Differentiated instruction doesn’t start with teaching, it starts with building relationships in a safe, positive classroom environment. This week you will create a differentiated classroom framework based on a design that was originally constructed to assist teachers in meeting the new Common Core State Standards in an inclusion classroom (Voltz, Sims, Nelson, & Bivens, 2005). This framework will be shared with other teachers in your Professional Learning Community (PLC) with the shared vision of creating a strong school vision that is student-centered through the foundations of differentiation.
You will design a differentiated classroom environment plan that includes a physical layout along with pro-social strategies for encouraging positive behaviors. This may be presented as a Prezi or PowerPoint, in a Voicethread with audio narration, blog space, or using a standard Word document. The length of presentation style will be determined by your choice of presentation tool. Each section below must be thoroughly addressed. The minimum length requirements are listed below.
Demographics – Describe your current (or fictional) classroom including:
· Grade Level and Subject Area
· Total number of students – ability levels, gender, students with special needs, English Language Learners (ELLs)
· Other relevant information (such as socioeconomic status, family background, recurring behavior issues, etc.)
Classroom Environment – Discuss how you will use foundational concepts of differentiated instruction to design your classroom’s physical layout to meet the demographics you’ve outlined. Be sure to include:
· Furniture arrangement (this includes students desks, teacher’s desk, computers, reading corner, library, pets, quiet zone)
· Architecture (this includes immobile objects and structures such as doors, windows, bathroom, sink, bulletin boards, chalk/ white boards)
You must include at least one scholarly, research-based article to support your design. You must also include either a diagram, photos, or illustration along with a written (three to four paragraphs) or narrated explanation (one to two minutes) of why you chose this particular layout and how it relates to your class demographics.
Classroom Environment – Minimum Length Requirements:
· Prezi or PowerPoint – three slides
· Blog or Standard word document – three to four paragraphs
· Narrated Voicethread – one to two minutes
Positive Behavior Environment – Describe how you will encourage positive behavior using proactive differentiated strategies based on current (within the last five years) research. Be sure to include:
· Rules and routines that maximize success
· Value individual differences
· Emotionally safe environment
· Specific behaviors are expected (respect, listening, problem solving)
Positive Behavior Environment – Minimum Length Requirements:
· Prezi or PowerPoint – six slides
· Blog or Standard Word document – six paragraphs
· Narrated Voicethread – three minutes
Use your course text and at least two scholarly articles from the Ashford University Library or Google Scholar to support your research. Be sure to provide proper APA citations at the end of your assignment for the sources that you use (e.g., at the bottom of the blog or last slide of PowerPoint). If writing a paper, APA format should be followed including title and reference pages.
This week you will:
- Explain the importance of readiness and its relevance to creating a differentiated classroom.
- Interpret learning styles and multiple intelligences as a foundation for differentiated instruction.
- Analyze classroom behavior management strategies that address diverse student populations.
Congratulations for completing the first week of class! Next, we will move on to Week Two where you will explore how to evaluate readiness prior to starting a new lesson, and its importance for preparing students for success. You will also review how learning styles influence your students’ engagement in your lesson and its impact on information retention. Finally, you will learn how to create a classroom management system that encompasses diverse student populations.
The ‘Multiple Intelligence’ theory was created by Howard Gardner in 1983. With this theory, he explained that people learn using various behaviors that can be translated into ‘intelligences’; in other words, learning strengths. The behaviors we use to learn new information are not isolated but include a mix of the following: musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic (Gardner, 2011). In addition to having intelligence strengths that influence our learning, we also have preferential learning styles. Although there is no universally accepted ‘learning styles’ method or specific characteristic list, there are commonly held traits that are universally accepted that include: visual, auditory, read/write, and kinesthetic (Fleming & Mills, 1992). By discovering patterns of learning styles and intelligence preferences among your students, you can create either homogeneous or heterogeneous groups for collaborative learning environments or tailor independent learning activities.
Building on last week’s idea of creating a physical environment that is conducive to learning, we will take a closer look at the classroom, including how to make the most of fixed structures such as windows, doors, white boards, and instructional technology devices. Imagine your dream classroom: what would it look like? Would it have windows? What kind of technology would be built in? Would you have one large classroom or divide it into small group centers? What would be on the walls? Hanging from the ceiling? Would you have class pets? If so, what would you have?
Remember that your students have different learning styles and intelligence strengths and your room must be welcoming to everyone. Think about how you work best. Do you find music invigorating or distracting? Does sitting next to a window cause you to daydream or is the sunlight refreshing? How will you determine each student’s placement in the classroom?
Your Management Style
One of the biggest fears of new teachers is how to manage the behaviors of a classroom full of students. It can be, and is, intimidating, so having a firm plan in place before the first day of school will set the tone for the remainder of the school year. According to Tomlinson (2011), every teacher must be aware of three critical questions to help guide them in classroom management: What is the difference between leading and managing, what are effective leadership steps, and what are the strategies involved in effective and efficient differentiation?
The following webinar at the bottom of this website explains this in more detail. You may click play on the webpage and also download a pdf handout that goes along with the video.
The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners (Links to an external site.)
Fleming, N. & Mills, C. (1992). Not another inventory, rather a catalyst for reflection. To Improve the Academy, 11, 137-155.
Gardner, H. (2011). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books.
McKnight, H. (2011, November 14). Multiple intelligences (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf6lqfNTmaM
Tomlinson, C. (2014, May 15). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/professional-development/webinars/revisiting-the-differentiated-classroom-webinar.aspx
Puckett, K (2013). Differentiating Instruction: A Practical Guide [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/
- Chapter 7: Differentiation by Student Characteristic
- Chapter 8: Differentiating Content
Voltz, D., Sims, M., Nelson, B., & Bivens, C. (2005). A framework for inclusion in the context of standards-based reform. Retrieved from http://teachingld.net/pdf/m2ecca.pdf
Nieding , K., & Meyer, K. (n.d.). Taking differentiation by learning profile to the next level. (Links to an external site.) Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/jeremyvrtis/differentiation-by-lp-20
SurveyMonkey (Links to an external site.) (https://www.surveymonkey.com)
CCSSO. (2011, April). Intasc model core teaching standards: A resource for state dialogue. (Links to an external site.) Retrieved from http://www.ccsso.org/documents/2011/intasc_model_core_teaching_standards_2011.pdf
King-Shaver, B., & Hunter, A. (2003). Differentiated instruction in the english classroom. Retrieved from http://www.heinemann.com/shared/onlineresources/E00577/chapter4.pdf
Lui, A. (2012). White paper: Teaching in the zone: An introduction to working within the zone of proximal development (zpd) to drive effective early childhood instruction. Retrieved from http://sowamslibrary.weebly.com/uploads/2/3/0/7/23079404/teaching_in_the_zone.pdf
Tomlinson, C. (n.d.). Strategies for managing a differentiated classroom. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/books/tomlinson2001_chapter6_errata.pdf
Yatvin, Joanne. (2004). A room with a differentiated view. (Links to an external site.) Retrieved from http://www.nrcs.usda.nj.gov_www.fountasandpinnellleveledbooks.com/shared/onlineresources/E00669/chapter2.pdf
Tomlinson, C. [QEP VideoCoursesForTeacher]. (2011, October 5). Carol Tomlinson on Differentiation: Response Teaching. (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01798frimeQ
Tomlinson, C. (2012, May 6). Tips for Configuring Your Classroom for Differentiation. (Links to an external site.) [Video file]. Retrieved from http://inservice.ascd.org/educational-leadership/tips-for-configuring-your-classroom-for-differentiation/
Ashford University. (n.d.). APA key elements (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from http://writingcenter.ashford.edu/introduction-apa
Prezi (Links to an external site.) (http://www.prezi.com)
VoiceThread (Links to an external site.) (http://voicethread.com)
YouTube (Links to an external site.) (http://www.youtube.com)