Differentiation is a powerful way to fix your lesson plans.
What is differentiation in education? Differentiation simply means tailoring your instruction to meet the individual needs of all your students. A simple definition, but a potentially difficult challenge! Especially when you have 30 students needing 30 different things for each activity – Yikes! But providing differentiated tools can be incredibly powerful, allowing your students to get what they need, when they need it.
So, how can you differentiate in a way that is manageable for YOU?
As an educator, 3 key areas to look at to differentiate for your students are content, processes, and assessments.
Let’s look at each individually.
Content — The medium used to practice skills, learn new ideas and research information.
The medium you use to present information can have an enormous impact on how the information is received by your students. Utilizing a medium that reaches more then just auditory learners, but visual and kinesthetic learners as well, can be a manageable form of differentiation.
Tiffany Ott (@techieteachott), an Edu Tech Expert, continues to emphasize the need for the use of technology to enhance good instruction, not replace it. Through the use of tech as an avenue to effectively differentiate, there are 100’s of strong academic apps to support your instruction!
Consider these tools in your next lesson design :
- Google Tools; Docs, Sheets, Classroom, etc
Processes — The Practices students perform to better understand content
Change up the practice! No more lesson plans with just writing or station activities! Offer opportunities to your students to learn content through different practices. While this may mean presenting content through multiple mediums, this can be so much more!
Consider differentiation through self-paced mastery learning. Students can approach content at their own pace – seeking support as needed and allowing them to SOAR when they feel confident exploring the content on their own. Don’t limit your students’ act of learning – provide them more outlets to do the learning themselves.
Assessment — The Assessment strategy students are asked to complete to demonstrate mastery
Do all of your assessments look the same? Paper/Pencil assessments have their place and time, but what other avenues can you utilize to develop a strong understanding of your students’ knowledge?
Do you need a formal assessment at all? Challenge the status quo and assess your students using a different method then what you’ve used in the past!
The bottom line is, we CAN differentiate, and it doesn’t need to be scary or unrealistic. Look at these simple ways you can adjust your lesson plans and provide differentiated tools for your students!
Keep enhancing your lesson plans with the other 8 fixes within our “9 Ways to Fix Your Lesson Plans” series!
Fix 1 : Align Standards, Targets, and Mastery Questions (Click to Read!)
Fix 2: Personalize Learning (Click to Read!)
Fix 3: Scaffold Student Learning Opportunities (Click to Read!)
Fix 4: Ask Your Students (Click to Read!)
Fix 5: Connect Your Content (Click to Read!)
Fix 6: Acquire Classroom Funding (Click go Read)
Fix 7: Create Differentiated Tools (CHECK!)
Fix 8: Assess Understanding, not Task Completion (coming soon!)
Fix 9: Ask your PLN (coming soon!)