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Differentiated Instruction Level II Orbital Project: 1. Roles, Routines & Responsibilities 2. Habit of Mind ~ Persistence. Jessica Barnum September 2009 R. Miles’ “Children” What is an orbital study?.

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Differentiated InstructionLevel IIOrbital Project:1. Roles, Routines & Responsibilities2. Habit of Mind ~ Persistence

Jessica BarnumSeptember 2009

R. Miles’ “Children”

what is an orbital study
What is an orbital study?

“An orbital study is simply an independent course of study that participants design and complete based on criteria published by the instructor. Every orbital study should revolve around the unit’s essential understandings.” ~ Joyce Stone

The purpose of this Orbital is to share my research by demonstrating creative avenues for empowering students in a positive community environment. I present strategies, activities, assessments and templates for teachers and houses to select from and hone to their liking as they design their classroom structures and philosophies. I hope that my research and ideas (many of which I gathered from listening to and observing my CMS colleagues) offer a foundation upon which teachers and houses can continue to build upon and share with each other.

Remember, education is experientially experimental!

di enduring understandings
DI Enduring Understandings
  • Key Understanding Ingredient for this orbital study:

Brain research confirms that one-size-fits-all does not work for students, teachers, or schools.

What does Homer’s brain say?

roles routines responsibilities
Roles, Routines & Responsibilities

An aspect of differentiated instruction is building community in the classroom. How do you craft a positive community when you have 25 unique individuals in one room?

Objective ~ As intricate spokes responsible for propelling the “community wheel” forward, each student’s talents and intelligences will be recognized and celebrated.

My orbital project will illustrate how the assignment and expectations of roles, routines and responsibilities for each student when performing daily classroom routines enhances social and academic success, boosts empowering self-confidence and builds a positive community.

philosophy why do we build community it is in our nature to contribute with kindness
Philosophy: Why do we build community? It is in our nature to contribute with kindness.

Simile:Our students have special talents and roles to contribute just like all the characters in Shrek’s Swamp Karaoke Party!

1 tip for building community
#1 Tip for Building Community

1st Day of School: “Students, this is your lucky day. We have been assigned to celebrate positive energy together. For the next 185 days, we get to persistently contribute our blossoming talents to create a spectacular community.”

2nd Day of School: “Students, this is your lucky day. We have been assigned to celebrate positive energy together. For the next 184 days, we get to persistently contribute our blossoming talents to create a spectacular community.”

185th Day of School: “Students, this is your lucky day. We have been assigned to celebrate positive energy together. For today and for the rest of our lives, we get to persistently contribute our blossoming talents to create spectacular communities. No matter where we are in the world, we will stick to this.”

Teachers aim to foster and magnify kindness and the power of contribution in their students.

habit of mind persistence
Habit of Mind ~ Persistence

Persistence is …

* perseverance

* determination

* doggedness

* diligence

* “stick-to-it-tiveness”

We are like bamboo trees ~

When students understand the purpose of and perform their roles, routines and responsibilities, (like the bamboo tree knows to grow its roots first), persistence will drive their intention, focus and will be the foundation for their conviction brought to fruition as their limbs reach for the sun! The result? Successful implementation and achievement of their roles, routines and responsibilities as well as empowering self-confidence that’s rooted in a positive community.

Implement Portals for Persistence ~ TIPS FOR TEACHERS:

the research says
The Research Says …
  • (Student empowerment + self confidence) x persistence = community

Even on certain days when students don’t “feel like” following through with their roles, routines and responsibilities, there is a comfort in the predictability and familiarity of how a classroom is run. When students practice persistence, are empowered by being held accountable for their role in the community and encourage each other, the power of accomplishment speaks for itself and students grow the skills to “stick to it,” even when they feel unmotivated.

One articulate and confident student from Dallas, TX eloquently says it all …

2 responsive classroom developmental designs
2. Responsive Classroom & Developmental Designs

This website outlines the principles and guiding practices for creating a responsive classroom. Based on extensive research, the development of a responsive classroom highlights social, emotional, and academic growth in an empowering school community. The overall goal is to tap into each students’ greatest potential. (The various principles and practices are referenced in upcoming slides).

Complimenting a responsive classroom approach as well as Colchester’s district-wide initiative to implement differentiated instruction, Developmental Designs is founded on developing the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual needs of middle school students. Strategies offer empowering opportunities for optimal learning. “The DDMS approach is based on our research-grounded belief that healthy, enjoyable relationships are the foundation for success in school. In order to establish and maintain those relationships, teachers must know their students; students must come to know and appreciate each other; clear parameters for acceptable behavior must be drawn and consistently maintained; and learning must be engaging, exploratory, relevant, and varied.”

a responsive classroom
A Responsive Classroom!
  • Social learning is as important to success as academic learning.
  • We learn best by constructing our own understanding through exploration, discovery, application, and reflection
  • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interactions within a supportive community.
  • There is a set of personal/social skills that students need to learn and practice in order to be successful socially and academically: Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-control.
  • Knowing the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual needs of the students is as important as knowing the content we teach.
  • Trust among adults is a fundamental necessity for academic and social success in a learning community.
  • Middle school students appreciate PREDICTABILITY and STRUCTURE peppered with opportunity for their input.
four developmental needs of the middle school species
Four Developmental Needs of the Middle School Species
  • Relationship: I want to connect with others.
  • Autonomy: I want to be independent.
  • Competence: I want to experience success in what I do and feel like a worthwhile, significant person.
  • Fun: I want to have a good time.
just ask
Just ask …
  • Jackie says, “Last year in math class all the students participated by sharing their thoughts about how to solve certain math problems. This helped others to have a better understanding of how to solve the type of problem.”
Collaborate with students to create preventative strategies for solving problems and for developing self-control.

*Refer to social / academic contracts (see slide #’s __ and __)

*Train students to mediate peer conflicts

*Role Play appropriate conflict diffusion tactics.

*Choose from a variety of artistic stress-relieving activities (drawing, writing, stretching …)

Morning Meeting (or Beginning of Class Meeting): Check in with students. Share news, stories, snack / water and stretch.

Community-building Teacher Advisory! Create advisory structures for building community, social skills, and readiness for learning. CMS is doing this!!!

ta activities concept based
  • Length: approx. 20 Minutes
  • Topic: COMMUNITY

#1 What is Community?

__Temperature Gage Check – In (2 min.)

__Task #1: In pairs, write 5 words that describe “community.” (2 min.)

__Task #2: As a class, share and document on the board pairs’ words. (5 min.)

__Task #3: Write on the board 3 types of community: Classroom, School and World. (1 min.)

__Task #4: Break students into 3 groups. Each group is assigned a type of community. Students are to brainstorm 1-2 examples for their type of community. Ex. Classroom: Passing out paper to fellow students. (5 min.)

__Reflective Closure: As a class, students share examples (3 min.)

#2 Modeling Community as a Group

__Temperature Gage Check – In (2 min.)

__Task #1: Ask that students listen to and engage in each of the following commands that you give them. (5 min.)

  • “Please clap your hands like this.”
  • b. “Please stand up beside your chair.”

c. “Please stand up straight and look at me with good eye contact.”

d. “Please turn to someone next to you and shake his/her hand with respect and conviction.”

e. “Please compliment the person whose hand you just shook.”

f. “Please sit down and place your hands folded together in front of you like this.”

__Task #2: As a class, discuss the following questions: “Why did you participate? What emotions were connected to your actions? What did your actions just model?” (10 min.)

__Reflective Closure: Have each student one at a time in silence come up to the board and write down ONE word that portrays what this activity modeled. Ex. respect, cooperation (3 min.) Tell students they will address these words in the next TA session. These will be referred to as community power words.

#3 What is Confident Individuality?

__Temperature Gage Check – In (2 min.)

__Task #1: As a class discuss with students what “confident individuality” is. Brainstorm examples of how people think and act like confident individuals. (5 min.)

__Task #2: On board, review the community power words students wrote in the last TA session. Ex. respect, cooperation (1 min.)

__Task #3: In pairs, brainstorm examples of how each community power word listed can be modeled by a confident individual. Ex. a dog-walker shows “respect” when he/she cleans up the dog poo in the dog park (10 min.)

__Reflective Closure: As a class, share examples (3 min.)

#4 Who are YOU as an Individual?

__Temperature Gage Check – In (2 min.)

__Task #1:As a classhave students share what makes them a unique confident individual (share a hobby, talent …) (5 min.)

__Task #2: Address the community power words from the last TA session (ex. respect, cooperation …) and ask students to share how they model 1-2 of the community power words in class, in school and/or in the world as a confident individual. (10 min.)

__Reflective Closure: Discuss how this class is a community simply by recognizing and sharing how we model confident individuality. (3 min.)

#5 How Confident Individuality Can Positively Impact a Community

__Temperature Gage Check – In (2 min.)

__Task #1:Have each student explain in his/her own words the importance of confident individuality in a community using 1-2 “If … then …” statements. Ex. “If a dog-walker picks up the dog poo in the park, then the park stays clean for the rest of the community of dog-walkers and dogs to enjoy.” (10 min.)

__Task #2: As a class, go back to the list of community power words. Have students attach as many of the community power words to their “If … then…” statements as they can and share. (3 min.)

__Reflective Closure: Have each student re-cap by explaining in their own words why it’s important that an individual contributes confidently to a community. (5 min.)

#6 A Crack in the Foundation

__Temperature Gage Check – In (2 min.)

__Task #1:In regards to confident individuality and community, brainstorm as a class what the metaphor “a crack in the foundation” could mean. (3 min.)

__Task #2: In pairs, have students brainstorm examples of when individuals don’t adhere to the community power words and the community is negatively impacted. Bonus if they refer to historical events. (10 min.)

__Reflective Closure: Have students share their examples (5 min.)

#7 Make It Stick With a Motto & Logo (Individual)

__Temperature Gage Check – In (2 min.)

__Task #1: Each student creates a motto & a logo to help remind him/her that he/she IS a confident individual who CAN positively impact a community. Have students work together as they toss around motto ideas and logo designs. (15 min.)

__Reflective Closure: Share (3 min.)

#8 Make It Stick With a Motto & Logo (Class / House Community)

__Temperature Gage Check – In (2 min.)

__Task #1: Combining individual mottos & logos have students work together to create a class motto & logo. (15 min.)

__Reflective Closure: Discuss how the individual and class / house community mottos & logos represent a “contract,” a commitment to ______________.

bonus ta ideas for building community in cms houses
BONUS TA Ideas for Building Community in CMS Houses

Plan a day when students work in groups to:

~ Create a house dance

~ Create a house song~ Create a house handshake

~ Create a house banner / flag (being done at CMS)

~ Create house traditions

  • Like celebrating birthdays by posting students’ baby pictures on the Birthday Bulletin Board
  • Like all house members singing “Happy Birthday to the birthday student during lunch or recess
  • Like the birthday student wearing a tiara or hat for the day
  • Like the birthday students receiving a special certificate that says, “Happy Birthday! Congratulations on being born!”
Introduce / remind students how to access classroom resources and supplies through “guided discovery.” For example, give students a list of items they can access in the classroom and have them scavenger hunt for the items. Then after they are seated again, give them an oral pop quiz:

1. Who can tell us where the extra computer paper is?

2. Who can tell us where to pass in work?

Organize the classroom to encourage independence, cooperation, and productivity. Examples ~

~ For Socratic Seminar discussions, sit students in a circle of chairs.

~ Have various desks in private corners for students who choose to work independently and quietly.

~ Sit students at tables for group work.

~ Have some clipboards available for students who want to access a space outside the classroom.

~ Organize the work supplies station for students to access independently.

Model for students how parents, teachers and students are all working together to create a positive community!

~ Create communication avenues for parents.

1. Open House & Forums

2. Parent Conferences (with pre-conference forms mailed home for parents to fill out)

3. Class website and teacher emails provided

4. Invite parents to help plan house field trips


I want to be independent.

just ask26
Just ask …
  • Sean says, “Last year on the Commonwealth team I was our team banker for the Commonwealth bank. We had a money system for our team. Every time we did something good we got money. This was good for us because we got a sense of how to use money and we learned responsibility.”
Goals and Declarations: Students declare a personal stake (moral code) in school to anchor their learning in a meaningful commitment to growth. Example: “I, Samantha, will strive to earn 3 A’s on my report card this quarter. To accomplish this goal, I will complete my homework, I will communicate with my parents, teachers, and peers if I have questions, and I will persist through challenges.”
Creatively respond to misbehaviors by facilitating questions vs. lecturing and scolding.

“What do you need for yourself right in this moment?”

“What does our community behavior / academic contract say?

“How can I help you settle into a comfort zone so that our whole community benefits?”

“Sometimes transferring our emotions to paper through our fingertips invites relaxation and offers our mind and heart space to breathe. Would you like to draw how you are feeling?”

By facilitating questions, you ask the student to own their actions. This accountability strategy guarantees that dignity is not lost and integrity is gained.

DI: Offer students differentiated academic choices on assignments to enhance their learning style skills.

Reflective Looping: On-going assessments such as self-reflective journal writing encourages students to monitor their own growth.

Exhibition: Continually display student work and require mini-presentations so all students have a chance to “strut their stuff.” This is great incentive for deep engagement in quality work and celebrates differentiation.


I want to experience success in what I do and feel like a worthwhile, significant person.

just ask31
Just ask …
  • Jessie says, “Last year in Chorus I was one of the presidents in the classroom and I helped Mrs. Tozzi with students. She asked for my advice sometimes too. It let me have more confidence in the classroom.”
  • Sean says, “I would like to see more of us being able to come up to the whiteboard to share our ideas on the subject (being taught). Then everyone is involved.”
Model (with a dash of humor) positive tones of voice, gestures and catchy praise phrases to enhance a positive community.

Teacher says …

* “Welcome to another day of blooming your brain with bundles of knowledge!”

* “Why are we feeling fortunate today?”

* “Joe, your offering to help Clara with her editing was a spectacular display of peer support. Well done!”

* “It’s not about you when someone is speaking, it’s about the speaker. We all have our turn on stage, so be patient. You are all special and will all get your chance on stage. Someone who is a teacher AND a student in one (that’s you) knows how and when to perform on stage as well as how and when to be attentive as a member of an audience.”

* Get mushy! “I love coming to school

every day because I know we get to

spend another day learning together!!

more catchy phrases and philosophies
… more catchy phrases and philosophies …

* “Do you know what the Sloppy-Choppy Philosophy is? If you pass in work that is sloppy and has choppy responses (appears incomplete) and your name is at the top of the paper, what message are you sending?” I DON’T CARE ABOUT MYSELF. “But you do care, so pass in work that illustrates self-respect.”

* “Repeat after me: This … This … classroom community … classroom community … wouldn’t … wouldn’t … be the same … be the same … without me … without me! Ladies and gentlemen, I am SO grateful that you recognize yourselves as intricate elements of our space here.” Note: Students love repeating back confidence boost phrases. Once you are in the routine of doing this, varying the call-back phrases of course, they always giggle and laugh. A great time to do this is as an introduction or conclusion of class.

Brilliance Box

Amidst a positive community where predictability and structure frame the daily flow, evolution is inevitable. Give students the opportunity to write their observations and suggestions for how to make the community even more positive. With slips of paper next to it, place the Brilliance Box somewhere in the classroom (OR for school-wide feedback the main office of the building). Students can write their name or remain anonymous.

just ask35
Just ask …
  • Sarah says, “It is important for students to share ideas about how a classroom is run because they may have unique suggestions that the teacher hadn’t thought of that makes everyone work together better.”

I want to have

a good time.

just ask37
Just ask ...
  • Jackie says, “I would like to see more hands-on activities on a classroom because it gets the students more involved in the class.”
Play! (especially in the middle of a 90 minute block).


~ School-wide Petra Cliffs-style activities

~ Yoga stretches

~ Laugh Therapy

~ Call and response sound games

~ Songs and dance movements

~ Brainteaser riddles

~ Fun facts

~ Trivia questions

~ Mini-talent shows (Can YOU touch your tongue to your nose?)

Goal: By taking courses in the next two years, I plan to be trained as a Brain Gym Instructor. As a member of the CMS TA Committee, I will incorporate Brain Gym activities in our planning and teaching so “intelligence through movement” becomes a school-wide practice.

Brainstorm with Students!What are roles, responsibilities and routines in a positive classroom environment?
Pursuit of Goals in Partnerships: Empowerment in PracticeBy Anna M. Sullivan Curtin University of Technology

“… the empowerment of an individual student is tied to the empowerment of all students in his or her class … empowerment is enabled by improving lives of a community and community members through dialogue and working collaboratively. Individuals can be empowered to take control over their lives and valued resources …”


“Students who are empowered both intra-personally (by setting goals for self) and interpersonally (by working with peers) are capable of pursuing their agendas that are complementary to their peers' and the teacher's agendas. Thus, students are likely to realize their social and achievement goals and fulfill their needs for power and belonging … the extent to which students' needs are met greatly influences the level of student engagement … students who are empowered are more likely to be motivated to participate in learning activities and to achieve successfully at school.”

Although the study took place in an elementary school, Anna Sullivan proves that students who are given opportunities to fulfill social and academic goals experience empowerment therefore higher achievement levels. She repeatedly describes an empowerment-oriented environment as fluid vs. static meaning the “practice of empowerment” conditions students to consistently “be” the role of responsible goal-setter.

exist with conviction
Exist with Conviction!!!

ALL students can participate in ALL roles, routines and responsibilities. Students may prefer certain roles over others, but encourage students to hone their skills and broaden their empowerment spectrum by challenging them to tackle roles they’d otherwise avoid.

Discuss with students that ALL people have talents AND challenges; no one is “off-the-charts-intelligent” in every capacity (which is why the world revolves with great balance and why school and life offer differentiation practices).


Who are YOU?

gardner s multiple intelligences
Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences

Review the definitions of the Multiple Intelligences and have students determine their strongest and most challenging intelligences.

  • Survey:
  • MI Descriptors:

Review the Three R’s Grid and contracts you created with students. For example, if a student scores high Bodily-Kinesthetic, assign them a role of classroom note-taker (notes to be given to students who are absent). This role will challenge them to concentrate with stillness.

unified community vs splintered community

Unified Community vs. Splintered Community



Which community fosters roles, routines and responsibilities with opportunities to empower yourself and others, persist, socially and academically succeed and boost your self-confidence?

Check one:

__ “Umph-powering” unified community

__ “Slump-powering” splintered community


If together teachers and students cultivate an “umph-powering” unified community vs. a “slump-powering” splintered community, perhaps Calvin wouldn’t feel this way:


Tip: Accommodate, tweak and/or pick and choose from the above and/or below templates. Consider how YOU think and how you choose to present your classroom / house structure.


Brainstorm with students!What does empowerment, persistence, success and self-confidence look like in positive communities OUTSIDE of the classroom?



Jessie Allen

Sean Callahan

Jackie Sortor

Sierra Cummings

Sarah Amour

Peg Gillard

Andy Simmons

Bjorn Norstrom

Joyce Stone

Carolyn Dickinson

Deb Kendrick

Champlain housemates & students

CMS colleagues

Music: Robert Miles / Paul Oakenfold Mix “Children”

work timeline
Work Timeline

Monday – Wednesday, Aug. 10 – 12 ~ DI class time with colleagues and Joyce Stone (30 hrs.)

Wednesday, Aug. 12 ~ set up frame of Power Point and wrote Orbital Three R’s KUD (3 hrs. after class)

Thursday, Aug. 13 ~ crafted Persistence KUD (3 hrs.)

Saturday, Aug. 15 ~ crafted Persistence KUD (3 hrs.)

Monday, August 24 ~ crafted Three R’s KUD / researched online (2.5 hrs.)

Tuesday, Aug. 25 ~ videoed /interviewed students and Peg Gillard (2.5 hrs.)

Thursday, Aug. 27 ~ crafted Three R’s KUD / researched online (2 hrs.)

Wednesday, Sept. 2 ~ crafted Three R’s KUD / researched online (2.5 hrs.)

Friday, Sept. 4 ~ crafted Three R’s KUD / researched online (2 hrs.)

Saturday, Sept. 5 ~ crafted Three R’s KUD / researched online (3 hrs.)

Sunday, Sept. 6 ~ designed / organized PP (4 hrs.)

Monday, Sept. 7 ~ researched; designed / organized PP (3.5 hrs.)

Friday, Sept. 11 ~ designed / organized PP (1.5 hrs.)

Saturday, Sept. 12 ~ designed / organized PP (4 hrs.)

Sunday, Sept, 13 ~ designed / organized PP (4 hrs.)

Tuesday, Sept. 15 ~ designed / organized PP (2hrs.)

Thursday, Sept. 17 ~ designed / organized PP (1.5 hrs.)

Saturday, Sept. 19 ~ final touches (2 hrs.)

Sunday, Sept. 20 ~ final touches (3 hrs.)

Monday, Sept. 21 ~ Uploaded video (1.5 hrs.)

Total Hrs. ~ 80.5 hrs.

process of three r s implementation
Process of Three R’s Implementation
  • As a school-wide initiative, each house could implement 1+ templates and / or one strategy mentioned above.
  • Have teachers & houses informally (eventually formally) share their crafted templates / strategies in folders posted on the bulletin board in the teacher’s room and on the CMS website.
  • Send a pilot committee to a Developmental Designs workshop.

Note: Developmental Designs parallels the Differentiated Instruction district initiative.

next think global community cms
Next? Think “Global Community,” CMS!