Today I learned several things. It was interesting to hear there is no one way to do differentiated instruction. It takes different components and puts them together in different ways. It was interesting to hear Dr. Carol Ann Tomlinson talk about some important things needed to help implement differentiated instruction. What stood out to me was having a clear quality curriculum, being able to use assessments to inform instruction, and having different instructional strategies. I do think it is important to pre test students to see what they know. I don’t do this as much as I should and I can tell in my classroom that I have problems with students who already know the information. They get bored and can start causing problems. I need to keep in mind that I can have these students working on something more challenging.Three things to keep in mind while implementing differentiated instruction are how student learn best, what interests students, and the readiness of the student for the content. These are important to help you while doing lessons. It is okay not to have more than one lesson/goal for each topic. You do not have to have 30 different lessons just enough to help cover the different groupings you may need. I am really excited to learn more about this and start implementing more of these thoughts and actions in my classroom.
Reflections of the first day: I was very apprehensive about taking this class because of my limited knowledge of “differentiated learning”. However, after the first day, I feel very relieved that it’s not such a foreign concept. I think as teachers we have used this practice for years but never had a title attached to it. I think the major misconception about this philosophy was that a teacher had to write 30 or more lesson plans for one concept. I was excited to learn that it wasn’t that difficult! After I got home I did some searching on something we already do in music class – a music symbol sudoku puzzle. Not only did I find one that was already created online but there were three difficulty levels for the same puzzle! We started from scratch two years ago – that would have been a time saver. We were getting ready to scrap that activity next year because we found it to be a little too difficult for my 6th & 7th grade “not ready” students. But, with three different versions (levels) already there, they will probably be able to even work on their own. I also think that differentiated learning can be done in any classroom – not just general or core classes. Speaking only as a middle school music teacher I have found that the more ways I can find to teach a concept the more they like to do new and different learning activities. I have found that as long as they experience some kind of success in the music classroom they will keep coming back.
I was excited to learn more about DI today. It was reassuring to find out that many of the things I already do are DI. As Dr. Carol Ann Tomlinson pointed out in her podcast, DI is just good teaching. As a kindergarten teacher it is vital that you do DI in order to help students meet the curriculum and standards for the district. If I didn't do DI I would have numerous students never reach the academic goals for kindergarten. I am also excited to learn move and continue to develop more DI lessons to use this fall in my classroom.It was also fun to listen to other peoples ideas and input. It seems that you can get lots of ideas from other people. I was also relieved that DI isn't something you do from 8-3:30 each day, instead it is something you do when you need to try a different strategy, give learning more support, use additional practice and apply information to real world learning. We also learned that when designing DI strategies to consider student interest, readiness and learning profiles. I can't wait to learn more about the process and discover more lessons!
The first day of class is over. Early in the day I felt as if I were in a rainstorm, but as the the day progressed I felt as if the rain turned to mist and there was a glimmer of light around the cloud's edges. I am starting to get an idea of what differentiated instruction is and what it isn't. I can see that isn't just one thing or a program. It is more a an approach that draws on many things such as multiple intellegiences, tiered assignments, being creative, encouraging creativity -- just so much. It may seem overwhelming, but I think I will get it. One step at a time. A piece here and there. I will have to be careful to keep in mind the purpose of what do. I will have to keep in mind the standard and how to get "at it."I am looking forward to activities like tiered assignments. I want to challenge all students, but I always feel guilty about those who are ready for more of a challenge. I hope to get some great ideas this week.
Today was an exciting day full of new ideas. Learning more about DI and all the components was more fascinating than I anticipated. I really appreciate how the information was delivered. It kept us moving and certainly captured our attention in many unique ways. I would fall into that category that ". . .some people need to move to think!"It was refreshing to know that all teachers do many things already that would be considered DI, that DI happens all the time, but not necessary all day long. However, learning the appropriate terminology and definite components will make us better teachers. I truly feel that all teachers need to use DI to reach all learners.I agree that lack of time and information do hinder teachers in the "real world", just as we need to attach learning to the "real world". I do feel it is important to remember teaching with a purpose and our students are learning with a purpose. I am excited to learn new teaching strategies and ways of organizing the information. I know that keeping my students’ learning profile, interest profile, and looking at readiness level are important components when teaching with DI.I often have to remind myself that I am teaching children. Let them be kids! They are not frightened to be wrong. It is so true and saddens me to think that society squashes them in many ways, especially the thought that they grow out of creativity, not into it. I like the idea of intelligence being described as diverse, dynamic, and distinct. As, I reflect on student projects from the past, I find myself remembering those that are diverse, dynamic and distinct. Makes a whole lot of sense!
Hello, Group--I tried to add something last night around 10:30--looks like it did not come through. I felt good about yesterdays class. I loved the clips from Dr. Carol and Sir Ken. It did help explain the DI theory. I am looking forward to todays learning. I look forward to implementing this in my classroom to gain much more from my students. They do come in a wide range of personalities, characters and capabilities. DI will enhance each childs ability to create--and they all love to create! Okay--hope I can get this to go through this time. Marcia
Wow, lots of good stuff today. Assessment always makes me feel nervous, but today's information helped me feel better about it. I like the idea of not assessing unless you are going to do something with it--novel idea! There were lots of great ideas on how to assess the children's knowlege and help them remember what they have learned. Some of these things I do anyway, but there were many things that I did not know. I thought we had lots of good discussion, too. Thanks for a great day! Marcia M.
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