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Best Practices and Differentiated Instruction


Best Practices and Differentiated Instruction

Share ideas, strategies, and successes using best practices, differentiated instruction, and technology in the classroom

Members: 159
Latest Activity: Jul 24, 2017

Discussion Forum

What new instructional technology will you be using this year in your elementary classroom?

Started by Maranda Knutson. Last reply by Nicholle Gornicz Jul 18, 2017. 2 Replies

Will you use google docs, google sites, IPads???  How do you plan to use these tools to benefit instruction for students or communication with parents?Continue

Classroom Technology

Started by Holly Kirby. Last reply by Nicholle Gornicz Jul 18, 2017. 6 Replies

Hey everyone!I'm currently a preservice teacher majoring in Early Childhood and Special Education. I was wondering if you had any tips on how to integrate the use of technology into the classroom,…Continue

What does inclusion look like in your school for the student, the special educator and gen ed teacher?

Started by Marcy J. Perry. Last reply by andrew aker Oct 22, 2012. 4 Replies

I'm interested in getting feedback from both special ed and general ed teachers on how inclusion and/or co-teaching work in your experience. What have you found that works well and what hasn't? From…Continue

Tags: general, inclusion, education, special, co-teaching

Common Core?

Started by Katie Eileen May 22, 2012. 0 Replies

Recently I attended the Tech Forum Chicago and chose to sit in on the breakout session titled "Integration of technology with the Common Core."  I teach and live in Wisconsin and my district is…Continue

Comment Wall


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Comment by Jamie House on December 9, 2010 at 1:45pm
I'm starting a website with DI lessons for k-12. If you have any that have been successful, please share them with me.
Comment by Jamie House on October 25, 2010 at 4:10pm
I'm looking for examples of differentiated instruction strategies for high school.
Comment by Jamie House on September 2, 2010 at 5:36pm
Sandra is here too! She's great and will be working with us on and off all year. Marcia Imbeau is also here from ASCD. Today they worked with principals and academic coaches. Tomorrow they will work with all of the teachers.
Comment by Tim Gardina on September 1, 2010 at 9:25am
I would love to be there! American Nicaraguan School had a consultant from ASCD, Sandra Page, give a two day workshop on DI before school started. She was very good and well received by the teachers. We are just beginning and the teachers need support and resources. What a great link to the Greeneville HS DI page. I will share that with my teachers. Please post as many links as you can on DI.
Comment by Jamie House on September 1, 2010 at 8:07am
Carol Ann Tomlinson is coming to our district Friday to give a keynote and work with some teachers. I'm excited.
Comment by Jamie House on August 4, 2010 at 1:56pm
I totally agree with you. How's this version?
Jo Smith suggests practical ways of building challenge into every lesson

By task
1. Use a student to quickly recap on the previous lesson’s learning for the other pupils.
2. Many starter activities require pupils to find a number of examples. A student can be set a higher target, eg some may find five synonyms for the word ‘pleased’, others find 10.
3. If you are taking feedback during the lesson, enlist a student to record ideas on the board while you lead the discussion.
4. Ask students to model their writing or thinking, by explaining their answer/solution to a task to a neighbour.
5. The best way to prove understanding of a topic is to teach it. Get able pupils to teach the less others a key learning point.
6. Use G&T pupils to provide the plenary. Alert them at the start of the lesson to be ready to present their findings to the class at the end of the lesson.
7. Ask students to come up with questions to ask during the plenary to test other pupils’ understanding of the lesson.
8. Use higher-level questioning and direct questions at particular students rather than waiting for the hands up approach. Be ready to probe beyond the first answer in order to make them really think: ‘Why do you think that?’ ‘How did you come to that conclusion?’ (Editor’s note: there will be a separate ‘Practical tips’ article on questioning in the October issue of G&T Update.)

By resource
1. Provide dictionaries and ask G&T students to look up and explain definitions of key words or technical vocabulary used throughout the lesson.
2. Produce laminated pupil-speak grade or level descriptors at the start of the year for generic assignments and reuse them for target setting and review.
3. Provide unedited or full-length versions of abridged texts you are using with the rest of the class for your most able.
4. Ask the school librarian to produce a reading list of texts and electronic resources to encourage wider reading or research around a class topic.
5. Set an independent task, such as a further investigation in maths or science, or a different class reader from a selected list and invite pupils to decide how they would like to demonstrate their learning to you or the rest of the class after an agreed length of time.

By outcome

1. Use the now familiar ‘Must do’, ‘Could do’, ‘Should do’ ascribed to classroom tasks or homework to direct the type and length of activities students might complete.
2. Provide opportunities for students to respond in ways other than writing: display work, role play, short video films etc.
3. Remember that ‘less is more’ in some cases. Prescribe the number of words to be used to make G&T students think hard about what they write, and make every word count.
4. If you have a PC or laptop connected to an interactive whiteboard or data projector and a digital camera, take a snapshot of a pupil’s work and during the lesson, project it onto your board to use for modeling purposes. If your board is interactive you can highlight or annotate key features of successful examples and provide opportunities for self- and peer-assessment.

By support
1. While some are working on a simple starter use the time to explain to others how they can excel in the lesson, which lower-level tasks they can bypass and which tasks they should tackle to stretch them.
2. Ascribe the roles of chairperson or lead learner to a student who will then take on the mantle of responsibility and help maintain momentum and focus during tasks.
3. Plan your groups carefully. Sometimes students will learn most productively together, sharing and extending their more developed thinking; sometimes it is helpful for them to advise a student who is having trouble and have to work harder to successfully articulate their ideas.
4. Rather than repeating or summarizing instructions yourself in front of the whole class, get students to do so.
5. Use confident older students as teaching assistants to extend students’ experience, understanding and skills.

Differentiation must not be a time-consuming chore if you are to do it regularly or sustain it as good practice across your groups. Feed the ideas into your planning, make the effort to create reusable resources initially and soon you will find that you are differentiating by second nature rather than burning the midnight oil and wearing out the photocopier to create several resources for each lesson.
Comment by Morgan Kolis on August 4, 2010 at 1:38pm
I have to admit that I stopped reading this after the fifth time the author used the phrase "able pupil." I teach kids with moderate to intensive special needs. They are all able. They are all lovable, huggable, squeezable, technology-able, able to read, able to use a calculator, able to think...
Comment by Morgan Kolis on August 4, 2010 at 1:25pm
Differentiation Discussion listed in the Forums titled Practical Ideas for Differentiation. Please share!
Comment by Jamie House on July 30, 2010 at 3:02pm
Comment by Jamie House on July 30, 2010 at 3:01pm
Here's a Sternburg intelligence survey too.

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