Differentiating Instruction

By Brenda Mullard | Uncategorized

Oct 18
Differentiated Instruction
A lot of administrators and educators agree that differentiated instruction can dramatically help students to succeed. But let’s face it, it’s not easy and it takes a lot of careful planning. it’s a big job to make sure that all students of different abilities are engaged and it can be challenging for a teacher to have to plan for all of those different needs. So here are some differentiating suggestions for any class type including Art. Read on to get your Differentiated Lesson Checklist.

Ask Questions and Let The Students Take Ownership For Their Learning

I have always felt that art education was a great way to differentiate lessons for kids anyway. But, when you give them open-ended projects that allow for creativity and their own differentiation, it’s a win-win for all people involved. Letting kids have choices and mediums they use subject matters they create on and other things that they choose withheld to engage your students no matter what their ability level. Knowing that they had the choice in what they’re doing also help them take ownership for their own learning.

Surveys Tie Student Interests Into Content

Interest surveys are a great way to first off get to know your kids but also a great tool to use to help find out what students are really interested in. Brain research has shown that relating other subject matter to personal experience how to jumpstart the brain. There will also be an emotional attachment to the subject matter that they’re working on for the projects. This will help keep him engaged.

Engaging Different Types Of Learners

We know that there are different types of learners in every classroom. There are Visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic styles of learning. Incorporating each of these types of learner into all of your lesson and project will engage your students because they are learning in a way that works best for them. With special education students, you may still need to modify some of your lessons and projects even when incorporating as many of the learning styles into your lessons as possible. Using at least two or more styles in a single lesson helps to focus on the “whole child” and not just a single skill type.

Vary Your Assessments

Giving students a choice on how they complete a targeted goal is the name of the game. Each way would hit the essential questions and objectives but scaffolds it in a way that allows students to be assessed on their knowledge in a way that is the best for them. No one wants to do the same assessments day in and day out. It’s like an assorted bag of candy. I want candy. But I think today I’ll have chocolate ad tomorrow something fruity. It’s all candy but a little different flavor.

Do Your Homework

Usually, within the first couple of weeks, we can get a pretty good idea of the prior knowledge that the student has retained from previous years or classes. But it’s our job as teachers to read through student files,  IEPs, and 504 Plans to make sure we are giving our kids what they need to be successful in the classroom. Doing your homework is important!

Individual Feedback

Flexible individualized work plans and feedback can help students to self-monitor their learning. Giving students feedback above and beyond a project rubric helps students to organize for themselves what they need to do and to what level they need to do it. Ask questions such as: What went well? What didn’t go so well? Where do you have questions?
These are great guiding questions for self-reflection and learning.

You’re Probably Already Doing This

You may be thinking,”Good God, I just can’t do one more thing!” The good news is that you probably don’t have to. I’m guessing you are already doing a bunch of differentiation already and sometimes don’t even realize it. Personalizing projects that actor to a student’s interests and passions are already more than halfway there.

Fair Does Not Mean Equal

Reminding our students that fair isn’t equal is a good message to start your classes with. Fair means that every student’s gets
What they need to be successful. Making this concept the message in your classroom will eliminate a competition type of mindset. We are here to help each other. “Comparing your work to another student’s work isn’t going to work in here. “ Send the message that this classroom works like a team or family. We won’t always get along, but we are here to help each other grow and get better.”

Share Your Struggles and Strengths With Students

Many of our students struggle with confidence in themselves and in their artwork. Don’t be afraid to share your own struggles. Kids see the finished products of what we do but usually have no idea how we got to that finished point.  I often let me kids know about my mistakes in life as well. Being HORRIBLE in math as an example. Sharing our struggles shows kids that we are human too.

Mini-Lessons and Review Sessions

Mini-lessons and review sessions are a great way to give certain kids the support and help they need without reteaching an entire lesson. Focus in on where kids are struggling and then move on. Mini-lessons are also a great way to show various techniques that all kids may not use and encourage advanced learners who also need to be challenged and pushed a little further.

Use Lots Of Open-Ended Questions

Using open-ended questions helps all students, no matter what their skill level, to be successful in giving feedback. Answering open-ended questions also give you a better idea of what they know and understand that a multiple choice type test ever will.

The Real Essential Standards and Objectives

You can’t cover everything in great depth. Let’s be real here… it just doesn’t happen due to many factors. Choose the essential standards and objectives you want to cover and go deep into learning and understanding. Ever hear the saying,”If everything is important, nothing is important.” It’s never been truer. Expect proficiency and mastery from all students we need to be realistic in expectations with a student’s ability. This is what differentiation is about. Challenge each student appropriately and engagingly.

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