Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Differentiating Instruction. What Again? Yes. Again!

There comes a point when one has to acknowledge that students learn in different ways. A teacher has to use different methods in order to reach the pupils in his or her class. What can be done.

Click here to see a quick reminder about the ways one can make a stronger, learner-centered environment.
---Display student work. Go to for ready to use rubrics to evaluate the assignments.
---Use ARIS to create your groups. Make your group assignments on different levels for the groups in one's class.
---Be consistent on the type of notes the students take. One can do guided note taking, Guided notes contain the main ideas and the related concepts of lectures as well as blank spaces for students to fill in during lectures. Key terms, phrases and definitions also may be included in the guided notes.
---One can insist upon writing notes using a T-Chart. One can also do the more detailed version of a T-Chart which is Cornell Note-taking. On the right are the content notes. One the left are smain ideas, key points that would connect to the notes.
---Informal assessments can be as simple as thumbs up or thumbs down or hands up and hands down in getting students to respond to how many understand a concept. There is also the traditional quizzes and tests. Why not mix it up and have students each have an index card. Some have concepts, Some have words. Give the students 2-3 minutes to find the correct pairing.

The point is that for differentiation to work, one has to try it. No one is perfect. Ideally, have one of your colleagues indicate whether you are on the right path for differentiating your instruction. Luckily, we have a UFT Center in which one can exchange ideas.

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