Differentiated Instruction Activities Do Not Have to be Time Consuming

By admin / June 26, 2009
By: Adam Waxler
Category: Leadership

One of the more common complaints about differentiating instruction is the amount of prep-time that is involved. Let's face it, teachers simply don't have enough time to prepare that many different lessons for each one of their classes. However, there are many low-prep differentiated instruction activities that teachers can use that will help teachers meet the needs of all of their students.

One of the low-prep differentiated instruction activities that comes to mind is the Response Card Strategy. The purpose of the Response Card Strategy is to get 100% class participation, review content, and also to use as a quick and informal type of assessment.

The procedure for the Response Card Strategy is really quite simple. All students hold up cards (hand-written or pre-printed) in response to a teacher prompt.

Teacher prompts can range from low order thinking skills that address knowledge and comprehension to higher order thinking skills that require students to synthesize, judge, and form arguments.

For example, in a lesson on World War II, a prompt could be asking students about various battles or dates and the students can use pre-printed response cards to show their answer. To save time, instead of pre-printing various response cards, the teacher could ask various multiple choice questions and have the students answer with A, B, or C. However, in order to address higher order thinking skills the teacher prompts could be asking students to agree or disagree with various decisions that were made during World War II. Students can simply hold up a response card with the word "agree" or "disagree". For example, "Do you agree or disagree with President Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb?" This can also spark further debate on the topic.

Obviously response cards can be used in many different ways and for any grade level or any subject area.

Here are a few more ways teachers can differentiate instruction with response cards:

1. Assign peer buddies for reading and writing
2. Vary prompts by readiness
3. Let students create their own prompts

Differentiated instruction activities are an extremely effective way for teachers to address the needs and abilities of all their students. However, differentiated instruction activities do not have to be time-consuming tasks. By using low-prep strategies such as the Response Card Strategy, teachers will have much more success reaching all their students.

If you're looking for more effective teaching tips that you can start using in your very next class, then make sure to read "52 Teaching Tips" at www.52TeachingTips.com

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