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A Workshop in Differentiating Instruction for Writing in the Content Areas Tantasqua Regional High School Fiskdale, Massachusetts March 14, 2008 Presenter:

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Presentation on theme: "A Workshop in Differentiating Instruction for Writing in the Content Areas Tantasqua Regional High School Fiskdale, Massachusetts March 14, 2008 Presenter:"— Presentation transcript:

1 A Workshop in Differentiating Instruction for Writing in the Content Areas Tantasqua Regional High School Fiskdale, Massachusetts March 14, 2008 Presenter: Amy Benjamin Todays visuals may be accessed at (click on recent presentations) Topics: About differentiation: content, process, product Dialectical Journaling: Differentiating the Reading-Writing Connection The I-Search format A structure for differentiating vocabulary learning Writing to learn Rubric for differentiated tasks Utilizing Internet resources to differentiate: Webquests RxWrite

2 Differentiation Variables (Writing) Differentiatng Content: Students may be writing about Topics A, B, or C; However, Topics A, B, and C are related to an essential question Ex: Explain the key decisions of one President of the United States Differentiating Process: Some students use an outline, others use a graphic organizer to plan their ideas Differentiating Product: Some students write a formal essay; some students participate on a class blog; some students compose a story; some students compose a dramatic monologue However, all of the products demonstrate knowledge of the same essential information

3 Where do I need help? Answering the question Organizing my ideas Writing the Conclusion Vocabulary Development Spelling Getting Started; Writing the introduction Capitalizing Using punctuation Writing neatly and clearly

4 I-Search Projects What is an I-Search Project? How is an I-Search project different from an ordinary research paper? An I-Search project is a research-based report that seeks to answer a question that is posed by the student. Think of the I as standing for: I pose the question. I write in first person, as the investigator. An I-Search project is a well-scaffolded learning experience in which the student poses an informed question about a topic worthy of investigation. A traditional research paper is usually framed entirely by teacher. An I-Search project is written in the first person, following the K-W-L format. A traditional research project is written in the third person, usually as a report. An I-Search project is well-suited to the middle school student. A traditional research paper is usually too sophisticated for a middle school student and often results in improper use of resources and disengagement.

5 What are the instructional phases of an I-Search Project? Phase 1: Whole class instruction, in which students learn general information about a broad topic. (Recommended: Field trips, guest speakers, movies, pictures, experiments, other special experiences that generate interest) Phase 2: Question formulation: Teacher helps students shape their I-Search question: What are you interested in? What would you like to know? Why do you think this information is important? What problem might be solved with this information? How can I learn more about I-Search projects?

6 What are the components of the I-Search project? Engagement: The student explains how he or she came to be interested in this question, including what they already knew about it before starting the I-Search and why the question is important (and to whom). Exploration: The student narrates the story of how he or she went about collecting, organizing, and making meaning from various sources of information. Ideally, the sources of information will include: Reading: books, articles, Websites Watching: videos, movies, television, pictures Talking: interviews, chatting with friends, talking to parents and grandparents, etc. Doing: experiments, lab activities, trips, etc. Explanation & Elaboration: In an organized way, the student explains to the reader what he or she learned in answer to the question. Evaluation: The student considers the extent to which he or she has been able to answer the question, considering the value of the resources used. Bibliography

7 Optional components for the I-Search Project: 1.Glossary of key terms 2.Non-verbal information: graphs, charts, labeled diagrams, tables Examples of I-Search questions: 1.What might happen if…? 2.Why do people disagree about….? 3.What causes/caused….? 4.What can be done about…? 5.What are several different ways of looking at….? 6.How is/does….?

8 Processing Vocabulary for Meaning Give students opportunities to: –Talk –Write (formal and informal) –List –Categorize –Explain to each other –Formulate questions –Brainstorm –Draw

9 Complete sentence of at least ____words: Must contain an action verb and a visual image. Target Word: Visual: Draw or find a picture: My guess: Glossary Definition: Vocabulary Chart: Definition in my own words:

10 Morphology Chart Noun: The… Verb: They…He… or Must… or To… Adjective Which one? What kind? How many? The___truck Adverb Where? When? Why? To what extent? In what manner?

11 Noun-Making Suffixes Verb-Making SuffixesAdjective-making suffixes -ment -ness -ation, sion -ity -ism -hood -itude -ence -ance -ide -ate -ify -ize -acious,icious -y -ous, ious -ant -able, ible -er; est Morphology Kit Adverb-making suffix: -ly

12 Making the Best Use of Technology for Differentiated Instruction in Writing WebQuests: These are the components of a well-designed WebQuest: Part I: Introduction: This section sets the stage for the project, often giving a hypothetical situation that involves the student as an active problem- solver. Part II: Task: The students job is carefully explained. Part III: Process: The student is given step-by-step instructions, resources, and organizational scaffolds. Usually, the student is directed to specific appropriate URLs. Part IV: Evaluation Criteria: A rubric and other clarifying devices, explaining to the student how the work will be evaluated. Part V: Conclusion: A summary of the learning to be expected You can find great WebQuests on a variety of subjects at

13 Making the Best Use of Technology for Differentiated Instruction in Writing Rx Write and RxResearch RxWrite is a collection of online writing lessons that provide remediation for areas in which an individual student needs work. Full directions for students and teachers are available on the site (see below) RxResearch is a collection of online explanations and exercises that help students understand the components of a research paper such as organization, citations, thesis statements, paraphrasing, etc. The URL for RxWrite is The URL for RxResearch is Both RxWrite and RxResearch are designed for students to work independently.

14 Tic-Tac-Toe Board for Differentiation Heres how it works: By selecting three tasks that form a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line, you will be choosing a variety of learning experiences suited to your preferences and strengths. Compare it Dramatize it Advertise it Illustrate and label it Apply it Evaluate it Analyze it Describe it List it

15 Writing to Learn Activities Analysis Application Asking questions Articulating thoughts Classifying Communicating with others Comparing Connecting Creative problem-solving Elaborating Integrating ideas Identifying main and supporting ideas Listing Organizing Paraphrasing Pattern-finding Sequencing Summarizing

16 Rubric for Differentiated Tasks Level 4 (Highest) Level 2 Shows ample knowledge of the subject Shows some knowledge of subject Expresses ideas clearly Doesnt have a logical plan Discusses ideas logically Addresses some of the questions Addresses all of the questions posed Shows lapses in preparation Gives ample details Appears rushed Describes concepts without errors Has numerous errors Shows special care & flair Level 3 Level 1 Shows satisfactory knowledge of the subject Does not show knowledge of subj Expresses ideas adequately Is disorganized and hard to follow Discusses ideas somewhat logically Lacks details Addresses most of the questions posed Shows carelessness Has a few errors Lacks preparation

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