This week our focus was on informing parents about Differentiated Instruction, DI, in our classroom. I really appreciated the reading and how there were articles out there to helps parents ask the right questions. This helped me understand the conversations I should be having with my students’ parents. I don’t work completely like a DI classroom, but I am evolving into one. Our school has pushed the SPED students back into our classroom this year. We could see that the students were missing out by not being in our classrooms. I have learned to teach vocabulary separately before using it to teach a concept, this has made a great impact on their understanding of the concepts. Another change that made a difference is to create/or offer videos of teaching the concept that can be view at the students leisure (Google Classroom). Students/Parents have learned to value the teaching videos for the days of being absent or struggling with a concept.
I related well with Cherie’s blog. My son looped with his 4th-5th grade teacher and my son loved it, he had a great relationship with that teacher. My situation as a teacher is a little different, but I could have the same students for three years (high school math). I am much closer and know the second and third year students much better than the first year students. I knew at the beginning of the year, which students needed immediate attention and was at the office insisting on teacher-aides to sit with these students. This has made a tremendous difference for most of these students. [I had one student who refused to learn and we did the best we could to prompt him, but he just wouldn’t put in the effort. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink”. (This student is doing better second semester, I think sometimes you have to let them fall in order for them to make a stand.)]
Sara reminded me of when I started to learn about DI. I was so overwhelmed, but over the years I have slowly understood DI more and, through conversation on DI with other teachers, I DI more in my classroom every year. By all means I am not a professional, but I am learning to create an environment where all the students are being challenged. I do get out of balance sometimes and overwhelm them, but I help them through that hump and in the end they appear to be proud of their accomplishments. When student is doing well in class and a parent tells me how their student is going home and reporting how hard math is, I can take confidence in the student is in the right place. They are being challenged. Their work isn’t too easy and I can see success in the daily work they are doing.
Twitter was extremely frustrating, so I went back a couple of days later and was able to read more of it. I totally was thrown by the “create a game.” I pushed it aside and to my dismay I forgot to include it.