Posted on December 07, 2013 in Differentiating Instruction, Inclusion
There are so many benefits of having a differentiated classroom, but a challenge that may exist is managing the time and activities of your students. This is difficult in any classroom, but in the differentiated classroom where students may be using different materials, participating in different ways, and addressing different goals, the task may be even more onerous.
So, what is a teacher to do (especially one concerned about using every available minute of class time to teach and reach students)? Consider creating an “all done” choice board that incorporates the multiple intelligences, features different subject areas, and can easily be changed day to day, week to week, and month to month.
For this project, foam board seems to work best if you want your display to be portable and require the least amount of space.
Somewhere at the top, write or post your title so that students know the purpose of the board. They may panic until they see that these are not assignments for all, but choices for when they complete required work or for when alternative assignments are allowed.
We usually create four columns for language arts, math, social studies, and science and feature other subject areas within those categories so there will be choices related to art, music, technology, and other subjects too.
Sticky notes are used to create choices. This is purposeful to make the options easy to switch out at any time. Options may stay up for the entire semester or they might change from week to week or you may change only some options, keeping favorites (e.g., independent reading, exploring footage on the National Geographic website) all year long.
Teachers in upper grades may have fewer choices as all options will relate to their subject area. So a math teacher may have only four options, but rotate them regularly.
For more differentiation ideas for K-12 classrooms, get your copy of From Text Maps to Memory Caps [Paul Brookes Publishing].