Individual Differences This material was taken from www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/teaching/differentiate. Differentiated Instruction Teachers must be sensitive to the needs of their students. Teachers must find ways to help students make connections to that they can learn. In differentiated classrooms, all students have equally engaging learning tasks. These learning tasks may or may not be the same for everyone. We know that No two children are alike. No two children learn in identical ways. An enriched environment for one student is not necessarily enriched for another. In the classroom, we should teach children to think for themselves. Marion Diamond Because of this… Curricular goals may be similar for all students, but The methods you use have to be varied. Provide multiple paths. In any classroom… There will be students performing below grade level. There will be students performing above grade level. Students performing above grade level in one subject, may not be the same students performing above grade level in another subject. So, you must provide different instruction – You must differentiate your instruction. You can… 1. Differentiate the Content 2. Differentiate the Process/Activities 3. Differentiate the Product A closer look… 1. Differentiate the content Students who already know the basic can skip ahead. (Called compacting the curriculum.) Students who have some misconceptions, will need more guidance. This means you have to find out what they already know! members.shaw.ca/priscillatheroux/assessing.html 2. Differentiate the Process Vary the learning activities. Provide multiple paths of getting to the content. Pay attention to learning styles, multiple intelligences, abilities, etc. 3. Differentiating Product Vary the complexity of the product the students create to demonstrate their knowledge. www.rogertaylor.com/reference/Product-Grid.pdf Planning for Differentiated Instruction Know your students! 2. Have a repertoire of teaching strategies. 3. Identify a variety of instructional activities. 4. Identify ways to assess student progress. 1. Another closer look… 1. Know your students. ALL differentiation of learning begins with student assessment. You can Look at student records Do a pre-test Survey student interests in topics Survey student learning styles (ways they prefer to learn) and multiple intelligences (ways in which they are smart). Clarify the concept of fairness with them. (Let students know that they all have different learning needs and preferences and that it’s okay. Let them know that they will often be doing different things, but that you will always hold them to the same high expectations for performance.) 2. Have a Repertoire of Teaching Strategies Direct instruction – Traditional and teacher-centered, used to cover information fast. www.teach-nology.com/teachers/methods/models Inquiry – Problem-solving in nature, develops thinking skills. Student-centered. Can be independent or guided by the teacher. www.teach-nology.com/currenttrends/inquiry Cooperative Learning – Heterogeneous groups of students use a specific strategy to accomplish a task. www.teach-nology.com/currenttrends/cooperative_learning Information Processing – Helps students learn to organize, store, retrieve, and apply information. www.teach-nology.com/teachers/methods/info_processing 3. Identify a Variety of Instructional Activities Activities should motivate and challenge students. To know what these activities are, you have to know your students (learning preferences, multiple intelligences, ability levels, interests, languages, etc.). Good activities give students the opportunity to develop and then apply their knowledge in meaningful and relevant. www.teach-nology.com/teachers/lesson_plans 4. Identify Ways to Assess Student Progress Students are best able to demonstrate their knowledge in as many different ways as they achieve that knowledge. “Authentic” or “alternative” assessment means that students are given the opportunity to demonstrate what they’ve actually learned. Assessment instruments are designed to test what was taught and what was learned, and that may mean that the assessments aren’t traditional. www.teach-nology.com/currenttrends/alternative_assessment/ Strategies for Differentiating Instruction Adjusting questions – Direct higher level questions to students who can handle them. Be sure the questions you ask give the students a chance to be successful while challenging them at the same time. Put posters with Bloom’s Taxonomy on the wall. Give students different forms of the test with different questions. All students should have the option of trying the higher level stuff. Compacting curriculum – After assessing students’ knowledge, those that demonstrate mastery are given alternative activities at higher levels of thinking. Tiered assignments – Provide several ways for students to reach the same goals. The assignments should all be related, but could involve different intelligences. Students get to chose which assignment they will complete. More strategies… Flexible grouping – Allow students to move back and forth between groups depending on readiness, talent, interests, etc. Peer teaching – Students who demonstrate mastery (initially or after one-on-one instruction) can function as tutors to others. Learning profiles/styles – Differentiate by learning style, interest, talent, etc. More strategies… Independent studies – Research projects where students learn and apply independent learning skills. Study buddies – Allowing a group of students to work together. Learning contracts – Activities agreed upon by the student and the teacher, with a set schedule for completion so the student may work independently. Learning centers – Each center should be different with regard to ability, and/or readiness, and/or learning style and/or product, etc. Anchoring activities – Activities that students can do at the beginning of class or if they finish early. They are tailored to student needs and interests. Could be activities such as journal writing, problems to solve, or worksheets for reinforcement. A Couple of Examples of Differentiated Instruction High School www.ascd.org/pdi/demo/diffinstr/11hsex.html Elementary School www.ascd.org/pdi/demo/diffinstr/11esex.html Sorry, no middle grades example was provided, but you can get the idea. The Bottom Line Use teaching strategies that connect with the students’ learning strategies. Use the teaching strategies that you know are effective, and make adjustments as necessary. Be flexible. Take risks. Challenge, motivate, and make it meaningful!

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# Individual Differences