Sue Allen on Differentiated Instruction

From Discovery Educator Sue Allen:

Your administration has told you that your classes for next year will be multi-ability classes unlike your current teaching schedule.  How do you plan on meeting the individual needs of all the diverse learners in your class?  They come from a variety of backgrounds, with different interests, and wide reading levels.  You quickly learn that the "old" method of teaching is not going to be effective in this new setting.  Through staff development in differentiated instruction our staff is changing our delivery of services and content to our students.  unitedstreaming is one tool that we are using.

To address the varied learning styles within my class, I am differentiating content, process and products by student readiness, interest and learning profile.  unitedstreaming clips and images have been used with my existing powerpoints to reach students who are visual learners.  Individual students needing remediation have used stand alone clips as learning stations to work on isolated skills.  I know that I am just scratching the surface of what could be done with unitedstreaming resources.  A workshop I attended at the PETE&C pre-conference session was very helpful in giving me additional ideas and areas to explore.  I am curious to find out if other teachers are employing differentiated instruction in their classes and if so how they are integrating unitedstreaming and other technologies to impact student learning.


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  1. Susan Keck said:

    I was really happy to see a blog addressing this topic! With diversity the norm rather than the exception in our classrooms, differentiating our practices must be what we do on a daily basis if we truly want to help each student maximize his or her potential.
    The resources available to us at no cost greatly enhance what we can do to support differentiated approaches in our classroom.
    Since we could write forever about ways to differentiate, I will focus on photostory3.
    We can differentiate here by the supports we provide. Depending on the grade level and readiness levels of students, we may need to scaffold our instruction from providing the script for students to read to allowing them to write their own. We can also provide various levels of support by putting “kits” together that include photo, music, and sound effects files by topic to allowing students to do this and make them available for others.
    We can also differentiate by the complexity of the topic with which students are working when demonstrating their knowledge using photostory3. For example, if students are studying plants, topics can range from flowers indigenous to a specific region to the process of photosynthesis.
    The possibilities are endless.
    I hope others share their ideas as well.

  2. Jennifer Dorman said:

    This is exactly what I do in my classroom. Ultimately, my students produce an original documentary. As learning steps to that final product, I start them telling stories with various “props.” For example, I give them folders with multiple still images and ask them to arrange the pictures in an order that makes sense according to the historical storyline we are covering. In another unit, I give students the folder with still images and written primary sources that they must weave together into a narrated story. Then, I bring them to the lab and they have a digital folder with images and music that they narrate and arrange in ppt or photostory. When I begin to use video, I strip the sound and have them create narration and select appropriate background music. The next step is the assemble-your-own-documentary where I give students folders with still images, video, music, primary sources, etc., and mix things up — I assign students different personas, mood music, target audiences, etc. By the time they finally create their own documentary, they have practiced all the thought processes and steps. The final products are significantly better. These various possibilities make it really easy to differentiate instruction and unitedstreaming is an invaluable tool to meet this end.

  3. CINDY FRANKS said:

    I knew nothing about computers a few years ago, but thanks to the many opportunities within our school and through my students and other teachers, I am learning all kinds of awesome skills. I never realized the unlimited amount of ways we can use the internet and computer techniques in our classrooms! Wow!

  4. RJ Stangherlin said:

    Project-based educational infused with technology for me synonymous with differentiated instruction. Depending on how you or your students create teams, you can scaffold by tasks and goals, letting students stronger in one area of expertise “coach” a student whose strength lies in a different area. Although this approach isn’t exactly what the blog suggests, nor as refined an example as Sue Keck’s, it does work for me.

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