Mrs Humanities

Because I'm married to the job.


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Resource – Differentiation Strategies CPD

differentationDifferentiation. I’ve only recently began to recognise how misconstrued my understanding of differentiation was in my first few years of teaching.

I guess my original understanding was that it meant providing different work for students based on their needs and abilities. At times, as a result I would find myself planning lessons in such a way that I’d essentially be teaching multiple lessons in the same lesson in order to cater for the ‘All, Most, Some’ learning objectives my first school required. No wonder I found it such hard work. Then when I started teaching mixed ability groups, it got even worse but I got really good at differentiation by task. However that’s not how differentiation works I’ve come to realise. There’s far more to it than that.

In my formative years of teaching, I went by the rule ‘differentiation by outcome is not acceptable’, I can’t remember if it was my first school that had this rule or whether I’d learnt it on my PGCE course. Either way, actually it is okay, especially now that in Geography and History at GCSE all students undertake the same questions, there is no differentiation between those doing higher tier and foundation. They all do the same, yet their outcomes will be different!!!! It’s now all about scaffolding students to achieve.

But differentiation goes beyond that.

When I was training to teacher I learnt that differentiation was ‘the process by which differences between learners are accommodated so that all students in a group have the best possible chance of learning’ as described by the Training and Development Agency for Schools and that differentiation could be by task, support and outcome.

  • differentiation by task involved setting different tasks for students of different abilities
  • differentiation by support meant giving more help to certain students
  • differentiation by outcome meant setting everyone the same task and allowing student response at different levels

But I’ve learnt that differentiation is far more than this, it’s a teacher’s response to learner’s needs and therefore can be planned or unplanned, long term or short term, explicit or subtle.

It is impossible to differentiate for every student and every need all of the time but being able to adapt and respond in the moment is just as important as planning support in advance.

In fact you may differentiate in any number of ways

– Task
– Instruction
– Resources
– Process
– Outcome
– Seating plan
– Groups
– Feedback
– Subject Content
– Questioning
– Assessment
– Dialogue
– Environment
– Rules and Routines
– Interests
– Approaches to learning
– Pastoral Support

As I put together resources for a CPD session this week, it go me thinking.
– Is it possible to evidence all of this?
– Should we be asked to provide evidence of differentiation in books?
– How is differentiation observed and recognised in lesson observations?
– Is differentiation often to focused on being able to see it through different tasks/support materials?

In particular I started thinking about the fact that if all students sit the same exam at GCSE the key focus should be on scaffolding to succeed rather than capping students with different tasks that suit their ‘ability’.

If I’m honest I would say my differentiation technique now which has been developed over the last 5 years is to teach to the top and differentiate down through scaffolding to support all students to achieve the highest possible grade/level/mark.

Anyway I’m starting to digress. I’m sure your here for the resources.

The CPD session gave an introduction to differentiation for NQTs and ITT students with practical ideas to take away.

 

Now if you’d like a copy of the PowerPoint click here. 

I hope you find the resource of use.

Feel free to share your thoughts on differentiation.

Mrs Humanities

 

 

 


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Resource – Learning Swag Bag

swag bagThis is a really simple idea. A way for students to share ideas and gain inspiration.

Simply print out the sheet, students then collect information and ideas from their peers.

sheet

Here’s an example of how I’ve used it recently- one year group created infographics about China’s One Child Policy for homework which they were going to use towards their end of topic project. It felt too long before they would make use of their hard work so to make the most of the resource immediately, students had 15 minutes to read and collect further information from their peers work.

I’ve also used Learning Swag Bags for idea sharing, whereby students could wander the room and fill their bag with good ideas from their peers. It a particularly useful strategy for students that find it difficult to plan an extended piece of writing or struggle to find inspiration from within – the opportunity to see what others are doing has always proven useful.

You can download the sheet The Learning Swag Bag

Hope you like it.

Mrs Humanities

 


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Resources – Chronology and Timelines

Chronology challengeBeing in the position where I have to write all of my own schemes of work for our current cohort of years 7, 8, 10 and 11 I decided that the best place to start for the new years 7’s was to introduce (and recap for a small minority) the skills needed within Humanities.

 

I firstly carried out a baseline test to establish their skills and abilities. The results were interesting. None of the pupils had a grasp of both Geography and History, most fell to one or the other. I was shocked however at the number of children that do not know the continents or even any of the western European  countries. They will by the time I finish with them…

One of the first skills I’m teaching the years 7’s is Time and Chronology.

I have two lessons on this. We started the lesson off with each pupil being given a card with the time of the day. They had just 3 minutes to organise themselves into order, from the earliest time to the latest.  This got them active and engaged, especially when I told the second set how quickly the first set had managed it…. competition created.

Chronology CardsAfter the success of the first task and some discussion of chronology  they tried to put the reign of several Kings and Queens in order. A little AFL and a smiley face followed. We then looked at the difference and meaning of BC and AD. One question that pops up usually is ‘What if your not religious?’. I hate this one, it’s tricky to explain since time is such an abstract concept, helping the pupils to understand that Science and Geology tell us that the earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old whilst Christian beliefs are that it’s between 4000-8000 years old…. let alone all the other ideas from other creation stories. I quickly brush over this one and tell them to research it and tell me what they find out.  Chronology

 

To finish the lesson I set them what I think is a nice little chronology challenge. The class were split into groups of 10 and each group nominated a ‘leader’. They were given a challenge pack and they then competed against each other to create a giant timeline. The sense of competition was fierce, each team checking over at the progress of the others. I was amazed at the speed of set 1, both teams completed it in under 3 mins. Success!

 

Chronology Challenge

Chronology PP

 

 

Here’s a copy of my Chronology Challenge for you to try along with a PowerPoint

Please leave feedback if you download or use them, I love to know how they go and will respond to comments.

Enjoy!

Mrs Humanities