Differentiated Instruction 1 Readiness Writing RAFT Students are


Readiness Writing RAFT
Students are assigned a set of choices based on preassessed skill levels in sequencing and writing. G=grade level or A=advanced level Within a skill level, students still have some learning style or interest based choices through format options. Levels would NOT be seen by the students. Know: sequence, pace Understand: Seeing events in a logical order Do: Place items in order of occurrence; write with accuracy & completeness








6-panel storyboard
Bulleted list

How I Won the Race
Things I do in the morning to get ready for school Here’s how I got hurt … and what I’ll do next

Sports star


News item

Cousin Hermione Granger

You Harry Potter

Set of directions Conversation or dialogue

Help me learn to play checkers
What happened to make you so suspicious?




“Marble Raceway” Watch me roll! model with exhibit card describing each tumble or 3 turning point

Possible Ideas for a RAFT
Choose ideas that advance the learning goals.
Characters from a story Historical figures Vocabulary words Instruments or tools Minerals or chemical elements Public service Key terms job Musical instruments Cartoon characters Shapes or colors Cities, countries or continents Diseases Types of fabric Authors or inventers Brand name or object Scientists or politicians Geographic formations Composers or artists Business or industry person Technical terms

Possible RAFT Formats to Differentiate by Learning Modality Written Diary entry Bulleted list Obituary Invitation Recipe Movie critic FAQs Editorial Gossip column Visual Comic Crossword puzzle Map Graphic organizer Print ad Photograph Fashion design Oral Song Monologue Radiocast Museum guide Interview Puppet show Political speech Story teller Kinesthetic Model Cheer Mime Demonstration Sales pitch with demos Sew, cook, build Wax museum

Differentiating a RAFT by Readiness
(Teacher assigns RAFT or choices of RAFTs based on students’ reading, writing or performance levels)

– Well-known people or charters to lesser known – Basic essential items (vocabulary, inventions, elements, etc.) to more esoteric items – Easier to understand point-of-view to more intangible perspective

•Formats (while offering choices to students)
– Shorter to longer (in prep, process or presentation) – More familiar to more unfamiliar formats – Single step to multiple steps

Differentiating a RAFT by Readiness

• Topics
– Easier to interpret to more sophisticated – Concrete & literal to more abstract response – More structured to more open-ended – Small leap in insight & application to larger leap









Fishing is a waste of time


Lug nuts

Owner’s manual

Directions are important

Hair color

Grey hair

Persuasive letter Flower garden club article

The cover up



Green is beautiful


Analyzing a RAFT Lesson
• What are the learning goals for this lesson and are they built into every choice? • How is this RAFT being differentiated?
– Does it appeal to different learning styles? – Is there a range of difficulty in the:
• Roles? • Formats? • Readiness levels?

– Do the roles, formats or topics appeal to a variety of interests?



Learning Contract
• Agreement between teacher and student(s)

• Certain freedoms granted in return for production of specific work
• Largely teacher-directed; teacher sets completion date and check-in requirements • Assignments are based on pre-assessment of students’ readiness or interest

Contract Agreement
•Teacher agrees to let students have freedom to plan their time •Students agree to use the time responsibly •Guidelines for working are spelled out •Consequences for ineffective use of freedom are delineated

•Signatures of the teacher and student are placed on the agreement

Benefits of Learning Contracts
• Gives students control over work • Gives students choice about presentation options • Can be “tiered” so that challenge levels of the problems, texts, or skills practiced are suitable for each student


Learning Contract Considerations
•Motivational tool for students

•Should be offered to many, not just one person
•Can work with gifted or special needs students •Must establish clear expectations


Learning Contract Considerations
• Assumes it is the teacher’s responsibility to specify important learnings and make sure students acquire them • Assumes students can take on some responsibility for learning themselves • Delineates skills that need to be practiced and mastered • Ensures that student will apply or use those skills in context

Learning Contract Considerations
• Specifies working conditions to which students must adhere during the contract time
– Student behavior – Time constraints – Homework and class work expectations

• Establishes criteria for successful completion and quality of work

Learning Contract Considerations
• Sets positive consequences when student adheres to working conditions, e.g. continued “freedoms”, privileges, grades • Sets negative consequences if student does not adhere to working conditions, e.g. teacher sets working parameters and makes assignments


Grading Contract Guidelines
Offer students differentiated criteria for obtaining an A, B, C, or D. Possible Options for Contract Choices: 1. Successfully completes one of four options. (unit test, independent project, differentiated activities, etc.) 2. Successfully completes two of the four options. 3. Successfully completes three of the four options. 4. Successfully completes all four of the options.



My question or topic is:_______________________ To find out about it, I will:
I will read: ___
I will listen to:_____ I will need: _____ I will look at:_____

I will draw: _____

I will write: ____
How I will share what I learned is:_________ I will finish by:_____________ __________________

Choose an activity from each shape group. Cut out your three choices and glue them below. You are responsible for finishing these activities by____________. Have fun!


Make a poster advertising yourself as a good friend. Use words and pictures to help make people want to be your friend. Make sure your name is an important part of the poster.

Make a 2-sided circlerama. Use it to tell people what makes you a good friend. Use pictures and words. Make sure your name is an important part of the display.

Make a mobile that shows what makes you a good friend. Use pictures and words to hang on your mobile. Write your name on the top of the mobile in beautiful letters. Meet with me and tell me about a problem and solution from the Story. Then tell me a problem You had and how you solved it. Think about another problem one of the characters in your book might have. Write a new story for the book about the problem and tell how It 22 was solved.

Get with a friend and make a puppet show about a problem and the solution in your book.

Get with a friend and act out a problem and solution from your book. Write a letter to one Of the characters in your book. Tell them about a problem you have. Then have them write back with a solution to your problem.

Draw a picture of a problem in the story. Then use words to tell about the problem and how the characters solved the problem.


Cubing is a great way to differentiate
instruction based on student interest and

readiness. A cube includes six faces with
a different activity on each. The student rolls the cube and the face that points up

becomes a task for the student to


Creating Cubing Exercises
• Start by deciding which part of your unit

lends itself to optional activities.
• What concepts can you create a cube for?

• Can you make cubes for different
interests, levels or topics?


Step 1 Cubing
• Write 6 questions that ask for information in a selected unit • Design different levels of questions using Bloom, intelligence levels, etc. that probe the unit • Keep one question opinion based, no right or wrong

Step 2, Cubing
Design the first cube as your “average” • Design two more – one higher and one lower • All cubes need to cover the same type of questions • Label the cubes so you know the levels • Ask a colleague if they can tell which is high, medium or low. If not, adjust.


Step 3 Cubing
• Remember to have one easy and one hard side for each cube • Color code the cubes for easy identification • Decide the rules in advance.
– Do the students have to do all six sides? – Will they role and select four sides? – Do any 2 questions on three cubes?

• Describe it: Look at the subject closely, perhaps with your senses as well as your mind

• Compare it: What is it similar to? What is it different from?
• Associate it: What does it make you think of?

• Analyze it: Tel how it is made. What are its traits and attributes?
• Apply it: How can it be used?

• Argue for or against it: Take a stand. Use reasoning to explain

Ideas for Cubing in Math
• Describe how you would solve… • Analyze how this problem helps us use mathematical thinking and problem solving • Compare and contrast this problem to one on page… • Demonstrate how this problem could be useful in work or real life • Create an interesting and challenging word problem from the number problem • Diagram or illustrate the solution to the problem. Interpret the visual so we understand it.


Grading in a Differentiated Classroom
• Clearly communicate standards that are being used

• Clearly delineate separate grades
– For growth (changes in learning) – For achievement relative to standards of performance – For habits of mind and work

• Student voices are needed • Grades are never used to punish

3 P’s of Grading and Reporting
Achievement based on criteria and performance standards Process

Work habits Effort Attitude




The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
1. Have a strong rationale for differentiating instruction based on student readiness, interest and learning profile Underlying assumption: Teacher knows each student


The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
2. Begin differentiating at a pace that is comfortable for you. Underlying assumption: You will start!


The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
3. Time differentiated activities to support student success
• • Tasks should be shorter than the attention span of the students who work on the task Advanced learners may need more time

Goal: Over time students will be able to sustain group and independent tasks longer

The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
4. Use an “anchor activity” to free you up to focus your attention on your students.


Productive use of students’ and teacher’s time Students must be taught to work quietly and independently

Assumption: Teacher has planned anchor activities in advance

The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
5. Create and deliver instructions carefully • Prepare task cards or assignment sheets • Give clear expectations for movement etc. • Give directions to a few responsible students, who share them with others • Specify a time limit for movement and activities • Anticipate problems

Assumption: Teacher and student preparation is required

The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
6. Assign students into groups or seating areas smoothly
• • Don’t waste time calling names List names by color on an overhead, wall chart, peg-boards etc.


The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
7. Have a “home base” for students.
• Beginning and ending a class with a set place for students helps with organization and materials In high school, it allows for taking attendance without a roll call.



The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
8. Be sure students have a plan for getting help when you’re busy with another student or group
• • • “Ask 3 before you come to me” “Expert of the day” Ask a peer

Assumption: It’s never OK to sit and do nothing while waiting for help.

The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
9. Minimize noise
• Work on students working quietly with peers
Teach students to talk quietly or whisper Practice how to move quietly around the room Use a signal to lower the noise level, e.g. lights flickering


Set up a section of the room for those easily distracted by noise or use head phones or ear plugs

The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
10. Make a plan for students to turn in work
• Use an “expert of the day” to see if work is complete and of good quality before being turned in Be organized – have a place for work to be submitted, e.g. folder, bin etc.



Research shows that the average person spends 150 hours each year looking for misplaced items.
Barbara Hemphill Time Management Expert


The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
11. Teach students to rearrange the furniture

Draw 3-4 floor plans and teach students to move furniture to match the plan Clarify expectations and purpose of the arrangement, how it will help their work


The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
12. Minimize “stray” movement
• • Designate a “gopher” for each work group Determine in advance the structure you want to encourage productivity


The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
13. Promote on-task behavior
• Let students know you will be checking daily to see how they are using their time • Note those working with extra concentration and put a + by their names • Note those having a difficult time staying on task and put a – by their names (Track students over time. Share results + & -. Revise groups, seating arrangement or assignments as necessary.)

The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
14. Have a plan for “quick finishers”
• If the same students consistently complete work with competence, tasks are insufficiently challenging If the student’s goal is to be finished first, encourage superior work vs. speed Develop anchor activities

• •


The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
15. Make a plan for “calling a halt”
• • Provide advanced warning Provide alternative homework assignments, learning contract or an anchor activity for those who or advanced or behind when the group as a whole moves on


The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
16. Give your students as much responsibility for their learning as possible. Foster independence by having students:
• • • • • • • Pass out materials Move furniture for group work Keep records of own work Chart progress toward established goals Critique one another’s work Help design some of their own tasks Having them make suggestions for smoother classroom operation. 50

The Basics for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
17. Engage students in talking about classroom procedures and group process
• • • Think aloud about your thinking Develop ownership of the classroom Have ongoing conversations about what is being experienced individually and collectively

(Students can often spot problems and develop solutions before the teacher can)

Essential Principles of Differentiation
• Principle 1: Good curriculum comes first • Principle 2: All tasks should be respectful of each learner • Principle 3: When in doubt, teach up! • Principle 4: Use flexible grouping • Principle 5: Become an assessment junkie • Principle 6: Grade for growth

Please remember these two difficult truths of teaching:
1. No matter how much you do, you’ll feel it’s not enough. 2. Just because you can only do a little is not an excuse to do nothing. Susan Ohanian


What are your burning questions

about Differentiated Instruction?


• Please bubble in the entire circle – no • Please keep all comments in the box provided


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