Differentiated Instruction and Critical Thinking


Flexible Grouping: Questions to Consider



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Flexible Grouping: Questions to Consider

  • Is this the only way to organize students for learning?
  • Where in the lesson could I create opportunities for students to work in small groups?
  • Would this part of the lesson be more effective as an independent activity?
  • Why do I have the whole class involved in the same activity at this point in the lesson?
  • Will I be able to meet the needs of all students with this grouping?
  • I’ve been using a lot of [insert type of grouping here – whole class, small group, or independent work] lately. Which type of grouping should I add to the mix?

There’s a range of flexible groupings:

  • Whole class or half class
  • Teams
  • Small groups led by students
  • Partners and triads
  • Individual study
  • One-on-one mentoring with an adult
  • Wiki’s, Nings, PBWiki’s, and on-line communities
  • Temporary pull-out groups to teach specific mini-lessons
  • Anchor activities to which students return after working in small groups
  • Learning centers or learning stations through which students rotate in small groups or individually.

Ebb and Flow of Experiences [Tomlinson]

  • Individual
  • Individual
  • Small Group
  • Small Group
  • Whole Group
  • Back and forth over time or course of unit

Basic Principles:

  • Assessment informs instruction – Diagnosis and action taken as a result of diagnosis are paramount.
  • Assessment and instruction are inseparable.
  • Change complexity, not difficulty. Change the quality/nature, not the quantity. Structured or open-ended?

Basic Principles: (Continued)

  • Use respectful tasks.
  • Use tiered lessons
  • Compact the curriculum.
  • Scaffold instruction.
  • Organization and planning enable flexibility.

Basic Principles: (Continued)

  • Teachers have more control in the classroom, not less.
  • Frequently uses flexible grouping.
  • Teachers and students collaborate to deliver instruction.

Models of Instruction That Work

  • Dimension of Learning:
  • [Robert Marzano]
  • Positive Attitudes and Perceptions about Learning
  • Acquiring and Integrating Knowledge
  • Extending and Refining Knowledge
  • Using Knowledge Meaningfully
  • Productive Habits of Mind

1/3 Model:

  • 1/3 Model:
  • [Canaday and Rettig]
  • 1/3 Presentation of content
  • 1/3 Application of knowledge and skills learned
  • 1/3 Synthesis of the information

Concept Attainment Model:

  • Concept Attainment Model:
  • [Summarized from Canaday and Rettig]
  • Teacher presents examples, students work with them, noting attributes
  • Teacher has students define the concept to be learned
  • More examples are critiqued in light of newly discovered concept
  • Students are given practice activities in which they apply their understanding of the lesson concept
  • Students are evaluated through additional applications
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM
  • Traditional Learning
  • Constructivist Learning
  • Part to whole, emphasize skills
  • Strict adherence to curriculum
  • Rely on textbooks, workbooks
  • Students are “blank slates”
  • Teachers disseminate info
  • Teachers seek correct answer to validate learning
  • Assessment/Teaching separate
  • Whole to part, emph. concepts
  • Pursue student questions
  • Rely on prim. sources, manip.
  • Students are thinkers
  • Teachers mediate, interact
  • Teachers seek students’ knowledge to make decisions
  • Assessment/Teaching are interwoven

Direct Instruction Model

  • Direct Instruction Model
  • [Summarized from Canaday and Rettig]
  •  Review previously learned material/homework
  • State objectives for today
  • Present material
  • Provide guided practice with feedback
  • Re-teach (as needed)
  • Assign independent practice with feedback
  • Review both during and at the end of the lesson
  • Closure (Summarization)

Learning Profile Models:

  • Learning Profile Models:
  • Myers - Briggs Personality Styles, Bernice McCarthy’s 4MAT System, Gregorc Scale and Teaching Model, Bramson’s Styles of Thinking, Left Brain vs. Right Brain, Multiple Intelligences

Additional Differentiated Instruction Strategies

  • Use Anticipation Guides
  • Create personal agendas for some students
  • Use centers/learning stations
  • Adjust journal prompts and level of questioning to meet challenge levels
  • Incorporate satellite studies (“Orbitals”)

Personal Agenda for Michael R., December 5th, 2008

  • Personal Agenda for Michael R., December 5th, 2008
  • Daily Tasks:
  • ___ Place last night’s homework at the top right corner of desk.
  • ___ Record warm-up activity from chalkboard into learning log.
  • ___ Complete warm-up activity.
  • ___ Listen to teacher’s explanation of the lesson’s agenda.
  • ___ Record assignments from Homework Board into notebook.
  • Specific to Today’s Lesson:
  • ___ Get graphic organizer from teacher and put name/date at top.
  • ___ Fill in examples in g.o. while teacher explains it to the class.
  • ___ Read both sides of the g.o. so you know what you are looking for.
  • ___ Watch the video and fill in the g.o. during the breaks.
  • ___ Complete closing activity for the video.
  • ___ Ask Ms. Green to sign your assignment notebook.
  • ___ Go to math class, but first pick up math book in locker.


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