3 Be4 Me: Building Self-Reliance in the Classroom

I made this using Piktochart.

3Be4Me

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Differentiated Instruction 2014

Keynote: October 27, 2014 Differentiation and HIstory Ideas

Differentiated instruction responds to learning preferences, interests and readiness of individual learners.

Differentiation isn’t a new idea. Educators have consistently varied the way we reach out to different learners. Differentiation can be addressed in how you structure lessons for learning, how students engage in ideas and how they demonstrate their own mastery of the topic.

Taking differentiation into your planning doesn’t mean a student never has to write paragraphs or will never have to do an oral presentation. It may mean in one assessment, a student shows he can “demonstrate an understanding of the development of Canadian identity in the 20th century” through a series of images which he talk about orally. Nothing in the expectation says, “must demonstrate through paragraph writing.” It can mean modifying the classroom environment, the activities and the output.

More reading:

Differentiation Guide – 2010EducatorsGuide (Ministry of Ed)

Reach Every Student through Differentiation (Ministry of Ed)

Busting Myths in Differentiated Instruction

Differentiation in Reading (ideas)

Ministry of Education

Vocabulary Sort

A vocabulary sort provides students with a variety of terms and concepts related to a unit or for a course. You can use them at the beginning of a unit or at the end of a unit. Sometimes I do both as a way to show students what information they’ve learned.

Gr 12s doing a sort. One is even doing additional research!

Gr 12s doing a sort. One is even doing additional research!

Here are some strategies.

Ask Students (usually in small groups) to

  1. Separate terms they know and the terms they don’t. Look up/research the ones with which they aren’t familiar. (then move to the following strategies)
  2. Identify & justify at least 3 categories (student or teacher choice) and sort the words in the appropriate categories. Discuss the similarities and differences of the categories selected by each group
  3. As the teacher, include ‘obvious’ headlines/category subjects, and students sort associated words/terms
  4. Have the students select their “favourite” words and ask them to do a short literacy activity using each of the words in the correct context.

While students work, emphasize there are no “right” or “wrong” answers. Their properly reasoned verbal justification can make any word fit any

I have also made the terms on large sheets of paper. The students then sort the giant words on the floor in a larger group. I then post the words in their selected categories on the wall for a Word Wall.

Here is my Vocabulary sort for The Great War.

Here’s a PDF: CausesofWW1wordsort

Games

Here are a few games you can use in your classroom. I believe all can be adapted and modified to fit many elements of the history, civics or social science curriculums.

10 Out

Object: be the last person in the game.

  1. Sit on the desk. – on desk = in the game, in chair = out of the game.
  2. Count numerically from 1 – 10.
  3. Each player says up to 3 numbers sequentially.  (ex, 1 or 1-2, or 1-2-3…)
  4. move around the group in the same order.
  5. you are trying to force others to say 10.  If they do, they sit back in their chair and lose.
  6. Start again at 1
  7. repeat until you only have one person on their desk. They are the winner

The Tower

Have students work together to build a tower from paper.

PDF Instructions (I’m sorry – it’s a terrible copy).

Nuclear Simulation

Students make judgements about who can survive after a nuclear war destroys the planet.

instructions

Possible extensions:

  1. Create a set of cards with “communist” vs. “non-communist” McCarthy-like assumptions. Students have to categorize who is arrest and who is not.
  2. Create a set of cards with qualities possessed by different immigrant families or individuals. Students then determine who can come to Canada and who cannot. This may be done for immigration policies for 1900 as well as current practice. Perhaps students can determine the best criteria.

Here’s a similar game where students have to determine what items should be taken from a crash site.

Scategories

Instructions for this game can be found on one of my older posts.

The Ball Toss

Object: Say 5 topics within a given category before the other players pass an object around the room

  1. Students sit in a circle.
  2. One student is “it.”
  3. The Game Master selects a category in which “it” must list 5 terms. He/she must do this before the rest of the class passes the ball around the circle.
  4. “It” wins if she/he lists their words quickly and correctly. The class wins if they pass the ball effectively.

Rock Scissors Paper – Marxism

this is an awesome game used by Greg Kulowiec at The History 2.0 Classroom.

Purpose: The game is played to demonstrate Karl Marx’s view of capitalism, exploitation of the working class, the control of the means of production & the difference between the bourgeoisie & proletariat.

Rules:

  1. Each player is given two paper clips (units of money).

  2. One paper clip is the minimum necessary for your survival.  Any more than one paper clip allows you to do with what you will.

  3. Everyone has the same opportunity to earn more money by challenging others to a game of rock, paper, and scissors.

  4. You may accept or refuse a challenge to play, except from a player with more units of money, in that case you must accept the challenge.

  5. You may go at it alone, pool resources, divide winnings or create alliances.

  6. The winner of each challenge takes one unit from the loser.

  7. Once a player has not units and loses a match, they become the employee of the winner of said match.

    1. As an employee, the individual must challenge others on behalf of their boss.  Once two units are earned for the boss, the employee keeps one unit, gives one to the boss and gains their independence.

  8. If an employee with nothing loses to another, he becomes the employee of the new winner, unless the new winner is also an employee.  Then both work for the original employer.  (The employee plays with his labor, not the units of the employer.  If your employee loses, you lose your employee to the person who won, and he works for the new employer.)

  9. Employees may not challenge their boss.

Discussion

  1. What was it like to be an employee?
  2. Why did you become an employee?
  3. Was it easy to gain your independence?
  4. Was it easy to become a boss?
  5. Was it easy to stay a boss?

Got any more ideas or links to new strategies? Please tell me in the comments!

Collaborative Tools online

Padlet

This is my new favourite collaborative software.

Richard Byrne did a great little video about how to start using Padlet and why you might use it in class. He talks about using this as an assessment for and assessment as learning.

The program allows people to log on anonymously or through an account. The Wall-owner can include images on the wall – perhaps an opportunity to annotate? You can also print out the contents of the wall for sharing in hard copy.

You can also add images from your computer or using a laptop camera.

Ways you could use this in your classroom

1) Collect information during student inquiry

2) use “layout modification” to force entries to be ranked in order of posting, and use as a debate

3) use as a Graffiti wall or as part of a jigsaw activity

4) Share links and ideas on a topic

5) Ask students to contribute personal connections to a historical theme – example: How is your life at home different in 2013 than when you were 5 years old?

Here are some other ideas by Cynthia Treichler. She even includes a tutorial on her website.

padlet integration

Let’s Play!

hey, PED3183, Let’s share some cool resources we’ve found and play with this resource.

http://padlet.com/wall/historytips – Groups 1 – 4

http://padlet.com/wall/historytips2 – Groups  5 – 8

Today’s Meet

A colleague introduced me to a neat tool called Today’s Meet. It allows students to ask questions, make comments and get clarification from a presentation. The beauty of the site? It doesn’t require someone to log into the site and  the shared  link is memorable. The wall owner can set the duration of time the link is “live” to prevent access to the wall after an activity.

Students can debate with each other using this venue and thus becomes an alternative to Twitter.

The transcript option allows the presenter to save the Room after a discussion. It saves in chronological order and there’s an easy copy & paste function.

The Today’s Meet Blog has some interesting ideas as well.

The website sells itself as a backchannel opportunity.

todays meet

Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated instruction responds to learning preferences, interests and readiness of individual learners.

Differentiation isn’t a new idea. Educators have consistently varied the way we reach out to different learners. Differentiation can be addressed in how you structure lessons for learning, how students engage in ideas and how they demonstrate their own mastery of the topic.

Taking differentiation into your planning doesn’t mean a student never has to write paragraphs or will never have to do an oral presentation. It may mean in one assessment, a student shows he can “demonstrate an understanding of the development of Canadian identity in the 20th century” through a series of images which he talk about orally. Nothing in the expectation says, “must demonstrate through paragraph writing.” It can mean modifying the classroom environment, the activities and the output.

More reading:

Differentiation Guide – 2010EducatorsGuide (Ministry of Ed)

Reach Every Student through Differentiation (Ministry of Ed)

Busting Myths in Differentiated Instruction

Differentiation in Reading (ideas)

Ministry of Education

Where the Magic Happens

Every day, we ask our students to come into our classrooms and try new things. We ask them to stand in front of their peers and speak, or answer a question on freshly learned topics or throw them into new methods of instruction which are far from the safety of pencil and paper activities. Our classrooms house intimidation!

Magic

I once read about a 30+ year veteran teacher who started a new activity every September. She believed it was a way to remind herself about the challenges of being a student. She reasoned that risk taking is hard and learning something new, although exciting, is really intimidating.

I love the image of a grey-haired woman stepping over the chrome engine of a Harley on her first ride, banging away at a drum lesson or leaping into a jazz dance class. She is risk taking. She giving up control. She is experiencing. She lets her self leave her comfort zone and head “where the magic happens.”

Unfortunately, many teachers forget what it’s like to take risks. We become at ease with the topics we cover (our students always seem so shocked, “how do you know all this?” and the answer is often, “I’ve taught it  a lot”). We make excuses for why we won’t or can’t learn something new.

Teachers can be intimidated by technology. There are so many variables in selecting iPad, interactive whiteboard, web activity, collaboration, Google Apps etc. Then, we have to worry about managing those activities once we’ve created them.

My challenge to you: pick something. If it fails? Try again. Do something differently. You’ll get another crack at it in the future. What is there to lose?

MOST IMPORTANTLY:  Let your students guide you. Let the students who know their way around reddit or tumblr show you how to find .gifs or embed videos. Enjoy being a student. Use the classtime to develop a skill or learn a new web too.

Graphic Organizers

I love graphic organizers like nothing else.  Many students are intimidated by the blank page. It’s amazing how adding some blocks or circles on a page to “fill out” make the work of writing or researching so much more manageable.

Students can be given graphic organizers to help outline “how many” concepts or ideas they should research. Further, an organizer can help ensure they extend their thinking beyond ‘gathering facts’ to ‘evaluate’ or ‘examine’ given teacher-directed language.

I found this AMAZING fill-in .pdf webpage a little while ago. I have gone back to using it again and again. There’s a webpage for so many topics and needs. Teaching students about these resources may help them to remember these as a starting point in their writing or organizing process.

Here is one of my Favourites: The Alphabet Organizer

alphabet exemplar – 3 Little Pigs

Wikipedia by Another Name

Our students love and rely on Wikipedia. I constantly remind them it’s a great resource for ‘general knowledge’ but they should not use it as a source on papers. I teach them to ‘mine’ the footnotes at the end of the documents to access more reputable sources.
There are many students who struggle with the vocabulary and heavy text of the original Wikipedia. Luckily, there’s been some pretty genius online sources which use the data from Wikipedia to make more accessible options.
Other Ways to Search Wikipedia
10 Word Wiki (gives you summary in 10 words exactly)
  – this might be inspiration for neat writing activity too!
Simple English Wikipedia (for kids, English Language Learners or for those who need a simpler version)
Wiki Mind Maps – connects ideas within Wikipedia links for word association
The Wiki Game (use the links to connect unrelated ideas – the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon for the web)