I am excited to partner with Study.com today to bring you this GIVEAWAY and valuable information.
I am always baffled when people question how I can teach multiple grades at home. How can I teach grade 1 and grade 3 and still ensure each child is being appropriately challenged? I suppose it baffles me so much because when I was teaching in the classroom I was ALWAYS teaching a much larger range of ability levels. Sure, the children were the same age, but there was often a 4 year range in academic abilities.
The trick then, as it is now, is to ‘differentiate’ my instruction. This basically means using one lesson, and adapting it so it reaches everyone! I find this such a critical thing to ensure my little learners are happily in their “just right” zones, that when I was contacted by Study.com to share some information about differentiated instruction, I jumped at the chance.
I hope you find this post helpful in either getting started with differentiated instruction in your homeschool or classroom, or perhaps refreshing you on why it is so very important.
I sat down with Lana from Study.com and asked her some questions. Not only did she provide me with such valuable responses, she also offered us a GIVEAWAY!
Read to the bottom of this post and leave a comment for your chance to win one of 3 three month subscriptions to study.com!
I loved that idea so much, I am adding in my own giveaway! Not only will you win a 3 month subscription to study.com, you will also win a copy of my eBook, Play into Reading Readiness!
Here is my conversation with Lana:
How would you explain “Differentiated Instruction”?
Simply put, differentiated instruction is the umbrella term used to describe the variety of ways teachers support their students in accessing lesson content. Classrooms contain students who not only have different abilities and skills, but also different ages, learning styles, levels of prior understanding and cultural/linguistic backgrounds.
For that reason, teachers work hard to make sure all students can access their lessons and make progress – whether by modifying resources, creating lesson cues, using different success criteria or grouping students strategically, to name a few.
Why is Differentiated Instruction so important for young children?
Imagine – you have just transferred into a new school, halfway through Grade 3. Not only do you have to get to know the building, routines, classmates and teachers – that’s daunting enough! You also have to try to understand what’s being taught. What if this class is half way through a unit you haven’t studied before? What if you understand little of what’s being said? What if you find new environments over-stimulating or intimidating, and you’re struggling to concentrate?
Maybe you’re not the new kid, but simply struggle to read. Maybe you find math confusing and frustrating. Or perhaps you mastered these skills long before your peers and you need more challenge.
Without differentiated instruction you may not be getting a great learning experience, and that can lead to all sorts of problems – distraction, disruption, listlessness, a loss of motivation to learn. Teachers practicing differentiated instruction are working hard to keep all their students engaged, motivated and on course to do the best that they can, every day.
How can Study.com support us as we differentiate our teaching for our children?
Well, for starters we are hugely proud of our content – our differentiated instruction hub provides practical ideas and resources for general classroom use as well as according to subject; it also gives advice on how to create high quality lessons with differentiation in mind and contains a professional development course for teachers.
But it’s not just the differentiated instruction hub itself that is relevant here. Lessons on Study.com are all short, animated 5-minute videos. Teachers can assign these lessons and the accompanying quizzes and assessments as homework, which gives the students the chance to take their time.
If they get something wrong on a quiz, they get sent back to the appropriate place in the video to learn the right answer. This reduces pressure on students who struggle to concentrate or listen for long periods and helps them to stay motivated. Assessments are graded automatically, giving teachers more time for preparation.
Some teachers report flipping their classroom: using Study.com to set pre-reading and research in preparation for their lesson. Others print our worksheets and resources for use in class, which can then double up as lesson cues, supporting lower ability students to follow the lesson. And with such a library of resources, it’s easy for teachers to challenge high performing students with more advanced material.
I love how, when looking at assessment, you talk about product vs. process. Can you tell us a little more about this please?
When assessing student performance you can ask them to produce something – say, a science report or persuasive poster – and make a judgement on their level of understanding and ability on the topic at hand. This is a product assessment.
But sometimes the things you want to assess aren’t tangible – say, a student’s ability to ask insightful questions, organize their thoughts (and therefore work), or how a concept is connected to other things they have learnt. These intangibles are no less important to gauge if you want to differentiate effectively and help your students to learn.
In these cases, teachers will perform a process assessment. This sounds very official, but it may be as simple as setting up group discussions, whole-class feedback sessions or having one-to-one check-ins with students of the kind that happen all the time in classrooms.
Some activities may allow you to assess product and process at the same time. For example, English essays and class presentations both allow you to assess a student’s understanding of a topic, and they also tell you something about how the student organizes their thoughts, their level of analysis and their ability to make connections between ideas.
Thank you Lana and Study.com!
I have been so impressed with the professionalism of this company and how devoted they are to teachers both in the classroom and at home. I am sure you will be too!
To be entered into the GIVEAWAY of BOTH:
1) Three free 3 month subscription to Study.com,
2) AND three free Play into Reading Readiness eBooks,
please simply leave a comment below.
Tell me in your comment: are you a teacher in the classroom or home with your kids?
GOOD LUCK!!! And thank you for reading friends!!
The Giveaway is now closed. Thank you to all who entered! And congratulations to our 3 winners!!