Advancing Differentiation

Welcome to the Advancing Differentiation course at Oakridge!  We'll use Richard Cash's text as a framework for our work around differentiation.  Before each class, I'll post reading assignments so that we all have some common language and background.  I look forward to working with you all!

We'll frame our four class discussions around the four components of effective differentiation: environment, content, processes, and products. We'll then look at ways to design and adapt learning experiences (with these components in mind) to better meet the needs of individual students.

Each month, participating teachers will collaborate with the gifted teacher to apply a differentiation technique in their own classroom. Participants can earn a total of 20 gifted points and 20 recertification points. Participating teachers will earn 5 points per session by:

1. Attending and participating in a one-hour session after school

2. Collaborating with the gifted teacher to implement a differentiation strategy

3. Writing a reflection and engaging in follow-up

Dates: February 18, March 18, April 15, and a final online session (more information to come).

Time: 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Place: Oakridge Elementary School

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These plant related activities have students apply their factual knowledge (plant vocabulary), procedural knowledge (labeling flower parts), and conceptual knowledge (applying what they know about photosynthesis to draw plants at different growth stages).

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Over the last month, I decided to implement some SEM-R strategies into my language arts block. With my highest reading group, I gave them an independent StoryBoard novel project to work on while I met with other students to reteach standards before the SOL's. This project allowed student choice, which gave them an opportunity to choose a novel of their liking and a choice on how they wanted to design their boards. They did follow a rubric, as seen above, which gave them structure on what I was looking for.

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SEM-R also emphasizes "book hooks", where the teacher introduces novels to students that may be of interest to them. My students just learned about the Civil War, slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws, and the Civil Rights movement of the 1950's-60's. I introduced these books during our morning meetings; first, I read the back cover summaries and the first few pages of the book. I then told students that if they were interested, I would leave the novels out on the counter for them to read during independent reading time. They really enjoyed listening to the hooks and several students want to now read these novels. I plan on using this part of SEM-R for the rest of the school year and next year as well.