Differentiation is our response, as educators, to the individual needs of each student. We do this by reducing barriers by selecting appropriate teaching methods that match individual student’s needs in order to be successful within the learning community. This can seem like a daunting task- one lesson taught 25 ways . 🤔
So, the question becomes....... HOW? How can we, as teachers, differentiate every lesson so ALL learners can meaningfully participate? There is no quick and easy answer. BUT, the more you try to differentiate with an open mind, the easier it will become. You need to grow your bag-o-tricks from which you will pull. It is easy to get lost in the planning phase: THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH TIME!!! However, thinking this way will only feed into your frustration & fears, slow your growth, and potentially hurt your students' growth. A few things to keep in mind when you commit to opening your mind and building accessible classrooms:
Multiple access points
Know your students
Keep it simple
Take a chance... it is all about learning!
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To show you you can do it without going mad, here is one example of differentiating an outcome from a 4-6 curriculum guide:
OUTCOME 1: students will explore a variety of habitats. They will use data to recognize patterns and relationships.
✨ACCESS POINTS: - identify parts of a local habitat - sorting animals based on 2-3 habitats - identifying similarities/differences between multiple habitats - exploring unique characteristics of habitats & their importance - investigate 2 local habits, describe their relationships. - explore the concept of interrelatedness of populations within a habitat.
✨CHOICES: For your students working on identification, here are a few activities to consider: - cut and paste - colour a habitat or an animal that lives in a certain habitat - colour code - point and click - create habitats with stickers For your students working on comparing and contrasting, here are a few activities to consider: - Venn diagram - drawing - written form - PowerPoint - scratch - make a poster
For your students working on abstract concepts, here are a few activities to consider: - written form - lead a guided discussion or forum on a specific topic (ie, interrelatedness or connectedness) - write an Op-ed - creating a video highlighting the 'what ifs'
These are just a few examples- you need to provide choices and access points that are meaningful to your students (and make sense to you.).
Despite being a simple term, differentiation is often disputed. It gets much easier with practice.
My main advice- keep it simple! 😘
Reach out to us at email@example.com for help with a specific lesson, outcome, or topic. We can help you work through your specific concerns and guide to a differentiated lesson that is meaningful and appropriate for the learners in your class!