Thursday, January 15, 2009

worksheet aftermath + differentiated instruction

I finally graded the tests that I gave on the worksheet unit. The grades were about the same across the board, maybe a little bit higher. I guess it all comes down to retention though. I don't know how much they're going to remember come June.

So I completely differentiated my instruction today. A few days ago, I had the students choose the topics they wanted to review the most. I then grouped them according to their learning needs, but also balancing the strengths and weaknesses within each group. Each group got a folder with personalized work (they loved that their names were on their instructions!) They each had an instructional plan to follow over three days and a different role in their group. I also had them fill out forms in which they committed to their specific group roles. Most of them took it quite seriously! I also differentiated their homework! Each was given an assignment specifically relating to their classwork.

I had to prepare 20 individualized packets for all my classes. It was a ton of work. I spent every minute of my preps for the past two days getting their assignments ready. I photocopied hundreds of pages and even hand wrote some assignments. And when it came time to work in class, it was amazing. They did really well with their groups and learned a ton. During their presentations, I asked some kids questions on the spot and they were able to answer without relying on their notes. They made some good progress today. It's a lot of work, but I'm thinking of doing spiraled review like this every 2-3 weeks to keep them fresh on old work.

This was the first time that they were actually helping each other. I enforced the rule that they can't ask me any questions until they discuss it with their groupmates first. I should have been doing this all year but better late than ever. They were so productive; my preparation really paid off!

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