Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Final Entry: The Course Learning Outcomes and Me

EDCI 487

  • Definitions relevant to differentiated instruction:
The new terms that stand out for me, that I have learned from this course are: Tiering, Readiness, the "Football", Learning Profile and Anchoring Activity. 

  • Principles relevant to teaching diverse learners across the curriculum
There are many principals that we addressed when creating lesson plans in order to teach diverse learners. I believe my learning in this area is most evident in my DI assignment and my reflection on the assignment in my previous blog post.

  • Strategies which facilitate differentiated learning
I am lucky to say that I have learned a lot of different strategies to facilitate differentiated learning. Some of those are as follows: Pre-assessment, Having Hand-outs for students, Assessment during the lesson, Tiering by readiness, ability levels or interest, as well as implementing the different aspects of UDL in to my lessons. Also, I think it is important to help students organize themselves so that they can be successful. This can be done through colour-coded hand outs and organization 'tips of the day'. 

  • The theory and practice of teaching diverse students:
The theory behind teaching diverse students is to recognize their needs. In the beginning of the school year, this can be done by asking students to fill out questionnaires about their ability levels and interest areas. After these are completed, you can begin to create lessons that are applicable to your students. Furthermore, throughout your teaching, regular assessment is important so that you, as a teacher, are aware of what your students are understanding or having troubles understanding. Also, you must be aware that you can differentiate the content, process and product of each of your lessons.

  • Principles and practices in formative and summative assessment in differentiated settings:
Another thing to remember is that formative assessment should happen regularly so both the teacher and students can see where students may be struggling or excelling. This information can then be used in the students learning profile. Also, if most students do not do a good job during a formative assessment, then the teacher can try to re-teach the topic in a different way. Furthermore, the teacher can see where certain students may need extra help or guage their readiness and ability levels in order to tier appropriately in the future. Summative assessments should also be done in order for teacher's to see what the student has learned. It has been suggested that the summative assessment near the end of the course should be 'weighed' more during the calculation of the final mark because it exemplifies how the student has grown over time. 

  • The components and role of the environment in relation to differentiation:
Environment is an extremely important aspect of differentiation. The Learning Environment of your classroom should be safe and secure so that students do not fear ridicule from others and where they feel confident in their learning. This can be done in many ways. In my classroom, I make sure to set out classroom rules in which the students can help to create a list of regulations that will help them to feel like the classroom is a safe place to share their ideas. Also, the teacher should make sure to uphold these rules in the classroom at all times and to always be aware of what is going on in the classroom. I always made sure to stand by the door and greet my students as they came in and ask them about their weekend plans etc. The teacher must also take a Leadership role so that students can look up to the way the teacher acts and watch as the teacher models appropriate behaviour. Building a classroom community is imperative to good teaching and the gaining of new knowledge.

  • A model for differentiating instruction:
Once again, I believe my learning of this is evident in my DI project and reflection on it.

  • Two intelligence preferences models
The two intelligence preferences models are as follows:

Howard Gardner's Designated and Pissible Intelligences:
Verbal-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Musical-Rhythmic, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Naturalist, Moral. 

I would have to say I am Visual-Spatial, Musical-Rhythmic, Intrapersonal and a bit Bodily-Kinesthetic and Logical-Mathematical.

The other is Robert Sternberg's Proposed Intelligences:
Analytical, Practical and Creative. 

I would have to say I am very Practical and then fairly Analytical. I would also like to think I am creative, especially when it comes to creative writing. 

  • Use an effective model for differentiation of instruction:
Once again, I believe my learning of this is evident in my DI project and reflection on it.

  • Design and present lessons based on student readiness, interest and learning profile:
Once again, I believe my learning of this is evident in my DI project and reflection on it.

  • Distinguish between various types of learners.
I find it hard to explain my learning on this subject, but I will say that I realize how important it is to work with and assess my students constantly so that I can distinguish between the various types of learners and help them to learn. When I say assessment, this could be something as easy as sitting in on group discussions or talking with students one on one. This course also made me realize how important it is to tailor to all my students needs, even if only one or two students need extra help, I should make sure that assistance is there for them and be prepared for each lesson. I should also try to mix up my teaching styles so that everyone has a chance to learn in their own way. However, this does not necessarily mean I have to teach so that I hit all learners every day, but, during a unit, I must make sure to try to teach to each of my students needs during that unit so that they all have a chance to learn in the easiest way possible for them.

  • Select strategies and tools used to differentiate according to interest, learning profile and student readiness.
Each of my future lesson plans, as well as the DI and UDL lesson plans I submitted, exemplify strategies and tools used to differentiate. I will be sure to include interest, learning profile and student readiness in each lesson plan and make sure that everyone is included. I will also include the theory of affect in my teaching.  I will do this by using all the strategies I learned in this summer institute and my previous courses taken at UVic. I am truly thankful that this institute turned out the way it did because I think I learned a lot more than I did during my previous semesters here because I finally had something to refer to (my practicum) when I was learning. Doing courses after my practicum has really helped me to visualize and apply what I have learned because I learn best through application. I have constantly thought about incidences that happened to me and my fellow classmates and have been able to apply what I have learned and can see how knowing the elements of DI could have helped in those situations. 

DI principles:
1. Design respectful tasks;
2. use quality curriculum;
3. flexibly manage the classroom environment;
4. continually assess and,
5. build classroom community. 

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