Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Successful Teaching in the Differentiated Classroom

       by Carolyn Coil
This is a great book on Differentiated Teaching.  It not only defines what "differentiated" means, but it gives a picture of what that classroom looks like, the kind of activities that go on there, and the ways lessons are implemented.

Coil defines a differentiated curriculum is one "that moves away from the 'one size fits all' approach.....it encourages students to become more responsible for their own learning, to recognize and use their own strengths, thereby helping them to become lifelong learners."  The climate of a differentiated classroom is positive, encouraging and urges students to learn as much as they can.

Coil says and defines that differentiation is based on:

Differentiation Philosophy takes in different:

o  ways to take in take in, work with and learn information
o  amounts of time to finish work
o  allows differences due to culture
o  different levels of thinking, readiness, ability
o  different ways to assess learning

Coil goes on to define and give examples of the DIFFERENT ways to vary the aspects of teaching so as to reach all children. Her definition is stated: "Basically, differentiated instruction allows for each student to learn at the depth, complexity that is most beneficial to him or her. 
The rest of the book goes on to show how this can be done and includes Chapters on: 
Flexible grouping
Curriculum Compacting
Independent and Individual Work
Learning Profiles and Preferences for Activities and Product Differentiation
Formats for Writing Differentiation
Differentiated Assessment
Other Strategies:  technology, Mentors, Mini Classes, Literature      Circles and "Questivities"
Special Groups and Students: Gifted/Talented, Students with Disabilities, DSL students
Steps to Successful Schoolwide and Districtwide Differentiation

I like and enjoyed reading this book on differentiation. Like the book I previously blogged about, Design: Differentiated  Instruction, CAP Activities, by Dr. Carrie Simpson, it focuses on the student as an individual and implementing ways to address each individual students' learning. Unlike that book, that let students choose learning activities from the four categories of creativity, analytical and practical, this book takes a look at differentiating learning activities and outcomes by the student choice categories of "Visual, Verbal, Kinesthetic, Technological" and it also gives strategies for different forms of group learning as whole groups which break down into differentiated groups with activities suited for the level of the students in those groups.

Which book's methods do I prefer? I will not say here without a second reading of each book, but I can say, I have a combination of strategies from both books swimming around in my head. In a way, I like the choices of the students, I will choose those parts that I am comfortable teaching so long as they address all and each unique students' learning.

The book also include links to digital downloads and is also available with a cd which includes the same information.

I received this book at a low cost in exchange for this honest review.


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