***This thread has been cross-posted in the Math and Numeracy, Science, and Reading and Writing groups.
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. How would using differentiated instruction change it?
- Consider a lesson you currently teach. Does it have effective learning objectives that are specific, observable and measurable? If so, how do these shape the lesson? If not, how would effective learning objectives change the lesson?
- Write a reflection on how what you learned in this course shaped the lesson plan you produced and/or the success of your lesson.
1- After completing the Differentiated Instruction and Lesson Planning course, I found that my knowledge of differentiation was lacking vital information. Now, my DI lesson pals will be more complete and on target.
2-My current lesson plans have the necessary effective objectives: specific, observable, and measurable. The one difference is, I will consider the assessment before the lesson to guide the lesson plan and activities.
3- Reflection - Module 5: Putting it all together - I learned a great deal from this course, including, but limited to differentiating by product, that there is much more to formative and summative assessments than I knew, differentiated by content and process, and the types of activities through the principle of UDL. Then there are concepts that I use in my lesson plans every day, that has a specific name "Backward Design."
Thank you for the wealth of information I gained today moving through the 5 modules of "Differentiated Instruction and Lesson Planning.
I would articulate the different rules that are applicable to the specific coding situations then provide assessments based on individual rules; then assessment based on combining two rules, then assessments based on combining three /multiple rules. I think this will allow quicker students to keep their pace, while allowing other students the opportunity to understand both the individual rules and how, and when, they should be combined
I really enjoyed this course. Tiered learning is a must for ESL classes. I've taught adults for a long time, but this is my first ESL instruction job. I'm developing a new lesson plan for my bi-weekly class right now. This ESL lesson addresses Health: Identifying Parts of the Body, Common Health Problems, and Writing an Accident Report. I would begin class by showing a chart of the body-identifying parts of the body/where they are located. Class would then be divided into small groups where students would perform the following tasks:
Level Beginner: Identify parts of the body. Match parts of the body with common health problems. Students are given a blank chart of the body and a word bank (cut up pieces of paper with vocabulary words). Students are asked to match the body part with the word. Students are then given images of people with various health problems-they will match a body part with the depicted ailment (answering the question, "What's the matter?").
Level Intermediate: Make observations and identify common health problems. Exercises include answering Yes/No questions about health problems. Students will also practice writing an email asking a supervisor to excuse an absence from work.
Level Advanced: Listen to a conversation about an accident and ask students to identify what happened. Sequence events to write an accident report.
This lesson plan is still in progress, but I hope I'm on the right track! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
My adult English Language Learners benefit from DI because of the nature of varied English proficiency upon entering the course. I employ backward design by always considering the objective or outcome first. This is the first question I ask myself when thinking about a class period or even a task within a class period: "What should Ss be able to do at the end of this?"
In terms of assessment, my current students are working toward a standardized summative assessment and their curriculum is in line with CCR standards. This however, does not limit my ability to conduct pre-assessments and formative assessments. In fact, this is where a lot of the DI can/should happen.
For example, if I am eliciting oral responses to a reading text, I may expect a different depth of response from my learners: a complete sentence with accurate grammar structure from a higher-proficient student, and a shorter, though still accurate phrase from a lower-proficient student.
This course helped shape the lesson plan I produced in real time, because what I started out with in Module 3 changed by the time I got to Module 5 as a result of the things I learned. A big take away for me was in the discussion of Stage 3 of Differentiation: Learning Activities. As we learned, when planning activities, we must first consider readiness. When you become 'comfortable' as a teacher and start to feel automatic in your lesson planning, it may be easy to skip over this step, especially when teaching a very standard and sequential curriculum. However, readiness is the cornerstone of differentiation, and this course helped me to consider pausing and really considering my teaching environment to ensure all of my learners have the same access to a topic and opportunity to achieve outcomes equitably. Thank you for this course!
Good points. Readiness is sometimes difficult for me to assess--even given test scores. Adults who are new to the English language are sometimes too polite (or shy) to let me know when they don't understand. Others show up to class as "beginners," but they really have a lot of real-world language skills. As a teacher, I can capitalize on these real-world experiences by differentiate according to student interest.
My name is Kelly Beaty, and I teach Everyday English Foundations to adults. Based on Module 1, here are some changes I can make in the way I teach calendar skills.
1. Using "backward design," first state the objectives.
Students will be able to answer questions about dates and calendars.
Students will be able to read and write about a calendar.
2. Next step is to design an assessment: Given a 1-month calendar, students will answer questions involving the following vocabulary: day, date, month, year, yesterday, today, tomorrow. These questions will be asked both in writing and verbally. Students will answer in writing.
3. Lastly, I will design the tasks leading up to the final assessment. First, I will informally assess what students already know with a warm-up game that requires them to say the days of the week, months of the year, and numbers from 1-100. In my class population, this will be review for many students. Based on this informal assessment, I will place students in groups of 4 to write a February (this month) calendar, with days, numbers, month, and year. New students will be mixed with those who have covered this material before so that they can assist one another.
Present relevant classroom events for students to write on their calendars--holidays, special guests, new units of study, etc...
Next I will use questions on the board to review and apply relevant vocabulary: today, tomorrow, yesterday, what, when. For example, What day is today? What day is tomorrow? When is Valentine's Day? How may days are in February? What day is does February 18th fall on?
Student groups can then come up with original questions to ask, writing them down. This will yield questions of varying complexity.
After this, groups can take turns asking their questions.
I am currently teaching adults ELLs to give and follow directions to places on a map. I feel like I hit all the marks of a solid learning objective about half way! For example, I now see the wisdom in breaking the objectives down to show more specific steps (i.e., SWBAT use between, among, and next to describe locations on a map). This would also make measuring achievement more direct. My students are beginners, and I have not been accustomed to writing formal percentages to show achievement; this is something I should definitely work on.
I am taking this class to learn how to better meet the needs of my beginning-level adult English language learners. Every 8 weeks, new students can enroll in the class; however, some of the original students remain in the class as well. This presents obvious differentiation issues!
The first thing I have improved upon is the way I write learning objectives. This, of course, leads to more targeted teaching. I realize that most of the time (sadly) I try to cover too much. A clear set of objectives can help to guide my lessons.
The backward design technique is helpful. I see that many of my lessons have included too much activity that might have actually been confusing to those learning English. Aligning activities with a clear method of evaluation makes sense.
Repetition really helps with language learning. I now plan to incorporate more of it into my lessons as a way to help new students learn what is review for many of the other students.
Some of our lessons will focus on finding jobs or career paths. By using the DI principles, divided into 3 categories based on levels, I am able to cover the topic in a more effective way. For example, the beginners will learn the basic vocabulary associated with the topic. Intermediate students will learn how to address their boss or to conduct themselves at an interview. The more advanced, will be able to expand their skills and succesfully have a more proffesional approach and make a first good impression and make an impact.
Working as an instructor in a jail has revealed that various levels of learning is a very real challenge. Some have only a grade school level, while others in the same class have a high school diploma. We begin with an assessment of where each inmate currently is. We then use a variety of online resources to progress each student from their current level. We do frequent assessments along the way to chart progress and set new goals.
A current lesson I am teaching does demonstrate effective LOs. The students ability to demonstrate their knowledge of subtracting double digit numbers is specific, observable and measurable.
A current lesson I am teaching does demonstrate effective LOs. The students ability to demonstrate their knowledge of subtracting double digit numbers is specific, observable and measurable.
In working with inmates I have a very diverse group of students with vastly different levels of motivation. The system I work in is pre structured and extremely helpful in dealing with this unique set of circumstances. This course has better helped me to understand the reasons for the designs of the instruction that have been built in.
Changing a lesson based on DI is an iterative way of making good lessons even better. For example, one of my ESL classes objectives is to be able to write a short email to a boss or teacher explaining an absence. I would now have the learning objective more clearly represent the 3 tiers (or more) of types of emails that my students could produce. Then, I would plan the pre-assessment to include what communication methods they currently use and to whom do they need to communicate an absence (or any other excuse or request). Then have several formative assessments created along the way. Finally, whatever type of email they chose to do, then that would be their summative assessment.
The process of Differentiated Instruction keeps me thinking realistically about what my students are able to do in any level and how I can be instrumental in their success; thinking first of the success.
This has been a very mindful module on lesson planning. The counterintuitive aspect of this module clearly makes sense and offers many thought provoking elements.
I can see how DI would be useful in teaching Language Arts - Reading. The backward planning would be most useful, and considering assessments: pre-tests, formative and summative, help define objectives.
Up to now I have only been an assistant in the classroom. The students all work on the same packets with the same assignments in them. A mix of writing, reading and math assignments. They are all already working on the same assignments with the same goals, but at their own pace. They get help from peers and instructors when needed. I believe this is already DI. I plan on keeping the packets this semester as a lead teacher. I am also planning to create different levels of the packets for those who have been completing them too quickly, because I feel they are not being challenged enough and are not learning from the assignments. I will still keep the same subject for all packets, but personalize the packets more to the exact needs to each student.
One lesson I regularly teach involves discussing modals of ability (can, must, have to) in the context of understanding job postings and writing cover letters. While I’ve tried to vary the specifics of the assignment (letting students explore specific postings that are interesting to them as individuals), I now see that this is not the same as properly differentiating instruction. It doesn’t take the learners’ abilities and backgrounds into account. Starting with backwards design would let me design an assessment to really ensure that the students accomplish the goals of the activity, not just the task.
I also think students would benefit from more emphasis on pre-learning assessments. Because of rolling admissions, I rarely know who will be in the class on any given day. If the students were able to assess what they already know about these grammar points and choose tasks for themselves based on their goals, that would let them move at their own speed through tasks toward the learning goal. Perhaps I could break down the tasks so that students can skip through activities that they've essentially "tested out" of. I'm not really sure exactly what that would look like, and I'm also not sure how to do that in a way that doesn’t double or triple my planning workload. Hopefully future modules will address that concern.
I have a lesson I teach on Ratios, Rates, & Proportions. I believe it is well-suited to differentiated learning due to the progression we encounter through the lesson.
I begin the lesson with a refresher on fractions and equivalent fractions (which students learn in the previous week's lesson). We then build on that with a discussion about ratios and proportions being specialized forms of equivalent fractions. This expands the knowledge for my lower level students and provides a review for my middle and upper level students. We move on to rates and Geometry proportions (proportional figures) for my middle level students. I circle the lesson back to equivalent fractions to be sure to continually engage my lower level students while my middle level students gain new skills and my upper level students receive more review. The lesson culminates with a demonstration of how rates and proportions are used in statistical data representations and in the graphical representation of a line. I still circle back to equivalent fractions to continue to engage the lower level learners.
I created this lesson with the end goal of all learners having a full understanding and mastery of Ratios, Rates, & Proportions.
This module reminded me of the psychology of learning and the theories that contribute to learning and growth.
I recently taught a lesson in my adult ESOL class on giving and receiving directions. Differentiating instruction in this lesson would allow students to personalize the activity to increase interest and also introduce more advanced vocabulary for those who have already mastered the basics.
The learning objective could be stated as:
Students will be able to give oral directions from one location to another using a paper map.
Students will be able to navigate from one location to another on a paper map using oral instructions given by a classmate.
These learning objectives are much more specific than the ones I had been using. I think that will help me focus the class on one goal instead of wandering around to a variety of tasks. I like that I can structure the tasks in a way that students who are more advanced can choose a more complicated vocabulary while students who are just learning this concept can focus on simple language. Pairing students based on prior knowledge could assist in this speaking and listening task.
In addition, the lesson could be expanded in the future to incorporate navigation to and from locations using a map but traveling physically to the place-- for example, around the classroom or going to a new place on campus. Since the learning objectives are specific, they will focus in this lesson on one type of navigation. However, that also means that adding a third objective in this vein to a later class is easy to do, because it is simple to see if students have mastered this first skill before moving on to a higher-level task.
The lesson I teach on whole number place value, rounding, and estimation has all three elements.
The lesson goals are specific. Students will be able to identify whole number place values to the million's place. Students will be able to round whole numbers to the nearest 10, 100, and 1000 with 80% accuracy. Students will be able to complete word problems using estimation with 80% accuracy.
The lesson goals are observable. During the lesson presentation, there are multiple opportunities to display knowledge through group discussions and quizzes.
The lesson goals are measurable. During the completion of quizzes on each of these topics, I am able to view, in real-time, the proficiency of each student.
I chose to revisit a lesson that I taught a few months ago on giving oral directions from one place to another. When I initially taught the lesson, I added in a few activities, but effectively kept the lesson the same as the suggested plan from our textbook. When Ss didn't fully understand, I just repeated the same activities until most seemed to be on track.
This course in backwards design has made me think about my lessons as more discrete units than I had before. I couldn't see how I could turn one activity into an entire class period, because I wasn't focusing on the ultimate assessment and learning objectives for each lesson. Instead, I strung activities together to fill the time and then moved on. By looking at each class period as a specific focus, I am better able to serve my students. I'm surprised that I've been teaching this long and have only just realized I can better structure my classes, but I'm glad to have made this step forward in understanding!
Although I won't be able to teach this lesson before the end of my program year, I look forward to trying it out in the future and seeing what success it brings. Moreover, I see now how I can better structure all of my class periods to be more successful for me as a teacher and my students as learners.
One thing I will continue to be mindful of is the way I can adapt my current lessons to my online students. I have been used to doing things in a physical form, so finding an engaging way to do that online is the next challenge.
In one lesson that I taught, some students caught on and some did not. For the students that did not catch on, I had to differentiate the lesson by adding some visuals to it. I added some pictures that were conducive to the lesson. Now, this was a 2nd grade class that I had to do this for. The students with the pictures added did just as well as the students that really understood the lesson.
Using differentiated instruction would change my lesson by time management. It would allocate more time for students to complete the assignment. My learning objective is very effective. It is clear, specific, and measurable. It shapes the lesson by allowing effective learning to take place. This helps me lay down the foundation of the lesson. This course has shaped my lesson planning by providing more conducive ideas I can use in the classroom.
This lesson really helped me getting in depth with my lesson planning. It made me focus on making sure that my objectives are clear and conducive to students. Also, it gave me the opportunity to realize what is looks like on the end of the student. Very informative lesson.
I feel that my lesson was very effective and very precise in helping students to successfully complete the lesson.
Consider a lesson you currently teach. How would using differentiated instruction change it?
I might assign a writing assignment on, say, healthy and unhealthy habits... but instead of simply asking each student to use the same vocabulary bank, I might hand out the vocabulary lists with different sections or questions circled and indicate to the class that they don't need to use all of the words or questions available but to try to incorporate the different indicated sections into their writing so that there is a variety of responses.
If I were to have the students interviewing each other, I would provide different questions based on what I know would be considered slightly challenging for each group.
Consider a lesson you currently teach. Does it have effective learning objectives that are specific, observable and measurable? If so, how do these shape the lesson? If not, how would effective LOs change the lesson?
I'm feeling challenged to consider more specifically the learning objectives for the supplemental activities I add to the structured lesson plans we have through Burlington English curriculum. I appreciated learning about the backward design as well, focusing on the final outcome rather than just finding something that fits with the same theme.
I am motivated to ensure my lesson plans consider the learning readiness of the students. Adapting my instructions to meet them where they are helps to ensure I'm meeting their needs at an individual level and the needs of the class at a group level.
Consider a lesson you currently teach. How would using differentiated instruction change it?
Does it have effective learning objectives that are specific, observable and measurable? Yes
Students will be able to find the main idea and supporting details for reading comprehension skills independently.
Teacher will use a variety of instructional methods and activities to meet the needs of all students.
How do these objectives shape the lesson?
The objectives are used to develop and shape the lesson plan by incorporating a variety of instructional methods and activities to meet the needs of both level 1 and level 2 English language learners. ESL students are given the opportunity to practice finding the main idea and supporting details for reading comprehension for the goal of knowledge gained.
Write a reflection on how what you learned in this course shaped the lesson plan you produced and/or the success of your lesson.
In 5 different lessons all students will be given the opportunity to use the following DI to find the best method for each individual student to find the Main Idea and Supporting Details on a variety of passages and text.
As a whole, differentiation in content and process impacts students' creativity as it applies to their learning styles and future knowledge of subject content. In this case, I used the DI Science lesson plan example to further my ESL students' writing and speaking skills. This example allowed for a broader reach in addressing the needs of my ESL learners. I am excited to refresh my teaching application through DI for my current students moving forward.
The following activities that I used in my ESL Writing class made a huge impact on how I shaped the lesson plan:
• I opened the lesson with an open-ended discussion on the concept of sentences; specifically subject-verb agreement.
• Students then shared with the class
(a) what they already knew
(b) what they would like to know about the concept of sentences as it relates to subject-verb agreement as well as argumentative writing.
• Students took a writing appraisal assessment prior to beginning the content.
• These three activities assisted with writing a rudimentary set of rules that the students needed additional skills in mastering. This also served as an ongoing assessment of knowledge levels.
I teach GED classes specific to Reasoning through Language Arts (RLA), Science, and Social Studies. My class also has a CIVICS component that must be satisfied prior to a student earning their GED. The largest focus of my class is reading comprehension and I have a Science lesson that I teach with a primary focus of comprehension of informational text. I have a wide range of students in terms of ability and the content they're focused on. Something I've recently tried is weaving grammar (sentence structure, punctuation with quotations, verb tense) along with content specific vocabulary and reading comprehension strategies. In the past, my focus was primarily comprehension focused. By analyzing student data and teaching to their needs, I've been able to increase student attention and participation.
I find that my learning objectives are usually too broad. I usually have such ideas as "students will be able to multiply fractions and mixed numbers" with no sort of assessment or way to measure it. I usually rely on the TABE test to tell me if what I'm doing is working, with no sort of formative assessment along the way.
I do not currently teach a class. However, I do work with people daily that are in different levels of life. Yet all stiving for the same goal. Just yesterday I had 4 people sat in a discussion. The two youngest have the longest clean time and the two oldest have the least. When talking with them i must speak to each one on the level they are on. The eldest with the least time discusses the importance of not missing obligated meeting appointments and taking care of their health needs. While simultaneously talking to the other two about the importance of obtaining certain requirements needed to achieve certain privileges in adult hood. All while reminding each of them, they are all right where they need to be, and each level and step being taking and achieved is just as important of the last step and next step.I do not currently teach a class. However, I do work with people daily that are in different levels of life. Yet all stiving for the same goal. Just yesterday I had 4 people sat in a discussion. The two youngest have the longest clean time and the two oldest have the least. When talking with them i must speak to each one on the level they are on. The eldest with the least time discusses the importance of not missing obligated meeting appointments and taking care of their health needs. While simultaneously talking to the other two about the importance of obtaining certain requirements needed to achieve certain privileges in adult hood. All while reminding each of them, they are all right where they need to be, and each level and step being taking and achieved is just as important of the last step and next step. Meeting people on their level is what we call DI in my current line of work.
Beginning level students will review fractions practice solving problems and progress toward percent formula.
Intermediate level students will be introduced to the formula, part over the whole, and practice solving problems using the formula.
Advance level students will apply the formula to real life scenarios. For example: splitting tips at different percentages and figuring out what percentage of state and federal taxes are taken out of their paycheck.
On my polynomial lessons, I can make sure that there is a pre-assessment for each lesson completed with a three fold assessment areas.
My lesson on finding slope does not have an effective learning objective and can be more specific, observable, and measurable. I can make it more effective by being more specific. Effective LOs change the lesson by allowing the student to know what he/she will be able to do as a result of a learning the subject.
I think any lesson I teach could be helped by considering assessment earlier in the process. It is interesting to see that assessment planning comes right after the objectives, not after everything else.
Understanding what the end goal is, I assess students to determine if they have the skills needed to do the pre-work. For example, when teaching how to simplify fractions, it is important that students are capable of accurately dividing. I have found that using visual images and manipulatives can make it more of a real world problem.
I am currently teaching a Low Beginner English course. This is the first time I teach an ESL adult class. Some of my students learn very fast and other very slow. I try to add new vocabulary every class, making it fun and interactive. I try to use things that are in our classroom and add quizzes in form of games that we play in teams. That way, I try to go cover all of the curriculum and keep it interesting and fun for all my students.
I agree that quizzes are a great way to engage ELL students. You might want to look at Kahoot--it's free and a great way for students to practice computer skills while completing a summative assessment. Every student I have had in ELL and ABE has adored Kahoots and had so much fun with it!
I found this course very interesting. This is my first time as ESL instructor and this was the first time that I read about differentiated instruction. It is definitely very important to instruct our students in different ways and recognize which method works best for each of them. All of my students come from different backgrounds, cultures and education levels.
I am currently between classes starting up however this module has taught me a great deal of what I can do to make my students learning experience better. My experience in the past has taught me not only does each student learn differently, but each class as a whole react differently to different types of lesson. It is of paramount importance to pay attention to your students individual learning styles as well as their learning style as a group.
This course and ultimately this final lesson plan gave me a great way to practice and develop my differentiation skills. I had several classes this semester that this information would have had a HUGE impact on had I had the information earlier. However, I am excited to use this information going forward and to help my students in the future.
How would differentiated instruction change a lesson I currently teach? I currently spend a lot of time giving a lesson to one group and then giving them an assignment while I give a lesson to the other group, who are at a different level of readiness. Differentiated instruction as described here would enable me to give the whole class one lesson, pushing students with lower level s of readiness to accomplish their goals faster while still benefiting the students at a higher level of readiness. I really like and am experimenting with/working to be able to execute the idea of not putting students with lower math readiness through a whole separate lower curriculum, but filling in their gaps in multiplication, division, fractions, etc. as part of a differentiated algebra or geometry lesson.