Differentiated Instruction: Education for all. Nate Frank, I.C. Philosophy.
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Nate Frank, I.C.
“What we call differentiation is not a recipe for teaching. It is not an instructional strategy. It is not what a teacher does when he or she has time. It is a way of thinking about teaching and learning. It is a philosophy.”
~ Carol Ann Tomlinson (2000)
“unfettered information flow”
3. “We can no longer accept the unequal student outcomes that have characterized American schools for generations.”
~ M. McLaughlin and J. Talbert
PSSA Math Scores – Six Years
School Gr. # Proficiency Adv. Prof. Basic Bel. Bas.
PSSA Math Scores – Six Years
School Gr # Proficiency Adv. Prof. Basic Bel Bas
PSSA Math Scores – Six Years
School Gr. # Proficiency Adv Prof. Basic Bel. Bas. Yr.
PSSA Math Scores – Six Years
School Gr. # Proficiency Adv Prof Basic Bel Bas Year
93.4% of inmates are male! Are we serving our boys?(U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 08/28/01, p1)
My son is a first year student at the exclusive Small World Learning Academy
His teachers are currently using the traditional model of teaching prevalent in our nation’s high schools
Review Day: After the two-week lesson is complete, the teacher spends a day reviewing crawling and telling students how they can do well on the test. “Anyone can pass if they just pay attention and try!” she says.
Summative Assessment Begins:
My son starts off well -
10 points – used arms to raise head off of ground – Teacher praises!
My son is unable to move his arms and legs forward into a crawling motion - 20 points
He gets frustrated and begins to roll over - 10 points
The teacher encourages him to keep trying – “You can do it!”
My son fails miserably – 10/30 = 33%
10 out of 12 students pass – 2 of whom were so exceptional that they tried to stand up and walk!
The one-year-old room is contacted about the two “trouble” students
A discussion begins over how these two can be isolated so they don’t hold the rest of the
Teacher justifies failures (they didn’t study or try), but still does not feel quite right...
I’m different than the other kids. Please teach me to my strengths, interests, and abilities. My mommy and daddy would really appreciate your caring concern.
By the way...Can I take
“Differentiated instruction is a teaching philosophy based on the premise that teachers should adapt instruction to student differences. Rather than marching students through the curriculum lockstep, teachers should modify their instruction to meet students’ varying readiness levels, learning preferences, and interests. Therefore, the teacher proactively plans a variety of ways to ‘get at’ and express learning.”
~ Carol Ann Tomlinson
DefinitionDifferentiating instruction is doing what’s fair for students. It’s a collection of best practices strategically employed to maximize students’ learning at every turn, including giving them the tools to handle anything that is undifferentiated. It requires us to do different things for different students some, or a lot, of the time. It’s whatever works to advance the student if the regular classroom approach doesn’t meet students’ needs. It’s highly effective teaching. ~ Rick Wormeli
…isn’t always equal.
“In the end, all learners need your energy, your heart, and your mind. They have that in common because they are young humans. How they need you, however, differs. Unless we understand and respond to all those differences, we fail many learners.”
~ Tomlinson (2001)
“Students for whom teachers have differentiated instruction learn well…They see classmates as being at different points on the same journey, and differences from their own point on the journey are not seen as weak – just different. They are not threatened by difference; it’s seen as strength. These students consider themselves beginners at some things, experts in others, and this variance is natural.”
– Rick Wormeli
Lessons and Assignments
3. Student Choice and Anchor Activities
Formative Assessments Summative Assessments
DI teachers move away from the role of
“Sage on the Stage”
and build expertise in the role of
“Guide on the Side.”
“In her classroom our speculations ranged the world. She aroused us to book waving discussions. Every morning we came to her carrying new truths, new facts, new ideas cupped and sheltered in our hands like captured fireflies. When she went away a sadness came over us, but the light did not go out. She left her signature upon us, the literature of the teacher who writes on children’s minds. I’ve had many teachers who taught us soon forgotten things, but only a few like her who created in me a new thing, a new attitude, a new hunger. I suppose that to a large extent I am the unsigned manuscript of that teacher. What deathless power lies in the hands of such a person.”
~ John Steinbeck “Like Captured Fireflies”
Grade Level Readiness
To adjust a lesson, assignment, or assessment to a developmentally appropriate level based on student readiness, interest, or learning profile; most often done by increasing or decreasing the complexity, not the workload or difficulty of a task
4 Premises of Tiering:
First premise: One must start tiering by expecting every student to demonstrate full proficiency with the standard and nothing less.
* Essential Understandings Drive!
Eight Ways of Being Smart
Tiering – Changing the level of complexity or required readiness of a task or unit of study in order to meet the developmental needs of the students involved
12 Strategies for Inclusion and Differentiation by Ellen Arnold
“During the course of our venture through the West, you will possibly have extra time when you have completed various tasks. During this ‘free’ time, you are going to complete three of the Anchor Activities listed below as part of your journey West. These will be assessed using the Anchor Activity Rubric.”
1. Choose an important event that took place during Westward Expansion and explain how technological improvements impacted this event.
2. Select an important person from the Westward Expansion era. Write a letter to that person asking any questions you would like to have answered.
3. Create a chart and find four similarities and four differences between the Mexican War and our current war in Iraq.
4. Describe how James K. Polk defeated the very popular Henry Clay in the election of 1844. What was his platform and how did he win?
5. Research five ghost towns of the West. What happened to these towns to cause them to ‘disappear’?
6. Construct a Conestoga Wagon and describe the various parts. What supplies were taken on the trip west?
7. Research the Donner Party experience. Write a different ending to this tragic event.
8. Research the wildlife seen on the trip West. How was this habitat different from the habitat in the east?
from Bev and Troy Strayer “Low-Prep D.I. Strategies”
Biome Tic Tac ToeYou must choose at least three activities in the Tic Tack Toe design. by Bev and Troy Strayer, “Low-Prep D.I. Strategies”
Cubing is a literacy strategy which uses a concrete visual of a cube with its six slides to serve as a starting point for consideration of the multiple dimensions of topics within subject areas. The students examine the topic using the prompts from the six sides of the cube.
1. Describe It: If applicable, include color, shape, size. How would you describe the issue/topic?
2. Compare It: What is it similar to or different from. It’s sort of like_________
3. Associate It: What it makes you think of. How does the topic connect to other issues / subjects?
4. Analyze It: Tell how it is made or what it is composed of. How would you break the problem / issue into smaller parts?
5. Apply It: Tell how it can be used. How does it help you understand other topics / issues?
6. Argue for / against it. Take a stand and support it. I am for this because_______. This works because___. I agree because________.
Make a list of six
Roll one fraction die
and draw it using
circles, squares, and
Create a story problem
using the fractions
2/3 and 7/8
Roll one fraction die
and decide what you
would have to add to
the fraction to get a
whole. Write the
Roll one die and
use that number
for the denominator.
What would be the
numerator to create a
Create two fractions that
are more than ¼ and two
fractions that are less than
by Bev and Troy Strayer, “Low-Prep D.I. Strategies”
Who’s the Best?
Define Each Grade
E or F:
“The score a student receives on a test is more dependent on who scores the test and how they score it than it is on what the student knows and understands.”
-- Marzano, Classroom Assessment & Grading That Work (CAGTW), p. 30
The student’s grade: B
What does this mark tell us about the student’s proficiency with each of the topics you’ve taught?
Students in impoverished communities that receive high grades in English earn the same scores as C and D students in affluent communities.
Math was the same: High grades in impoverished schools equaled only the D students’ performance
in affluent schools.
~ Grant Wiggins Understanding By Design
Criterion-Referenced: Using standards, objectives, or benchmarks as the reference points for determining students’ achievement
Norm-Referenced: Using other students’ performances as the reference point for determining students’ achievement
Used to indicate students’ readiness for content and skill development. Used to guide instructional decisions.
These are in-route checkpoints, frequently done. They provide ongoing and clear feedback to students and the teacher, informing instruction and reflecting subsets of the essential and enduring knowledge. They are where successful differentiating teachers spend most of their energy – assessing formatively and providing timely feedback to students and practice.
These are given to students at the end of the learning to document growth and mastery. They match the learning objectives and experiences, and they are negotiable if the product is not the literal standard. They reflect most, if not all, of the essential and enduring knowledge. They are not very helpful forms of feedback.
What does this mean we should do with class participation, homework, attendance, effort, behavior, or discussion grades?
“Students can hit any target they can see and which stands still for them.”
-- Rick Stiggins, Educator and Assessment expert
If a child ever asks, “Will this be on the test?”.….we haven’t done our job.
1. Penalizing students’ multiple attempts at mastery
2. Grading practice (daily homework) as students come to know concepts [Feedback, not grading, is needed]
3. Withholding assistance (not scaffolding or differentiating) in the learning when it’s needed
4. Group grades
5. Incorporating non-academic factors (behavior, attendance, and effort)
6. Assessing students in ways that do not accurately indicate students’ mastery (student responses are hindered by the assessment format)
7. Grading on a curve
8. Allowing Extra Credit
9. Defining supposedly criterion-based grades in terms of norm-referenced descriptions (“above average,” “average”, etc.)
10. Recording zeroes for work not done
or making sure they learn?
Avoid, “learn or I will hurt you” measures. (Nancy Doda)