The Goldilocks of Instruction
Whether you call it differentiated instruction, accommodating individual differences or any other name, we all want the same thing – to deliver instruction that benefits our students, that is, not too easy. not too difficult but just right. Teaching middle school, it was not uncommon for me to have a three- or four-year range in my class, from students who were years below grade level to students who were a year above.
How do you have one lesson that meets the needs of a diverse range of abilities?
The answer is often that you don’t have the same lesson. You have one for most of the class and then you modify it. One tip is to search the site for “differentiated instruction”. This will produce several lessons that offer differentiation for varying levels of ability.
Tip: Search Growing Math on “Differentiated Instruction”
In the lesson, “Mean, median and mode” students play a game teaching basic statistics and history. Next, they are given a presentation with problems students solve finding mean, median, mode, range and outliers. For students who need a reminder on how to compute the mean, an additional lesson is recommended on the page that individual students can be assigned in advance for pre-teaching.
In Raising Sheep and Rational Numbers, two resources are given for students who require scaffolding, a video explaining “What is a rational number” and a related lesson that explains adding and subtracting decimals.
In the English Language Arts lesson, The Navajo-Churro: America’s First Domestic Sheep, it is the assessment that is modified. “For the assignment above, for learners with special needs, you may wish to assign only one of the two parts. Generally, we would assign Part B, finding the answers to research questions. This is also a modification for students who are English language learners.”
Differentiated Instruction applies to gifted students as well
In the lesson, “Making a calendar with Google slides“, gifted students can be assigned online lessons from Google Education, to become more proficient with Google slides.
The lesson, “Ratio, proportion and animal identification” includes differentiated instruction at both ends of the spectrum, with optional additional reading for students with a particular interest in animal taxonomy and for explanation of ratio and proportion prior to the assignment, two lessons are recommended, of varying difficulty.
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We’re still working on differentiated instruction and would love your help
Not all of our lessons offer modifications and we would very much like the help from teachers in the Growing Math project. If you have been a participant you know that two options to receive the stipend after the training are :
If you want to do the second option and submit a modified version of one of our existing lessons as you used it in your class, we would love that. Of course, you should continue to feel free to submit your completely new ideas as well. We love getting lessons from teachers – as you can see, most of the examples above were submitted from previous Growing Math cohorts.