Introduction
Research Question / Significance of the Study
A beginning teacher had success with literacy work stations yet was struggling with management of her math period. She wondered if the same instructional strategy she used during her reading block would work with math.She wanted to use a rotation model during her math block.It was thought that using a rotation would provide a teacher with a structured classroom management center. By adding more time for collaboration between students, students have the opportunity to learn from their peers.Finally, small flexible groups offer the teacher an opportunity to differentiate for students’ individual needs. Students are broken into three groups according to their needs.One group of students is working with the teacher at a table, focusing on skills that are missing in order to understand a specific concept. One group is working at their desks, usually completing a paper and pencil assessment or practice of a skill.The third group is dispersed throughout the room at stations or centers which allow them to use real life applications or manipulatives to practice a skill.The teacher will tier the tasks in the stations and when students are working with her.
Literature Review
Literature Review 1
The author begins by defining differentiation, what it is and what it is not. The author discusses theories held by Lev Vygotsky, Eric Jenson, Robert Sternberg, and Howard Gardner.Descriptions of the typical struggling, ontarget, and advanced student as discussed.The author then defines the most common ways a teacher may differentiate in his/her classroom.She explains how the strategy is supported by research, and offers practical strategies, lessons, and model units to use in the classroom to support that particular strategy.
Critique: This book is a great book for beginning teachers.Differentiation can seem to be very overwhelming, especially for beginning professionals.Sometimes, even veteran teachers and administration misunderstand the concepts of differentiated instruction. This resource begins with theory and ends with how to make the theory practical. A beginning professional will be able to quickly look up, define, and understand the typical jargon of differentiated
instruction.
This book includes complete language arts, science, and social studies sample units with model sets of tiered task cards. High level thinking graphic organizers and key words and phrases that promote complexity and depth to challenge all students are provided for educators. By offering both examples and nonexamples of when to use the various strategies, the author makes it easier for a teacher to decide which strategy to use.
This book provides a clear cut guide to differentiated instruction. A school principal is supposed to be the master educator in a building. The principal’s primary job is to lead instruction. This book would assist an administrator who needs to explain and coach a classroom teacher through a differentiated lesson.
Reference: Drapeau, P. (2004). Differentiated Instruction: Making It Work. New York, NY: Scholastic.
Literature Review 2
levels.The author, Carol Ann Tomlinson, describes a way of looking at teaching and learning that will help guide all aspects of how a classroom educator should approach their students and classroom. She looks at the latest research on learning, education, and change for the theoretical basis of differentiated instruction and why it's so important to today's children. Yet she goes beyond the theory.She provides reallife examples of teachers and students using and benefiting from differentiated instruction.
The author devotes three chapters of the book to describe actual lessons, units, and classrooms with differentiated instruction in action. This provides a pictorial model for what differentiation looks like. There are examples of both
elementary and secondary classrooms in nearly all subject areas to show how manage a differentiated classroom into a reality.
Critique: Differentiating curriculum is one of the most, if not the most, important skills for teachers to master in order to help all kids reach their full potential.New professionals often become confused as to what differentiation is and what it is not.There is confusion among beginning teachers that differentiation implies individualization. This idea may cause a new teacher to hesitate in attempting to try implementing a differentiated approach. This is far from the truth.The author provides research to back up her theories.Mrs. Tomlinson supplies the reader with several examples that can be applied immediately in a classroom. However, the examples of real life lessons, units and teacher classrooms offer more support
to the research the author quoted.
Reference:Tomlinson, C. (1999).The Differentiated Classroom: Responding To The Needs Of All Learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. ED 429 944
Literature Review 3
1. Children's behavior
2. Efficient use of the teacher's and children's time
3. Children's level of power sharing in the classroom
4. The teacher's role in supporting children's playful learning
5. The inclusion of art, music, and/or physical movement
6. Freedom to move around the classroom
7. Evidence of children's learning in the academic areas
In the traditional classroom, the children seemed bored or misbehaving, and were unengaged in learning.Students were scolded frequently by the teacher for talking, moving about, or not following instructions.The center based classroom had students that seemed to be very engaged with the content.Time on task was high. No behavior problems were seen in the classroom.Students were moving feely about the room to content based songs.
Critique:There are many reasons why educators of young children recommend the use of learning centers in the classroom.Centers provide children with opportunities for making choices, learning from peers, being involved in handson activities, and becoming fully engaged in learning. In contrast, traditional classroom formats, in which children must remain quiet and at their individual desks for most of the school day, may discourage children's active engagement in learning, prevent them from taking responsibility for their behavior, and cause major frustration with school which will follow them throughout their academic careers.This action research shows the importance of having children actively participating in their own education.
Reference: Bottini, Michael, and Sue Grossman. "Centerbased teaching and children's learning: the effects of learning centers on young children's growth and development." Childhood Education 81.5 (Annual 2005): 274(4). General OneFile. Gale. Remote Access. 1 June 2008. http://find.galegroup.com/ips/start.do?prodId=IPS. Gale Document Number:A134315408
Literature Review 4
student characteristics or readiness to instruction and assessment.Differentiated instruction incorporates a variety of
strategies.Math instruction can be differentiated to allow students to work on skills appropriate to their readiness level and to explore mathematics applications.Before planning a DI lesson a teacher needs to know the readiness, interests, and learning styles of the students.
Using math work stations is one way to differentiate.Centers are set up so that learning experiences are directed toward a specific learner interest. One student may explore a concept using manipulatives, while another student collects information from the web.Interest centers are work stations that are usually used with younger students and interest groups are those that are usually used with older students.Interest centers focus on specific math skills, such as addition, and provide activities that are high interest, such as counting jelly beans or adding the number of eyes on two aliens. Typically, the teacher will set up an interest center.The activities at an interest center are planned by the teacher.The tasks may be tiered but the materials are determined by the teacher.For older students an interest group will work better. Students can work in small peer groups to research a math topic of mutual interest, such as how geometry applies to architecture or how math is used in art. The group members are chosen by the students and the topic of interest is chosen by the students.The teacher may suggest a strand of interest or even provide a menu of suggested strands.The teacher then facilitates the students’ research.Allowing students a choice can be motivating to them.
Critique:The author provides a concise definition and overview for what differentiated instruction is and what the teacher needs to know in order to plan a differentiated lesson for the students.The author specifically mentions work stations and shows the difference between using this strategy with younger children as well as the evolution of this strategy for older students.
Reference: U.S. Department of Education, (2004, February 22). Differentiated Instruction for Math. Retrieved June 1,
2008, from The Access Center: Improving Outcomes for All Students K8: www.k8accesscenter.org
Literature Review 5
combined with students' abilities to understand the abstract concepts of math should have an impact on their decisions concerning classroom instruction. They should also consider the effects of their knowledge of content and pedagogy on
the flexibility of the process of decisionmaking. One of a teacher's primary responsibilities is to carefully identify and use only those options which will enhance a student's skills and develop his understanding of mathematical concepts.
Teachers who are comfortable with their teaching of math and with their own understandings of the content will be much more likely to arrange a classroom in a manner to allow students to explore math concepts.
Differentiated instruction is an approach to education taken on by teachers who feel they completely understand the content they teach as well as the needs of the students.A differentiated lesson may open up the way for students to ask deeper questions about the content in which they are interested.Too, without completely understanding and feeling
comfortable with their content, a teacher may be less able to work with struggling learners while accommodating the accelerated learner.
Critique:A teacher's beliefs about her ability to teach the subject matter greatly influence the decisions the teacher makes about the learning environment. Teachers who believe that the content of the mathematics in their classroom is
guided by the textbook make different decisions than do teachers who believe that the content of the mathematics is guided by children's interests and abilities.
Reference: "The influence of teachers' beliefs and knowledge on learning environments." Arithmetic Teacher
41.n8 (April 1994): 476(4). General OneFile. Gale. Remote Access. 1 June 2008.
http://find.galegroup.com/ips/start.do?prodId=IPS . Gale Document Number:A15353399
Literature Review 6
and remediation pinpoint and remedy errors made by students.
An interactive mathematics bulletin board would make an excellent addition to a center based math classroom.A good mathematics instructor is a proficient organizer of pupils for instruction in mathematics.The teacher has numerous incidental ways for pupils to learn mathematics. Interactive bulletin boards which display selected facts, concepts, and
generalizations in mathematics can assist pupils to obtain needed background information on their very own. The bulletin board display may also be used in direct teaching of pupils as they relate to an ongoing lesson or unit of study.When considering how to use an interactive bulletin board, the teacher will need to plan how often the content will be
changed.A table or desk close by should contain a form of documentation for students to complete as they work through the tasks on the bulletin board.The mathematics teacher needs to take down a display when it has served its purpose and prepare a new one which encourages pupil learning.
Critique: The more an educator strives to place the responsibly for learning on the student, the more likely the student will retain the concepts.An interactive bulletin board would make an excellent center task in a differentiated classroom.
Reference: Ediger, Marlow."Organizing for Instruction in Mathematics." Journal ofInstructional Psychology 26.2
(June 1999): 85. General OneFile. Gale. Remote Access. 1 June 2008. http://find.galegroup.com/ips/start.do?prodId=IPS.
Gale Document Number:A62980745
Literature Review 7
The author suggested a test run by asking for volunteers to do the activity at the center while the teacher worked with the rest of the class. After about 10 minutes, she should ask the volunteers to join the class and other children can be sent
to the center. The teacher needs to allow time for students to ask questions. Over the next several days, other centers can be introduced.
Once all the centers are introduced and the students are comfortable with them, the teacher then needs to establish a rotation schedule so that students are provided a time for centers but the teacher also plans for direct instruction and student skill practice.
Critique:This was a very practical explanation of how a teacher could begin setting up classroom centers.This would be a great article for a beginning teacher to read when thinking though centers and how they should be initiated.
Reference: "Marilyn Burns answers your math questions." Instructor (1990) 112.4 (NovDec 2002): 14(1).
Professional Collection. Gale. Remote Access. 1 June 2008. http://find.galegroup.com/itx/start.do?prodId=SPJ.SP00.
Gale Document Number:A93988877
Strategy Proposal
Name: Melanie Lewis
School:
Email: mlewis@amherst.k12.va.us
Students Targeted: Third Grade
Research Question: How would math achievement improve if the teacher were to differentiate instruction by incorporating aspects of flexible grouping, collaborative learning and math work stations?
PROJECT GOALS
By using flexible grouping, collaborative learning, and work stations, students will be more focused and engaged with the content, thereby increasing understanding.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION
A beginning teacher had success with literacy work stations yet was struggling with management of her math period.She wondered if the same instructional strategy she used during her reading block would work with math.She wanted to use a rotation model duringher math block.It was thought that using a rotation would provide a teacher with a structured classroom management center.By adding more time for collaboration between students, students have the opportunity to learn from their peers.Finally, small flexible groups offer the teacher an opportunity to differentiate for students’ individual needs.
Students are broken into three groups according to their needs.One group of students is working with the teacher at a table, focusing on skills that are missing in order to understand a specific concept.One group is working at their desks, usually completing a paper and pencil assessment or practice of a skill.The third group is dispersed throughout the room at stations or centers which allow them to use real life applications or manipulatives to practice a skill.The teacher will
tier the tasks in the stations and when students are working with her.
DAILY MATH SCHEDULE, BASED ON A 60 MINUTE PERIOD
When a new skill needs to be introduced
25 minutesIntroduce new skill
20 minutes Students work in heterogeneous small table groups to solve problems using the new skill using manipulatives
10 minutesStudents work alone to solve problems using the new skill.The teacher opens a math clinic for struggling
needs.
5 minutesStudents are provided an opportunity to reflect on the new skill in a math journal.
Days when a skill is to be practiced
10 minutesTeacher reviews the procedure for working a new skill.Students are broken into three groups.
15 minutesGroup A (accelerated group) meets with the teacher.Students are provided an opportunity to work above and beyond the basic skill.Group B (struggling students) are using manipulatives in math stations to solve mathematical
problems.Group C (on level students) are working independently at their desks.
15 minutesGroup B meets with theteacher.Group C are using manipulatives in math stations to solve mathematical problems.Group A are working independently at their desks.
15 minutesGroup C meets with theteacher.Group A is using manipulatives in math stations to solvemathematical problems.Group B is working independently at their desks.
5 minutesStudents are provided an opportunity to reflect on the new skill in a math journal.
GROUPING STUDENTS
Students would be placed in flexible groups using
 Pretests
 Exit cards
 Daily work
 Math journals
WORK STATIONS TO BE UTILIZEd
 Proof
Station Students are given a problem to solve. They will
use concrete or pictorial representations to explain and defend their work.
They may work individually or with a partner. When the task is completed,
students fill out an exit card to document their work
 Nutty Professor’s Place Professor Muddle, who always
seems to need help, will leave a note for the students explaining how to work a
math problem.The math problem will be incorrect. Students will
rework the problem, explaining the problem he has and what he should do to
solve it or what he should do next time to avoid the problem. The notes are
returned to Professor Muddle in the professor’s
mailbox.
 Computer StationStudents will use a preselected online
game, computer program, or self checking excel sheet to solve skill based
problems.
MANAGEMENT SUGGESTIONS FOR THE TEACHER
•“Math Stations” is a strategy for differentiating instruction.Students
only need to go to stations that will help them in mastering the indicator
•Have an anchor activity center already in place for students who finish their
station work, or who don’t need to work at a station that day.
•Students do not move from math station to math station in a roundrobin
style.The teacher determines which station andwhen!
•Circulate around the room between each group rotation.
•Spend a week modeling the type of work found at, and the expectations for each station.
•Collaborate with not only your grade level but those above and below to develop tasks for review, practice, and enrichment.
•Plan weekly with the math instructional specialist for guidance on developing tasks for review, practice, and enrichment.She may be able to assist with anchor activities.
•Utilize school mentors and/or differentiation coaches to aid in the analysis of student work.
•Daily do a quick sort after class of student work.Sort work into three groups, students that have the concepts, students that don’t, and students that are ready for more advanced practice.
•During whole group use nonexamples as well as demonstrations of how to work mathematical problems.This will assist students with the Proof Station and the Nutty Professor’s Place.
TIE TO RESEARCH:
1.Bottini, Michael, and Sue Grossman. "Centerbased teaching and children's learning: the effects of learning centers on young children's growth and development." Childhood Education 81.5 (Annual 2005): 274(4). General OneFile. Gale. Remote Access. 1 June 2008. http://find.galegroup.com/ips/start.do?prodId=IPS . Gale Document Number:A134315408
2.Drapeau, P.(2004). Differentiated Instruction: Making It Work. New York, NY: Scholastic.
3.Tomlinson, C.(1999).The Differentiated Classroom: Responding To The Needs Of All Learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. ED 429 944.
4.Ediger, Marlow. "Organizing for Instruction in Mathematics." Journal of Instructional Psychology 26.2 (June 1999): 85. General OneFile. Gale. Remote Access. 1 June 2008. http://find.galegroup.com/ips/start.do?prodId=IPS.
Gale Document Number:A62980745
5."Marilyn Burns answers your math questions." Instructor (1990) 112.4 (NovDec 2002): 14(1). Professional Collection. Gale. Remote Access. 1 June 2008. http://find.galegroup.com/itx/start.do?prodId=SPJ.SP00.
Gale Document Number:A93988877
6."The influence of teachers' beliefs and knowledge on learning environments." Arithmetic Teacher 41.n8 (April 1994): 476(4). General OneFile. Gale. Remote Access. 1 June 2008. http://find.galegroup.com/ips/start.do?prodId=IPS . Gale Document Number:A15353399
7.U.S. Department of Education, (2004, February 22). Differentiated Instruction for Math. Retrieved June 1,
2008, from The Access Center: Improving Outcomes for All Students K8: www.k8accesscenter.org.
Strategy Implementation
A first year teacher was hired to complete second semester of third grade.She had prior experience at the secondary level teaching English; however she did not have experience working in at an elementary level.The school in which she was hired was a Reading FirstSchool.The teacher was provided much training in using a circle, seat, center rotation model and she was experiencing a great deal of success during her reading block. The students were placed in flexible groups based on a literacy screening and weekly pre and post tests. Students were asked to complete assignments that were targeted to their interests or readiness levels. Students were engaged and on task during the allotted reading time. Few behavior problems were reported. Comprehension scores were strong and the teacher felt that the students understood the material.
She had a different scenario during math.For the teacher’s math block, students were taught a new skill or reviewed a skill using whole group direct instruction. After a DI period, the teacher assigned problems in the textbook.She rotated around the classroom to provide assistance where needed.Although pretests were given and the teacher assigned work on the students’ levels, during math students seemed not to be engaged with the instruction.Further, weekly test scores were low, demonstrating a lack of comprehension of the material.Students often displayed inappropriate behavior by
assignments that were half completed, carrying on sidebar conversations during work time and, general inattentiveness during whole group instruction.
The teacher compared the math and reading blocks, and wondered if using a circle, seat, and rotation model would work during math time.
Research
How would math achievement improve if the teacher were to differentiate instruction by incorporating aspects of flexible grouping, collaborative learning and math work stations?Although research in the area of mathematic concerning differentiated instruction is new it seems to indicate that primary students perform better when they have an opportunity to move around the room.It also suggests that students need to have a voice in their education.This voice can be provided by offering a menu of task that students may choose to complete.According to Tomlinson, "Children seem to accept a world in which we are not alike. They do not quest for sameness, but they search for the sense of triumph that comes when they are respected, valued, nurtured, and even cajoled into accomplishing things they believed beyond their grasp"
Proposal
Students will begin each math unit with a pretest.Based on the pretest, students will be sorted into 3 or 4 groups.
 Students that understand the
concept and are ready to use their understanding in an accelerated manner.
 Students that almost understand
the concept and with a small amount of assistance from the teacher will be
ready to work independently on skill practice.
 Students who do not understand
the concept at all.
The groups will be flexible as
students may understand and be able to work at an accelerated pace with one
concept and may not understand another at all.
On days when a new skill is introduced, a 25 minute whole group instruction time is used. During this whole group direct instruction time, the teacher will provide examples and nonexamples of how a concept is worked. The teacher will use thinkalouds which will demonstrate problem solving skills for the students. After the whole group period, students will be allowed to practice the skill in small table heterogeneous groups. These heterogeneousgroups will provide an opportunity for students that are struggling with a concept to learn from their peers.By watching how a peer decodes a skill, the struggling student may increase comprehension.Too, during the group time, students will be provided with manipulatives to use while practicing the skill.Students will then be asked to work independently on a skill.The block will conclude with an opportunity for the students to reflect on their understanding of the new concept.
Students will be provided a couple of days to practice new concepts using a work station approach.On these days, the teacher will begin the math block with a 10 minute review of the concept.After the review, a fortyfive minute time will be provided for the rotation.One group of students will work with the teacher for fifteen minutes, another group will practice the skill at their desks, and a third group will have time in one of three tiered work stations.The students working at their desks
will have the choice to work independently or with classmates.At the end of the block, students will again be given an opportunity to reflect on their understanding of the concept.
There are three main centers to be included in the rotation.At the Proof Station students are given a problem to solve. They will use concrete or pictorial representations to explain and defend their work. They may work individually or with a partner. When the task is completed, students fill out an exit card to document their work.The Nutty Professor’s Place is a center where students can analyze nonexamples.This is a higher level thinking skill and one that will provide greater success on a standardized test.Professor Muddle, who always seems to need help, will leave a
note for the students explaining how to work a math problem.The math problem will be incorrect. Students will rework the problem, explaining the problem he has and what he should do to solve it or what he should do next
time to avoid the problem. The notes are returned to Professor Muddle in the professor’s mailbox.The final center, the Computer Station will allow the teacher to tailor specific assignments to meet the students’ needs. Students will use a teacher selected online game, computer program, or self checking excel sheet to solve skill based problems.
The teacher will use exit cards, student reflections, assignments, and pre and post tests to assess student understandings. With flexible groups, students will be allowed to take part in opportunities for accelerated learning as well as getting extra help when needed.Since using work stations is differentiated strategy, students will only need to go to stations that will be of the best benefit.They need not work at all stations with each learned concept.For students that do not need to work at a station or for those that complete station work early, the teacher will provide an anchor activity. This activity could be a simple flash card game or could be a more complicated task.
The teacher will also seek the guidance of her peers in designing respectful tasks for the students. She could work with her grade level team, mentor, or math specialist.
Observation Form
Observation of Judy, 9th Grade Geography
LEWIS
COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Teacher Evaluation
Form
Teacher: Judy 
Assignment:
9^{th} grade
geography 
Date:
7/8/2008 
Observer: Melanie
Lewis Commendations
Recommendations
Planning & Assessment: Guidelines
to include: 1.
Objectives
reflect the VA SOLS and division curriculum guidelines. 2.
Diagnoses
individual, group, and program needs and selects appropriate materials
and resources to match the abilities and needs of all students. 3.
Uses a variety
of assessment strategies and instruments to make shortterm
and longterm decisions to improve student learning. 4. Identifies and communicates specific student performance expectations and documents student learning gains using appropriate assessment instruments. 
Preparation
was evident as students had been placed in groups prior to the lesson
beginning. There was a large graphic organizer that
students had collaboratively worked on at the front of the room. Assessment
was observed in recording student input during whole group 
Use more
visuals to help students picture and understand ie: There
was a map posted in the front of the room, perhaps Florida and
California could have oranges taped up to these states. Too,
a review of the terms similarities and differences may have helped
student engage with the lesson sooner. 
Instruction: Guidelines
to include: 1.
Creates
learning experiences that make the subject matter meaningful for all
students. 2.
Differentiates
instruction to meet diverse student needs. 3.
Students are
actively engaged in critical thinking, problem solving, and performance
skills. 
Students were
in small groups to find differences and similarities between different
regions of the 
Perhaps
students could have moved to higher level thinking a little more
quickly if Judy had modeled how to find similarities and differences of
the geography as she did and then allowed students to work in small
groups to record S & D on chart paper for economy or a sort could
have been used prior to the whole group lesson 
Safety & Learning
Environment: Guidelines to include: 1.
Fosters a safe
and positive environment for students and staff. 2.
Manages
classroom to maximize academic learning time. 3.
Promotes and
fosters mutual respect. 4.
Encourages
responsibility, social interaction, active engagement in learning and
selfmotivation. 
Judy reworded
directions for Jeff when he did not understand. Later she
included his comments on the group input. Judy
effectively redirected off task behavior, “Guys in the back, I can hear
you, give me something. Many hands were in the air,
showing that students were engaged with the lesson. 
The TChart
showing the comparison of the geography was erased prior to beginning
one on the economy. Using chart paper will allow you to
leave the first visual in place. 
Communication and
Community Relations:
Guidelines
to include: 1.
Uses effective
verbal, nonverbal, and media communication.. 2.
Forges
partnerships with families to promote student learning at home and in
the school. 3.
Works
collaboratively with staff, families, and community resources to
support the success of a diverse student population. 
Judy‘s sense
of humor kept her students’ attention focused on the lesson. 

Professionalism: Guidelines to include: 1.
Models
professional, moral, and ethical standards. 2.
Participates
in a meaningful and continuous process of professional development that
results in the enhancement of student learning. 3.
Works in a
collegial/collaborative manner with peers, school personnel, and the
community to promote and support student learning. 4.
Provides
service to the profession, the division, and the community. 
Judy’s
respect for her students in seen in her attire; and in the manner in
which she addresses them. She models appropriate behavior
by momentarily getting off topic and then reminding her students that
it was time to get back on track. 

Additional Comments:
Judy is to be commended for her
first steps at differentiation. Her willingness to allow herself to be
video taped in order to help not only herself but to help others learn
to reflect on their practice is commendable. 
Observer Signature:
Melanie Lewis Date:
7/8/2008
Teacher Signature: Judy Date:
7/8/2008
*Teacher signature does not necessarily indicate agreement with the observer’s feedback. Not all areas of the criterion are expected to be observed during one observation
Critique and Summary of Observation
Students hesitated at first, unsure of Judy’s directions.In the back of the room, Jeff stated that he did not understand. Judy went to the back of the room and reworded the directions for him.Judy’s patience and willingness to reexplain provided Jeff with the sense of accomplishment as he was able to participate in the later group discussion.
Several other pairs of students also needed clarification of the directions in order to begin the task.Task cards with written directions would have helped clarify and given the students more independence in completing thi assignment.Too, the vocabulary of similarity and difference could have been explained prior to the beginning of the task.Too, a sort
could have been prepared by Judy.Cards with various similarities and differences that were prepared ahead of time would have provided students with a better idea of what Judy was going for.
As students began the task, Judy did a great job of walking around the room and pushing the thinking of students by asking them to elaborate on answers they had written.Judy appropriately gave a one minute warning to guide the
students’ attention from the pair activity to the whole group part.
After students compared the geography, they again worked in partners to compare and contrast the economy of
the different regions.During the whole group sharing of insights, Judy asked her students why there were no citrus farms in the north as there were in Florida and California.This moved her students from comparing to analyzing which is a higher level of Blooms.
Pacing at this time could have been picked up if Judy had modeled how to find similarities and differences of
geography whole group and share as she did yet allowed her students to complete comparisons on chart paper with their partners.These comparisons could then be posted and shared from whole group.Too, the geography comparison chart which was completed first was erased to allow for the second chart of the comparison of the economy.Leaving the
first chart up would have allowed students something to refer to if they still did not understand similarities and differences.
Overall, this was a good first attempt at differentiation.Judy is to be congratulated for the building of community in her classroom.At the end of the periodthe students had made the connection between geography and economy.They were willing to take the risks of sharing their insights with the entire class.As they learned to make judgments between economy and geography, the greatest skill gained was the sense of accomplishment.Jeff was actually smiling as Judy included his answer with the rest of the class!
Post Observation Conference
Mrs. Lewis encouraged Ms. Judy by pointing out the commendable aspects in her lesson.The students may have had a slow start in understanding, but the class was entirely engaged.Mrs. Lewis shared that as students become more familiar with a differentiated lesson format, they would begin to even more quickly engage with the lesson.Ms. Judy was commended for walking around the room and engaging with all her students to push their thinking forward by having them compare, analyze, and judge data.Ms. Judy’s desire to increase her use of higher level thinking in her lesson plans was accomplished.
Mrs. Lewis was excited that Jeff was participating in the lesson.Jeff, a student with a slight learning disability, typically shut down in.Ms. Judy had been able to reword her directions in such a nonthreatening manner that Jeff was able later to contribute to the whole group discussion.
Ms. Judy was also praised for her classroom management.Mrs. Lewis noticed the students in the back of the room talking during whole group sharing time.Ms. Judy was effective in redirecting the off task behavior by asking them to share a fact with the group.
Mrs. Lewis then asked Ms. Judy if she would like to brainstorm some ideas that may help her lesson to go even
more smoothly next time.Together they came up with these strategies:
1.Review important vocabulary at the beginning of the lesson.
2.Allow students to have a part in creating the charts
3.Keep charts visible.Mrs. Lewis has agreed to purchase a large tablet of chart paper for Ms. Judy.Too, more images and visuals may increase student understanding.
4.Use differentiated sorts to help students make connections between concepts.
Mrs. Lewis shared that she felt Ms. Judy’s lesson was overall very effective and requested that Ms. Judy share
her lesson at the next faculty meeting. Ms. Judy stated that she would love to have more training in differentiation and wondered if Mrs. Lewis had any suggestions. Mrs. Lewis and Ms. Judy then pulled out Ms. Judy’s professional
development plan for examination to determine what further courses of action could be utilized to push Ms. Judy’s practice forward. Mrs. Lewis and Ms. Judy both left the conference feeling energized by the positive impact Ms.
Judy's instruction is having on student achievement. Attached is a list of recommendations for professional development.
Professional Development Plan for Ms. Judy
1.Ms. Judy will take part in peer coaching with another colleague who is also interested in differentiation.Mrs. Lewis will arrange coverage so that the two teachers can plan together; observe each other’s classrooms during a differentiated lesson, and meet together to provide feedback.These coaching sessions will occur once each nine week period.The teachers will share their experiences with the schoolfaculty.
2.Ms. Judy will attend an ASCD workshop on Visual Literacy, hosted by Dr. Lynell Burmack.She will return and share with the faculty.