IMPLEMENTING DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION–Phase II

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

TRANSESCENT SEMINAR PROJECT

 

Franklin Middle School

School District of Janesville

450 North Crosby

Janesville, WI 53545

 

 

Dr. Kim Ehrhardt, Team Leader

Edna Feldman-Schultz, Member

Bea Holmes, Member

Matt Peerenboom, Member

Jeff Sorensen, Member

Sharon Whitcomb, Member

 

 

August, 2002

Implementing Differentiated Instruction

Introduction:

How best to differentiate instruction and individualize for the range of student needs and abilities in the classroom is an ongoing challenge. Effective teachers tend to recognize individual and group differences among their students and work to accommodate those differences in their instruction. These teachers know that no single approach works with all students and that classrooms function best when teachers and learners join in developing multiple avenues to learning. Schools that differentiate learning are concerned about adapting instruction to meet individual student needs which in turn requires careful assessment and planning for all students, as well as the ability to select from a range of strategies to find the optimal match to promote student achievement.

Successful teachers present information in such a way that the majority of the class is challenged yet can be successful. They adapt assignments to meet the needs of other students who are either higher or lower functioning or who simply need the material presented differently. They also take the time to teach students the organizational skills that many of their peers instinctively acquire and use.

Franklin Middle School will begin its third year of applying the principles of differentiated instruction as the centerpiece of teaching and learning at our school. This project is designed to help teachers at our school continue these efforts by exploring the following goals:

  1. Self-assess current efforts to promote flexible teaching and learning.
  2. Reflect on the "big picture" of differentiation in order to develop a sharper sense of how teachers plan instruction for academic diversity.
  3. Continue the development of a broader repertoire of management strategies for guiding a flexible and differentiated classroom.
  4. Continue efforts to implement assessment practices that support differentiated instruction.
  5. Explore the current messiness of the conventional grading system and develop guidelines that represent the current knowledge of psychology, motivation, learning and the brain as well as acknowledging the need to grade, at least in part, on individual student growth.

 

Goal: Self-assess current efforts to promote flexible teaching and learning.

Objective: Teachers will self-assess their progress toward applying the principles of differentiation by completing assessment instruments designed for this task.

 

Activities

  1. In a staff development meeting, teachers will access their prior knowledge of differentiation by discussing in small groups the handout entitled Assumptions About Differentiation.
  2. Teachers will then review and discuss in small group the handout, Low/High Differentiation.
  3. Teachers will conclude this inservice by completing the rating scale Assessing Differentiation in the Classroom.

IMPLEMENTATION TIMELINE: This goal will be accomplished at the first early release staff development day held in September, 2002.

 

 

 

 

Goal: Reflect on the "big picture" of differentiation in order to develop a

sharper sense of how teachers plan instruction for academic diversity.

 

Objective: Teachers will engage in staff development that helps them consider the important components for planning differentiated instruction that includes the following: state standards; grouping strategies; enrichment/remediation considerations; and planning for curriculum integration.

Activities

  1. All teachers on the clinical supervision model will receive staff development training on the Differentiated Lesson Planning Model. This model outlines the important planning headers for differentiated instruction. See Appendix, page 12.
  2. All teams will complete four integrated differentiated lessons (one per quarter) using the Differentiated Lesson Planning Model.

 

IMPLEMENTATION TIMELINE: Activity number one will be completed at the August, 2002, teacher meeting for teachers on supervision cycle and at the September goal setting conferences. Staff development for activity number two will take place during a grade level meeting held during the month of September, 2002.

 

Goal: Developing a broader repertoire of management strategies for guiding a flexible and differentiated classroom.

 

Objective: Teachers will be able to identify which management strategy or strategies they would like to employ in their classrooms as they differentiate learning for their students.

Activities

  1. Teachers will review the different management strategies for differentiating instruction by viewing one of three video training tapes that demonstrate the implementation of differentiated management strategies.
  2. Teachers will have an opportunity to discuss and plan which strategies they wish to further refine or develop to better manage instruction in their classroom.
  3. Teachers will report out and share their progress with implementing differentiated management strategies at a grade level setting.

 

IMPLEMENTATION TIMELINE: Activities number one and number two will be completed at a scheduled staff development meeting in December, 2002. The follow-up (activity number three) will be held during the months of January and February, 2003, and at a scheduled grade level meeting.

Goal: Continue efforts to implement assessment practices that support differentiated instruction.

 

Objective: Teachers will review and identify which assessment practice(s) they employ, or plan to develop, to assess the progress of student learning in their classrooms.

Activities

  1. Teachers will review assessment practices such as tiered assignments/assessments, compacting, grading and learning contracts by viewing one of two ASCD videos on differentiated instruction.
  2. Teachers will identify which assessment practice or tool they are using or plan to further develop to support differentiation in their classrooms.
  3. Teachers will report out and share their progress with implementing differentiated management strategies at a grade level setting.

 

 

IMPLEMENTATION TIMELINE: Activities number one and number two will be completed at a scheduled staff development meeting in January, 2003. The follow-up–Activity number three will be held during the months of February and March, 2003, at a scheduled grade level meeting.

 

Goal: Explore the current messiness of the conventional grading system and develop guidelines that represent the current knowledge of psychology, motivation, learning and the brain as well as acknowledging the need to grade, at least in part, on individual student growth.

 

Objective: Orient teachers to current research related to grading and explore methods and practices that include student growth.

Activities

 

  1. Teachers will share and review their current grading practices and how they arrive at a report card grade.
  2. Teachers will receive staff development of current research about the relationship of grading and learning. The new ASCD Grading and Reporting Student Learning will be a resource.
  3. Teachers will develop and pilot several models to differentiate grading during the second semester of the 2002-03 school year.
  4. Teachers will share the impact of their differentiated grading pilots at the May, 2003, staff development meeting.

 

 

IMPLEMENTATION TIMELING: Activities number one and two will be completed at the February, 2003, staff development meeting. The follow-up–activities three and four will be implemented during the balance of the second semester and reported in May, 2003.

STRATEGIES FOR PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION

Implementation of this project will be a joint effort among team leaders, subject area leaders, building administration, learning support teacher, and the 2002 Seminar Team. The primary coordinating force will be the seminar team.

The seminar team will meet on a quarterly basis (every nine weeks) to coordinate and monitor the project timeline for each goal and accompanying activities. The seminar project leader will be responsible for setting the times and dates of these meetings.

Members of the seminar team will select a goal(s) and act as a resource agent to the staff relative to the implementation and monitoring of that goal(s).

The seminar team will be responsible for the development of a series of well-organized and motivating staff development meetings to implement the key components of this project. They will also communicate teacher responsibilities and expectations at each meeting.

Implementation of this project will also be an important goal of the Franklin Continuous Growth Plan, and the progress of this effort will be documented in that report.

PROJECT OUTCOMES

This project has as its focus three principle outcomes. The first is to continue past efforts to implement the basic principles of differentiation at Franklin Middle School–goals number three and number four.

The second is to further develop the design of lessons and units that employ differentiation with a focus on developing integrated units that are differentiated. Teachers will be trained in using a differentiated lesson/unit plan--goal number two.

Third is to begin exploration of current teacher grading practices as they relate to curriculum differentiation. An important focus in this area of development will be to make sure that grades include individual student growth–goal #5.

EVALUATION PROCEDURES

The evaluation of this project will be ongoing and occur in a variety of ways both formally and informally. The seminar team will be doing ongoing evaluation of the project consistent with the project goals. They will report progress toward achieving the goals at the quarterly meetings in narrative and descriptive format. These reports will be recorded in the meeting minutes of the project and be recorded in the appendix of next year’s project.

Furthermore, the seminar team will develop a survey instrument for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of the program’s goals contained in this project. This evaluation will be administered in May of 2003.

The seminar team will compile the results of the surveys and write an evaluation summary of the project that indicated strengths, weakness and future recommendations. The evaluation summary will be incorporated in the concluding report of Franklin Middle School’s Continuous Growth Plan and be used in next year’s development of this project.

References

Azwell, T., & Schmar, E. (1995). Report Card on Report Cards: Alternatives to Consider. Portsmouth NH: Heinemann.

Fogarty, Robin. (1991). The Mindful School: How to Integrate the Curricula.

Palentine, Ill: Skylight Publishing, Inc.

George, Paul. (1997). Differentiating Instruction and Challenging the Gifted In the Middle Grades. Gainesville, FLD. Teacher Education Resources.

Gusky, Thomas., & Marzano, Robert. (2002). Grading and Student Learning Professional Inquiry Kit. Alexandria, VA: ASCD

Tomlinson, C. A. (1995). How to Differentiated Instruction In Mixed Ability Classrooms. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Tomlinson, C. A. (1999). The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Tomlinson, C., & Allan, S. (2000). Leadership For Differentiating Schools and Classrooms. Alexandria, VA. ASCD

Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). At Work In The Differentiated Classroom

Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Stronge, James H. (2002). Qualities of Effective Teachers

Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Appendix

STANDARD BASED DIFFERENTIATED LESSON PLAN

 

 

Teacher:

   

Subject Area:

 

Date:

   

Grade Level:

 

 

Standard and Content objective to be taught:

 
 
 
 

 

Assessments: (Identify the tools techniques used to determine the extent students have mastery of the

team standards)

 
 
 
 

Introductory Activities: (Anticipatory Set)

 
 
 

Teaching Strategies:

 
 
 
 

Learning Activities:

 
 
 
 

Grouping Strategies:

 
 
 
 

Products:

 
 
 
 

Resources:

 
 
 
 

Extension Activities:

 
 
 
 

Modifications for Learner Needs: