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D.I. (K-5)

I really like the way Madison County Schools looks at D.I. (see http://www.madison-schools.com/Page/48)

Schools are expected to:

  • Differentiate instruction for the learners based on readiness, interest, etc. to prevent learning gaps;

  • Teach to the appropriate Depths of knowledge to prepare students for higher order thinking;

  • Study a concept of backwards planning, based on the principles of Understanding by Design.

Elementary schools are encouraged to implement a balanced literacy approach to teaching reading and content areas. Where appropriate, science, social studies, and math are integrated into the reading curriculum for building background knowledge and making connections across the disciplines. Developmental Reading Assessments are used to differentiate the levels of the learners for appropriate instruction in small guided reading groups. Hands-on mathematics and problem-solving are a daily part of the elementary classrooms in order to develop confident critical thinkers.

Beliefs Regarding Differentiated Instruction (D.I.) (K-5)

  1. Purpose should be for student growth for LIFE, not just MCT2

  2. Must begin where students are – based on data

  3. Requires careful planning

  4. Looks different in every classroom/for every teacher

  5. Can be in content, process, and product

  6. Must begin with small steps

  7. Must always be student-centered

  8. Assessment should be a constant drive for instruction

Differentiated Instruction in grades K-5 looks like…

  1. Teacher Observations/Assessments Lead to Adjustment in Instruction (Teachers are consistently checking for understanding and adjusting the teaching to lead to higher levels of learning)

  2. Flexible Groups – Guided Reading/Literature Circles NON-NEGOTIABLE… Small Math Groups Encouraged

  3. Classroom Arrangement Lends Itself to Grouping/Movement

  4. Student-Centered

  5. Variety of Instructional Materials – going beyond textbooks

  6. Smooth Transitions

  7. Centers/Stations – Active learning based on student needs/levels (not same activity for all students managed through rotation)

  8. Workshop Approach (Mini-Lesson + Student Activity with Teacher Guidance /Conferencing)