Amber Moore's Blog

Reflections

Differentiated Projects for Diverse Learners

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Over second quarter, my class worked on seven lessons provided by Maricopa County called Up in the Air: An Air Pollution Education Program. These lessons included many of the characteristics of the Renzulli Scales including creativity, leadership, communication, planning, mathematics, reading, and science. This quarter we focused on the human body, so this fit in nicely with the lungs portion. The culminating lesson was to choose a project from this menu.

I was pleasantly surprised with the variety in which my students chose. They had the option to work independently or in groups of two or three. They then presented their final product to the rest of the class. Here are a few examples.

Brochure (Creativity):

Picture Book (Artistic):

Blog Post (Communication): One student chose to write a blog post. It can be viewed here. She used Photos For Class to safely find a picture to help illustrate her post.

Play or Skit (Dramatics):

Power Point (Technology):

Song (Musical): Two students asked if they could write a song. One student is focusing on the music and the other, the lyrics.

How did this foster critical thinking, choice, interest, differentiated learning?

The lessons definitely fostered critical thinking. In one lesson, students had to decide if air takes up space. They were given straws and ziplock bags and asked to raise a book off the desk without using their hands. A couple groups figured it out!

They also investigated how pollution disperses in the air using water and food coloring.

One of the final investigation was to play and card game that instructed them to add or subtract “common air pollutants” into a cup of water.

Although the lessons themselves were not differentiated for interest or choice, the final project was both of these things.

For educators teaching in Maricopa county, I would highly recommend this education program. It includes well written lesson plans and all of the necessary materials. At the end of the unit, a representative from Maricopa comes to your school and teaches a lesson. My class loved this! Did I mention all of this is FREE?!

What is a favorite in your classroom to share learning? 

8 Comments

  1. Compliments for the great task.
    I really liked reading about the experience on the topic of air pollution.
    I will share the materials with some teachers in my school too.
    I teach in Italy and we try to focus on the issue. My students are older but we care.
    Great differentiated activities.

    • Tiziana,
      Thank you for your kind words! I’m glad you found the post useful. Do you use blogging in your classroom? I’d love the link if you do.
      Amber

  2. Not now. I started a blog last year as I was working on a special group of learners and I wanted them to feel the language . I added content in my blog and asked them to read the posts or reflect on the topics.
    I will start writing again in it just to post about English culture, English grammar and also English literature as I need to find a place where I can share some content with my classes – I teach English in six classes and the students are pre-intermediate and intermediate level students.
    I wish I could use the blog for projects but so far I have changed classes and some of the projects were not cross-curricular.
    I will add some posts now as I am going to do some topics which are relevant in what we are doing. It is a pity that just a few teachers can use modern technology and they are afraid of technology.
    Here is the link to the blog
    https://tizianaangiolini.edublogs.org/

    In the challenge I am not using it – I am using one blog which I started some years ago when I began doing courses with COURSERA and Edx. I started them by chance and I am still writing in them. I post about my learning experiences.
    I used BLOGGER for creating them. But I have also used WEEBLY and WORDPRESS
    http://educationalandissue.blogspot.com/
    http://gettingdigitalizedinlifeandwork.blogspot.com/

    Tiziana

    • Tiziana,

      Thanks for the response! I will definitely check out your blogs. I think adding content and asking for responses is an excellent use of a blog. It’s a great way to get students started. I think blogging is so beneficial for learners. A few years ago, the district I worked in tracked classes that blogged vs. non-blogging. The test scores for the writing exams were substantially better with the classes that blogged. It also makes learning real. It’s amazing how much better students write when someone other than their teacher will be reading it! I started a new classroom blog this year because I moved districts. I try to get them to write about the experiences we have in class. Blogging is new to them, so we are a bit slow on the posts. Ideally, I’d like one a week, but that has not happened this year.

      http://mooreclassmath.edublogs.org

      Thanks again for sharing. I look forward to reading your posts!

      Amber

  3. Amber,

    Thanks for sharing your students’ great learning experiences! I love how they had the opportunity to make meaningful choices in how they shared their learning. The investigations look so interesting and full of discovery. I can’t wait to check out and use the Renzulli Scales to help deepen my students’ learning in this way, too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mrs. Bailey,

      I’m so happy you found this a useful resource! I have to admit, I just learned about the Renzulli Scales through a class I am taking for an endorsement for teaching gifted students. Do you have a professional blog or classroom blog you could share the link? I love classroom blogs! What grade do you teach?

      Amber

  4. Differentiation is always a tall order, but you made it seem effortless. I know a few teachers that use choice boards and I just need to bite the bullet and start incorporating it into my classes! Keep up the good work!

    • Nateil,

      Thank you for your kind words. I’d love to know how it works for you. I think it can feel chaotic, but that’s part of the fun of teaching!

      Good luck with your year!
      Amber

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