Differentiating doesn’t always mean tiering. . . Remember that we differentiate in response to learning profiles, interest AND readiness. But once in a while, when the planets all align, you can differentiate in response to all three. I’m going to show you an example.
Over the last couple of days and over the next week, my class will be focusing on polar animals. We’ll do experiments, write and even do a couple of crafts that focus on the study of both the Arctic and Antarctic.
In case you didn’t know, kindersDIG polar animals. I mean they really really love learning about these far off places and all the cool and interesting creatures that live there. The theme . . . the hype . . . All this creates the buzz and the INTEREST that will engage your students.
When you can build on that interest and incorporate it into math or literacy, your students are going to be more apt to maintain interest. Which is exactly what I did with our nonsense word work this week.
Let’s face it, it’s not the most interesting thing to practice, but when you put a bunch of nonsense words on a couple dozen ‘icebergs’ and hand your students a penguin or a polar bear, suddenly it’s the best fun ever.
The fact that they can jump their polar animal from iceberg to iceberg only pulls in your kinesthetic learners into the activity more. They are your movers . . . those kids that can’t sit still. So why fight it?
My students love seeing how many icebergs they can jump in a minute and if they can better their number each time. They think they’re playing. I know they are practicing. (I often put the icebergs on the floor and have them move from one to the next pretending to be penguins just to mix it up a bit, too.) For my students who are just mastering this skill, they simply say the sounds without blending them at first, but for my students who are ready for the challenge, I have them read the words.
And for those students that have mastered three lettered nonsense word fluency, I throw in a set of four lettered ones. It gives them just enough challenge to keep them engaged and interested.
There you go, INTEREST (the polar animals), LEARNING PROFILE (kinesthetic learners) and READINESS (reading the nonsense words unblended, reading the whole word and reading four-lettered nonsense words.)
The stars must be aligned! If you are interested in more differentiated cold weather word work activities, go ahead and click on the picture below. (It’s were you can find some icebergs for your nonsense polar dip!)
I also have one for math as well.