Posted on 02/16/2011 at 08:08 AM by Global Reach

I had the opportunity to attend a school in-service that brought in Laureen Reynolds from SDE (Staff Development for Educators).  Her presentation focused on Differentiated Instruction and Planning: Strategies and Applications for Everyone. She was very informative and had lots of great ideas to implement in your class the next day.  I’d like to share some ideas with you.

A Few Things to Remember…
•    Let students work where they want as long as they work
•    Allow students to get homework assignments early if needed
•    Keep your objectives constant while allowing students choices about how to get there- many products can show the same information
•    Pre-assessment and formative assessment will lead the way.
•    Readiness level----NOT ability level

•    Ask Me a Question- This can be done individually, on paper, or together, verbally.  Tell students what the topic is and ask them to ask you a question they have about it.  Give each child a chance if possible/desired.  The complexity of their questions (or the lack of it) will give you a general sense of the amount of knowledge they have both as individuals and as a group.
•    Post-It Posters-  Start with a poster that relates to your content area studies and that is appropriate and interesting to your students.  Hang the poster up in a place where the children can read it, like on your easel or chalkboard.  Discuss the poster with students and add words on sticky notes that label something in the picture or that comes to mind when they look at the picture.
•    Brain Vomit- Also what it sounds like, sort of.  This is like a free-for-all brainstorm (I use that term loosely).  I tell my students to tell me everything they know about a particular topic.

Formative Assessment
•    Draw Me a Picture- Give students a sheet of paper divided into four sections.  In the first three sections, ask them to draw the “big learnings” they’ve done so far within a unit and in the last section pose a question they still have.
•    New Student News Flash- This can be a conversation or a quick written assignment and can occur at any point during a unity of study.  Ask students to pretend a new student will be arriving in the room tomorrow.  What would you tell him or her about today’s science lesson (or this week’s lesson) so that they would be ready to join in when we begin the next part of the lesson?
•    Exit Cards- Ask students to write down a question they still have and give it to you as they leave at the end of class or at the end of the day.  Their questions will give you a good idea of the extend of absorption or is some basics need to be re-taught.  Answer the questions either the next day or integrate the answers into teaching over the next few days.  Another take on an exit card might be to ask students to answer a question or explain something conceptually related to information already learned.

Summative Assessment
•    Even with summative assessment, which is usually the most formal, you can offer students choices about how to show you what they know in regards to a particular concept, skill, or topic.
•    The only criteria to remember for summative assessment is: does this assessment allow this child to show his level of mastery towards the standard.

What are some ways you differentiate for pre-assessment, formative assessment, and summative assessment?

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