Friday, August 16, 2013

Creating the Perfect Differentiated Classroom

As educators, we have to be prepared to teach many different levels of kids in one class. This means we need to think about the kids who are gifted and the ones who need a LOT of extra time and assistance. But, I have some questions about this concept-How does this concept of a "Differentiated Classroom" translate into a working class where everyone, including the teacher, can benefit? How do teachers create a differentiated classroom so that each student is receiving the type of instruction they need to learn effectively while also creating a dynamic, engaging environment that promotes self-advocacy and applied learning techniques?

I don't know...I am still trying to figure it out. This year, I have a class with two students who, at 15, can barely create a working sentence and then three other students, ages 16, 17, and 18, who have the foundations down, but are not into seeing the world in anything other than "black and white" concepts and who lack deeper, analytical thinking processes. The difficulty I am currently facing is finding quality books to read with the class where I can teach the basics of themes, literary devices, and historical significance, but that will not be so hard where the lower level students can't follow along at all.

I was thinking of reading To Kill a Mockingbird, but I am afraid that I won't be able to get anyone engaged in the book because the complex racism will be over their heads and questions that should arise in a class in order to create discussion, won't occur. I was then thinking about The Hunger Games, but I have a student who has no concept of reality and can't differentiate between a story and truth, so something like this will be very difficult to understand. Night is was too heavy, they won't understand anything with Shakespeare, and Of Mice and Men will hit too close to home with these kids since they are typically the "Lenny's" of previous classes and have been ridiculed so much that they come into this school with shattered egos and very very low self-esteem.

I'm kind of lost here!! Anyone have any good ideas??
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