Simon Says: Differentiate Instruction

3651 Words Nov 25th, 2006 15 Pages
Simon Says

Simon says, "Class, take out your math book." Simon says, "Class, turn to page twelve." Simon says, "Class, complete problems one through ten." Simon says, "Class, sharpen your pencil and clear your desk for the unit test in math." In a traditional classroom, the class does what Simon Says whether they are ready or not. There is no flexibility in ability and interest, no modification to the curriculum, no assessments to check readiness, and whole group instruction and learning is a constant. The Simon Says approach to teaching is just not acceptable anymore. Teaching to the norm, to the average, to the grade level standards is not meeting the needs and cultivating the love of learning in the children who cross our
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According to the Oxford Dictionary of Current English the word "different" is defined as "not the same as another or each other" (2001, p. 247). I repeat…not the same as each other… like our students. In order to establish a differentiated classroom and create differentiated instruction, educators must distinguish and celebrate what makes the students "different" as learners. Then, implementing the key aspects of differentiation into the classroom will accommodate the "different" learners as they thrive and grow. The Elements of Differentiation (Tomlinson, 1999, pp. 9-14) are the key aspects of a differentiated classroom. There is not one element of differentiation that is more important than the other and a few will naturally fall into place simultaneously as implementation occurs. As noted in this course, I observed that "readiness" is a common thread. Interest and learning styles, as well as, adjusting content, process and product are also important, but without knowing if a student is ready for the next challenge, all learning and teaching could potentially be lost. Of the elements discussed, I believe that "Assessment and Instruction Are Inseparable" (Tomlinson, 1999, p. 10), is the most valuable in a differentiated classroom. As I have done in the past and as I continue to impress upon my peers today that performing ongoing assessment and adjusting

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