My name is Christopher Roberts I am a Social Studies Teacher for the Jamestown Public School District. I teach Global I and II I have taught Government and U.S. History. I am married with two children. I have a Bachelor Degree in Adolescent Education: Social Studies. I am in the process of completing my Masters Degree in the CDIT program at SUNY Albany.
My Topic and Purpose
My school district in Jamestown, NY is very diverse. There are students from a wide range of ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The demographics of my school are representative of many schools across our nation. When I was in high school many school districts would take certain students and put them in programs based on standardized tests and other presumed educational deficiencies. In many cases this would result in students who were placed in a setting where they would not receive the supports or same quality of education as their counterparts. Having an all encompassing one-size-fits all model of education has affected our students detrimentally. Differentiated instruction represents one of the more constructive ways to help students achieve success while addressing the needs of each individual learner. I will address this topic by looking at what differentiation is and how it can be used to promote success in the social studies classroom. After completing this course, students will be able to define differentiated instruction. They will be able to identify strategies to differentiate instruction based on content, process, or product. They will be able to identify the difference between low and high prep strategies. I will provide each student with an example of a RAFT and Learning Menu strategy template that can be used in the social studies classroom.
Instructional Problem: In the U.S. education has gone through a number of rapid changes. Curriculum and standards have changed as the Common Core has been introduced in many school systems across the nation. Technology has changed the way students and teachers access information. One of the most important changes involves the way teachers deliver instruction to students. Today, U.S. classrooms are more ethnically and culturally diverse than at any other point in time. In 2014, white students accounted for about 49.7% of the student population and no longer constituted the majority. The percentage will continue to decline, falling to about 45% by 2022 (Krogstad & Fry, 2014).
In my school district 73% of the students are economically disadvantaged. 5% of the U.S. school-age-population has a diagnosed learning disability. 15% or more are said to have learning or attention problems that remain undiagnosed. These students are at greater risk for failing and not graduating from high school (National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2014). When we hear that education is changing we have to start to look at these factors and develop more effective ways to deliver instruction that is efficient. Students need instruction that takes into account many of the obstacles that our students will face in the classroom. Research shows that differentiated instruction is effective for high-ability students as well as students with mild to severe disabilities(Doubet & Hockett, 2015). Differentiated instruction provides students with many different options for approaching learning tasks. As students become responsible for their learning it is reflected in higher levels of engagement.
What is to be learned: Participants will learn high and low prep strategies for delivering differentiated instruction in the classroom environment. Participants will learn the difference between differentiating by content, process, and product.
Analysis of the Learner and Context
The Learners: Educators who teach Social Studies in the 7 – 12 setting in the physical classroom. They will have experience in classrooms with students from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The learners will have had interactions with students who have been diagnosed with learning disabilities.
Context for learning: Participants will learn all the required terminology as it relates to differentiated instruction while participating in this mini-course. Participants will familiarize themselves with the RAFT and Learning Menu Strategies. All participants will need access to the internet in order to complete this course.
Exploring problems and solutions: Participants may be overwhelmed with the amount of preparation time it takes to create and provide the variety of materials needed for a successful lesson using differentiated instruction. Participants may not be aware or have had prior knowledge of certain applicable differentiation strategies and techniques. Solutions may include having each participant choose one or two strategies that they are familiar with and have them expand upon each method to satisfy the requirements of a differentiated lesson. Lessons will be used that provide instructions for the execution and adaptation of said strategies.
Goals: Participants will be presented with definitions for a number of low prep and high prep differentiation strategies. Participants will then be provided with an example of two social studies sample lessons and materials that model the execution of a low prep an high prep strategy.
Participants will be able to:
1. Define the term Differentiated Instruction.
2. Describe the difference between differentiating by content, process, and product.
3. Identify high and low prep differentiation strategies.
4. Create a RAFT and Learning Menu assignment based on a social studies topic of their choice.
References and Resources
Krogstad, J. M., & Fry, R. (2014, August 18). Dept. of Ed. projects public schools will be ‘majority ... Retrieved October 23, 2016, from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/08/18/u-s-public-schools-expected-to-be-majority-minority-starting-this-fall/
The State of Learning Disabilities (2014) - ncld.org. (2014). Retrieved October 23, 2016, from https://www.ncld.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/2014-State-of-LD.pdf
Doubet, K., & Hockett, J. (2015). Differentiation in Middle & High School - Strategies to Engae All Learners. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Robb, L. (2010). What Is Differentiated Instruction? | Scholastic.com. Retrieved October 23, 2016, from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/what-differentiated-instruction