How are you going to teach it?
Hooking students in by igniting curiosity and giving them a sense of fun is a sure fire way of engaging them in the learning.
Read more: Presentation
What do you want the students to know and do?
Be specific about this – have a set of outcomes – write them down if you have to and share them with the students. The way you all arrive at those outcomes is what is differentiated – we are not changing the curriculum – it remains as do the criteria. Be specific on what you want them to know and what they are going to do to know it but be prepared to have different activities happening simultaneously.
How will the learning be done?
The quality is in the process, i.e. the learning journey. The product will happen if the process is ‘right’.
Students need to be exposed to many different ways of learning. As the facilitator of that learning you must allow them to explore and take risks knowing that they are safe to make mistakes and that you will be there to support them when they need it. Read more… Process
How will the students demonstrate learning?
In differentiating we do not change the criteria – we just allow for many alternatives in getting to it. If the end task requires they sit a written test then that’s what will be expected, but the process is where we can take liberties. However, if the final task can be negotiated to allow for more personal reflection and give student choice then this is also differentiating. Remember we are not changing the criteria but allowing the student to show their learning in different ways.
This does not mean that just because the student prefers to learn in visual/kinesthetic fashion that he should be allowed to use this every time in showing that learning, I allow it once on major projects but then I expect them to expand their learning repertoire and include other strategies for displaying learning. Read more… Product
- Does the ‘test’ always have to be written?
- Do teachers always have to write the test?
- Does the student always have to do an oral presentation standing out the front of the whole class? Can he videotape himself and then play it back to the class?
- Does the assignment have to be presented as a poster?
- Does it have to be a powerpoint?
- Can there be visuals added to the large block of text they have to read and comprehend?
Does changing any of the above advantage or disadvantage anyone in presenting their learning?
I don’t think so. What it does do is allow for choice, gives students an opportunity to engage with learning using multiple modes of learning. It might challenge them or allow them to access learning in their own way. AND if the original outcomes are met – then what’s the difference?
Real life project by real students
This video was made by Year 8 students after working on content to do with social justice. I introduced the topic with images and stories of homelessness. I had students reflect on their experiences with different types of media. I asked them to walk in the shoes of the people they saw, read and heard about. Their product was to produce something that would help the community understand and take action, to empathise and make a difference.
This video was produced after just a few weeks on topic and three classes devoted to research, planning, and development of the final product. They could work in partnerships or on their own. They had choice, they had means and they, it turns out, really understood and met the objectives. I was blown away not only with this example but the many other interpretations I received from the class as a whole. Let me know what you think.
Differentiate tomorrow’s lesson. Ask yourself 3 questions
1. What do I want the students to know?
2. What do I want the students to understand?
3. What do I want the students to do?
Let me know how it goes.
Thanks for reading 🙂