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Differentiated Instruction: Maximizing the Capabilities of All Students Elementary Presentation Pickwick Landing State Park Thursday, April 30 th Kandy.

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Presentation on theme: "Differentiated Instruction: Maximizing the Capabilities of All Students Elementary Presentation Pickwick Landing State Park Thursday, April 30 th Kandy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Differentiated Instruction: Maximizing the Capabilities of All Students Elementary Presentation Pickwick Landing State Park Thursday, April 30 th Kandy Smith, School Consultant Tennessee State Improvement Grant

2 This PowerPoint is available at: Tennessee State Improvement Grant Website: Under General Products (for now) Differentiated Lesson Plan Template Under 4 th -8 th Grade Products

3 Differentiated Instruction Differentiation “is a process through which teachers enhance learning by matching student characteristics to instruction and assessment.” Provides “entry points, learning tasks, and outcomes that are tailored to students’ needs” (IRIS Center Document: “Differentiation for Reading”, 2005, p. 1)

4 Differentiated Instruction Offering students a variety of ways to explore curriculum content Providing options Providing re-teaching, second chances Large group/ small group combination

5 Differentiated Instruction Does NOT mean lack of teacher control Does NOT mean expecting different learning outcomes from different students – we’re expecting them all to learn the curriculum standards and more Does NOT mean abandoning traditional assessments

6 Exploration of Learning Differences Lev VygotskyZone of Proximal Development Maria MontessoriIndividualized Instruction Robert SternbergLearning Profile Approach Howard Gardner Theory of Multiple Intelligences

7 Vygotsky: ZPD

8 Montessori: Individualized Instruction Lifelong love of reading Community service Is competition necessary? Teaching peace, supporting the inner spirit of the child

9 Sternberg: Learning Profile Approach

10 Gardner: Theory of Multiple Intelligences

11 Differentiated Instruction Certainly helps us to meet the federal guidelines (NCLB and IDEA) of providing best practice instruction for every student AT THE SAME TIME We have a pressure to make sure that all students meet local, state, and national standards. ◦ Do standards require a one-size-fits-all approach to instruction? Contradictory Mandates? Not At All

12 Three ways to differentiate Content Process Product

13 Content Change in the material being learned by a student (usually the change is to ADD to the standard) Objective: retell a story ◦ Some may just re-state beginning, middle, and end (basic standard) ◦ Some may learn to incorporate the character’s point of view into the re-telling (enhanced standard)

14 Process Refers to the way in which a student accesses material ◦ One student in a learning center with other students and a game ◦ One student at a computer by himself ◦ One student at the small group table with the teacher and other students

15 Thoughts about differentiation “The proportion of the school day allotted to whole-class instruction is a predictor of a school’s academic achievement.” Dr. Richard Allington University of Tennessee What Really Matters in Response to Intervention

16 Product Refers to the way in which a student shows what he or she has learned ◦ Create a graphic organizer ◦ Discuss ideas in a small group ◦ Traditional assessment

17 Carol Ann Tomlinson “There’s absolutely no contradiction between excellent standards-based instruction and excellent differentiated standards-based instruction.” She argues that most standards are not finite points to be memorized but consist of skills such as problem solving, communicating clearly in paragraphs, analyzing test, or using maps for information purposes. “Those things can nearly all be accomplished by primary grade students as well as Ph.D.s – just at different levels of complexity and with different levels of support.”

18 Differentiation It’s about meeting individual needs in the context of best-practice instruction. “Expert instruction can’t exist without attending to student needs.” -Carol Tomlinson

19 So, how does it happen? My experience ◦ If a teacher is doing it, she’ll continue  Have to watch for traditional three groups for the year  Make certain data is driving the instruction  Teacher professional judgment  Data

20 So, how does it happen? My experience ◦ If a teacher is not doing it, just talking about it doesn’t really make it happen and forcing a structure doesn’t make it happen, either  Needs pd  On assessing students  On using data  On large group instruction, small group instruction, centers  Needs support from administration  Needs “checking on”

21 In order to differentiate… Teacher must know the student ◦ Basic reading levels ◦ Basic knowledge student possesses on curriculum topics  Group discussion, brainstorming not a good way to find out who knows what  Teacher must conduct an individual pre-assessment if she is really going to meet student needs  KWL chart  Exit card

22 IRIS Center at Vanderbilt

23 Differentiated Instruction


25 Mainly occurs at small group table with teacher and in practice centers At small group table: Alternative Lesson Structures ◦ Guided Reading ◦ Skills-Focused Lessons ◦ A blend of the two

26 Guided Reading Selecting the text (appropriate level) Introducing the text Reading the text Discussing the text Teaching for strategic activities Extending meaning (optional) Word Work (optional)

27 Guided Reading Mainly about comprehension Students could be struggling so much that guided reading is not appropriate YET NOT A TIME FOR ROUND ROBIN READING/LISTENING TO ONE CHILD AT A TIME READ – Every child should be engaged at all times

28 Want to hear one read? “Children are all whisper reading; teacher is moving around the table, stopping and bending down with each child to focus on his/her reading. This is best practice.” Whisper phones Another teacher at this same school: “All children are reading silently. Teacher goes around and bends down beside the student she wants to hear read aloud. Child reads quietly to her.”

29 Skills-Focused Lessons “providing explicit and systematic instruction for students who do not yet have the necessary skills and knowledge to be integrated together in the reading of text” “Differentiating Reading Instruction: Small Group Alternative Lesson Structures for All Students” (IRIS Center Document, 2005, p. 3)

30 Skills-Focused Lessons Mastery of elements like: letter-sound knowledge Phonemic decoding strategies Critical vocabulary Reading comprehension strategies

31 Other ideas Rather than one set of flashcards, giving them out one child at a time ◦ Round Robin Flashcards “Teacher gives word sets out to kids; shows them larger word cards – teacher keeps her cards under the table and pulls one out and reads it – doesn’t show it (great idea – learning disabled kids are cunning) Tells students to find that word in their cards (they each have a set in their hands) Put it face down in front of them – then all flip them over – great way for teacher to see who takes longer, who knows. “

32 For either type In order to be effective, teacher has to have ongoing knowledge of the assessment data concerning each student Then she makes centers and calls groups ◦ Groups: ◦ 3-4 for struggling students ◦ 5-7 for typically developing or above students

33 AND She has to know developmentally where a student is and what the most effective instruction for that student will be Some of the programs that are available help to diagnose AND provide instructional support

34 If the teacher is “on her own”

35 Center Activities Five Components of Reading

36 Support for Small Group Instruction









45 Best “Quick” Comprehension Measure Maze passage

46 What is a Maze Passage? A maze passage is an indicator of general reading health The maze passage measures the student's general reading performance. It’s a good Curriculum-Based Measure (CBM) for comprehension.

47 How do I create a maze passage? Select a passage from the students’ curriculum (basal reader, newspaper passages, etc.) (150 to 400 words)

48 How do I create a maze passage? Leave the first sentence intact.

49 How do I create a maze passage? After the first sentence, delete every seventh word and create two “distracter” words as choices (should have the same number of letters as correct word plus or minus one letter; should be a different part of speech and should NOT be a possible choice for that sentence). Dolche words are great choice words

50 How do I create a maze passage? If the seventh word is a name, skip that choice and proceed to the next word.

51 How do I create a maze passage? Make sure that all the choices “fit” on the same line.

52 How do I create a maze passage? Give students 3 minutes to complete the maze passage.

53 First Grade Maze Passage

54 Fourth Grade Maze Passage

55 55

56 It’s Time We can’t wait to begin differentiation. Children’s lives are at stake.

57 No Excuses Time Effort Professional Knowledge Administrative Leadership Monitoring

58 Differentiated Instruction It’s best practice It’s required by law It’s what we MUST do in Tennessee classrooms


60 References Allington, R. L. (2009). What really matters in response to intervention: Research-based designs. Boston: Pearson. Anderson, K. (2007). Differentiating instruction to include all students. Preventing School Failure, 51 (3), 49-54. Differentiating reading instruction: Small group alternative lesson structures for all students (2005), Retrieved April 28, 2009, Differentiation for reading (2005). Retrieved April 28, 2009,

61 References Florida Center for Reading Research website: IRIS Center at Vanderbilt website: Tomlinson, C. A. (2005). Differentiating instruction: Why bother? Middle Ground, 9 (1), 12-14. Tomlinson, C.A. (2000). Focus on differentiated instruction [Electronic version]. Curriculum/Technology Quarterly, 9(3). doi:

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