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The Path to Differentiation

How can we meet the needs of our students?

Samantha Saunders

on 24 April 2015

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Transcript of The Path to Differentiation

How can teachers use formative
assessment to plan for differentiation?
Use formative assessment to gather data...

Prior knowledge - their 'readiness' to learn
Skills - strengths and weaknesses
Interests - how to engage them
How does the classroom environment affect differentiation?
How can cooperative learning help us differentiate?
Why is information from formative assessment useful?
Teachers who gather data using formative assessment BEFORE, DURING and AFTER learning
can effect better planning for
instructional differentiation in their classrooms.

‘Preassessment is an essential prerequisite for effective diagnosis and planning.'
the path to differentiation!
How can we address the needs of
the students in our classrooms?

provides different avenues to acquiring
, to processing or
making sense
of ideas, and to developing
so that...
each student can

Assessing students learning can provide data on students':
assessing students learning can identify the need for:
Planning a variety of instructional strategies
Reteaching of specific aspects of the unit
Adjustment of an assignment
Providing interventions
Flexible grouping
- Chapman and King (2012)
Chapman and King (2012)
assessing students learning can provide data that identifies:
Whether the student has reached learning goals

The students' instructional needs

The students' instructional needs

Whether a student needs additional learning experiences
Chapman and King (2012)

What are some types of formative assessments
to use
before learning?
Diagnostic testing (literacy & numeracy)
Round Robin discussions
What are some types of formative assessments
to use
during learning?
Teacher observation
Anecdotal assessment
Questioning prompts
Analyzing student notes
Checkpoint tests
What are some types of formative assessments
to use

after learning?
Questioning techniques
Rubric scales to indicate student achievement
Oral presentations
Writing prompts
Journal responses
Graphic organisers

bloom's taxonomy of the cognitive domain
Use the from the different levels of thinking to create questions that promote
key words
higher-order thinking
Continuous use of formative assessments provides feedback that can BE used to identify the need for :

Chapman and King (2012)
- what we teach or what we want students to learn
Tomlinson 2001
- where students process and make sense of the information presented to them
- where students demonstrate their understanding of the content
Tomlinson 2001
Tomlinson 2001
These three phases are not mutually exclusive.

Students need to gain access to the content in order to make sense of it.

It is upon this understanding that the product is created.
How can we differentiate CONTENT
to suit student
based on formative assessment data we can adjust content by...
...adjusting we teach.
...adjusting how students
what we are teaching.
Match the content to the students' ability to read and understand it: their 'readiness' to learn
Match the content to student interests
Match the content to the students' learning styles
Concept-based teaching
Increased focus on learning PRINCIPLES rather than memorizing facts
Encourages students to makes connections between subjects
Builds networks of meaning that can be used for future learning.
-Carol Tomlinson (2001)
Curriculum Compacting
Ideal for students who already know the upcoming content
Activities are planned that allow student to explore a topic/concept in greater depth
Activities can be selected and paced to meet student needs
-Chapman and King (2012)
Use a variety of texts and resources
Include texts that span a range of ability levels
Use audio versions of novels
Use texts that are high-interest
Incorporate visual texts
Incorporate technology
Note-taking frameworks
Teaches students how to organise the key ideas from a text
Provides students with a framework for future independent note-taking
Guided note-taking
Teachers provide lower-ability students with cloze passage notes that support note-taking
Important points from passages of text are highlighted to draw attention to the main ideas
how we present content to student needs
how we present the content to the students' learning styles
Using a variety of teaching styles
Avoid relying on one approach to teaching content
Use technology to engage students

- Carol Tomlinson (2001)
How can we differentiate the PROCESS according to students'
Design GOOD activities that :
Match complexity to students' skill level
Encourage students to explore topics in their preferred learning styles
Encourage independence AND interdependence
capacity to learn it?
-Carol Tomlinson, 2001
Students work in expert groups to gather information, then return to their initial groups to collate this information with other group members
individual accountability
positive interdependence
A collection of 'sense-making' activities that focus on what the students need to KNOW, UNDERSTAND, or BE ABLE TO DO.
- Carol Tomlinson (2001)
Socratic Seminars
Choose a text that is relevant to the unit of study and matches students' ability level
Read the text in advance with the appropriate reading comprehension strategies
Prepare open-ended discussion questions
Arrange students in a circle ready for the discussion
Use of social skills
individual accountability
Graphic Organizers
Allow students to IDENTIFY and ORGANIZE important information
Must be selected on the basis of student need AND relevancy to the learning objective
examples of graphic organizers:
Venn diagram
Concept map
Reading map
Paragraph framework
Cornell note-taking framework
KWL charts
PMI charts
Interactive notebooks
Allow students to INTERACT creatively
with the information
Provides teachers with an opportunity to
differentiate information (INPUT) and
subsequent activities (OUTPUT)
Right side:
Teacher input - information
left side:
Student interaction with the material
How can we differentiate the PRODUCT according to students'
level of understanding?
What students create that demonstrates their understanding of what they have learned.
Product assignments should offer students some opportunity to EXTEND themselves.
- Carol Tomlinson (2001)
Design product assignments that incorporate essential skills/concepts from the learning
Match the PRODUCT to the students' ability to succeed
Giving students choice within their assignments gives them some OWNERSHIP over the learning.
Choices could include:
Topic of product
Mode of presentation
Group or independent work
Open-ended tasks
These tasks allow students to work at the level they can achieve at, whilst also allowing for some extension
Assistive technology
The use of technology can support students in completing product assignments.

Types of assistive technology:
Dragon Dictation
Bloom's Taxonomy
A product assignment can be differentiated by using the different levels in Bloom's taxonomy of learning
Each level of the taxonomy provides suggestions for how students can demonstrate their learning
Learning matrices
Using Bloom's taxonomy a wide range of
activities can be developed that relate to any topic

These activities can then be selected by the student to match their ability/'readiness' to learn

Students can extend themselves by selecting activities that require higher-order thinking
Ralph Pirozzo, 1997
A successful differentiated classroom creates an that
supports ALL students within it.

How can we create a that promotes differentiation?
classroom climate
Ensure that ALL students feel welcomed into the classroom.
Students contribute to making everyone
Create a
learning community!
"Tribes is a democratic group process...to develop a
positive environment
promotes human growth and learning."
- Jeanne Gibbs (2006)
Implement the
Community Agreements!
"The goal in a differentiated classroom is to
help every learner grow
as much as he or she can in both general ability and specific talents...The growth of each student is a matter of celebration."
-Carol Tomlinson (2001)
Expectation of growth
"...trying to make sure each student gets what she needs in order to
and succeed."
-Carol Tomlinson (2001)
"...whatever kind of
is needed for any student to move from prior knowledge and skill to the
next level
of knowledge and skill."
-Carol Tomlinson (2001)
Using cooperative learning structures in the classroom encourages students to work together to achieve specific learning goals.
How does cooperative learning support learning in the classroom?
ositive interdependence
ndividual accountability
qual participation
imultaneous interaction
-Spencer Kagan (2009)
Cooperative learning structures are
when they incorporate the following
student engagement

It promotes critical thinking.
It involves students actively in the learning process.
Classroom results are improved.
It models appropriate student problem solving techniques.
Large lectures can be personalised.
It can facilitate ‘Deep Learning’.
It is especially helpful in motivating students in specific curriculum.
It develops learning communities.

t2tuk.co.uk (2015)
why is cooperative learning so effective?
Teacher provides instruction
Whole class Q & A

Ratio of engagement =
1 student at a time
Teacher provides instruction
Select cooperative learning structure
Expected student participation
Ratio of engagement =
50% - 100% of students
- t2tuk.co.uk (2015)
kagan cooperative
learning structures
"Delivering your lesson content using a Kagan Cooperative structure is a way of easily increasing the amount of time your pupils spend ‘on task’."
- t2tuk.co.uk (2015)
Teach me my most difficult concepts in my preferred style.
Let me explore my easiest concepts in a different style.
Just don’t teach me all the time in your preferred style and think I’m not capable of learning.

Virleen M. Carlson, Center for Learning and Teaching.

the question is...
what we

Classrooms are full of students with
learning needs.

Ability grouping alone cannot meet these needs.
Teachers need to
bridge the gap
between the learner
and the learning

references and further reading
http://www.t2tuk.co.uk/StudentTeacher.aspx (2015)
daretodifferentiate.wikispaces.com (2015)
Gibbs, J. (2006). Reaching all by creating Tribes Learning Communities. Windsor, California: CentreSource Systems.
Kagan, S. & Kagan M. (1994). Kagan cooperative learning. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing.
Tomlinson, C. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms (2nd edition). Alexandria, VA: ASCD
Chapman, C. & King, R. (2012). Differentiated assessment strategies: One tool doesn't fit all (2nd edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Theory of Multiple Intelligences
and Bloom's
Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain
can be useful in designing

left-side activities!
Full transcript