Spinners! One of the best tools for differentiating around. Really! I’m not just pulling your leg. At any given time, I can guarantee you that there is 3-4 activities available in my classroom for students to utilize that involve the use of a spinner of one kind or another.
Students love using them (Engaging!!!) and they are easy to use. Better yet, if you use them like I do, they can be easily used to tier an activity so simply and quickly that differentiating becomes painless. I promise!
Let me show you. First of all, you need to set up your spinners so that they are user friendly. And by user friendly I mean that you can change out the ‘spinner card or data’ quickly and easily. . . so easy that any kindergartener could do it.
How do you do that? Get your basic transparent spinner and tape it using invisible tape to the top of a CD case.
Now your CD spinner is ready to go.
Now for the differentiating part. When I select an activity, it is always my goal to be able to meet my students at their own readiness level and not just to aim for the middle and hope for the best.
These three spinner cards are an example of one way I can make this happen. I use them in an Easter bump activity, but by replacing an addition spinner for a subtraction spinner or a mixed operations spinner, I can completely differentiate the activity to cover different skills for different groups. By changing out a 0-5 addition for a 0-10 addition spinner, I can quickly make a game a bit more interesting for students who are ready for that challenge or vice versa.
This mixed addition spinner may be just right for one group of students but too challenging for the next group with whom I will be working.
Presto chango . . . by changing the spinner card to a subtraction from 5 card, I can quickly assure that the activity will be neither too challenging nor too easy for my next group of students.
This system is so easy that even my kinders can change these out to differentiate their own literacy and math stations. No paperclips and brads to mess with, no plastic spinners to put together or to tape and retape, simply change out the card. Spinners are versatile and cheap. Definitely one of the BEST tools for differentiating around. I use them for math, literacy, making words, writing activities . . . you name it and I can find a way to use a spinner with it. So there you have it . . . my Bright Idea for April.