Sep 4, 2008

differentiation... techniques (content and product)

If students are going to learn different material or doing different products, there are several ways to make this fair, equitable and most of all manageable. The hardest part is always having so many *different* things to grade, that and making sure that students are doing equivalent work. :)

The products are the vehicles students use to show us their knowledge. The content is the material they have learned. I'm putting the two together because they can often go together in practical application.

Sometimes content can be differentiated while the product and skills remain the same, i.e. each student picks the topic of their research paper but all the students are responsible for the same type of research paper. In this case the student chooses the vehicle based on interest, but the skills being taught by the teacher and the product are the same for all students. This means that the teacher expectations and grading rubric remain the same for all students.

RAFT and tiered activities can also work well.

Other Menu activities also work well. In my class I used to require personal projects. Students could choose from a variety of assignments to show me learning and knowledge of the different Spanish speaking countries. Each assignment had its own mini-rubric and point values assigned. Students could choose which assignment to do, but their total points had to equal 40. A 5 point project was to make an accurate flag and provide the population statistics on the back. A 15 point assignment was to prepare a typical dish from that country and bring it in to share with classmates. A 40 point assignment was to write a mini-research paper with at least 3 references cited. Students were able to use their talents and interests and I was able to assess their learning. In addition, the other students were able to benefit from their learning when we shared our work. I always had a category for student choice which required talking to me, making a plan, writing a rubric, and assigning a point value for the project.

Independent study


Authentic problem, product and audience

Flexible grouping

Learning contracts

Varied homework

Curriculum compacting

Curriculum enrichment

Portfolio development

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