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Differentiated Instruction

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1 Differentiated Instruction
Evelyn Wassel, Ed. D. Williams Valley School District September 24, 2010

2 Agenda Discuss the concept of DI
Look at techniques to differentiate the classroom Consider a rationale for on-going assessment in the classroom to guide instruction

3 What It Is/What It’s Not
Differentiated Instruction IS: Differentiated Instruction IS NOT: With a group of people around you complete the chart with your own ideas about DI.

4 Yuezheng, in fourth century B.C. Chinese treatise, Xue Ji
The success of education depends on adapting teaching to individual differences among learners. Yuezheng, in fourth century B.C. Chinese treatise, Xue Ji (Snow, 1982)

5 What is Differentiation?
A teacher’s response to learner’s needs The recognition of students’ varying background knowledge and preferences Instruction that appeals to students’ differences

6 The rationale for DI Examples of learner diversity:
Cognitive abilities (Bloom) Learning styles (Gardner) Socioeconomic and family factors Readiness Learning pace Motivation Gender Cultural and ethnic influences

7 One Size Doesn’t Fit All
We have used the analogy of "one size doesn't fit all" for years in education. We know students are different from one another in height, size, shape, hair & eye color, background, and experience. As with clothing we would not buy or make the same garment for all learners (even school uniforms). Although they may look the same, they are sized and adjusted and accessorized for the wearer because they would not fit, suit, or be comfortable for all. We are not trying to totally change teacher’s lessons. Not everything is meant to be “differentiated” or tiered. These are options of delivery. Fair and equal are not the same. Need to talk to kids about everyone’s needs. Fair is not always the same assignment. We as teachers already are differentiating in our classrooms. We are setting out to differentiate based on assessment of students.

8 Essential Characteristics of DI
There is no recipe for DI It is a way of thinking Teacher acts as facilitator for learning DI challenges the notion that the curriculum is just coverage of facts.

9 Readiness Differentiation
Where is THIS child at THIS time with THIS particular skill or idea?

10 What Information Do You Need?
To know your students The process of differentiating curriculum, instruction and assessment begins by knowing your students. To understand your students Strengths, interests, learning styles, preferences and intelligences To know student needs This information can be utilized to make your curricula more meaningful to students because you can tailor your delivery and expectations to meet their needs.

11 How will I get this information?
Record review Family-centered and culturally responsive fact gathering Interest inventories Learning preferences information Multiple intelligences Data-based observations Functional behavior assessment Monitoring cooperative group learning

12 The Differentiated Instruction Decision Making Process Curriculum
PA Standards/ Assessment Anchors Students Pre-assessment Readiness/Ability Interest/Talents Prior Knowledge How can I differentiate instruction and align lesson outcomes and tasks to learning goals? Content What the teacher plans to teach Process How the teacher plans instruction Management of flexible groups Handout #2: Differentiated Instruction Decision Making Process As you begin to think of differentiating instruction in your own classroom you may wonder how am I ever going to do this with MY students? They are already grouped (homogeneous) or there are too many students to group them effectively (heterogeneous classroom). There is a lot of discussions in the field of education that make cases for one type of classroom learning over the other. No one situation is going to work 100% of the time. That’s where differentiated instruction comes into play. Differentiated instruction is based on student needs. When there is a need to break students into groups, you do it. When you can deliver effective instruction to the large group, you do it. Differentiating instruction doesn’t happen everyday in every classroom. It requires professional decision making based on assessment. Differentiated Instruction focuses on the students strengths Must have information on your students – what is their prior knowledge? Ability? Interest? Talents? Given the Curriculum that should be aligned with the PA Standards and Assessment Anchors and the students within our classrooms, we must determine their level of performance. We must have information on our students- what is their prior knowledge? Ability? Interest? Talents? Where do you expect each student to perform? Not changing the standard, finding targeted ways of meeting the standard. In order to scaffold instruction so students can meet accepted levels of performance, teachers can differentiate instruction by differentiating: Content: What concepts and skills will be taught? Process: is the “How”, What activities will be used to teach the concepts and skills; What does the flow of instruction look like…movement from small group to whole class to partner pairs etc.? Product: How will students demonstrate what they know? There is a need to continually review the data; analyzing individual as well as class data to inform instructional decision making to link to next concept, lesson or unit so that the differentiated instruction decision making process can reoccur anew Product Assessment of the content Review the Data Link To Next Concept, Lesson or Unit Adapted from Oaksford, L. and Jones, L. 2001


14 Classroom Elements Content Process Product Affect Learning Environment
Content – what we teach and how we give students access to the information and ideas that matter Process – how students come to understand and “own” the knowledge, understanding and skills essential to a topic Product – how students demonstrate what they know, understand and are able to do Affect – how students link thoughts and feelings in the classroom Learning environment – the conditions under which learning takes shape

15 Differentiating Content
Sources of content: 1. 2. 3. Teacher determines/clarifies essential knowledge, understanding and skills of a unit or topic. Pre-test to determine readiness. Differentiate content to ensure all students have equal access to the essential knowledge. State Standards District Curriculum Textbooks

16 Differentiating the Curriculum
DO NOT ASSESS BIG IDEAS ALL WILL LEARN DO TEACH INTENSIVELY DO ASSESS DO TEACH DO NOT ASSESS INTERESTING BUT NOT ESSENTIAL SOME WILL LEARN ANYWAY DO NOT ASSESS DO NOT TEACH Differentiating the curriculum means separating the curriculum into three levels: Core ideas that ALL students will learn Interesting ideas, but not essential Specialized knowledge (trivia), few will learn Concentrating on designing activities that ensure that students “get” the core information. Differentiating the curriculum means: Not attempting to teach everything Carefully selecting what is important for students to learn, and focus instruction on it.\ Identifying the core ideas of a unit Identifying the core questions that reflect essential understanding of core ideas Identifying essential new concepts students should learn Targeting the best ways to make the organization of this information self evident to students Edwin Ellis, 2002 SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE – TRIVIA FEW WILL LEARN Edwin Ellis, 2002

17 Ways to differentiate curriculum
Reading partners/reading buddies Read/summarize Adjust questions Graphic organizers Varied texts Highlighted texts With a partner, discuss some other ways you can help all students have equal access? Parallel reading with teacher prompt Choral reading/antiphonal reading Tiered assignments – we will discuss this in detail later Split journals (double entry/triple entry) Books on tape Highlights on tape Note taking organizers Varied supplemental materials Think-pair-share

18 Differentiating Process
Learning and using higher order thinking skills Creative thinking Critical thinking Problem solving Integration of basic skills and abstract thinking skills Process = “activities”

19 Ways to Differentiate Process
Games RAFTs Cubing, Think Dots Choices Tiered Lessons Anchor Activities Online Activities

20 Games Use games to capture a student’s interest, reinforce ideas and for review. Frequent practice is also necessary for children to build and maintain strong academic skills. Have varying levels according to ability.

21 Friendship Cinquain A cinquain is a five-line poem that follows a certain pattern. Interview a partner and use what you learn to write a cinquain about that person. Questions are on the next slide.

22 Friendship Cinquain What is your name? Adjectives that describe you
Activities you enjoy What makes you a good friend? Nickname?

23 Friendship Cinquain Name Adjective, adjective Action word, action word, action word Four word phrase about friendship Nickname or noun

24 Friendship Cinquain Jordan Musical, athletic Singing, dancing, tackling Everyone can be considerate JJ

25 Friendship Cinquain This can be used for any topic if you change the questions. Examples: Plants Columbus’ journey Character in a story

26 RAFT Writing to learn activities to enhance understanding of informational text ROLE AUDIENCE FORMAT TOPIC The RAFT strategy forces students to process information rather than merely write answers to questions.

27 Role of the Writer What is the writer’s role: reporter, observer, eyewitness, object, number, etc.

28 Audience Who will be reading the writing? Teacher Other students
A parent Editor People in the community, etc.

29 Format What is the best way to present the writing? Letter Article
Report Contract Poem Advertisement

30 Topic Who or what is the subject of this writing? A famous scientist
A prehistoric cave dweller A character from literature A chemical element or physical object

31 Plant RAFT ROLE AUDIENCE FORMAT TOPIC Plant parts Plant needs Picture
We’re made for each other Roots Stem, leaf, flower, seeds Letter You’d be lost without me Flower Stem, leaf, seeds, roots Ad I’m more than just a pretty face

Boy of 12 who came from Europe Best friend in Germany Letter Crossing the ocean on a ship Ship captain Emigrants waiting to come to America Booklet How to prepare for your trip Artist arriving from France Graphic design firm in NYC Postcard Wish you were here

33 Activity With a partner develop several scenarios where you could use the raft in your classroom.

34 Cubing Students consider a concept from a variety of different perspectives. The cubes are six-sided figures that have a different activity on each side of the cube. A student rolls the cube and does the activity that comes up. To differentiate according to different levels of student readiness, two or more different cubes could be created with the same commands but with tasks at different levels of difficulty. Using "Describe" as the command, the task might be to describe the rainforest using as much information as you can and involving as many of your senses as possible in your description. Using the same command, you might ask the students to describe how their life would change if they moved to the canopy of the rainforest,

35 Think Dots Each student is given a set of activity cards on a ring, a die and an activity sheet. Student rolls the die and completes the activity on the card that corresponds to the dots thrown on the die. Student then completes the activity on the activity sheet.

36 Think Dots Suggestions
Use colored paper and/or colored dots to indicate different readiness levels, interests or learning styles. Have students work in pairs. Let students choose which activities – for example: Roll the die and choose any three. Create complex activities and have students choose just one to work on over a number of days. After students have worked on activity cards individually, have them come together in groups by levels, interest or learning style to synthesize Read example from handout

37 Choices Use Gardener’s Multiple Intelligences
Human beings are capable of "many different and discrete facets of cognition." Humans display different types of intelligences which can be measured, fostered and evaluated as isolated faculties of the mind.

38 Multiple Intelligences
The MI Theory assumes that all students possess an array of at least eight intelligences. Identifying students’ strength intelligences allows educators to use the strengths to capture a students’ attention and assist the student in learning new information. Source: Google Images

39 Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
The ability to manipulate ones own body and control muscle movements with utmost precision (surgeons, pianists)

40 Musical Intelligence The ability to understand and perform music

41 Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
This also includes scientific ability.

42 Linguistic Intelligence
Knowledge and ability to manipulate language

43 Spatial Intelligence The ability to form a mental model of a spatial world (i.e. sculptors, engineers, surgeons)

44 Interpersonal Intelligence
The ability to understand others

45 Intrapersonal Intelligence
The ability to understand oneself

46 Nature Intelligence The ability to understand nature

47 Gardner’s MI
What’s your learning style?

48 Tiered Lessons Strategy that addresses a particular standard, key concept and generalization Allows several pathways for students to arrive at an understanding of these components Based on the students’ interests, readiness or learning profiles

49 Developing a Tiered Assignment
Identify unit/lesson. Identify essential questions or objectives. Student outcomes Student skill levels Student output Develop/review lesson activity. Determine level of learner(s). Adjust COMPLEXITY for each level of learners. A tiered assignment is just one strategy to use to differentiate instruction. We are all very familiar with designing instructional activities for students to process the information we are teaching them. Tiered assignments are variations of one activity. First, you design one activity and then adjust it based on student needs. Identify unit/lessons best suited for tiered assignments/differentiated instruction Base this on assessment or prior knowledge of unit/lessons. What are the essential questions or objectives? What should all students know by the end of the lesson/unit? What do you know about the students’ skill levels? How will students demonstrate knowledge? Develop/review lesson activity For which level of learner(s) is the activity appropriate? Adjust the COMPLEXITY of the activity for other learners.

50 Implementing a Tiered Assignment
Assignments should be… Accompanied by directions Respectful. Adjusted for varying levels Designed to meet the lesson objective Determine product. Traditional versus alternate Teacher in role of facilitator Handout # 13: Activity # 10: Tiered Assignments Trainer’s Directions for Persuasive Writing Tiered Assignments Since the teacher may be directly working with 1 or more groups, directions and examples are necessary for all groups! When we “adjust” the activity/assignment this could be done with the complexity, abstractness, number of steps, concreteness, etc. Share the following information about tiered assignments: According to Carole Tomlinson Tiered lessons important when a teacher wants to work with students at different learner levels, but wants to impart the same concepts and skills By keeping the focus of the activity the same, the teacher can maximize the likelihood that each student learns the key concepts and skills and each student is taught at his margin of challenge Some guidelines for planning: Select the essential concept or skill that will be the focus of the lesson /unit Identify the students for whom you are teaching ….assess, assess, assess (readiness, interest, talents) Create one activity that focuses on the specific skill you are targeting (or choose one that has worked for you in the past) Think about or draw a ladder: top rung represents the advanced learner, center rung is the grade level, bottom rung is the emerging learner Think about the student this activity will challenge. “Clone” the activity along the ladder to provide different versions at different degrees of difficulty Match a version of the task to the level of the student. Then read an example from Carole Tomlinson’s book: Ms. Lighter’s class: Grade 8: Ozone. Source: Tomlinson, C. (1999). The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. pg. 84 Show video clip here! After showing the video clip follow the Trainer’s Directions to complete the task with the participants.

51 Anchor Activities Specified ongoing activities on which students work independently Ongoing assignments that students can work on throughout a unit

52 Why Use Anchor Activities?
provide a strategy for teachers to deal with “ragged time” when students complete work at different times allow the teacher to work with individual students or groups provides ongoing activities that relate to the content of the unit allow the teacher to develop independent group work strategies in order to incorporate a mini lab of computers in classroom

53 Examples of Anchor Activities
A worksheet with open- or closed-end questions Learning centers Journal writing Creating games or books Playing games that reinforce concepts/skills

54 With a partner, develop a few examples of anchor activities you can use in your classroom.
Don’t forget online options!

55 Differentiating Product
Varying the ways students demonstrate what you asked them to learn. Use frequent assessment as checks for understanding and feedback – not just for grades. Replace some tests with rich product assignments. You can also give students a choice between tests and assignments.

56 Ways to Differentiate Product
Choices based on interest, readiness and learning profile Clear expectations Timelines Agreements Product guides Rubrics

57 Differentiating Affect
Students need to feel they belong to a group and are important to it. Teacher should be continually attuned to student feelings. Readiness levels should be value challenged & supported in the classroom. Differentiate proactively and reactively. Affect is the “weather” of the classroom.

58 Differentiating Learning Environment
Use fluid, flexible grouping that reflects real-life situations. Use space, time and materials flexibly. Encourage expression of new ideas, accept diversity and exploration. Experiences reflect learner interests and ideas. Honor the dignity of all learners.

59 Differentiating Student Characteristics
Readiness Interest Learning Profile Readiness – current knowledge, understanding and skill level a student has related to a particular sequence of learning Interest – What a student enjoys learning about, thinking about and doing Learning Profile – a student’s preferred mode of learning – Gardner’s MI

60 Differentiating Readiness
Make work a little more difficult for students at a given point in their growth. Provide support to succeed at new level of challenge. Pre-assessment is key. Teachers need to adapt teaching in ways that make curriculum appropriately challenging for a range of learners.

61 Differentiating Interest
Help students connect with new information by revealing connections with things they already find appealing and worthwhile. Interest surveys will give clues to teachers. Keep your eyes and ears open to learn more about your students!

62 Differentiating Learning Profile
Influenced by learning style, intelligence preference, gender and culture The goal is to help students learn in the way they learn best and to extend ways in which they can learn effectively.

63 In a differentiated classroom, the
teacher plans and carries out varied approaches to content, process, and product in anticipation of and response to student differences in readiness and/or interest. We have examined the principles of differentiated instruction and the implications for universal design for learning implementation in supporting student outcomes. Then, we had identified learners’ needs according to different levels and evaluated what modifications we made to accommodate their learning. Now we are going to go into greater depth into how to differentiate instruction in response to these identified learners’ needs.

64 On-going Assessment “Assessment is today’s means of understanding how to modify tomorrow’s instruction.” Carol Tomlinson

65 Some Thoughts on Assessment
Assessment should happen on a daily basis in the classroom. It provides ways to use instruction to inform the next steps.

66 As you begin…. Examine your philosophy about individual needs.
Start small. Grow slowly – but grow! Envision how an activity will look. Step back and reflect. Teachers are as different as students. Some teachers will embrace the concept of differentiation and others will need to take smaller steps in the beginning of the process. Although there is no one right way to begin to differentiate instruction, there are some helpful guidelines. Reflect frequently on the match or mismatch between your philosophy regarding individual needs and the practice within your classroom. Start small: prepare the students and parents for a differentiated classroom Talk often with students regarding classroom procedures – why in place, how differentiating is working, what are the procedures and routines that everyone must follow to promote a successful environment Grow Slowly: Begin small changes beyond comfort growth. Try to not duplicate what has already been accomplished, but don’t try to do too much too fast either. Try one subject, one time per day, one curricular element (content, process, product or learning environment). Think how the activity will look: Consider management routines – directions, movement throughout the room, completion of work routines Teach routines explicitly, monitor, adjust and revise Assess how things are going Step Back and Reflect Build a support system within the school Co-teaching Study groups Plan and share material According to Carole Tomlinson (1995, 1999)

67 Management Hints

68 Giving Directions If the whole class is doing the same activity then give the directions to the whole group. Do not give multiple task directions to the whole class. For small group work, tape directions so students can listen to them repeatedly Use task cards to give directions to small groups. A general rule is that once the teacher has given directions the students can’t interrupt while he/she is working with a small group Ask Me Visors

69 Assigning Groups Clothes pins with student’s names to assign them to a particular task Color code children to certain groups (a transparency with students names in color works well) Cubing allows you to assign groups by interest or readiness level

70 Handling Materials Assign jobs to different students (materials handler, table captain) As a teacher ask yourself, “Is this something I have to do myself, or can the students learn to do it?” Remember that you have to teach children how to become responsible for their own things.

71 Directions for transitions need to be given with clarity and urgency.
Time limit for transition Address the acceptable noise level Rehearsal

72 Routines for Handling Paperwork
Color-coded work folders Portfolios Baskets for each curricular area or class period Filing Cabinet Key to these organizational patterns is that the children have access to their own work and know how to file and/or find what they need to accomplish a task.

73 Time Must be flexible in order to address every child’s readiness level Catch-up days Anchoring Activities Postcards for Writing Ideas Independent Investigations

74 Good curriculum comes first.
Principles for Fostering Equity and Excellence in Academically Diverse Learners Good curriculum comes first. The teacher's first job is always to ensure a coherent, important, inviting, and thoughtful curriculum. All tasks should respect each learner. Every student deserves work that is focused on the essential knowledge, understanding, and skills targeted for the lesson. Every student should be required to think at a high level and should find his or her work interesting and powerful. When in doubt, teach up! Good instruction stretches learners. The best tasks are those that students find a little too difficult to complete comfortably. Be sure there's a support system in place to facilitate the student's success at a level that he or she doubted was attainable. Adapted from Tomlinson, C.A.,& Edison, C.C. (2003).Differentiation in practice: A resource guide for differentiating curriculum, Grades Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

75 Become an assessment junkie.
Principles for Fostering Equity and Excellence in Academically Diverse Learners Use flexible grouping. Find ways and time for the class to work as a whole, for students to demonstrate competence alone, and for students to work with varied groups of peers. Using only one or two types of groups causes students to see themselves and one another in more limited ways, keeps the teacher from" auditioning " students in varied contexts, and limits potentially rich exchanges in the classroom. Become an assessment junkie. Everything that a student says and does is a potential source of assessment data. Assessment should be an ongoing process, conducted in flexible but distinct stages, and it should maximize opportunities for each student to open the widest possible window on his or her learning. Grade to reflect growth. The most we can ask of any person-and the least we ought to ask-is to be and become their best. The teacher's job is to guide and support the learner in this endeavor. Grading should, in part, reflect a learner's growth. Adapted from Differentiation in Practice: A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum, Grades 5-9,

76 Comment from a course evaluation
written by a 7th grader. I like this class because there’s something different going on all the time. My other classes, it’s like peanut butter for lunch every single day. This class, it’s like my teacher really knows how to cook. It’s like she runs a really good restaurant with a big menu and all.

77 Exploring DI Sites Use the following wiki to access two DI word documents related to DI. Explore the wiki to complete the Ticket Out The Door activity.

78 Let’s review… Differentiated Instruction is…
Differentiated Instruction is not…

79 For more information
Teacher Resources Differentiated Instruction Resources

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