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  • differentways2teach 2:09 pm on October 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Where’d my time go? 

    Do you ever look up at the bell and realize you lost track of time? I have, especially as a new teacher. Even as a veteran teacher on block schedules (with different class times every other day) I constantly needed to refer to a posted schedule to stay on task. A timer did wonders for my pacing in the classroom. I can’t imagine what I would have done if I had a blog plus student access at home to the Internet!

    In my previous teaching roles, I worked in disadvantaged schools where students had little or no reliable access to the net on a daily basis. Now, more and more districts and schools allow access to libraries after school and many students have online access on their mobile devices. You just need to have a mobile-friendly page to allow them to access your blogs from their phones. Plus, the students need to have a desire to go to the blog instead of Justin Bieber’s page.

    You can do this by having a safe platform for discussion that allows your students to speak freely and not be penalized for wrong answers. Remind them that this platform is not a social playground, but a place where students can develop a deeper understanding of the topic at hand. It may even be led exclusively by your GT population to set the standards. Once others realize how cool it is to go to school online, others will be knocking down the doors to get involved. 

    As a professional educator, remember to monitor responses often and participate with positive responses. When topics get off tangent, refocus them with a new question that continues to provoke the senses. Bring the top discussions back into the classroom when you find they need to be addressed.  If you find that students are abusing the blog for personal issues, then address them face-to-face and follow through with corrective action (as needed). Soon, the kids will be anxious to start blogging and off goes your higher questioning skills to the races!

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    • John Maklary (@jmaklary) 2:56 pm on October 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Nice post Charlotte. Blogging can be a great tool with a multitude of purposes. I’ve noticed that when students begin to blog, they sort of treat it as either a random brain dump or some kind of chat room. It can take time to develop productive blogging and you make some good points to keep kids on track.

  • differentways2teach 4:07 pm on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Teaching differentiation to the children 

    A few teachers have posed this topic in previous meetings. We have discussed the motto: “Fair isn’t the SAME for all. Fair is getting what you NEED.” This is a cute way to teach it to the little guys:

     http://saylorslog.blogspot.com/2011/08/differentiation.html I’m gonna do this!!

    How creative are you with teaching differentiation? Do you just ignore the question when it is posed? Or do you think nobody else will notice? How have you addressed this topic both successfully and maybe even unsuccessfully in your classroom?

     
  • differentways2teach 7:39 pm on August 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Is DI the same as RTI? 

    When I read about starting and maintaining a blog, one recommendation was to write on a schedule so that others can expect an update, be it daily, weekly, etc.  It has been one week since I started this and the question of what to write about has been on my mind all week. I just left a live chat on rti4success.org and I found that the presenter was responding less to the questions and the chatters were exchanging valuable information. The last question that popped up at the end of the live chat was, “Is Differentiated Instruction the same as Response to Intervention”? So…what a great topic to write on today!

    I would say, NO, they are not the same…BUT, you can’t have one success without the integration of the other! What do I mean by this? Well, if a teacher stands in front of a classroom and gives a lecture day in and day out on how to do X, some (if not many) students will not get the gist and they WILL struggle. After a period of time, perhaps an entire school year (I hope not anymore!!!), there will be struggling students over the concept of X.

    Does this mean that the students have issues and should start having Tier II interventions because they performed poorly on their standardized tests and report cards this year?

    I say, “NO WAY!” That first instruction in Tier I was not high quality with differentiation and research-based strategies. ALL students are NOT auditory learners. So any student who requires instruction other than lecture are going to struggle. Shame on that teacher…

    Many teachers do not understand the difference between Tier I & II of RtI.

    The obvious difference between the two tiers is:

    • Tier I is taught to the entire class 
    • Tier II is taught to small groups (ideally of 5-10 students)

    The opaque difference is that the topic should be addressed a different way! Therefore, DI is a phonominal way to target those Tier II students by probing deeper into the topic by teaching to alternate learning styles and through manipulatives (taking ideas backwards from abstract down to the beginning). Make sure they have mastered the concrete, then go to the pictoral, then abstract.

    A math specialist I once worked with reminded our team over and over to make the FIRST INSTRUCTION the BEST because when students have to hear it over and over again, they shut down! This is why teachers need to tap into their creative sides to make learning events memorable for the students. This approach may take longer, but Tier II  is for only about 15% of your students.

    Addressing Tier III MUST MUST MUST be done by a highly qualified educator in that particular area of needs. They are the Subject Matter Experts (SME) and can target backwards to get down to the specific areas, topics, etc. where the student first began to struggle.  Don’t plan to stay in Tier III forever before considering referral to special education. This child is likely to have some underlying issues that needs to be addressed. Maybe they just need an intense tutor to get through school? But, the sooner you know what the underlying problem is, the sooner it can be addressed with strategies in the classroom, at home, and with the tutor.  The sooner the students can become their own advocates and learn the coping skills to address their learning issues, the less information and learning they will miss in the classroom!  I look forward to any feedback you may offer. This blog will only be a great resource if you share your personal and professional experiences/expertise. 

     

     
  • differentways2teach 3:57 pm on August 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    You will find the presentation on Differentiated Instruction for Middle School Students (with their hyperlinks to great resources) below:

    (More …)

     
  • differentways2teach 2:49 pm on August 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Welcome to Different Ways 2 Teach…a blog about differentiation in the classroom 

    I decided to start this blog in my new position as Instructional Coordinator at a Catholic school (PK-G8) in the greater Houston metropolitan area to reach out to all of my fellow teachers. We are so busy these days planning for multiple lessons in various subjects for students with so many needs. I wanted a platform where we could share ideas, concerns, questions, feedback, and investigations into this “strange” world called DIFFERENTIATION!

    This blog will be most successful IF, and ONLY IF, we use it to exchange information. Therefore, when I find information that I feel will be useful to the general cause, I’m gonna put out here for all of the world to see!

    So, I hope you will join me on this wonderful ride of  teaching in a new decade of the new millenium! By the way, I’m new to blogging, so I hope to keep this as user-friendly as possible. Thanx!

     
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