Differentiating Instruction in the Elementary School Classroom

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Differentiating Instruction in the Elementary School Classroom

This is a collaborative forum for teachers who want to improve their lessons by catering to the needs of their students.

Members: 29
Latest Activity: May 20

Welcome to a serious discussion that I hope will improve our skills as educators.

I recently created this group because I want to build a resource for educators to reflect and share how they they are differentiating their instruction for their students. This is a link to a page of my website that includes a menu of accomidations that I made as a reference based on many different exceptional needs of students.

Please respond and share your experiences in modifying your lessons for your students.

Discussion Forum

Adapting content v.s. remediating skills

Started by Mr. Alex Apr 13, 2010. 0 Replies

How can teachers make accommodations for students in their lessons and still spend time on remediation for skills the students lack?

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Comment by Daniel Baker on October 4, 2011 at 12:35am
IEP4U.COM has over 4000  Goals and Objectives (IEP-ITP) each with changeable benchmarks. The Idea Statements are spread out over seven subjects (Domains) an... Teachers, parents and students can now access objectives directly from this Web Site. Input key words, phrases, or test names in the search engine to find just the correct objectives for your students needs. Copy and paste any information you want, then modify the objectives (examples) to exactly describe the needs of your students. The kid section will give your students personal input to write their own objectives (with your help) and to play some interesting games as well.

This information is is designed to help you with the daunting task of writing proper IEP's  The data within this web site was written to correlate with the unique characteristics of various formal assessments. Since assessment is essential for the development of the IEP, specific questions were evaluated and idea statements written based upon those questions. Searching the data for idea statements by assessment will enable teachers to plan lessons or web quests based upon how the student scored on the assessment.

Students can pick their own IEP using Pictures!
Comment by Lori Jurjovec on May 15, 2010 at 12:17pm
Wow! Mr. Alex, what great insights and suggestions you have just offered. I do understand your concerns about tier activities. In my classroom, all students participate in the same whole group lesson. They are all responsible at arriving at the same goal and demonstrating knowledge over the same objectives. I use the tier activities as a way to supplement those students who need to understand the concept more concretely, initially..this gives them the foundation at which to reach those more abstract thoughts and utilize their critical thinking skills. You are right that all students regardless of level need to be exposed to those higher level questions on the Blooms spectrum. This is why I am not an advocate for ability grouping - all of the time. Students need to be exposed to the thinking processes of their higher level peers, in order to stimulate their own growth. I really like your suggestion of using portfolios as a less overt way to use tiered activities. Portfolios, in my opinion are the most authentic way to assess student knowledge. Thanks for your insights! I am so glad you started this discussion - I am sure I will take away a lot from this group and the insights it provides! Have a great weekend!
Lori
Comment by Mr. Alex on May 15, 2010 at 11:33am
First of all, I just want to formally thank Lori Jurjovec for your involvement in this group. Your feedback and discussion points are insightful and meaningful and I personally appreciate it.

Secondly, I wanted to discuss concerns about tier activities. While I agree with the objective of tiering activities, I do not use them with my students. The reason is that I am concerned about limiting my expectations for students who I would choose for the lower tier.

While this is an effective way to make the content more attainable for your struggling student, it also makes a visible division among students in the class.
My fear is that the student will then identify their self as naturally less capable and my lowered expectations for the activity translate to the student's lowered self worth as a student/person.

If I was going to use tiered activities, I would do it in a way that would be less overt. I am a believer in assessing student portfolios, (containing class projects and independent performance assessments). I am also a believer in student choice when applicable. Tiered activites would be perfect for the students' portfolios. Let them choose to challenge themselves (w/ of course extrinsic motivation [more points or something of your choosing] for them to challenge themself to their greatest potential.)

Also, I advocate for higher order thinking of bloom's taxonomy for all of my students. Even those who would be labeled as lower tier. I just don't think that the lower level thinking of bloom's taxonomy such as memorization and fact recall are not as effective as higher level conceptional thinking. And I think that attaining the concept is way more important and meaningful than low level bloom's. Concept maps can be a fun, easy, and useful tool for developing core understanding.

I'm with you on the compacting strategy and think that pretests and surveys for identifying students' background knowlege is super helpful.

Please respond and continue being a valued asset to our group. Thanks again.
Comment by Lori Jurjovec on May 12, 2010 at 10:56am
Another great way to tier activities to fit the diverse needs of learners is to use Blooms taxonomy as a guide to formulate questions for students at all levels. With students just being introduced to a concept you can begin with more textual/literal questions. Then progress to more inferential/questioning and for those students who have a deep understanding begin synthesizing and applying. Hope this helps:)
Comment by Lori Jurjovec on May 8, 2010 at 7:47pm
Anyone use the "compacting" strategy as a way to assess prior knowledge before introducing a new concept? In my reading I have come across this strategy and it looks like it would be successful. I think good teachers always assess (as much as they can) prior knowledge at least through questioning. But this strategy is great because it gives credit for what the student all ready knows and can looks like it can be really helpful in deciding how to differentiate instruction depending on the topic. I;d love to hear feedback:)

Thanks!
Comment by Lori Jurjovec on May 5, 2010 at 3:06pm
Tiering activities is a great way to meet the needs of many learners in your classroom. When planning lessons I create one worksheet and then have 2 variations of that worksheet, one for lower students where concepts are broken down more and then one for higher level students engaging more critical thinking questions. It really doesn't invlolve much more time to your lesson planning:)
Comment by Danette Grossnickle on April 13, 2010 at 4:35pm
I enjoy poetry and have found it a refreshing way to engage students in writing without the hassel of a "set" way of sharing their ideas. At the beginning of the year, in August, I refresh the students with the different kinds of poetry. Then throughout the year, I bring the class back to the poetry through differentiation. This way, all the students know their options and can choose how they want to present their reflection.
Comment by Rich Kiker on April 10, 2010 at 10:52am
I believe DI in elementary schools is critical in nurturing creative mind. I hope this group can develop this integral component of elementary education.
 

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