How do you make decisions about your own actions for students in a differentiated classroom? What is your criteria for intervention and/or for letting learning happen?
Much of my differentiated instruction in my classroom begins with pre and post assessments. I like to find out where my students are so that I am able to differentiate my instruction. Moon supports the fact that differentiated instruction should begin with “carefully constructed, purposely executed assessments”. Once I have done my pre- assessment, I make my decisions about instruction.
My criteria for intervention and/or letting learning happen depends on formal assessments and informal observations. My focus is generally on my lowest students. I need to try to find better ways to challenge and differentiate for my high students. I was reminded of the fact that assessment should not just be given as pre and post assessments but should always be ongoing (Methods of Differentiation in the Classroom, 2010). After doing the reading this week, I began to think of better ways to let learning happen and to differentiate in my classroom.
This year, I have a large class with many difficult students and a wide range of abilities. It has been difficult for differentiation to happen in my class because of the dynamics of the classroom. Differentiated instruction requires modification of instruction to address student needs (Smith & Throne, 2009). I need to move beyond the format of having direct instruction and whole group participation to providing better learning opportunities for my students (Tomlinson, 2001).
There are definitely some changes I plan to make in my class this year to allow more learning and intervention take place. The first step for me is changing the physical layout of my class back to cooperative groups or “learning centers or workstations” (Gibson). I changed this in the beginning of the year because of all the visiting that was taking place in the groups, now I want to try to turn that into learning opportunities between the students. This is my first step in making changes to for intervention and letting learning happen. There were some great ideas in the reading this week and I am open to more suggestions.
Gibson, Vicki. “Differentiating Instruction: Making It Happen in Classrooms.”
Methods of Differentiation in the Classroom. 1 Jan. 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.
Moon, Tonya R. “The Role Of Assessment In Differentiation.” Theory Into
Practice: 226-33. Print.
Smith, Grace E., and Stephanie Throne. Differentiating Instruction with
Technology in Middle School Classrooms. Eugene, Or.: International
Society for Technology in Education, 2009. Print.
Tomlinson, Carol A. How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-ability
Classrooms. 2nd ed. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2001. Print.