Differentiation is a philosophy or mindset that enables educators to plan strategically in order to reach the needs of the diverse learners in classrooms today so they can achieve target standards

Language Arts Common Core Standard, Grade 6, states that students must “Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate” (Common Core, n.d.). Based on this standard, I have created two lesson objectives.

Lesson objective #1:

Read two books about a culture’s holidays, traditions, symbols, and rituals, and create a project that: 1) summarizes the main points, 2) integrates the two sources, and 3) analyzes the importance of these holidays, traditions, symbols, and rituals to the chosen culture.

According to one source, “Differentiation is a philosophy or mindset that enables educators to plan strategically in order to reach the needs of the diverse learners in classrooms today so they can achieve target standards” (Gregory & Chapman, 2013). Differentiation relies on a set of core ideas, including: that each student has an area of strength, each student’s brain is highly unique, each student has areas that need to be strengthened, it’s never too late to learn, students should bring their experience to the learning, students learn in different ways at different times (Gregory & Chapman, 2013). Using these concepts of differentiation, I have crafted two strategies that will help to engage students in Lesson objective #1.

Strategy A: Allow students to be creative with their project format. They can choose to create a diorama and accompanying paper, make a video, create a trifold poster, paint, craft a mobile, etc. By giving each student the option of expression, I will help to engage student’s creativity while allowing less visual learners to take a more traditional route.

Strategy B: Encourage students to choose a) a culture that is of personal significance to their heritage, or b) a culture they know little to nothing about. Encouraging students to choose one of these two options will allow them to either learn more about their history and cultural background and draw from their own experiences, or focus on learning something new and exciting that captures their interest.

Lesson objective #2:

The “Who am I?” project will allow students to use resources to learn more about themselves. Students will: 1) conduct two interviews with relatives, 2) conduct one interview with a friend or classmate, 3) take the Meyer’s Brigg test, 4) read one source relating to their cultural background, hobbies, or future profession, 5) create a project that showcases their answer to the question “Who Am I?” and 6) share this presentation with the class.

Strategy A: Allow students to interpret the question “Who am I?” individually. Each student is proud of something different—whether it is their academic performance, their reading skills, their artwork, their cultural identity, or all of the above. By allowing students the space and freedom to create their own interpretation of the question “Who am I?” I will empower students to celebrate their own strengths and take the project wherever they want it to go.

Strategy B: Allow students to choose their project format. Some students may choose to decorate a box, and fill it with things that represent their personality, culture, family history, etc. By requiring students to interview relatives and classmates regarding themselves, I will give students an interesting perspective on their personal history and what they mean to those around them. This will help them to understand their individual impact, and will help to shape their interpretation and format of the “Who Am I?” project.

References

Common Core State Standards Initiative. (n.d.). English language arts standards. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/W/6/

Gregory, G. H., & Chapman, C. (2013). Differentiated instructional strategies: One size doesn’t’ fit all. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

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