**Differentiated Instruction**

Learning Team A:

Laura Donovan, Brittany Reiher,

Vanessa Tambula, and Mary Whitt

MTE 532

December 23, 2013

Yolanda Kelly

Differentiation is a teaching strategy that allows teachers to accommodate learning styles, interests, and abilities of all students in the classroom (Willoughby, 2005).

Teachers now realize that a

"one-size fits all"

approach to learning does not work.

There are many ways to differentiate.

Teachers should continuously change grouping in the class: whole-class introductory discussions, group work, working with pairs, and self-directed learning (Willoughby, 2005).

Flexible grouping works well for math and science:

The teacher may introduce the math or science lesson to the whole class. After the introduction, students may be grouped together based on their abilities and strengths. The teacher may choose homogeneous (similar abilities) or heterogeneous (different abilities) grouping depending on the students' needs and lesson objectives.

e.g.,

Homogenous grouping

: In a fourth grade math class, some students may understand how to solve percentages, but they might need practice with real-world applications. These students might be grouped together to complete check-out scenarios at a mock clothing store. Others may need to visit the basics of percentages to see how they relate to decimals, fractions, and whole numbers. This small group can work intensively with the teacher.

1. Flexible Grouping

Based on Students' Needs

Flexible grouping for science:

e.g.,

Heterogeneous grouping:

In a fourth

grade science lesson revolving around the volume/mass of objects, students unfamiliar with measuring and weighing using the classroom science instruments may be placed in groups with students who are familiar with the process.

2.)

Learning Styles:

Auditory, Visual, & Kinesthetic

Teachers can adjust the environment (e.g., quiet area or loud area) or activities (e.g., visually stimulating or hands-on lessons) to compliment different learning styles.

Differentiating learning activities based on students' learning styles works well for both math and science.

e.g.,

MAth and Learning Styles

: In a math lesson, some students sit on the floor and work with tangrams to make geometrical patterns. Others prefer to sit at their desks and draw a picture using the specified shapes.

The Dunn & Dunn Model (1980) suggests five additional stimuli that influence students' preferred learning environment:

Environmental" includes: light, sound, temperature, and room design.

•"Emotional" includes: structured planning, persistence, motivation, and responsibility.

•"Sociological" includes: pairs, peers, adults, self, group, and varied.

•"Physical" includes: perceptual strengths, mobility, intake, and time of day.

•"Psychological" includes: global/analytic, impulsive/reflective, and right- or left-brain dominance (Thomson & Mascazine, 2007, para. 2)

e.g.,

Science and Learning Styles

: During a science lab, visual and kinesthetic learners may prefer to use a graphic organizer to help them make observations. Auditory learners may prefer to have a discussion with a team member to make accurate observations.

3.) Student Interest

Students can learn the same concept by exploring different subtopics. This approach can work in both math and science (University of Kansas, n.d.).

e.g.,

Exploring Student Interest and Math:

In a third grade math unit on money and decimals, some students may wish to add, subtract, and multiply using decimals in a mock music store, while others may prefer to create a restaurant with a menu to work on the same concepts.

e.g.,

Exploring Student Interest and Science:

In a first grade science class studying ecosystems, each student can research their favorite environment such as life in the rainforest, the Everglades, or the tundra.

4.) The Power of Technology

Teachers can incorporate a variety of technology formats when instructing. Students should also be given a choice of technology formats for student-led investigations and performance assessments (Lamb, 2012).

A variety of technology options exist to support both math and science lessons:

e.g.,

Technology and Math

:

To support a math lesson, Kindergarten students might play "Stop the Clock" online to understand how to tell time.

e.g.,

Technology and Science:

When demonstrating the mastery of the concept of photosynthesis, students might design a PowerPoint or create a classroom blog to tell other classes about what they have learned.

Instruction issues with Strategies

Flexible Grouping

Flexible grouping in very important but it is important for teachers to be mindful of the grouping and the effect that it is having on the students. Heterogeneous grouping can lead to some issues with students especially when grouped with students of higher levels with students of lower levels. Teachers should think about how they are going to group students to encourage effective learning along with avoiding stable homogenous grouping that will not help challenge students ("Differentiated Instruction", 2005).

Flexible Grouping

Students should be equally challenged in correct groups that will avoid higher level students in constant leadership roles and completing more work in the assignment. Groups of any type should allow all students to be equally challenged and to work together with different groups of students and dynamics.

Student Interests

Student interest is very important to take advantage of when creating lessons in science and math. Like the diversity of learning there is a diversity in student interest as well. It is important to keep a student's attention while not boring other students. In math and science teachers should mix up student interest so they are able to relate to all portions of the learning activities.

Having student surveys at the beginning of the year or even "all about me" bags will help teachers determine what students are interested in. Teachers will have the ability to look at surveys and determine how to incorporate this into the lessons.

Issues with Technology

Technology

Technology is very important in the schools today and something that can be used in differentiated instruction as well. The use of technology in the classroom can be beneficial to the students and provide many learning opportunities. Technology not only helps in math and science but also helps students with critical thinking and problem solving skills (Edtech Action Network, n.d). While the use of technology is beneficial to student learning, it is important that students understand the responsibility of using technology in learning.

What strategy is best

Technology gives teachers the ability to set up classrooms with more technology activities and to incorporate group projects. Deciding what strategy is best for the lesson can be challenging. Teachers can overcome this by determining what outcome they would like their students to have.

Technology can introduce more issues in the classroom. How can teachers keep students honest?

Contracts for parents and students

Create rules as a class so that all students are aware

Always hold accountability