Many teachers believe that differentiated instruction is complex, time consuming, and necessary for only a few learners. In this short article, I share ten ideas that are not only easy to implement, but effective for many students in the diverse classroom, including students without disabilities. 1. Create a comfortable classroom
"Tracy Fischetti's high school students improved their reading level scores about three times as much as expected last year, according to the state’s 2013 test scores.
"Of all the English teachers in Florida, she scored the highest on the state's Value Added Measure (VAM). Interestingly, Fischetti had no idea of her distinction until I emailed her in early March. "I am not sure how you would have gotten wind of my classroom chaos in California," she wrote. The metric isn't viewed positively in her district.
"I'm sure many readers' jaws clench at the mention of VAM Scores. I'm going to sidestep that controversy for this post except to note that, inadequate as test scores are for assessing educational quality, they're not a bad starting point to discover promising practices. No matter what you think of VAM, Fischetti and her students have accomplished something impressive, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the time she took to share her approach with me.
"There are three practices that Fischetti employs consistently that seem to account for a lot of her success".
Suppose you are teaching an introductory biology course and your next lesson deals with genetics. You would like to prepare your students for the upcoming class by asking them to think about the topic...
The instructor is now ready to adjust the classroom activities or lesson flow, and improvise if necessary. The flow is pretty much predetermined, but the words used in class will arise from the student responses and, most importantly, will be influenced by the feedback from the live class.
Typically, the live class is shown a representative set of responses, and the authors of the responses are invited to comment and elaborate. The rest of the class is encouraged to challenge and suggest alternatives. Properly handled, this can be a teaching opportunity that goes beyond the course content.
Students have an opportunity to practice critical thinking and communication skills. The course content is enriched because the wording actually comes from the live class, which makes the lesson fresh and interesting to the students.
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