Mindsets in the Classroom Chapter 3
Chapter 3 begins with a wonderful quote from a first grade student--- "My brain is getting smarter and smarter each day." I think this is what being a teacher is all about, knowing our students are positive and confident that their learning is growing day by day.
In this chapter, Mary Cay Ricci, discusses the importance of having a differentiated, responsive classroom. In this type of classroom teachers use front-end differentiation in order to be responsive to the needs of the students in the classroom. I'll go over a few of the highlights, but you really need to read the chapter yourself to see how this would have a positive impact on your teaching.
"Differentiation: the way a teacher responds to a student's needs so that each student is challenged at the appropriate level. "Mary Cay Ricci
Steps to having a differentiated, responsive classroom.
1. Preview and Preasess: You should find out what students already know about the content before instructional planning begins. That's why this is called front-end differentiation. Most differentiation comes after instruction and ends up being a catch-up time. With a good preassessment you can be prepared to meet the needs of all your students from day one. One interesting idea presented in this chapter is letting students preview the content before the preassessment. Mary Cay Ricci thinks you'll get a truer picture of what students know if they are allowed a short preview of the content.
2. Curriculum Compacting: After the preassessment you'll know what skills your students have mastered and what they still need to learn. So it makes sense to adjust your unit and take out lessons that aren't needed by your students. Thus the title- Curriculum Compacting. This makes so much sense! Don't spend time teaching skills that your students have already mastered.
3. Flexible Grouping: Small grouping should be taking place in all subject areas, not just reading. Every classroom has a large range of students. Working with small groups gives students the opportunity to be challenged at an appropriate level. One of the major drawbacks of small groups is classroom management.
4. Management: Small groups can be managed if the teacher sets clear expectations. Anchor activities are ongoing activities the students work on independently and are key to managing students while the teacher works with small groups.
5. Acceleration and Enrichment: Both of these are equally important. Enrichment is going deeper and acceleration is going forward. Having enrichment and accelerated activities gives every student the chance to learn every day.
6. Formative Assessment: Checking for understanding. This is essential in a differentiated, responsive classroom. Formative assessments should be used routinely across all content areas. It can also be a reflective tool for the teacher, Do the students get it? What do I need to teach next? How will I group my students for reteaching, enrichment and acceleration? I've put together a few quick and easy formative assessments you can use in your classroom. Click on the picture to download the file.
7. Summative Assessment: Assessing understanding and mastery of the content at the end of the unit. The assessment must match the learning that has taken place. Grades should be based on how well the student demonstrates mastery of the content that was presented to them.
This chapter also includes a Teacher Checklist for Planning Differentiated, Responsive Instruction. It will make your instructional planning so much easier!
Thank you for taking the time to read this discussion about Chapter 3 of Mindsets in the Classroom. You can download my summary by clicking on the picture. (it's also included in the Formative Assessment Freebie download seen above.)
We'd love to hear what you think about Chapter 3. You can download this blank PowerPoint frame, write about it on your blog and then link up with us. At the end of the books study we'll be choosing one of the link-up blog writers to receive a special gift card!