Tag Archives: differentiated work session activities

How do you explain why activities are different when differentiating instruction?

Differentiated Instruction Misconceptions

Fair is a very difficult concept for many students to grasp. Many students will see differences in assignments, differentiated instruction, as frustrating at all levels of ability. The advanced or gifted student might resent the lower levels because they may see their work as easier or shorter. The lower levels may feel like they are not as good as the upper levels or embarrassed that they were given a different assignment.

It is very important that the teacher differentiate instruction correctly. Don’t just add busy work to upper level students and don’t just take away parts of an assignment for the lower level students.

I try not to level activities at all but to differentiate them using multiple intelligences instead. I also give students the choice of what they want to do and how they want to work (self, partner, group) through the use of flexible grouping. That way everyone is different so no one feels different.

There are some occasions when leveling/scaffolding/tiering an assignment is necessary. Accommodations for SPED and ELL students are constant too which can make certain students stand out more and resentfulness and embarrassment can take place. This is when the teacher needs to step in and explain to everyone that “fair isn’t always equal”, to quote my former Principal Lauren French, Gouverneur Middle School. Explain that all students are starting with different background knowledge and need to be taught from that level and brought up to the next level. No one should feel jealous of another group because at some point in the year, during different concepts, people are going to change levels. You need to bring it down to their level and possibly relate it to a sport or video game. These accommodations or levels of an assignment equal the playing field like a handicap does in golf.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico helps social studies teachers differentiate their activities and writing through the use of multiple intelligences and  leveling/scaffolding/tiering

Written by,

Kasha Mastrodomenico

http://www.socialstudiesdifferentiatedinstruction.com

kasha@socialstudiesdifferentiatedinstruction.com

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico

How can you use the kinesthetic learning style to differentiate instruction?

Using the kinesthetic learning style to differentiate instruction in your lessons is beneficial for everyone, even if they are physically handicapped because they will be still be able to see and hear, in most cases, the movement. One group of students that it will benefit the most will be the students labeled ADHD because you will be using one of their strengths. Once kinesthetic learning is implemented in a classroom the ADHD students will many times become the “star” students. They become positive role models, which is something that most ADHD students have never had the opportunity to be because of constant redirection by the teacher. Sometimes that constant redirection, albeit necessary, will lead to class clownism or low self esteem.

When I was teaching my three year old daughter, Anna, the four seasons two days ago, I put movement with each season. I had her cross her arms and shiver as she said winter, spring up like a flower for spring, swim for summer and fall down for autumn. It took her about five minutes to learn it and hasn’t stopped. Doing this reminded me that using the kinesthetic learning style can even resemble play.

One area the kinesthetic learning style can be used to differentiate instruction is during the content learning or the “mini-lesson” section of a full lesson. It can last 10 seconds or take 5 minutes. I have used it to teach middle school social studies. When teaching about The Great Depression, I had all of my students stand up and turn their pant pockets inside out in order to emphasize that people didn’t have any money and many times were desperate. I told them that people used to do this during this time and they called it Hoover flags (Hoover was President). It took 10 seconds and yet it got them out of their seat and allowed them to physically do something.

Another example of using the kinesthetic learning style to differentiate instruction would be when I taught about the Silk Rd. It took about 2-3 minutes. I had created a floor map of Asia and had the students take turns and walk across the path or “road” that I had drawn on it. As they did this they traded items with each other like spices, silk and gun powder (fake of course).

A third example of using movement during the mini-lesson was when I taught about the Black Codes during Reconstruction. This actually borders on a short activity because it took a little over 5 minutes. I used flexible grouping and had the students get into groups of 5 they played a game that I created. One person was the host and the other four were the freedmen. I had laid out grids using painters tape on the floor, four deep and four across for each group to use. If a player got to the line they were equal to the Caucasians in the South. The host would allow the players to pick a card one at a time and then they would read it out loud and either move forward, backward or stay where they were. Each card had a Black Code on it so no one ever made it to the line. The students felt frustrated which is similar to how the freedman felt. It showed them how these laws kept the freedmen “in their place”. It also allowed them to move and interact.

Full Classroom activities that use the kinesthetic learning style to differentiate instruction can take a lot of prep work. A great resource that can help decrease the planning is “History Alive”. One of my favorite activities that I created was about D-Day, the Landing at Normandy. I changed the whole classroom around and made it the battlefield. I had a paper boat that the students jumped out of and into the paper water then onto the beach and through the string “barbed wire”. On the other side of the wire were the Germans standing on chairs behind a paper cliff. I made casualty cards; this is what the ARMY uses when doing training exercises. The student had to act out their deaths or injuries, medics would help them, and only a few of them would make it to the cliff. I had gun noises and explosions in the background. It was role play and it was learning. The students always asked to do it several times so each time I would have them switch their casualty card and have a new experience. It was a fabulous 20 minute kinesthetic activity.

Differentiating using the kinesthetic learning style from the multiple intelligences theory can be a lot of fun and useful to the students. Here are some other suggestions for kinesthetic activities that aren’t so content specific:

  • Body answers
  • Building things like scenes with legos or play-doh and then explaining the events
  • Acting (skit, musical skit, comedy sketch, monologue)
  • Role play
  • Touching materials like the silk and spices in the silk road example
  • Creating  and performing a cheer
  • Puppet show
  • Dance
  • Talk show
  • Tasting foods from a certain country you are learning about
  • Diarama

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico/Category/Activity-Templates-and-Rubrics helps social studies teachers differentiate instruction using multiple intelligences.

Written by,

Kasha Mastrodomenico

http://www.socialstudiesdifferentiatedinstruction.com

kasha@socialstudiesdifferentiatedinstruction.com

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico

How can you differentiate instruction with examples?

Use Multiple Intelligences to Differentiate Instruction for Content

Differentiation through the use of multiple examples goes along with the UDL (Universal Design for Learning Principles) idea of recognition learning. This is not a complex idea but it does take planning. The idea is that the more examples you give, and in different ways, the more students you will reach and the higher retention of the material they will have. Differentiated instruction can be done through the use of mutliple intelligences or ability levels.

One of my favorite lessons that I created that differentiates instruction in this way was about grids, latitude and longitude, etc.) I used multiple intelligences to differentiate. I first introduced the students to grids by providing the definitions that went along with grids and then I drew them on the board and had the students draw it next to the definition (linguistic, spatial). I also had them stand up for longitude and lay on the floor to explain latitude (kinesthetic). I showed them Santa Clause sliding on a longitude line from the North Pole to the South Pole and said “it’s a long way down to the South Pole” (spatial, linguistic). Next, I handed them a balloon and had them create a globe with a grid and had them label it (spatial, kinesthetic, intrapersonal). Then, they got a partner and they had to use the giant floor grid I had made with painters tape.  One person walked on the latitude line and the other walked on the longitude line and then met at the absolute location. They would then write down the item that was there (interpersonal, spatial, kinesthetic and logical). The last piece of the lesson was to use a map and as a small group find locations (logical, interpersonal, spatial). Notice that I used flexible grouping also in this lesson. There was whole class instruction, individual work, as well as partner work and small group work. I had so many different examples that every student had an understanding of not only what grids were but also how they worked. This lesson took two days. If you would like this lesson, click here.

In this lesson, the same information was provided in seven different ways to students. By providing multiple examples, differentiated instruction is accomplished by teachers.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico helps middle school social studies teachers differentiate instruction.

 

Written by,

Kasha Mastrodomenico

http://www.socialstudiesdifferentiatedinstruction.com

kasha@socialstudiesdifferentiatedinstruction.com

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico

What is Flexible Grouping for Reading and How Can It Be Used for Differentiate Instruction?

Use Flexible Grouping in Reading

I found this while doing some research. It focuses on flexible grouping for reading but it does a great job simplifying the concept for any use of flexible grouping in the classroom. I think the charts are great. You might want to take a look at it.

http://www.learningpt.org/pdfs/literacy/flexibleGrouping.pdf

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico uses flexible grouping in differentiated instruction activities, Check it out!

Written by

Kasha Mastrodomenico

http://www.socialstudiesdifferentiatedinstruction.com

kasha@socialstudiesdifferentiatedinstruction.com

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico

Why teaching isn’t necessarily learning

Retention Pyramid

How many times have you heard teachers say, “I taught it to them. I don’t know why they don’t know it”? I’ve heard it a lot and will admit, I’ve uttered this phrase myself. When I first started teaching I was a lecturer because that’s what I saw teachers doing starting in middle school. The teacher spoke and we took notes. If we were lucky a political cartoon might have been pushed on the overhead for a minute or two. Every night and for every subject reading was the homework. So I gave reading homework to my students.

I remember getting so frustrated that student test scores were low when I had taught them the content. The problem was that the students weren’t learning. I needed to rephrase the question that I asked myself while planning my lessons. Instead of asking myself “what do I need to teach tomorrow” I started asking “how will my students learn tomorrow”. In a professional development session I was handed a pyramid that had the answer to my question. The pyramid is based on an 11 year research project that asked the question, “What causes learning in classrooms?” It stated that 5% is the average retention rate for lecture, 10% for reading, 20% for audio-visual, 30% for demonstration, 50% for discussion groups, 70% for practice of “real world” applications and 90% for teaching others.  After reading this I began to switch my focus from lectures to differentiated project based learning to include discussion groups, real world applications and teaching others as well. I wanted those higher retention rates. The more active a student is in their learning the more retention will occur.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico/Category/Activity-Templates-and-Rubrics helps teachers differentiate project based learning in less than 10 minutes.

Written by

Kasha Mastrodomenico

http://www.socialstudiesdifferentiatedinstruction.com

kasha@socialstudiesdifferentiatedinstruction.com

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico

What roles should students have in differentiated group activities?

Student roles in differentiated group activities will change slightly depending on the activity they are doing. It is important to have students hold certain jobs during differentiated group activities to keep the group rolling forward and not get distracted.

Students need roles to keep differentiated group activities running smoothly

A couple of roles that should always be included are task master and time keeper. The task master acts as the motivator and policeman of the group. When a student gets off topic or sidetracked the task master redirects them. There should always be an amount of time allotted to finish the assignment. Otherwise the students will take advantage of it and waste time. The role of the time keeper is to frequently tell the group the amount of time they have left to finish the assignment. This will again motivate the students to stay on task. For most activities there will be a writer. Teachers need to make sure that this role is not misused by the other students in the group. They are to be used more like a secretary who writes down the groups ideas. They themselves are not responsible for the end product and all the critical thinking that goes along with it. Other roles might be an artist, speaker and material gatherer. No matter what activity it is, roles should be assigned to students because they help group activities go smoother and be more productive.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico/Category/Activity-Templates-and-Rubrics helps social studies teachers differentiate instruction in less than 10 minutes by using activity templates with rubrics, check it out!

Written by

Kasha Mastrodomenico

http://www.socialstudiesdifferentiatedinstruction.com

kasha@socialstudiesdifferentiatedinstruction.com

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico

How can teachers use flexible grouping to differentiate work session activities?

 

Using Flexible Grouping helps students of different learning styles

Flexible grouping is an easy way to differentiate work session activities. One way is by providing students three choices of grouping, you are not only differentiating, you are also giving students ownership in their education. It will help both interpersonal and intrapersonal learners. The three choices should be to work by themselves, with a partner or with a group. If these choices are given to the students the day before the activity is to be done then the teacher can use their choices to create workable pairs or groups. Depending on the project or activity the teacher may group by ability level and work more closely with the lower level or the teacher could use mixed ability grouping and allow the students with a higher ability level to guide or teach the students who struggle. It also allows teachers to make the amount of copies needed. Flexible grouping can change with every project or multiple times per lesson.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico/Category/Activity-Templates-and-Rubrics helps middle school social studies teachers differentiate instruction, Check it out!

Written by

Kasha Mastrodomenico

http://www.socialstudiesdifferentiatedinstruction.com

kasha@socialstudiesdifferentiatedinstruction.com

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico