KinderGals: DI For the Little Guy

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Monday, July 9, 2018

DI For the Little Guy

I love when I get to present a full day session.  Today, at the I Teach K Conference in Vegas, I am presenting a full day session called DI for the Little Guy! This session is packed full of easy ways to differentiate your instruction without having to plan TONS of activities. DI isn't about planning all of those activities. It is about providing opportunity for each child to work at a level, rate, and interest to ensure success.  When we establish centers and implement the workshop model of instruction...differentiation can occur with little extra work from the teacher. Here are a few of the ways that I share in the session.
Formative Assessments
Formative Assessments are the backbone of Differentiated Instruction! Yet, who has time for yet another test! There are many ways to incorporate formative assessments right in your teaching!
One way is to select an instructional focus for each week. That doesn't mean that this is what you are teaching, it means that is what you are looking for evidence of! For example, if you have chosen rhyming as your instructional focus, look for children playing rhyming activities, doing a rhyming activity at your small group, or reading a rhyming book to the class. If you notice YES, they can rhyme, record it on the spreadsheet. You can grab a variety of DI forms at the bottom of this blog post.
If you are looking for a way to document easily and quickly, just use your phone and snap a picture. It is easier to SHOW parents than to try and explain the standard!
Of course my favorite way to collect Data, ESGI! I love that ESGI will quickly make your instructional groups! It saves me tons of time and makes it really easy for me to know just the right thing to teach to each group! Good news! You can try it for free for TWO full months! What a great way to get all of you back to school assessments done quickly! Here's even better news... if you sign up for the FREE trial using promo code ADSIT, you are also entered to $50 Amazon Gift Card or the GRAND PRIZE of a $500 Amazon Gift Card! Just go here, use promo code ADSIT, and you will be registered to win!
Reader's Workshop
In Reader's Workshop, one thing we want to develop is that kids see themselves as readers. In order to do that, we use this anchor chart to teach children there are many ways to read a book. Let's talk anchor charts for just a minute: Some might look at this and say it isn't an anchor chart it's a poster. I can see why they would say that. BUT, here's the truth about anchor charts:
  • Anchor charts bullet the new learning. Kids are not deciding what is written, the teacher is.
  • Anchor charts are used by both the teacher and the students as a reference.
  • Anchor charts are made with kids.
WAIT, put on the breaks. This chart looks like it was made at the dining room table. AND it was! I have issues with my handwriting and rewritten chart, to make them look nice, are not the answer. Children lack ownership of rewritten charts. They don't have an interaction with that chart! Here's what I do. I make the chart ahead since I know my bullet points. I display the chart and cover up the sentences. Each day we do the reveal! I lower the paper to show today's teaching point.
Since this chart has 3 bullet points, that means it is going to take me 3 days to cover the content.  The first day our mini lesson is all about reading a book by telling a story you already know.
The second day we learn all about reading a book by looking at the pictures.
And the last day we learn that we can read a book by reading the words.
Now, it is time to shop for books.  I pull out all of the books used in the previous 3 lessons. These are the books the children were using during the active engagement part of the lesson. I spread them out on the floor and let the children shop! The each select books from all 3 categories so that they have around 6 books. Then, we put the books in their "book baggie".
Now that they have their book baggies, the next series of lessons teaches the children what to do when it is time for them to go and read independently.  The books in their baggies are swapped about every two weeks. As the children begin guided reading, these books can also be added to their bags.
Of course, before any of this can happen this anchor chart will help you establish the expectations for large group instruction. You can grab the pieces to make this anchor chart at the bottom of this blog post. All of these items come from our Reader's Workshop Series.
Writer's Workshop
This is a great blog post on how to establish Writer's Workshop. Here is our Writer's Workshop Mega Bundle.
Literacy Centers
And here is a blog post that will share exactly how we do literacy centers to build independence so that we can pull small group for differentiated instruction! You can grab the Literacy Centers for the Year Bundle in Deanna Jump's Store.
Math Centers
Here is a blog post all about establishing math centers that help children maintain their learning in centers while you pull for small group differentiated instruction. There are several math resources that can help you. You might want to check out the DI Small Group Bundle.  Another useful resource is the Math Game Pack Mega Bundle. This will give you math games for the WHOLE year.  And lastly, be sure and check out the Math Manipulatives Bundle.
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