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Differentiated Lessons

Page history last edited by Bill 9 years, 4 months ago

Differentiated Lessons


At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, the sixth grade science team decided to focus on strategies for differentiating lessons in our classroom.  We are planning to continue this work through the 2014-2015 school year simply because it is something that we both believe in and struggle to make happen.  We see this as a logical step because it connects nicely to our school's RTI work.  If we can create lessons that provide opportunities for enrichment and/or remediation -- or that will allow students to show what they know in different ways -- we may be able to integrate that work into what we are doing in our RTI class period time. 


Each teacher is asked to develop one differentiated activity -- a test, a quiz, a whole-class lesson, a small group lesson, a lab -- every three weeks.  Then, teachers are asked to deliver their differentiated activities.  Finally teachers are asked to be ready to share their differentiated activities in our PLT meetings.  Please plan to post digital copies of all activities here.  And please plan to help your peers understand how they can incorporate similar activities into their own classroom practices. 


This work supports Action Step 10 on our school's action steps, which reads: "Every team will develop at least 3 differentiated activities that provide students with opportunities to make choices about the way that they demonstrate mastery."




Modified Tests


Heat Tests

8-20 Energy - Heat Test.doc

8-20 Energy - Heat Test Retake.docx

8-20 Modified Energy - Heat Test.docx


These heat tests were created by Jason Dapkevich.  The first test asks students to show their knowledge of core concepts by answering essay styled questions.  The second test requires less application of knowledge while testing the same content.



Modified Quizzes


Scientific Method Vocabulary





These quizzes on scientific method vocabulary were created by Kim Blatchford for use in Bill Ferriter's class.  Notice how Kim has used separate word banks dividing up easily confused vocabulary words in the first modified version and then given students choices between two words instead of a word bank in the second modified version.



Modified Labs


Exploring Saturation




One of Kate Kotik's passions is finding ways to provide differentiation within labs.  In this example, students using Version A of a saturation lab are given a very structured process for working through a study of saturation.  In Version B, students are asked to design their own scientific inquiry -- from developing a question to developing a set of procedures and finding a way to record their results. 



Begin and Branch Activity - Soil Protection Strategies



In the fall/winter of 2013, we decided to try to develop a "Begin and Branch" activity for our lesson on soil protection strategies.  The core of a Begin and Branch activity is quick teaching of core concepts followed by a pretest to identify students who can place out of instruction because they already know the material.  For our lesson, we are going to show a video on soil protection strategies that Mr. Manholt developed.  This can be found posted in the shared folder on our school's network.  Then, we are going to give the soil protection pretest embedded above.  We will use Mastery Connect to score the pretests instantly in class and to determine the groups for our follow-up lessons.  Finally, we will have low, medium and high ability lessons ready to use as soon as we are done pretesting.  These lessons will be posted here when they are complete.  


When we are all done delivering the lessons, we will compare notes on the implementation of the activity and the mastery levels of our students.  


Lessons to teach:


Human Activities Affect Soil - Level A






This activity was created by Jason Dapkevich.  It is designed to be used by low ability students as a part of our Begin and Branch activity.  Students are to fill out the first handout while working in groups to read poster-sized versions of the remaining 3 handouts -- which are simplified versions of the content found in the textbook on pages A 132-136.  


Human Activities Affect Soil - Level B



This activity was created by Bill Ferriter.  It is designed to be used by medium ability students as a part of our Begin and Branch activity.  It serves as a follow-up/reading guide for textbook pages A 132-136.


Human Activities Affect Soil - Level C


Article_DustBowl.pdf (printable)



This activity was created by Kate Kotik.  It is designed to be used by high ability students as a part of our Begin and Branch activity.  It asks students to read an article about the Dust Bowl and determine both the human and the environmental causes of that farming tragedy. Then, it asks students to imagine they are farmers and propose strategies for preventing a future farming disaster.  



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