Monthly Archives: November 2010

Why Should Teachers Remediate?

Remediation with Holler for Mastro LLC

As brilliant as some students are, they do not pick up everything that a teacher teaches. Remediation can help students review information they may never have picked up or it can help students remember content they have forgotten from previous lessons. Repetition and remediation of information is key for memories especially for students who have certain learning disabilities. The more we as teachers can repeat information in our classrooms the more students will retain.

Don’t give up or have lower expectations for the students that need remediation. Every student can learn but it may take one students 100 times the amount of exposure to the curriculum. It is our job as teachers to give them different ways to continue to be exposed. Obviously we can’t just stay on one piece of information all year until everyone in the class gets it. However, we can provide ways to remediate and study at home to continue their learning. offers social studies differentiated instruction for middle school, check it out!

Written by,
Kasha Mastrodomenico

How do You Know If a Student Needs Remediation?

A simple quiz works best to find out if a class or a specific student needs remediation for the content presented in class. It doesn’t need to be a formal quiz and can take place more often if it’s not. Teachers need every moment in class that they can get.  Remediation can be a quick question and answer session between the teacher and the students or a ticket out the door asking students what they learned in class and a question they have about it. Tickets out the door can also answer specific questions that the teacher wants to check on. Both help teachers find out what students learned in a mini-lesson. A more formal quiz, perhaps at the end of the week, can alert teachers of the content that has been forgotten by students. Writing can be used as a tool to find out what content hasn’t been retained and what content remediation is needed on. Assign your students to write an expository paragraph about a subject and you’ll find out quickly who needs remediation and who doesn’t. offers social studies differentiated instruction for middle school, check it out!

Written by
Kasha Mastrodomenico

How Can Teachers Remediate?

There are many techniques teachers can use to remediate in their classrooms. I have found that the more simple the technique the more effective it is. If it’s simple then so are the directions.  This saves time in the class. It also helps the student focus on the content and not the directions or rules, if a game. Don’t get caught up in the “entertainment” value. It’s distracting for the student. Remember repetition is the key so I recommend staying away from a jeopardy type game which only asks a question once and doesn’t focus on all of the individuals in the class that need remediation for each question. Some simple techniques teachers can use to remediate include: flashcards, memory games and peer review.

If teachers want to know about a certain classes retention and would like to address it as a class, they can use tickets out the door at the end of class and then address the most common deficiencies at the beginning of the next class. Classroom discussions can work if you can keep everyone’s attention.

Another almost forgotten way to remediate is through homework. Depending on the school district you work for homework might be stressed in either direction, either giving it or not giving it. It is a good remediation tool if you can get students to actually do it. Writing to review the days content is very beneficial just like reading additional information on the material presented at school.

Whether remediation is done through repetition, discussions or homework it is beneficial to the learner. offers social studies differentiated instruction for middle school, check it out!

Written by
Kasha Mastrodomenico

Why Should Teachers Differentiate Instruction?

There are five main reasons why teachers should differentiate instruction.

  • Classrooms have different ability levels
  • Students have different learning styles
  • Students have baggage
  • Students have different ethnic and cultural backgrounds
  • Students have different socioeconomic backgrounds

Classrooms today are different than they were when I was growing up. In NY, we were separated by ability levels. Honor students were on one track, regents students were on another and then there was the local track. Most of our Special Ed students went to another school completely unless they were only receiving resource room.  Today that is not the case. Most students in NY are required to get a regents diploma. Teachers need to be able to level every assignment because they are all grouped together, give or take a few honors classes.

Students have always learned differently. Even in gifted classrooms differentiated instruction is needed because of different interests or learning styles of the students as well as different talents. The use of Multiple Intelligences works well to grab the interest of students.

Students have baggage. Teachers don’t know what a student experiences at home. Making a choice on an activity might mean that the student can acquire a sense of power in themselves they might not otherwise feel. Many of our students live with abuse and neglect. We can actually help activities be an escape for that student by differentiating instruction and giving choices to students. (to read more about troubled students, click here)

Students have different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. One culture might put more of an importance on reading and writing and another might stress the arts. Some cultures encourage debating and speaking up in class to answer a question and others do not. We need to give all of these students a way to showcase their knowledge in a way they are comfortable with by differentiating instruction. (to read more about ethnic diversity, click here.)

Many students come from a lower socioeconomic status than their teachers. Most teachers come from the middle class. Socioeconomics needs to be taken into consideration for differentiated instruction because different classes stress importance on different things. For instance, the lower class puts more of an importance on humor than higher classes do. We can use humor in the classroom to differentiate instruction and keep the content relevant to the students.  (For more on socioeconomic differences in the classroom, click here.) offers many social studies differentiated instruction options, check it out!

Written by
Kasha Mastrodomenico

How Can I Differentiate Instruction for Classroom Activities?

There are a few different ways to differentiate activities:

  • Differentiate instruction using Multiple Intelligences
  • Differentiate instruction using leveling/scaffolding/tiering
  • Differentiate instruction by using remediation and enrichment

I recommend using multiple intelligences to differentiate activities. This allows the teacher to give their students many options of activities to do, based on their interests, using the same content. Students appreciate the opportunity to choose the activity they want to do. It helps give ownership to the project.

Leveling to differentiate instruction should be used when one project type needs to be completed. It can be tricky to do because you need to challenge and not just add busy work to the upper level. They will need additional critical thinking opportunities. Differentiating instruction or the lower ability level can also be tricky because you have to make sure they are getting just as much of the content as the middle and upper level groups.

The last option I’ve provided is to differentiate instruction by using remediation and enrichment. This can be used at the end of a unit or the end of each week. In my experience, it is impossible to do every day. It really works well when a co-teacher is involved. In order to do this you would need to do an evaluation of knowledge and those who have mastered the content do the enrichment activity and those who have not get the remediation. offers differentiated instruction activities, check it out!

Written by,
Kasha Mastrodomenico

What is Differentiated Instruction?

Even though differentiated instruction is not a new idea many teachers still don’t understand what differentiated instruction is.

When I first started teaching I thought I understood what differentiated instruction was but I really didn’t even though I was introduced to it in college. My definition of differentiated instruction at the time was that every student or group of students did something different during class.

This is an example of what my differentiated instruction activities were like. Students opened up a book and were assigned different sections of a chapter to do an activity on. My principal soon pointed out that all groups were doing different content so they weren’t getting the same amount of exposure to all of the content. I had to change my approach. My school really wanted us to differentiate instruction so I tried again.

When I differentiated instruction this time all the students used the same content for the activity. I separated them into three types of groups: low, medium and high ability levels. I created an assignment and gave it to the medium level then I decreased the questions or tasks and gave that to the lower group. I then added questions or tasks to the top level. After a while I realized this really wasn’t challenging the upper leveled group. I was just giving them busy work. Not higher level thinking work, just work. The lower level students still weren’t getting as much as the other students because I had taken part of the assignment out. This couldn’t be considered differentiated instruction either.

After a few years of teaching I finally understood what differentiated instruction was. Differentiated instruction is when every student uses the same content but in different ways that challenge and interest them all. offers many middle school social studies differentiated instruction activities, lesson plan, leveled writing system, and PowerPoint mini-lessons. Check it out!

Written by,
Kasha Mastrodomenico