Here is a Differentiated Instruction strategy my PLC is sharing with the campus as part of our staff development day this week. Each PLC on campus is putting together some sort of static display describing how DI has impacted their classroom this year. We will than have time to visit the displays and learn from our peers.
The 8th-Grade Math PLC is describing a review/reteach activity we used at the end of our geometry unit. We started with a self-reflection piece where we listed topics from the unit in kid-friendly language. Statements like, “I can describe a dilation and draw it on the coordinate plane,” or, “I can use the Pythagorean Theorem to find the missing side of a right triangle.” For each topic, students rated their mastery on a scale from 1 to 5, then attempted a sample problem. The teachers then reviewed the document and marked which topics each student needed to review. These marks were based on the students’ own ratings, tests, and classwork.
Next, the teacher prepared review and practice sheets on each of the six topics. Here’s one great twist: each review sheet present the work in two different ways. Students could choose which side of the paper to complete, because either side adequately covered the learning target. This created some student choice, but it also provided a second reteach in case it was needed.
Students assembled a folder based on what they needed to review. Over the next few days, students worked on their folders at an independent work station. We saw students’ time-on-task increase significantly at the independent work station, and the quality of work in the folders was impressive. I believe the self-evaluation piece helped students realize that this work was targeted, and there was enough choice in the folders for students to complete meaningful work even if a teacher couldn’t get to them immediately for assistance.
Now that students are familiar with this structure, I would like to use it again for year-end reviews. Reception was generally positive. I did find some struggling learners were overwhelmed by the amount of work in their folders, so we contracted special arrangements when necessary.