Differentiated Instruction Presentation - June 2011

Board of Education Presentation
Differentiated Instruction Committee
Garden City Public Schools
June 14, 2011
District Committee Members
Dr. Teresa Prendergast
Susan Lee
Linda Norton
Jean Ricotta
Eileen Vota
Nancy Basel
Stella Cristoforo
Joellen Crowley
Beth McVicar
Lori Palladino
Eryn Maher
Sarah Kashetta
Marissa Pollicino
Kevin Pollitt
Michelle Ciquera
Amanda Tarazi
Dr. Paris Zaferiou
Middle School Professional Learning
Dina Reilly
Maria Cafaro
Judith Hecker
Ellen Wohlberg
Dr. Nancy Mannion
Patricia McCartin
Elaine Freerick
Nancy Menges
Susan Cohen
Susan Brown
Charge of the Committee
To conduct a comprehensive assessment of the
status of differentiated instruction in classrooms
and to develop an action plan for improvement.
Review of research on differentiated instruction
Develop a teacher survey on current classroom practices
Create parent and student interest surveys
Define ‘differentiated instruction’
Conduct parent focus groups
Participate in staff development initiatives and professional
learning communities
• Present findings and recommendations to the Board of
Education in June
Committee Members at Work
Goal: Review of the Research on
Differentiated Instruction
Differentiation is
responsive teaching
rather than one-size
fits-all teaching
“It means teachers proactively plan
varied approaches to what
students need to learn, how they
will learn it, and/or how they will
show what they have learned
in order to increase the likelihood
that each student will learn
as much as he or she can, as
efficiently as possible.”
Carol Ann Tomlinson
“Differentiated instruction is a teaching philosophy
based on the premise that teachers should adapt
instruction to student differences. Rather than
marching students through the curriculum lockstep,
teachers should modify their instruction to meet
students’ varying readiness levels, learning
preferences, and interests. Therefore, the teacher
proactively plans a variety of ways to ‘get at’ and
express learning.”
Carol Ann Tomlinson
Comparing Classrooms
Differentiated Classroom
Many learning profile options provided
Many instructional arrangements used
Student readiness, interest, and
learning profile shape instruction
Use of essential skills to make sense of
and understand key concepts and
principles as focus of learning
Multi-option assignments are
frequently used
Flexible use of time based on student
Multiple materials provided
Multiple perspectives on ideas and
events are sought
Teacher is a facilitator encouraging selfreliant learning
Students are assessed multiple ways
Focus on multiple intelligences
Excellence is defined by individual
growth from a starting point
Traditional Classroom
Relatively few profile options taken into
Whole-class instruction dominates
Coverage of texts and curriculum
guides drive instruction
Mastery of facts and skills out-ofcontext are the focus of learning
Single option assignments are the norm
Time is relatively inflexible
A single text prevails
Single interpretations of ideas and
The teacher directs student behavior
A single form of assessment is often
A relatively narrow sense of intelligence
A single definition of excellence exists
The Differentiated Classroom by Carol Ann Tomlinson
Differentiated Instruction Strategies
Moderate Differentiation
Intensive Differentiation
Choices of books
Homework options
Use of reading buddies
Varied journal prompts
Varied pacing with anchor options
Student-teaching goal setting
Work alone / together
Whole-to-part and part-to-whole explorations
Flexible seating
Varied computer programs
Varied supplementary materials
Options for varied modes of expression
Varying scaffolding on same organizer
Think-Pair-Share by readiness, interest,
learning profile
Use of collaboration, independence, and
Open-ended activities
Mini-workshops to re-teach or extend skills
Explorations by interests
Games to practice mastery of information
Multiple levels of questions
Tiered activities and labs
Tiered products
Independent studies
Multiple texts
Alternative assessments
Learning contracts
Multiple-intelligence options
Spelling by readiness
Varying organizers
Lectures coupled with graphic organizers
Interest groups
Tiered centers
Interest centers
Literature circles
Group Investigation
Teams, Games, and Tournaments
Problem-Based Learning
Graduated rubrics
Flexible reading formats
Student-centered writing formats
Goal: Define
“Differentiated Instruction”
Mission Statement
 The Garden City School District seeks to create an
environment for learning which enables each student the
opportunity to grow as an individual as well as a group
member while striving to achieve the optimal level of
academic, social and personal success.
 Students will thrive in a learning environment that is
developmentally appropriate, individualized and challenging.
 Our goal and responsibility is to help each student develop an
enthusiasm for learning, a respect for self and others, and the
skills to become a creative independent thinker and problem
Garden City Definition for
Differentiated Instruction
• Differentiated instruction is based upon the principle
that all children learn best when the instruction is
responsive to the uniqueness of each student.
• The intent is to maximize each child’s opportunities for
growth and individual success, by addressing their
academic abilities, learning styles and interests.
• In order to challenge students at their readiness levels,
the instructional process will focus on what students
need to learn (content), how they learn it (process),
and how they demonstrate their understanding
Differentiated Instruction
is a teacher’s response to learner’s needs
guided by general principles of differentiation, such as
respectful tasks
flexible grouping
ongoing assessment
and adjustment
Teachers can differentiate
through a range of instructional strategies
What Differentiated Instruction…
• Differentiated instruction is more
QUALITATIVE than quantitative
• Differentiated instruction provides
MULTIPLE approaches to content,
process, and product
• Differentiated instruction is
• Differentiated instruction is a
BLEND of whole class, group, and
individual instruction
• Differentiated instruction is
• Individual instruction
• Chaotic or new
• Just another way to provide
homogenous instruction (you
do use flexible grouping
• Just modifying grading systems
and reducing work loads
• More work for the "good"
students and less and different
for the "poor" students
How to Differentiate Instruction in MixedAbility Classrooms by Carol Ann Tomlinson
Goal: Participate in Staff
Development Initiatives and
Professional Learning Communities
Staff Development Opportunities
• Connecting Content and Kids: Differentiated Instruction and
Understanding by Design with Carol Ann Tomlinson and Jay McTighe
• Differentiated Instruction In The Math Classroom with National Presenter
Dr. Nanci Smith
• Current, Best Strategies for Challenging and Motivating your Gifted
• Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching: An Overview
• Teaching Gifted Students in the Classroom
• Current, Best Strategies for Challenging and Motivating Your Gifted
• Teachers College Reading and Writing Project
• Critical Thinking Instruction: How to Teach Problem Solving Skills to All
• Inclusion and the Differentiated Classroom
Staff Development Opportunities
• Differentiation for Gifted Learners in the Classroom (BOCES)
• Differentiating Math Instruction for Multiple Intelligences
(Consultant John Hinton)
• Bridging the Mathematical Gap- Strategies for Differentiating
Math Instruction (SCOPE)
• Differentiated Instruction in Action: Tiered Activities and
Center Based Learning (Marissa Pollicino)
• Reaching Your Accelerated Students: Differentiation for Higher
Achievers (Rich Madden)
• Maximizing Student Potential: Learning Styles and Multiple
Intelligences in a Differentiated Classroom (Patricia Roberts)
• Collegial Circle: Brain Stations for Students (Dolores Volpe)
What is the Garden City Middle School
Professional Learning Community?
A collaborative professional community of faculty and
staff whose goal is to ensure effective teaching and
learning practices which address the needs of diverse
learners in the classroom at their developmental level.
Cross section of staff members whose focus is to help
implement school and district goals at the middle
school level.
How Has the Middle School P.L.C.
Implemented the District’s Goal?
Conducted faculty survey assessing the
knowledge of differentiated instructional
strategies and practices.
Reviewed the data compiled from teacher
Facilitated a workshop encouraging teachers to
share effective differentiated strategies among
each other.
 Developed a reference book for teacher use as
a resource for lesson development templates.
How has the P.L.C. Implemented the
District’s Goal? (cont’d)
 Organized a menu of relevant professional
development ideas for teachers on
differentiated instructional continuum.
 Facilitated a teacher resource room
showcasing various differentiated instructional
resources, ancillary materials, websites and
knowledge sharing among faculty members.
Goal: Develop Teacher Survey on
Current Classroom Practices
Teacher Differentiated Instruction
A survey was administered to primary and elementary teachers in
April 2011 to identify current classroom practices pertaining to
differentiation. The results of the survey will be used to determine
alignment with best practices.
Teachers were asked:
• to identify their familiarity and usage with various DI strategies,
techniques or methods.
• to identify the content area for which the district could support teachers
in differentiating instruction.
• to recommend specific materials, web sites, professional books or other
• how they tailored instruction to meet the needs of accelerated or
struggling students.
• to identify ways the district could support teachers in working towards
the goal of offering differentiated instruction for all students.
Teacher Familiarity and Usage with
Various DI strategies
Teaching strategy or
Familiar/Very Familiar
Use Occasionally/ Regularly
Flexible Grouping
Depth and Complexity
Tiered Lessons
Questioning Strategies
Student self assessment
Peer Critiques
Centers or stations
Product Options
Survey Responses
• In the last three years, 89% of teachers have attended a
workshop on differentiated instruction; 59% have
attended a workshop pertaining to special education;
12% of the teachers reported attending a workshop in
gifted education.
• 55% of the teachers would like additional support in
differentiating mathematics instruction
• Teachers were interested in staff development initiatives
focusing on specific DI strategies
the development of tiered lessons,
the compacting of curriculum,
different product options
student self-assessments
Teaching Methodologies Used to Meet
the Needs of Accelerated Students
• Differentiated reading groups, writing
assignments, homework assignments
• Flexible grouping
• Use of ‘just right books’ during reading time
• Higher level questioning, open-ended questions
• Extension or enrichment activities
• Tiered assignments
• Product options
• Research based projects
Teaching Methodologies Used to Meet
the Needs of Struggling Students
Small group, one-to-one instruction
Flexible grouping
Modified assignments
Scaffolding, questioning techniques, visuals,
reinforcement materials
Use of manipulatives
Questioning strategies
Re-teach and pre-teach strategies
Product options
Ways to Support Teachers in Meeting
the Goal of Offering DI for All Students
• Schedule time for grade-level workshops,
collegial circles for discussion and preparation of
materials, peer modeling of lessons
• Purchase materials and professional resources to
support teacher professional development
• Offer staff development opportunities on
differentiated instruction strategies for
accelerated students
• Attend local and state conferences
• Reduce classroom ‘pull-outs’ so that additional
‘whole-class’ instruction could take place
Flexible Grouping
Learning Profile
Tiered Activities
Curriculum Compacting
Learning Contracts
Adjusting Questions
Anchor Activities
Learning Centers/Stations
Problem-Based Learning
Goal: Create Parent and Student
Interest Surveys
To Differentiate
Instruction By
To Differentiate
Instruction By
A readiness level is a student’s entry
point relative to a particular
understanding or skill
An interest level is a child’s affinity,
curiosity, or passion for a particular
‫٭‬vary difficulty level of text &
supplementary materials
‫ ٭‬adjust task familiarity
‫ ٭‬vary direct instruction by small
‫ ٭‬adjust proximity of ideas to student
‫ ٭‬give choice of mode of expressing
‫ ٭‬use interest-based mentoring of
adults or more expert-like peers
‫ ٭‬give choice of tasks and products
(including student designed options)
‫ ٭‬give broad access to varied
materials & technologies
useful instructional strategies:
- tiered activities
- tiered products
- compacting
- learning contracts
- tiered tasks/alternative forms of
useful instructional strategies:
- interest centers
-enrichment clusters
- group investigation
- choice boards
To Differentiate
Instruction by
Learning Profile
A learning profile is how we learn. It
may be shaped by intelligence
preferences, gender, culture, or
learning style (visual, auditory,
kinesthetic, concrete, abstract)
‫ ٭‬create an environment with flexible
learning spaces and options
‫ ٭‬allow working alone or working with
‫ ٭‬use part-to-whole and whole-to-part
useful instructional strategies:
- multi-ability cooperative tasks
- interest groups
CA Tomlinson, UVa ‘97
Parent Surveys
Parent can help teachers understand the learning profiles of their
children. Parents will reflect upon and give examples pertaining to the
following statements:
 My child is a “self-starter” who works well alone, needing few
directions and little supervision.
 My child works toward his/her personal goals and expects to see
results from his/her work.
 My child continues to work on a project even when faced with
temporary defeats and slow results.
 My child thinks “outside the box” when approaching a problem or
 My child uses imaginative ways of doing things with or without
 My child prefers working or playing alone rather than doing something
“just to go along with the gang.”
Student Surveys
Student surveys are age appropriate questions focusing on learning
styles and interests. At the primary level, students will create a “me
map” highlighting things they are good at or like.
 When you study for a test, would you rather…
 If you are not able to complete something, it is because…
 When you read for fun, do you prefer…
 Usually, when I have free time I…
 The types of things that we do in class I really like are…
 My hobbies are…
 I am uncomfortable when people ask me to…
 The classes I enjoy the most are… because…
 I prefer to work….. by myself, with a partner or in a small group
Goal: Conduct Parent Focus
Parent Focus Groups
April 28, 2011
Benefits of a Focus Group
A focus group is a carefully planned discussion to obtain
perceptions, opinions, beliefs and attitudes regarding a defined
interest area.
• Way of collecting information from a group of people in a short time
• A tool for collecting information about people’s attitudes and
• Evaluate program/service effectiveness, strengths and weaknesses
• Assess needs and gaps
• Guide program development
Structure of the Focus Groups
• Six focus groups comprised of 10-12 parents, an
administrator and a teacher
• Participants were asked to respond to a series of
questions and to respect the views of all
• Comments from each of the groups were compiled
• The DI Committee reviewed comments and
discussed their implications
• Parent feedback was considered when making
committee recommendations to the Board of
Focus Group Discussions
• What aspects of learning is your child most excited about?
Hands-on activities, projects, group work, real world applications, use
of computers, manipulatives, art, science, writing, reading, math
• How do you know if your child’s teacher is aware of his/her academic
needs, strengths and areas of interest?
Phone calls, emails, individual student feedback, parent questionnaires or
surveys about child
• How might a teacher (and/or the district) help you understand how he/she
is differentiating the instruction for your child?
Explain how teacher utilizes DI during Back-to-School Night, ongoing
communication of child’s progress, use of website, newsletters, weekly
assessments, updates, assurance of grade level consistency
• What does differentiated instruction mean for your child?
Child is being appropriately challenged, enthusiastic about learning,
not bored, happy, maximizes potential, teacher inspires child to learn
Focus Group Discussions (cont’d)
• Which content area(s) do parents believe we differentiate most often?
Primary literacy, spelling, reading, writing, elementary science labs
• In which content area(s) could we explore further differentiation?
Use of centers in grade two, primary level math, literacy in the upper
elementary levels, social studies
• How might we enhance the instructional program to best meet your child’s
Grammar instruction, use of centers, compacting curriculum, greater
consistency across the grade levels, enhanced and ongoing
• Of all the things we discussed today, what to you is the most important?
Communication-use of newsletters, grade level consistency, want
teachers to employ best practices, encourage sharing of ideas with
colleagues, foster positive relationships between teacher, child and
Where do we go from here?
Middle School Recommendations
• Volunteer peer observations
• Continue adding differentiated instructional
materials to Middle School Teacher’s Resource
• Informal knowledge sharing
• Turn key staff development focusing on
differentiated practices for teachers
• Develop a booklet for paraprofessionals
supporting a differentiated model in the classroom
• Offer in-service courses and staff development opportunities
focusing on differentiated practices and mathematics instruction for
teachers as noted in teacher surveys
• Share resources developed by the middle school PLC and the
district committee with K-8 classroom teachers
• Distribute the newly created pamphlet Differentiated Instruction:
Enhances Academic Performance for ALL to parents during Back-toSchool Night. Classroom teachers will discuss how differentiation
occurs in their classrooms
• Expand primary and elementary school professional libraries to
include differentiated instructional resources
• Develop curriculum guides for grades 2-5; distribute to parents
during Back-To-School Night
• Administer parent and student interest surveys in the fall to assist
teachers in understanding their students’ learning styles, needs and
• Invite Hofstra University professors to conduct workshops to faculty,
focusing on what differentiated instruction looks like in practice
• Attend AGATE Fall Conference (or similar conferences) promoting
gifted and talented education
• Increase efforts to provide parents with opportunities to
communicate with teachers about curricula, student progress and
classroom activities.
• Provide parents with opportunities to participate in future focus group
• Continue partnership with literacy consultant to enhance elementary
balanced literacy instruction
• Refine elementary school schedules to maximize whole class
instructional time
• Communicate district expectations for differentiated instruction to
is a Way of
Thinking About
Teaching and
Thank you for your participation and
continued support

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