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Online Course: Differentiated Instruction and Lesson Planning (Assessment)

The LINCS Learning Portal houses self-paced, freely accessible online courses developed by U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education-funded initiatives

This discussion thread is related to the LINCS online course entitled Differentiated Instruction and Lesson Planning that is available in the LINCS Learning Portal. During and after you complete the course, you are prompted to write reflections on the issues below. Please share your thoughts and experiences with your colleagues.

  • Consider a lesson you currently teach. Did you design the assessment before planning activities? If so, how did it help determine the activities to be used? If not, how might developing the assessment before planning activities have changed your choices?
  • Consider a lesson you currently teach. Do its learning activities match the learning objectives? Are there provisions for formative assessment? If so, how do those planning steps help shape the lesson? If not, how might they change the lesson currently taught?

 

 

Comments

Candy Buechler's picture
First

I teach vocational courses such as Introduction to Computers. The differentiated lesson plans will be a huge help this semester as I have students at different levels. For instance, I may have one or two students in the group who have never used a mouse. I am working on a lesson plan now that will help those learn how to use a mouse while other more experienced computer users can move on to another, more advanced activity.

Thank you for such a wonderful online course! I will definitely recommend this course to my colleagues.

Lori Krecioch's picture
First

I teach the Writing/Language Arts section of the GED, and I have all my students complete writing assignments. however, because of their varying levels of ability, I usually give them a few essay topic options, which allows them then to pick an assignment they feel comfortable with. Then, since I know their personal ability levels, I will critique their essays on different scoring criteria. For some students, I may be looking at sentence structure, such as compound and complex sentences, but others I might look at pronoun agreement. 

Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Hi Lori, Thanks for your posting. You describe a typical class which almost always has a wide range of skills in writing. Could you say a bit about how you prepare students at different levels to write an extended response for the GED®, which requires them to cite evidence to support their claims in writing?

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, Assessment CoP

Steven Letourneau's picture
Ten

When I started my unit on W.E.B. Dubois, I had the summative activity in place which was a do or die final exam. That particular choice of mine made me more of a "sage on a stage" and I was very traditional in my formative exercises as well (quizzes and verbal checks). Although I did create the assessments before lesson planning, because they weren't differentiated many slower students were left behind. This class refreshes what I already know, but I have not been using as well as I should.

Steven Letourneau's picture
Ten

Yes, my lesson plans do match my objectives. They, however, lack decent differentiation. In the future, I will structure my lessons in a way to let all students from varying abilities gain better access. In that, I will try to work more cooperative learning and technology based instruction. I have used quizzes and journaling as a source of my formative assessment. Now I have more tool, I will use them. 

Gerrit Geurs's picture
First

In the previous module, I reflected on a lesson objective for students working on citing evidence. Before beginning the lesson, I had planned what I was going to give my learners as the assessment. We read two articles, and I informed the learners at the beginning of the lesson that at the end of the readings they would be writing an argumentative claim, supported with evidence from the reading, that is the opposite of their opinion on the topic. Knowing that at the end of the lesson, learners were going to take the opposite viewpoint and make a claim helped in how I guided the lesson, in both finding evidence, and practicing by writing a claim that they believed.

If I had not already determined how I was going to assess my students' learning, then my lesson would probably have been less focused. I would not have had the chance to guide my learners in practicing the skills before I had them demonstrate their learning.

Gerrit Geurs's picture
First

For this course, I have been reflecting on a lesson revolving around citing evidence in an argumentative claim. For the lesson, I had thought about how I was going to take a pause in the middle of the instruction to determine how well my learners were grasping the content. Once I figured out what those checkpoints were going to be (formative assessments), I started figuring out what activities were going to get me from start to checkpoint, and next checkpoint. 

In this sense, I would say the formative assessments guided how the learning activities were planned. They were created and implemented with the purpose of being the stopping points throughout the lesson. The learning objectives were the end focus, and the assessments I incorporated were meant for me to gauge how close to the "finish line" my learners were approaching. The learning activities helped me see where good pausing points would be.

Dianne Brown's picture
First

I gave my different level math students a multiple choice test about multiplying two digit numbers. Since I knew that I was using a multiple choice assessment, I gave me students a practice worksheet for them to complete and us to review before the assessment. The assessment was chosen before the activity was planned. 

Amye Howell's picture
First

I am working with Mi Best students, and we are working on punctuation.  I looked at the language arts practice test for the TASC prior to beginning the lesson.  I covered this topic with them.  I gave them a group assignment, and then we checked it and corrected the errors.  I gave them individual practice sheets similar to the TASC practice test.  One student needed more remediation than the other student.  I gave the advanced student a more difficult worksheet, and then he wrote and correctly puntuated his original sentences.  I showed an additional powerpoint/video to the remedial student, and then we worked a worksheet together.  Then, I let him work independently.

Wanda Williams's picture
First

This information on how to adjust the lesson plan within the class is very valuable  for the challenged and advance learners.

Meggin LeVeaux's picture
First

As an elementary school teacher, I often used backwards planning, especially for my English Language Development (ELD) students. However, since transitioning into teaching ESL adults, I have not utilized this model. In the future, developing the assessment before planning activities will have a positive impact on my lessons. It will really allow me to focus on the skills I went students to demonstrate at the conclusion of the lesson. Further, designing the assessment will also encourage me to differentiate my lessons. 

Dylan Dolisi's picture
First

One lesson currently being taught in our program involves translating word problems into multi-step algebraic equations and then solving for the variables created.  This is assessed with cumulative tests, but not until the very end of instruction.  I believe that this lesson could be enhanced by a backward design that would help us assess progress and understanding with just a few practice problems being done as a quiz at the beginning of math each morning that would help us track our learning more effectively.  These formative assessments would assist me in seeing which activities I am using are successful and which need to be adjusted.

Dylan Dolisi's picture
First

One lesson I have been teaching is a lesson over translating word problems into systems of equations and then solving for the missing values.  Currently, I am teaching this by simply showing the process and then going over multiple practice problems on the board with the students.  These do not include formal formative assessment and would look very different if they did.  One option for change that could increase the effectiveness of the lesson would be to use actual objects in the beginning of the lesson to demonstrate why and how the equations were formed and then have the students actually make their own problems and equations physically with the objects in order to show their understanding of the concepts.

 

Natalia Devlin's picture
First

I am an instructional coach, and in our program we use a variety of formative assessments. It really depends on a lesson.

Ayesha Kalim's picture
First

Consider a lesson you currently teach. Did you design the assessment before planning activities? If so, how did it help determine the activities to be used? If not, how might developing the assessment before planning activities have changed your choices? 

I have been designing an online course on 'SOFT SKILLS' including problem solving & decision making skills. I have used backward design model to design my assessments before the learning activities and it does help a lot to align the learning activities fully aligned with their assessment methods. Fundamentally, the assessments are forms of measurement, therefore determining the course of action during initially before moving into the learning activities promotes clarity of teaching vision, improved quality of learning process, higher level of student engagement, and more frequency of formative assessments helps determine the whole course of teaching/learning process. Although, it seems challenging to me initially because, I never used backward design model before but gradually it helped improve my overall teaching method, my confidence, support of my students, and empowered me through enhance teaching skills. 

Ayesha Kalim's picture
First

Consider a lesson you currently teach. Do its learning activities match the learning objectives? Are there provisions for formative assessment? If so, how do those planning steps help shape the lesson? If not, how might they change the lesson currently taught? 

I am currently designing and teaching a course on problem solving and decision making. Obviously, the learning activities match the learning objectives. Yes, there are provisions of formative assessment. For example, some of the formative assessments are: group study, class discussions, survey interviews, case studies, and peer assessment methods. The formative assessments are not graded, rather include a timely feedback from instructor or if required from peers. 

These planning steps help shape the lesson by providing the opportunity to instructor & learner both to address the areas of improvements, target future learning goals, and facilitate learning inside classroom and beyond. Formative assessments are tools for instructors to improve, facilitate and modify lessons during the execution of instruction. Quizzes, reflective journals, cooperative learning are some of the key strategies to assess learning. However, summative assessments have their own advantages and they prove useful at the culmination of the learning activity to determine the level of learning occurred. Summative assessment forms can be in the form of standardized tests, essays, papers, exams etc.