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Differentiation HELP!
Old 11-01-2008, 02:51 PM
 
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I have eleven identified students in my GATE classroom. This is my first year teaching the GATE kids, and I feel like a failure. I'm honored to have my principal put so much faith in me and offer me the position, but I don't know if what I am doing is correct in any way. How exactly does a gifted differentiation room look like? For example, in math, do I direct teach a mini lesson then let five different groups of students work on their academic levels? My kids get so envious when it comes to any one of them doing something "different." Then they whine and tell their parents. I feel like a student myself in that I need to watch a model. I do have Susan Winebrenner's book, but I'm struggling to implement all her ideas. Can anyone offer baby-step guidelines to help me? Thanks!


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Old 11-02-2008, 03:42 PM
 
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If they whine, allow them to do the work. As long as they can pass, then leave them there.. just because they aren't GATE doesn't mean they can't handle the level of work... there are those kids who are just mathematically gifted... or who test badly when tested for GATE.. give them a chance and then they have no reason to complain if they can't handle it.

Another thing I always did at the beginning of the year before I began differentiating was tell the whole class that everyone learns differently - different rates, different ways, etc. and that everyone won't always be doing the same thing at the same time - however, everyone will be working at their level. I always add how I was always high in reading, and low in math - and I just have to do math slower than other people.. but in language and reading, I always got finished and bored.. this way, everyone works at their pace and no one gets finished and bored and EVERYONE learns!

One other thing - if it's your first year and this is a mixed abilities classroom do NOT try to differentiate everything all at once.. choose one subject area and focus on that, when you feel comfortable there, move to the next one...

What age?
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Old 11-03-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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I teach fourth grade. I wish I knew where to find all the differentiation materials. In math, I have one student who loves long division, and he continually wants more and more. I give and give. I even suggested that he do a special project, but he was adamant in only wanting to do the division problems. I'm really struggling here. I feel like I'm not getting to my GATE kids adequately. What do I do?
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:05 AM
 
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Hope things are getting better for you. One strategy for differentiation that I share with classroom teachers at my school is tic-tac-toe boards. This allows you to create a board with 9 activities with a variety of levels of difficulty. This gives students choice. They choose those activities they think meet their needs. When they get a tic-tac-toe (three in a row), they may try to get it a different direction or play a math game in the classroom related to the skill being learned. If they want challenge, they can go for it. If they need to take things slower, they choose accordingly. You can even create different boards for different levels. If an average math student, however, would like to try the challenging board, you may give them that option. Watch out, however, that your most capable students are choosing things that are appropriately challenging! Another way to do this is with a set of dice. If they roll a 1, they do the assignment associated with that number. If they find it too challenging, they may roll again.
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