If we expect students to achieve mastery, teaching consultant Rick Wormeli says, we must provide helpful feedback, document progress, and inform our instructional decisions with pertinent performance data. Yet many conventional grading practices render our data useless.
Diane Heacox presents differentiation tools that can be used immediately, and provides guidance for adapting them for a range of ages and content areas, ELLs, gifted students and kids with IEPs. Jeny Randall agrees with Heacox’s advice, “Start small, but start somewhere.”
Recently Sarah Cooper’s history classes debated whether the electoral college should be abolished. Reflecting on the weeklong unit, Cooper concludes she “misstepped” in several ways. Learn what she plans to do differently next year, starting with a fresh debate topic.
This fall Michelle Russell implemented a new policy of assigning but not checking math homework, and then checking homework understanding with short quizzes. After 15 weeks of school, she’s ready to share the results so far. Learn her “good, bad, and ugly” findings.
Imagine an open-ended math task that gets students asking questions as well as answering them. Jerry Burkhart shows how a problem like this can help teachers differentiate instruction for advanced students while stimulating curiosity and perseverance for all learners.
Each student Amy Estersohn shared the book “Which One Doesn’t Belong” with spent time lost deep in thought among the geometric images and was able to articulate a reasonable explanation for why a shape didn’t belong. The teacher’s guide can help build math discussion.
Sheryn Spencer Waterman shows the way to make the evaluation as well as the curriculum fit the learner. Middle school teacher Joanne Bell finds the author’s fully developed discussion of differentiated formative assessments helpful for social studies and English.
Accessible Algebra provides teachers a better understanding of where students might struggle, methods that can meet individual student needs, and fresh ways to teach a concept. The 30 modules can be adapted for any algebra class, says math teacher Trever Reeh.
With its ready-made product menus and immediate applicability, Differentiating Instruction with Menus is one of those books that won’t gather dust, as teachers will turn to it for quick reference throughout the school year, says ELA and gifted facilitator Kim Rensch.
The refreshingly clear way that Barbara Blackburn collects and presents best practices in her book on rigor and assessment should help teachers become more effective at providing well differentiated instruction in a positive classroom environment, writes Roy Palmer.