I am always amazed at the range of ability levels of my students within any given class. Within one 8th grade class I may have students who struggle to read and write while at the same time have students (within the same class) who are reading and writing on an upper high school level. In fact, in some cases, I have 8th grade students who are actually reading and writing on a college level.
So how is a teacher supposed to teach the struggling students without boring the advanced students? This is one of the toughest instructional challenges a teacher faces...trying to meet the needs of all of these students.
Differentiated instruction activities are designed to just that...meet the needs of your lower level students while at the same time challenging your upper level students.
There are many different types of differentiated instruction activities, but it is always good to start with Compacting.
Compacting is a three-step process for addressing the needs of all students of all ability levels.
Here are the steps:
1. Assess what each student already knows about the material to be studied and what the student still needs to master.
2. Create plans for the students to learn what is not known and excuse those students who have already mastered the material.
3. Create plans for the "freed-up" time to be spent on enrichment activities or accelerated study.
Compacting is something that can be done to start each and every unit of study. By using differentiated instruction activities such as compacting, teachers can address the needs of students of all ability levels.
For more effective teaching strategies that you can start applying to your very next class make sure read "eTeach: A Teacher Resource for Learning the Strategies of Master Teachers" at www.TeachingTeacher.com
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