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

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The Internet is Awesome

I love the internet.

It’s true. Sure, just like everything else touched by humanity, the internet has awesome places and very, very dark places. Here are my picks for the best places for personal or educational growth.

Life and Education Inspirations

Planet Money podcast

I can’t get enough of this fantastic podcast. When I first started listening, my knowledge of economics was shakey at best. After listening for 4 years, I can understand conversations about quantitative easing, discuss the global impact of cotton subsidies and can identify the “new” ways to hit the top of the pop music charts. The bite-size 20 minute segments twice a week make listening manageable.

This year I asked my grade 12 Challenge and Change students to use analyze an episode and apply a socio-/psycho-/anthro- logical lens. They ate it up like candy. Many have become obsessive listeners. (assignment here: Plant Money podcast analysis.)

This American Life podcast

This show from NPR is representative of all that is good in public radio. Clever reporting, heartbreaking and heartwarming storytelling and the delightful charm of Ira Glass makes this the best hour on radio ever week. Don’t let the name of this show turn you off, Canadians. These stories are stories of humanity, not just Americans.

bonus: sometimes they have David Sedaris read his stories. *squee!*

The Story Globe is an awesome resource for a geographer like myself. I use it for my Challenge and Change class.

Here are two of my favourite episodes.

TAL500_illustration_by_steve_dressler2_lg_0

#1: Nummi (Episode 403) – if someone had said, “Here’s a really great podcast about a car manufacturing plant, it’s awesome!” I would have laughed in their face. I believe I did (sorry, @gduncanclark). This episode is a testament to the outstanding journalism and storytelling I’ve come to know and love with This American Life. It is a fascinating (and awesome) episode.

#2: I now hesitate to eat calamari at restaurants. Episode 484: Doppelgangers

Sociological Images

I can’t say enough about my favourite website, Sociological Images. This site is curated by Lisa Wade, a professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Numerous other academics contribute to the ever-growing bank of social scientific reflections on the world around us.

#1: Course Guide to Sociology of Gender

#2: Pointlessly Gendered Products (with a contribution from yours truly!)

perceptions

#3: Rebranding the Prune (because nothing escapes the sociological lens)

#4: Heightism Most of us know about racism, ageism and sexism. @SocImages does a fantastic series of posts about Heightism – when people are judged as a result of their height.

Youtube for Learning

My favourite channels:

1) Crash Course: The Brothers Green have outdone themselves with this fantastic series of videos covering World History, world religions, American History, Science, Psychology and Literature.

2) PBS Idea Channel Check out “Bronies Redefining masculinity” and “There’s no Such thing as offline”

#3 Vihart – A beautiful union of math and art.

Great Places on Twitter

Personal Interests

spaceballs

I didn’t know I like astronomy. I have @Failedprotostar to remind me daily that space is cool.

Love Ottawa? Love Local History? Love Art? Love local Ottawa artist and amateur historian, Andrew King.

Education:

Russell Tarr @russelltarr – This British Ex-Pat in Toulouse, France exemplifies the marriage of History and Technology in the classroom. He loves “sharing creative ideas on Twitter & offending Mr. Gove [British British Conservative Party politician, the Secretary of State for Education].” He can also be found on Tweets as @activehistory and @classtools.

Megan Valois, @msvalois, is a local Ottawa teacher extraordinaire. She considers herself a “21st century teacher/learner.” Check out her Twitter feed or her website at meganvalois.com for great ideas for History and English as well as differentiated instruction, assessment for learning & #edtech!

The Good Doctors:

I’m pretty lucky to know some very intelligent people who have the degrees (and peer reviewed journals) to prove it! Beyond their talents in their respective fields, these Drs are also fascinating and humourous folk. Check out @thejennye (Canadian History, Women and Sport), @postWarHist (Canadian Cold War Military History) and @mittenstrings (Canadian Literature) for musings and links to amazing places and discussion about historical and contemporary issues.

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

Think Literacy

The Ministry of Education has created a variety of lessons and ideas relating to literacy. The whole series is available online. Their approach looks at reading, writing and oral strategies for developing skills in understanding all types of text.

Here is the resource for Gr 10 History (WW2) and Civics. 

There’s also a resource for 7/8 History.

Quick Literacy Strategies

Handout: Cross Curricular Literacy Strategies

Oct 9  Keynote Presentation Literacy and Differentiation Oct 9 Lesson

Alphabet Organizer

I can’t say enough about the beauty of the Alphabet Graphic Organizer. I always keep a spare pile in my room as a back up for any lesson. Here are just a few ways you can use this template.485094_abc_blocks-resized

Here’s a neat online version of the organizer which could be used with a Smartboard or in a 1:1 computer environment.

1) Preview or Review

– have students list words from each letter of words they *think* relate to a topic

– use each letter to review key terms or associated ideas in a unit

2) Summary or Narrative

– each letter, in the correct order, starts the next word or next sentence. Here’s an example I wrote using the story of the  3 Little Pigs.

3) Poem

– use the organizer as a template for an alphabet poem

55 Word Stories

Writing a summary, story, review, answer, definition etc in EXACTLY 55 words is a literary and literacy-related challenge. Students have to select the best words as well as eliminate extraneous words or ideas from their work. This type of activity forces students to organize their ideas before writing.

Stronger students will rise to the challenge and weaker writers will be relived they only need to come up with 55 words. Sentence structure still matters, and students must recognize what constitutes a word and what is a character (.;!,? etc).

Some Examples:

“How many times do I have to tell you not to leave your backpack in the front hallway!” Wendy bellowed from the kitchen table. “Honestly,” she said. “Do they expect me to pick up after them all day?” She sighed and took a sip from her mug. “So where was I?”

All she could hear was the sharp inhale and exhale of her breath and the rhythmic slap of her running shoes against the damp, dark pavement. The sun burst through a pack of clouds, illuminating the rusts, golds, and reds of the leaves and their muddy trunks. A curve in the road. Blue sky ahead.

She sipped her wine. “My professor proposes,” she said, “that we’ve evolved to find beautiful those things that resemble resources essential to survival.”

“Preposterous,” he said, and ran a hand through hair as golden as a field of wheat ready for harvest. She shrugged, and met his eyes, two blue pools of fresh clean water.

6 Sentences

This is a great activity I learned from the brilliant Anne Gripton. I’ll be honest, students hate the idea of this activity. However, once they start working, they are invigorated by the challenge.

1) Ask students to summarize or review an event in history or a chapter in a story.

2) In writing about this summary, they may only use 6 sentences of ‘reasonable length.’

3) They may not repeat a single word – not ‘a, they, the, him, her, in, of’ or anything.

4) Write a draft and review.

5) Finish!

An example:

Sometimes students struggle with writing.

They want to do well but are afraid of an empty page.

Give them a graphic organizer.

This can help provide structure for thinking and organizing.

Once assisted, many create beautiful works.

Challenges result in major successes.

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

“Ziploc” Theme Bags and Four Corners Photographs

ZIPLOC BAG OF PROPS

photo

How many ways could you use the stuff in the bag? 

  • Assign a role to each of the objects to identify minority groups/social classes in Canada.
  • Fill the bag with objects and then ask them how to solve the problem with the objects in the bag (innovation)
  • Fill bag with historical objects (iron, wood, etc.) –>  group the objects to represent different groups of people/employment during a particular age
  • One object –> students give their perspective
  • Antique objects –> guess their use, or  tell a story where they object has been, perhaps students write a riddle about an object?
  • Props to represent objects in particular lesson –> Russian WW2 — No Ammo
  • 1st day ice breaker –> what represents them from the bag?
  • Build a diorama/sculpture with the objects

FOUR CORNERS

Block off ¾ of the photo, have the students describe what they see (This allows students to make predictions about the photo )

How else could you use this activity?

  • Show a piece have them draw the rest
  • What is NOT in the photo –> make predictions, inferring
  • use like a Puzzle (maps, propaganda posters etc)
  • Propaganda, etc. –> Tops and Tails (students get half a photo, have to find its match)
  • Video clip – show only the top or bottom of the clip (block of the tv with construction paper)
  • Timelines –> chunking it up
  • Chunking up a speech/conversation/interview
  • Poems ->  chunking it up
  • Use their textbook, block out all the text around the photos (forces students to make predictions, use of  non-textual cues)
  • Use this as a means to test students – what is going on in the photo? Why is it relevant to what we’ve learned in class?

Resource Review

Resource Evaluation Assignment

Review of Resources Rubric

Example: Resource Review assignment

I’d rather have an armload of resources than be forced into a Socratic style of questioning pupils whilst hanging out under a tree (okay, I’d dig a tree classroom). Although a teacher can facilitate engaging discussions, helping students chew over historical information is best done with imagesinteractives, interesting texts, films etc. Resources can make or break lessons. Even seemingly ‘bad’ resources, if creatively applied, can be remarkable tools to capture the imagination.

This assignment will help you hone skills in identifying resources and challenge you to identify new ways to use them. We’ll practice a few examples in class.

inspire teachers

Some of my favourite resources:

1. The Faithful Elephants

This is a great children’s story about the unintended consequences of war. Beautiful water colour images capture the haunting history of the Tokyo Zoo during Allied bombing in WW2. http://www.amazon.ca/Faithful-Elephants-Story-Animals-People/dp/0395861373

2. The Big Six by Sexias and Morton

This teacher’s resource is an accessible breakdown of the major elements of the historical inquiry process. Whether an educator had been trained in History or not, this book provides clear examples and activities to study any period of time. The book focuses on “The Big Six:” historical significance, evidence, cause and consequence, continuity and change, historical perspectives, and the ethical dimensions of History. There are more great follow up activities here. 

3. The Enemy: a Book about Peace

This is an amazing children’s book about the futile nature of war. This youtube clip is a fair substitution if you can’t get a copy.

iMovie on the iPad- Trailers

iMovie Trailer Activity instructions

Our school has 20 iPads in the library. I have been trying to figure out ways to use them in my classroom. Unfortunately, the way our current system works, there are few apps directly related to Canadian History. I turned my sights on iMovie.

My Grade 10 Academic History class served as pioneers in developing an activity (and avoiding some of the bugs) revolving around the $5 iMovie app.

Students were asked to select a variety of images around a topic, in this case, an introduction to Canada’s involvement in WW2. Then, using the basic-pre-made trailer option, students’ text and images were animated, set to music and packaged in a really slick format.

PLUSES:
– the students LOVED this creativity.
– they love the iPad and the simple image save functions
– the trailers look professional
– because they couldn’t obsess about music choices of storyboard setup, they were able to start and finish a 1 min trailer in a 75 minute period
– easy upload to Youtube or Vimeo

CONS:
– because the iPads are shared with the whole school, the students couldn’t save work they haven’t finished
– YouTube can take a long time to upload and if students don’t have their own account, you have to provide them with a password.
– Students need to remember (and learn) to sign out the account they use to share the finished product

Here’s an example of what they produced.

World War Two: Raid On Dieppe from HTrinity on Vimeo.