Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Differentiated Instruction with Menus

One of my goals this year was to differentiate more of my lessons. Having such small classes that should be pretty easy, or so it would seem upfront. I found that with my first semester class I struggled with this. I tried using exit ticket results to group students for follow up activities as one strategy and that seemed to work ok. I really wanted to find a way to assess student learning in a more differentiated way. Here is where my "menu" system is coming in. My biology class began about 3 weeks ago (block scheduling). Our first full unit was cell structure and function. As part of this students were all participating in the same activities and lab experiences in class. I wanted to add on a way for students to demonstrate their learning in a manner they chose. Rather than assign the whole class one or two project type assignments during the unit I typed up my list of project choices and gave it to students at the start of the unit. Students had to select two tasks from the list and turn in the assignments by the end of the unit, which is tomorrow. A few assignments are already rolling in. A number of students select an option which instructed them to write a poem that described the function of at least 5 cell structures. I have seen a couple of acrostic type poems for this that are very creative. Today one of my students brought in his poem and proceeded to "rap" the poem aloud for the class. It was awesome in terms of finding a way for students to show their learning in a self-expressive/creative manner. I am excited to see the rest of the projects come in tomorrow and begin the assesment process. We are doing a portfolio this year - more to come on that in a future post!

P.S. As soon as I figure out how to I will post a copy of the unit menu to share.

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