruction with autism preschoolers

LPS's picture
Cross Categorical/self-contained - Teacher

Alice, You touched on what I have been saying for years. Come and spend a few days in my class and you can see how we (Our Team TAs and I)provide for all levels. I have the opportunity to go into GE to support some of the students and have discovered that there are a significant # of kids (3-5) who have not been identified. I have been trying for years to tell people that the earlier the identification and interventions then the gap will not be as big later on requireing more interventions than are humanly possible with the regular ed curriculum. The other part is; what worked 20 - 30 years ago still works, the only difference is adding technology to provide more practice and 21st Century skills. So now we teach how to use technology to organize and present material. Heck I am still trying to figure out how to make graphs and show that the kids I serve are making progress even though they don't show it on standarized tests that are given at their grade level. An absurdity since they are all functioning at least 2 years below grade level. Now due to cuts we no longer have interventionists or testing coordinators. Talk about leaving children behind??! Hopefully, President Obama will see the insanity of it all.

susan donnelly's picture

Thank you for all of these comments Finally, I have a beacon in the middle of the ocean I can reflect and practice my skills and immerse in differentation instruction please keep the ideas coming Thank u

Lori's picture

I worked as a student teacher last semester in WI. We worked with general education teachers closely. For Reading, we would work in the general education classrooms, dividing the students up in different groups. For spelling one general education teacher had spelling tests to meet the students need. she would use the writings from the students to create individualized spelling tests. The students would work in groups of two, giving each other the spelling tests. the other general education teacher had three different levels of spelling. He would call each group to the front and go over what they needed to know. For Math we divided the kids up into different groups. One teacher would work with one group, while the other would work with a different group. This is how we met the students needs, whether special educaiton or general education. It was a unique environment, but it worked well. Hope this helps.

Kristen Bell's picture

Many teachers seem to believe differentiating is creating many different plans for their students. However there are many things that you probably already do in the classroom. Examples include reducing the number of problems or questions, or taking a project and tapering down the requirements for your lower level students. I have students who have any easier time completing work on the computer rather than writing on paper.
This too works well. Don't stress, you are probably differentiating in your classroom more than you realize.

Valerie's picture

Differentiated Instruction is so much more than separating students into groups. That is only one way you can meet the needs of your students. The idea is to change the delivery of your lesson so all students can learn. You may have three levels of outcomes for the same concept.

Lori's picture

I not only have a degree in Special education but also have twin sons with special needs. I actually taught at school, during my student teaching in WI, and a general education teacher individualized all spelling tests. The tests were made for eah students needs in her classroom, for math and reading we broke into groups and within our groups we designed our lessons to help the students truly understand what they were reading, by including computer, etc. It was a great experience.

Daniel Corcoran's picture

I was supposed to do differentiated instruction with Emotional and Behavior disordered adolescents. I found it to be a waste of time and it created problems. Once the students are grouped, they know exactly what it means. Peer pressure made them all want to be in the independent reader group because of its prestige. No one wanted to be in the groups requiring myself or assistant's aid to get through a passage. As soon as the visit from downtown know it alls was over, I returned to one group and my assistant or myself pitched in with assistance as needed.

Lori's picture

I have never run into that yet, though I am sure I will. I was able to work in a district where all was integrated, we not only worked with students with Emotional Behavior disorders, but also worked with other students as well. We became everyone's teacher instead of just those students teacher, maybe that is what made a difference. In one classroom we read a novel as a class. When we did divide students up to work on parts of the book together we grouped them not by ability, but grouped students together of different abilities. In the situations I was involved in our students thrived. When we broke down in groups of ability, we read novels together in a group, using different techniques, and most students did not care. We made learning fun for them. In one case, we read a book entitled, the big wave.. the students did not understand some of the vocabulary, so I created a power point presentation on different words, such as cobbled streets, etc. It was amazing as other students wanted to read this book as well, which really boosted the moral of my students. If we had lower readers, which we did, we used different books and had fun activities for the students to do. Again, this was done in a very inclusive school environment where students with disabilities were truly integrated, which I think makes a huge difference.

Lori's picture

I want to add some thing to this. I once did a lesson plan on putting poetry to music. It was a very difficult task. I was amazed at how this progressed and my students worked together. I first picked the groups and realized it was not working, then I let the students sign up in groups. They really did a great job with working as a group, picking instruments, picking poetry and putting it all together. It was a fun unit, and we started by viewing Green Eggs and Ham on youtube.

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