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A Peek Into a Differentiated Classroom


Sarah Kasprowicz WATG President watgpresident_at_gmail.com 5th and 6th Grade Classroom Teacher Merton Community School District kasprowiczs_at_merton.k12.wi.us – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A Peek Into a Differentiated Classroom

A Peek Into a Differentiated Classroom
Sarah Kasprowicz WATG President watgpresident_at_gmai
5th and 6th Grade Classroom Teacher
Merton Community School District
A WATG Four Corners Workshop Saturday, March 6,
Classroom Dynamics
  • The stage has been set for differentiation.
  • Alternate activities are expected and encouraged.
  • All students may propose an alternate project.
  • We have Friday Projects with weekly work time
    in the library.
  • Student-led portfolio conferences are conducted
    at the end of each year.
  • Looping 5th-6th grade

Classroom Organization
  • Portfolio crate with hanging folders
  • Bookshelves to keep resources for various
    independent projects
  • 3 computers
  • Bulletin boards and walls have papers stapled to
    them to help keep track of alternate projects and
    due dates.
  • S. P.R.I.T.E. crate with student folders, blank
    forms and rubrics

Supported Independent Reading (S. P. R. I. T. E.)
  • Based on the research of Sally Reis
  • Elements of Differentiation
  • Higher level questioning
  • Choice
  • Flexible grouping
  • Tiered assignments
  • Mentors (guest readers)

Sprite links
  • 5-10 points
  • The questions match any book.

SEM-R Bookmarks
Sample questions
  • Describe a very important event that happened in
    todays reading.
  • Name an adult that you know that would like this
    book. Explain why they would like this book.
  • What is the best thing the author has done so far
    in this book? (plot, perspective, description,
    conflict, setting?) Explain why you think so.
  • Which character in your book is the easiest to
    trick? Why?
  • Write three predictions you have for the rest of
    the book.

Sample questions
  • Who, in your book, would you least like to sit
    next to in our new seating chart today? Why?
  • Who, in your book, would you want to be your Face
    Book friend? Why?
  • Who, in your book, do you trust the least? Why?
  • You have to buy a pet for the main character.
    What pet would you buy them and why?
  • Explain one way you would change the setting if
    you were the author.
  • Name one thing you thought would happen in the
    book that did not happen.
  • Who is the least important character in the book?
  • What is one event that was unnecessary in this
    book? Why?

Which character do you trust the least?
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid Craig because he does odd
  • Penny from Heaven Uncle Angelo because he is
    getting drunk all the time and keeps losing his
  • The Incredible Journey The cat because he can
    take stuff away from the dogs. Also he always
    sneaks around.
  • Peak I trust Josh the least because he was
    climbing a mountain and got a call that his son
    was born. Zopa kept bugging Josh saying that its
    not good for a father to neglect his son.

  • Two Words

Release Yourself
Release Yourself From
  • Filling in each space in your grade book
  • Assigning practice that some students dont need
  • Managing every detail
  • Creating every project
  • Writing every rubric

Appropriate Grading
  • Pretest
  • Schedule pretests with enough time for students
    to preview material.
  • Set a percentage needed to test out such as 90
    or higher.
  • Require students to do learn concepts missed on
    the pretest and demonstrate acquired knowledge.
  • Select alternate project in accordance with
    interest, theme or portfolio requirements.

Insert Rigor and Depth
  • GT Students are used to minimal struggle.
  • The classroom teacher can require rigor and depth
    to be part of each alternate project.
  • Include rigor in rubric design
  • Higher level subtopics are required
  • Higher level subtopics are weighted twice
  • Include multiple higher level subtopics based on
    student readiness

Higher Level Subtopics
  • Based on the research of Diane Heacox
  • Sample topic The Rainforest
  • What is still unknown about the rainforest?
  • Describe a current controversy connected to the
  • How has the rainforest changed over the last 200
  • What are current theories connected to the

More Subtopic Ideas
  • What are common assumptions about the rainforest?
  • Analyze connections between research in the
    rainforest to other scientific fields.
  • Identify important cause and effect relationships
    connected to the rainforest.
  • Defend a prediction you have about the future of
    rainforest destruction.

Grade Book Issues
  • GT students will have fewer grades.
  • GT students are excused from daily work grades.
  • GT students will have scores for
  • Pretests
  • Post-tests
  • Alternate projects

Grade Book Tips
  • Leave the excused boxes BLANK.
  • Use different colors of ink to code tiered
    assignments and projects.
  • Use Webgrader features to assign students to
    assignments and excuse students from daily work.
  • Keep a separate class list in your grade book to
    keep track of alternate project grades

Assessing Alternate Projects
  • Rubrics
  • Rubistar
  • Student generated
  • Teacher generated
  • Written as a partnership between student and
  • Generic rubrics (see examples)
  • Inform Parents of alternate grading policies in
    your classroom

Assessing Alternate Projects
  • Time management
  • Assess work logs for time management and use this
    as evidence for or against future participation.
  • Self Assessment
  • Students rate themselves on their rubric before
    handing in final project.
  • Portfolios
  • Students may use alternate projects as portfolio
  • Bonus
  • 5 points in Webgrader for tiered assignments

Sample rubrics and forms
  • Friday Projects (Website Link)
  • All students work on a project on a topic of
    their choice.
  • Students have 45 minutes of work time in the
    library each Friday afternoon
  • Solves the What do I do when Im done? dilemma.
    The answer is, Work on your Friday Project.
  • Students document their readiness level on a
    Starting Point sheet and proceed with learning
    from there
  • Partners and small groups are acceptable, but
    each group member has their own questions and is
    responsible for creating their own rubric.
  • Sample Calendar

Create an online class
  • Moodle
  • Elements of differentiation
  • Choice
  • Compacting
  • Parallel studies and orbital studies
  • Intellectual peers
  • Readiness levels

  • Rti for all students
  • 30 minutes per day
  • 5 classroom teachers
  • 1 teacher of At-Risk students
  • 1 staff member from our curriculum department

How do extensions work?
  • Screeners and data wall from the previous grade
    is used to provide data to place students in
  • Students are given choices of enrichment mini
    course extensions and they rate them their first,
    second and third choice.
  • Every 3 weeks the intervention teachers will
    reassess the students to see who is able to exit
    the intervention class.
  • Topics of enrichment classes change throughout
    the year every 3 weeks.

1200 1230 every day
Mrs. K. Mr. Reuter Mrs. Schiellack Mrs. Heeren Mrs. Jungbluth
Storybook 24 students Web Book 24 students Math Intervention 14 students Reading Fluency Intervention 12 Students Sketchbook 28 Students
Mrs. O Helps supervise Storybook and Sketchbook
students working in the library.
Mrs. M. Works one on one with one boy on math
intervention (needs tier 3 attention). When that
boy is absent she works with Mrs. Schiellack on
math interventions.
Enrichment Mini courses
  • Storybook The students have the choice between
    writing a story inspired by an illustration in
    Chris Van Allsburgs The Mysteries of Harris
    Burdick or participating in an online novel study
    of Bud, Not Buddy and Depression Era themes.
  • Web Book The students learn how to use Web 2.0
    tools to demonstrate learning.
  • Sketchbook The students participate in
    sketching, drawing and other art activities.

Mini courses so far this year
  • French
  • Strength and fitness
  • Space Race
  • Cartooning
  • Journalism
  • Brain Teasers and Logic
  • Community Service
  • Picture Book Production
  • Wars and Conflict
  • Sportsmanship

Future enrichment ideas
  • Spanish class
  • Origami
  • More Logic Puzzles
  • Science experiments
  • Robotics
  • News writing
  • Sculpting
  • Chinese class
  • Flight and airplanes

Press room
  • Merton Community School District
  • Student Created Press Room Page

  • Dabrowskis Overexcitabilities and Theory of
    Positive Disintegration
  • Psychomotor
  • Sensual
  • Intellectual
  • Imaginational
  • Emotional

Mellow Out
  • Written by Michael Piechowski, Ph. D.
  • Mellow out, they say, to which I can only
    respond, If only I could. At birth I was
    crucified with this mind that has caused me
    considerable pain, and frustration with teachers,
    coaches, peers, my family, but most of all with
  • Carol, cover illustrator

Accommodations for Intensity
  • Classroom teachers differentiate for disposition
  • Help students with stress management.
  • Time management extended deadlines and one on
    one help with task analysis
  • Assistance with transitions
  • Suggest involvement in Tae Kwon Do
  • Discussions with student about triggers
  • Counseling about intensity
  • Do not attempt to fix the intensity.
  • Students and parents need to accept intensity and
    develop strategies to accommodate for themselves.
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