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Differentiated Instruction. Sarah Gavin & Wendy Gregg. Alston Middle School: 6 th – 7 th Grade Writing. Mission and Vision. Mission : Dorchester School District Two leading the way, every student, every day, through relationships, rigor, and relevance. .

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differentiated instruction

Differentiated Instruction

Sarah Gavin & Wendy Gregg

Alston Middle School: 6th – 7th Grade Writing

mission and vision
Mission and Vision

Mission: Dorchester School District Two leading the way, every student, every day, through relationships, rigor, and relevance.

Vision: Dorchester School District Two desires to be recognized as a “World Class” school district, expecting each student to achieve at his/her optimum level in all areas, and providing all members of our district family with an environment that permits them to do their personal best.

graffiti wall gallery walk
Graffiti Wall/ Gallery walk
  • Graffiti Walls are a part of the classroom, usually a very large sheet of paper, a whiteboard or chalkboard, where students engage in a written discussion.
  • The purpose of the Graffiti Wall strategy is to help students “hear” each other’s ideas. Some benefits of this strategy are that it can be implemented in 5-10 minutes.
  • It provides a way for shy students to engage in a conversation.
graffiti wall gallery walk cont
Graffiti wall/ gallery walk cont…
  • It provides a record of students’ ideas and questions that can be referred to at other points during the lesson (or even later in the unit or year.
  • It provides space and time for students to process emotional material in the classroom and reflect on their own thoughts as well as the thoughts of others.
how to implement a graffiti wall in your classroom
How to implement a graffiti wall in your classroom…
  • Divide the class into groups of 3 or 4, and give each group a sheet of poster paper and markers.
  • Assign each group a different chunk of the learning to summarize in graffiti from (pictures, symbols, graphics).
  • When groups have finished, display all the posters side by side along a wall of the classroom.
  • Then have the groups do a “gallery walk” to view and discuss what they see on the “graffiti wall.”
assessment and evaluation ideas
Assessment and evaluation ideas
  • Graffiti walls can be used as a preview or warm-up activity to introduce a new topic or to help students organize prior knowledge about content they are about to study.
  • This strategy can also be used to help students share reactions to texts as preparation for a class discussion, writing assignment, or another project. 
  • Great way to check for understanding!
the supplies you ll need
The supplies you’ll need…
  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Tape
  • Set time limit
  • Be sure to monitor…
  • Label each paper with a topic or question.
  • Great for all content areas!
notecard mingle supplies
Notecard mingle… supplies
  • Note Card mingle is a fantastic and fast way to assess the prior knowledge your students have regarding a particular subject or concept. It allows students to talk and share ideas with each other in a safe and risk-free environment.
  • Supplies needed: Note Cards (One for each student) Pens/ Markers
how it works
How it works…
  • Hand out note cards to every student.
  • At this time, have your students respond to a question, your previous lesson – whatever you want to students to discuss.
  • Allow about three minutes for the students to respond on their note cards.
  • Instruct the class that they are to mingle with each other. Share their written responses with a partner (groups no more than 2).
  • Students must remember to actively listen, maintain eye contact and give feedback. Also, inform students that they are also welcome to steal an idea or information from someone else and write it on their own cards.
notecard mingle cont
Notecard mingle cont…
  • When finished sharing with their partner, individuals should mingle with others, and repeat the mingling process. Participants should not forget to give credit to previously “stolen” ideas, if any.
  • Allow ten to fifteen minutes for mingling.
  • Finish with a whole class discussion sharing the student’s new learning.
  • It would be a great idea if the teacher took brief notes and reiterate at the end of the discussion the information shared, or the teacher can ask everyone to pay attention throughout the whole-class discussion for reoccurring themes or patterns…or to even summarize the discussion.
r a f t
R.A.F.T. =
  • Role of the Writer
  • Audience
  • Format
  • Topic
what is raft
What is RAFT?

RAFT is a writing strategy that helps students understand their role as a writer, the audience they will address, the varied formats for writing, and the topic they\'ll be writing about. By using this strategy, teachers encourage students to write creatively, to consider a topic from a different perspective, and to gain practice writing for different audiences.

why should we use r a f t s
Why should we use R.A.F.T.s
  • It includes writing from different viewpoints.
  • It helps students learn important writing skills such as audience, main idea, and organization.
  • It can be used across all content areas
  • It’s good for gifted learners since it gives them a choice and a chance to do what they want.
  • The time it takes to complete and implement varies. (It all depends if you want you want the out come to be.)

It teaches students to think creatively about writing by responding to the following prompts that are more similar to what they will see outside of the classroom:

when how and what is needed to use r a f t s
How to use it:When, how, and what is needed to use R.A.F.T.s:

When to use it:

Before reading/the unit

During reading /the unit

After reading/the unit

As an assessment


With small groups

Whole class setting

As a summative assessment

As a pre-assessment

What is needed:


Pencil or Pen

R.A.F.T. Organizer

Background Knowledge

Example of one completed



Social Studies RAFT Example:

You can keep it the same for a certain outcome


Social Studies RAFT Assignment in a different format (with the rubric):

To complete a RAFT Assignment you are expected to write from the point of view of a historical character. It is important that you include historically accurate details to help the reader better understand your character, write clearly, strive for creativity, and pay attention to the format.

Answer the following to help you plan your writing:

R-ole: Which role from the historical past will you play?

A-udience:Who will you be writing to? [This relates to the format below and you have many choices. You could write to yourself in a diary entry, the public in a speech or newspaper article, a loved one in a letter or poem, etc.]

F-ormat:What type of format or writing style will you use? (Remember you can write a song, newspaper article, journal entry, letter, public speech, or poem.)

T-opic:What important event will you be writing about? [Think about the most significant times in your character\'s life.]

You may include an illustration that you draw or paste into the document.

RAFT Rubric

  • Step one: Explain to the students how all writers have to consider various aspects before every writing assignment including role, audience, format, and topic. Tell them that they are going to structure their writing around these elements. (It may be helpful to display the elements on chart paper or a bulletin board for future reference).
  • Step two: Display a completed RAFTs example on the overhead, and discuss the key elements as a class.
  • Step three: Then, demonstrate, model, and "think aloud" another sample RAFTs exercise with the aid of the class. Brainstorm additional topic ideas, and write down the suggestions listing roles, audiences, formats, and strong verbs associated with each topic.
implementation continued
Implementation Continued:

4. Step four: Assign students to small, heterogeneous groups of four or five or pairs and have them "put their heads together" to write about a chosen topic with one RAFTs assignment between them.

5. Step five: Circulate among the groups to provide assistance as needed. Then have the groups share their completed assignments with the class.

6. Step six: After students become more proficient in developing this style of writing, have them generate RAFTs assignments of their own based on current topics studied in class.

assessment evaluation ideas
Assessment/Evaluation Ideas:
  • Review and assess the children’s final writing project.
  • Older students might benefit from being given a specific rubric that will show the exact expectations and scoring method of the project (see attached).
  • Final projects should be shared. Have an author’s celebration for students to share their work with peers and/or parents, post online, display in the classroom or library, or share work with another class.
necessary accommodations
Necessary Accommodations:
  • This strategy is great for differentiation and scaffold due to their flexible format:
    • teachers (and students) can develop any number of possible RAFTs based on the same text that can be adjusted for skill level and rigor.

For example:

A teacher can scaffold the RAFT activity as well by having the students work in certain groups or the teacher can assign a certain aspects of the RAFT and only allow the students to choose one of the aspects.

  • The RAFTs strategy can be used as a prewriting strategy and/or as a strategy for helping students prepare for a small or large group discussion.
  • ESOL:

Use more visual options for them to create such as a comic stripe or diagram

great websites for ideas and more
Great Websites for ideas and more!
  • http://wvde.state.wv.us/strategybank/RAFT.html
  • http://www.readwritethink.org/professional-development/strategy-guides/using-raft-writing-strategy-30625.html
  • http://flesolcobbcentral.typepad.com/files/raft-elem-ex.pdf
what stuck with you today

What Stuck with you today?

A great quick warm-up or closure activity.

what stuck with you or what questions do you have
What stuck with you Or What questions do you have?

What is this activity?

When can I use this activity?

This activity is a quick fun way for the students to share what they know and ask questions

At the beginning of the class as review

At the end of class as closure

During the lesson to check for understanding

what stuck with you or what questions do you have1
What stuck with you Or What questions do you have?

Why should I use this activity?

What do you need for this activity?

This activity is designed to give the students an opportunity to show/tell you what they know/remember from the lesson.

It also allows students that are shy or concerned about asking a question out loud in front of their peers a chance to ask the questions anonymously.

It is a good way to reflect on your teaching and to see what questions you still need to address or reteach.

You will need a hard surface (wall, door, or a parchment paper that is pinned up.)

The area needs to be enough space for the students to walk around and post things on it.

Sticky notes

Students will need pencils or pencils.

how do you do this activity
How do you do this activity?
  • Pass out the sticky notes
  • Have students write:
    • a question or a statement that stuck with them
    • After/prior to the lesson
    • or have them answer a question you asked
  • Then read the students’ responses and answer their questions during or after the lesson or even use it as a reteach method for future lessons
check it out
Check it out!
  • If you want a copy of our presentation please check out the website below. You can also leave a comment about the presentation and share your experiences about using differentiated strategies.
  • http://differentiatedstrategies.weebly.com/

Session EvaluationParticipants are asked to complete a session evaluation for each session attended. Credit (attendance, renewal, and/or technology) will be added following evaluation completion.

For each question, use 1=Strongly Disagree, 2=Disagree, 3=Neither Agree nor Disagree, 4=Agree, 5=Strongly Agree. Your responses will assist us in planning future professional development in Dorchester School District Two.

  • The instructor was well prepared for the workshop.
  • The materials for the workshop were appropriate.
  • The concepts presented were appropriate to my job.
  • I will benefit from attending this session.
  • I would recommend this training to others.
contact information
Contact Information

Sarah Gavin

7th Grade Writing

[email protected]

Wendy Gregg

6th Grade Writing

[email protected]