Differentiation by n39Jh3bO


      EdAd 202A
   Pat Stelwagon
February 10, 2010
Gardner’s Eight Intelligences
 Logical/mathematical
 Verbal
 Kinesthetic
 Musical
 Interpersonal
 Intrapersonal
 Spatial
 Naturalistic
 Existential (being developed)
Curriculum Differentiation
Overview: Essential Elements
 Pre-assessment: identify students’ academic needs and
  interests at the beginning of the year and at the
  beginning of each new unit of instruction
 Tiered Assignments: Adjusting assignments into various
  levels of academic difficulty in order to meet the varying
  readiness levels of students. Every student should feel
  slightly uncomfortable with the challenge being
 Project Menus: Offering students a variety of choices for
  unit projects that extend their learning. The selections
  should be crafted to meet a variety of students’ pre-
  assessed interests and learning profiles.
Differentiation’s Core Concepts (Dr.
Sandra Kaplan, USC)
 Novelty: Activities to make the curriculum
  personally relevant
 Depth: Extending the unit of study into an
  exploration of details, rules, patterns, trends,
  ethics, and ideas
 Complexity: Activities that require students to
  make connections between disciplines,
  perspectives, and eras.
 Acceleration/Deceleration: Speeding up/slowing
  down rates of learning and increasing/
  decreasing difficulty of materials used for
  academic tasks.
Begin Differentiation Slowly if You Like –
but Do Begin
Low Preparation                High Preparation
Book choices                   Tiered activities and labs
Homework options               Tiered products
Work alone or together         Multiple tests
Varied scaffolds               Multiple intelligence options
Multiple levels of questions   Interest groups
Varied journal prompts         Learning centers
Mini-workshops to re-teach     Literature circles
  or extend skills             Project menus
Varied pacing with anchors     Problem-based learning
The Equalizer: Adjusting Assignments to Create
Appropriate Depth for Students

Foundational               Transformational
Concrete                   Abstract
Simple                     Complex
Few facts                  Many facets
Smaller leap               Greater leap
More structured            More open
Clearly defined problem    Fuzzy problem
Less independence          Greater independence
Slower                     Quicker
Approaches to Greater Depth
(Sandra Kaplan, USC)
 Language of the discipline (experts’
 Details (parts, factors, attributes, variables)
 Patterns (repetition, predictability)
 Trends (influences, forces, direction, course of
 Unanswered questions (discrepancies, missing
 Rules (structure, order, hierarchy, explanation)
 Ethics (points of view, judgments, opinions
 Big ideas (generalizations, principles, theories)
What Can be Tiered?
Learning centers
Writing prompts
Supporting Struggling Learners
(Carol Tomlinson)
 Look for struggling learners’ positives (e.g., slower
  kinesthetic readers might benefit from pantomime)
 Make the learning relevant for today
 Don’t let what’s broken extinguish what works (avoid
  constant remediation)
 Go for foundational learning: the big idea
 Give strugglers assignments that are a bit harder than
  you believe they can accomplish
 Use many avenues to learning (learning cycles, profiles)
 See students with unconditional expectations and
  unwavering vision of total potential
Supporting Struggling Learners (Jim Burke)

   Be multimodal and use multimedia
   Sequence activities and assignments logically
   Provide a weekly assignment check off sheet
   Check frequently for understanding
   Discuss learning strategies that might help specific
   Allow strugglers more time to answer or react to
    questions; allow practice time too
   Break assignments into small units
   Use small groups
   Provide immediate feedback
   Do not depend on verbal directions; use the board
Supporting Struggling Learners
(Jim Burke, continued)
Let students work with a partner
Use graphic organizers to help with
Provide clear and logical transitions
 between ideas and units
Provide lots of concrete examples to
 illustrate ideas
Seat them away from distractions
One Last Flexible Grouping Option
Oral work and written work groups
(Many students are most comfortable
demonstrating their learning through
speech, yet most all of what we grade in
school is what gets written down. Given that
adults communicate most often in oral – not
written – formats, it’s important to let
students practice oral language skills
Complexity: Making Connections
(Sandra Kaplan, USC)
 Relationships over time (between past, present,
  and future, within a time period)
 Points of view (multiple perspectives on the
  same event, opposing viewpoints, differing roles
  and knowledge)
 Interdisciplinary relationships (within the
  discipline, between disciplines, across the
  disciplines: aesthetics, economics, history,
  philosophy, psychology, mathematics, science)
How do we evaluate differentiated products?

  Provide differentiated rubrics for all assignments
   (or guide students into creating them)
  For a semester grade, you might wish half a
   student's grade to reflect standards-based
   achievement and the other half to reflect the
   student’s growth in your subject area
  Some districts give two marks: a letter (A-F)
   indicating the student’s grade based on
   individual progress in the subject and a number
   indicated whether the student is working (1)
   above grade level, (2) at grade level, or (3)
   below grade level
Choices for RIGOROUS guided practice:
Prepare to share
1. Create a project menu for your students
2. Create a tiered assignment for your
3. Create pre-assessment tools for your
The Elements of a Rigorous,
Well-Defined Assignment
 PROCESSING SKILLS (ask students to build,
  create, invent, analyze, problem-solve, or
  evaluate in order to make sense of the new
 New and rigorous CONTENT to explore facts,
  concepts, principles, attitudes, skills
 Appropriate RESOURCES (and use appropriate
  research skills)
 A well-designed PRODUCT
 A suitable project proposal and RUBRIC
Remember to take SMALL STEPS.
Don’t try to differentiate every
assignment every day!

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