Monday, March 28, 2016

Design Differentiated Instruction

                 BY   DR. CARRIE SIMPSON
This may be the book that revolutionizes that way teachers teach!Design: DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION

Since the revelation of about nine modalities by Howard Gardner, many teachers embraced the idea, but found it quite complicated and even more perplexed over how to carry out this big order with a class load of 35 to 70 or more students. I was a science teacher at an elementary school teacher when I was excitedly lit with Gardner's idea of Teaching to the modalities  I returned to school, tried this and tried that, but found that seeing every student in a relatively small elementary school of 430 students, grades K through 6.  I used it with students that were struggling. I found it impossible to implement Gardners theory completely and had many colleagues with 35+ students were struggling as well.  Gardner's focus on modalities is still very useful, but the CAP Design of Differentiated Instruction may make teachers' lives and their teaching more effective.

Basically CAP stands for "Creativity,  Analytical and Practical". Students are given activities that help them learn a concept by processing the information with the above three categories. The teacher does not assess and place the students in these groups, the students are allowed to pick which they want to do to learn the concepts (the facts, content, vocabulary)the process (how students interact while learning the material, Creatively, Analytically or Practically) and the product (whatever they produce to demonstrate understanding of new information). The teacher provides the activities from which the students choose.

Students who choose to use their Creativity, might choose to create a skit, a storyboard, paint a picture, write a poem that demonstrates that the understand the concept. Students that are more Analytical, may choose, write out steps, categorize, list, outline, show similarities and differences and many more. Students that tend to the Practical, might choose activities that generate sentences or examples, state defining characteristics, talk about and generate sentences that demonstrate understanding, etc. (Troubleshooting the process is also included, eg. when students tend to always
group with friends.)

The author includes many examples of subjects and how the teacher designed activities for each of the CAP categories. Also included are templates for planning CAP activites, Student Self Assessment, and Teacher Assessment or Self Reflection of the lesson and its effectiveness.

The CAP design of differentiated instruction was developed by Robert Sternberg whose research shows that three thinker sets exist and has since have been supported by continued research, that the modes neurologically have been shown to enhance retention in learners.  Dr. Carol Dweck has built on this research to demonstrate that we can "educate ourselves into elevated intelligence and train ourselves into new realms of talent."  As teachers it is our duty to impart this kind of learning in our students that "we can learn ourselves to be smarter". This may also encourage our students into life long learning.

I am very excited about trying out these methods in my classroom, and sharing them with my colleagues, principal, superintendent and Board of Education.
I received this book published by Pieces of Learning at a reduced cost in exchange for this honest and unbias review.



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