Saturday, November 21, 2015

Math Framework for Differentiation

Differentiation in the math classroom requires some intentional planning to address the various readiness levels of students in the classroom. Here is a template to help create a canvas for differentiation for an upcoming unit or topic. By creating a framework, it allows students to enter learning at their level while ultimately having the goal to move students to a higher level of challenge. Click on the image below to download a copy.

Here is an example of a completed math framework. This example has many varied activities to address the different readiness levels of students. The goal is to pick and choose resources and ideas that keep the level of challenge appropriate. Recycling these skills throughout the school year by revisiting the framework can benefit students. After a unit, it is important to go back and reflect what worked and what did not work. With each school year, the framework may need to be tweaked based on the readiness levels of students. Click on the image to grab a copy.

To begin, start with the standards. It is important to integrate content standards and Standards for Mathematical Practice. By flipping the standards to "I Can..." statements, it makes them more accessible to students.

Keeping a pulse on student readiness helps drive differentiation throughout a unit or topic. It is important to identify that zone of proximal development for students where there is the right amount of challenge where learning takes place ~ not too easy, not too hard. To address student readiness levels consider varying the challenge for students and having students choose the "right fit" when completing problems.

Varying the challenge for students can be accomplished through "What's Your Path?" This structure is designed prior to a unit of instruction. To design a "What's Your Path?" for a unit consider your curricular resources and other supplemental materials that will provide the right amount of challenge for students. It is helpful to use preassessment data when crafting the paths. Based on student readiness, students can enter either Path A or Path B. Path A being the on level skill/standard; Path B allowing for the extension of a particular skill. The goal to keep in mind is that entering the paths is fluid for students based on readiness at any given time during a unit. Click on the image below to grab a copy.

Choosing the Right Fit is another way to address the various readiness levels of students in the classroom. When students are asked to problem solve simply remove the numbers and wa-la, you have created a differentiated task. The integrity of the math problem does not change. Only the numbers do. Differentiated sets of numbers can be added for students to then "choose the right fit." In this way, students have some control over the level of difficulty. Or, all numbers can be removed.  Students drive for understanding by choosing "right fit" numbers that they feel are an appropriate challenge for them. Sometimes when students select their own numbers, they may find that their chosen numbers will not necessarily work with the problem. What a great learning experience for them to discover!

Locating resources to address readiness levels of students can be challenging at times. Here is a list of some sites that might be helpful in planning differentiated learning opportunities for students.

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