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Differentiating Instruction**
 
Course Description
    

In this workshop, participants will explore creative teaching strategies and assessments that support differentiated instruction.  Participants will investigate and explore the principals of DI (Differentiated Instruction) and become familiar with strategies for managing a DI classroom.  Participants will have the opportunity to implement some of the strategies within the classrooms and discuss pros and cons with other learners. 

* Participants will implement course strategies with students.
 

 
Course Syllabus
    

Differentiating Instruction

Course Description

This workshop is designed to assist K-12 teachers in effectively adapting lessons to meet the needs of a diverse group of learners.  Participants will explore creative teaching strategies and assessments that support differentiated instruction and become familiar with strategies for managing a DI classroom.  Teachers are encouraged to try some of the strategies in their classrooms and discuss pros and cons with other learners in weekly discussions.  As a final project, participants will complete one of the following:

  • a technology rich lesson plan for differentiating instruction for two specific students,
  • a detailed reflective journal around three student learners using differentiated instruction, or
  • a documentary of the implementation of differentiated instruction using digital pictures and/ or video accompanied with detailed, and explanations of the process.

Prerequisites

This course is for teachers who have been introduced to differentiated instruction and want to begin experimenting with the strategies.  Participants are expected to have regular access to computers.  In addition, participants should be proficient with using email, browsing the Internet, and navigating to computer files

Goals

 By the end of this workshop, participants will understand:

  • the principals of differentiated instruction,
  • strategies that support DI,
  • strategies for managing a differentiated classroom, and
  • how to develop a final product that incorporates DI strategies to meet the needs of learners.

Assessment and Course Requirements

Each session includes readings, an activity, and a discussion assignment, which participants are required to complete weekly. The approximate number of hours to complete this course is 45 hours.  Each weekly assignment along with required readings and discussion board entries should take approximately 6.5-7 hours.

Course Products

Final Product- For the final product participants will submit one of the following:
 

Differentiated Lesson Plans

Using your existing lesson plan format for your district or the attached template, incorporate differentiated activities into your plans on a daily basis.  You may choose to write about how you are differentiating in one or more subject areas. Use the Lesson Plan Template provided in the course.

Journal Entries

Use the Differentiated Instruction Journal provided in the course material to record your exploration of DI with three different types of learners.  You might choose a high achiever, a struggling learner and someone with a unique learner profile, such as a very musical student.  You will use the journal to analyze your rationale and process in differentiating instruction, as well as your reflection on the results.

Image Documentary

Will consist of a short video (no more than 3 - 4 minutes in length) or digital pictures, not to exceed 10-12, of a submitted, planned lesson using differentiated strategies to address a standard and specific objective. Evidence of individual strategies and assessments to address no more than 3 distinct learning styles must be present as well as submission of the Image proposal template – provided in the course material.

Discussion Participation

Participants are evaluated on the merit of their discussion posts as well as their frequency in responding to other participants in each discussion. Each week all participants are required to post a minimum of three significant postings in each discussion board.  One of the posts should begin a new thread that addresses the discussion prompt while the other two responds to an existing thread.  Postings that begin new threads should be relevant to the discussion prompt, exhibit a clear understanding of course concepts, and express the participant’s thoughts on the topic at hand.   Postings that respond to other participants should be pertinent to the post and extend the discussion. Participants are expected to read all original posts and enough responses to comprise 50% of the total number of messages posted each session.  .

Sessions Overview

Session One:  Elements of Differentiated Instruction

The purpose of this session is to introduce or clarify the elements of differentiated instruction. Participants will read about the 3-2-1 strategy and think about how this strategy could help you reach students with different reading abilities in your classroom. Download the charts and try them with your students.

Session Two:  Getting To Know Your Students

Session two gives participants a variety of ways to use data mining in order to better know the students they teach.  Teachers will be asked to assess their own learner profile as well as inventory three different learners to build a learner profile on these students.  In this session participants will take one or more of the learner inventories to strengthen their understanding of  personal learning styles and reflect on the effect that style of learning / teaching has on other learning styles that may be present in your student population.  Participants will also administer this inventory to 3 students.

Session Three:  Management Strategies for the Differentiated Classroom

The purpose of this session is to reflect upon best practices for classroom management in a differentiated classroom. Teachers will be asked to look at different classroom management profiles and do a self –assessment of their own profile.   Participants will determine their classroom management style using the Classroom Management Profile by Cape Breton-Victoria Schools.

Session Four: Instructional Strategies that Support Differentiating Instruction

This session is an exploration of many teaching strategies that teachers can learn and add to their repertoire of teaching tools.  Teachers will be asked to try out their favorite strategies with students and reflect on their experiences using the discussion board. Readings include technology based anchor assignments by subject level, and overview of using anchor activities and a planning sheet and rubric for using anchor activities.  Participants will investigate some of the different activities listed for planning of their final projects.

Session Five: Varying Assessments in the Differentiated Classroom

Assessment involves gathering student information to make instructional choices for that student.  These sites offer an overview of authentic assessments and alternative ways to assess students. Participants will select the type of assessments to evaluate different styles of learning. Open the Final Product plan chosen and review objectives. Complete section 6 of the Lesson Plan, Journal entry, or Image Documentary.

Session Six: Differentiated Instruction in Action:  Final Project

In this session participants will complete and submit one of the following: Lesson Plan Template, Differentiated Instruction Journal, or an Image Documentary