Some little genius might suggest the environmental impact of creating bricks versus using the easily renewable sticks and straw. Perhaps there is a negative economic effect of using bricks for a house. Now students can evaluate the choice in a whole new light. And all we did was add a couple words to the question.
When we differentiate, we simply offer students opportunities to think at a level appropriate to their ability. In an ideal world, our district-provided materials would come with lessons that scale with students’ abilities, but that’s rarely the case.
So! We can make use of dozens of well-established techniques for differentiating lessons for students of varying abilities. Here are articles detailing many of those techniques, organized into subcategories.
I have a class set of HG Wells’ The Time Machine. It was affordable, a classic, and recognizeable to my students. The problem? It was written in the 19th century and is simply above most of my students’ independent reading levels. However, this book was definitely within their instructional reading level, so I turned this novel study into a read–aloud.
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that students need instruction in how to interact online. Unfortunately, we’re stuck using textbooks that teach “computer” lessons about card catalogs. In this unit, we’ll combine famous historical figures, frightening Facebook facts, and the concept of reputation.
We begin our year with an ancient tools projects. Students build the tools that early man would have access to. Naturally, many students want to build spears. We type “spears” into Google. Guess what comes up? That’s right: page after page about Britney Spears.
A novice might simply ask students to “discuss the story we read” and expect enlightenment. They are gifted after all! However, structure is an essential element to all learning. When planning for group work, you must plan the experience in a way that leads students to success and proactively combats personality problems.