Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Making Differentiation a Habit Part 3 Its A FULL TIME JOB!

I must admit something, I have been studying differentiation for awhile now and getting bolder and stronger in my practice about how to go about it to create a culture of learning, but even though I keep trying, there are times when I feel like I am at the starting block of the race and not lap 4 out of who knows how many laps.

Sometimes, I think about differentiation and my mind gets blown apart into smithereens with trying to make sure that each learner is learning in a way that is best suited for them to learn. It keeps me awake at night and that is why my tech shut down mode kicks in by 9 and my work shutdown mode as well. If I don't do that, I'll keep thinking about it. It is a boundary that I will be better at keeping this year.

There are so many students in our classes. In first grade I have 25 my friend across the hall has 36. Differentiate. Create an unique learning experience for each student every day.

Yes. Yes. That sounds good. I nod my head.
I can do that.
How hard can it be?

BLOODY HARD I tell you! No, I don't want to teach in a one size fits all classroom, but what I need is a day set apart or two..or three maybe working by myself as well as with my co-teacher and my team to create learning plans for students. Biting this chunk off to do by yourself is hard.

It is a team effort.
The best differentiation plans are created when the players show up!
The parents, the teachers and the student.

Lay all the cards out on the table.

  • When you look at how that child was created to learn based on the 8 Intelligences.
  • When you look at the curriculum and see what is available though that.
  • When you look at  your own teaching style and see how you can teach so that each specific child can l earn.
  • When you have teamwork between home and school created by strong connections. 
  • When you have a child own their own learning journey.

I think that creating ILPs or Individual Learning Plans is the best way to go, but to do it slightly easier, I think that there needs to be a higher technology element.

When the curriculum has some type of integrated digital curriculum, when there is a better process for progress monitoring, it seems like that takes a bit of the edge off. It doesn't cut from the responsibility of the teacher to instruct nor the student to learn, it just helps to sew the learning journey together.

When there is this type of integration, it makes it easier for teachers to move away from the sage on the stage to the guide on the side which is essential for differentiation.

I have yet to come across one that is designed just for students for DAILY not quarterly nor semester by semester goal setting with action steps.

For me, that is what it needs to have DAILY action steps for the academic goal. Use the I CAN statements and have them select a process ( provide choices) for HOW to show me that they can.  I would want this for each content area in the class I am teaching. Yeah, easy when it is a self contained classroom.

Am I dreaming? Is this not a reality? Must it be quarter by quarter or semester by semester where we only look at assessment data and write nice sounding goals, that honestly, many don't look at again until it is time for conferences?

This is my goal..before the beginning of the new school year, I will have one designed. I will share it with you. I may have several prototypes between now and then...but I can see what I want...I just don't see anyone using it. If you do..would you let me know? I'd sure like to see one!

I liked this image about what differentiation is and what it is not. I am going to paste this on my brain as I make my way to my Daily ILP project.


Finally...I really don't understand  how we are told to differentiate our instruction techniques but we we are not told to give differentiating assessments. Don't we need do do that as well? Ah, to be continued!