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Preservice Teacher & Differentiation with Interactive Lessons

Hi there! I am currently studying elementary education, and am a strong believer that interactive learning works well with a wide-range of elementary level students. I would like to ask if anyone had tips on how they differentiated interactive/hands-on/experimental lessons for students with any sort or language barrier, disability, behavior management issue, etc. without losing the whole-class experience?

Amanda Mifflin
Amanda Mifflin
290 Activity Points

That's a great question Amanda! No two classes are the same. I worked at a school where I would invite the SPED teacher to bring her students to join the 5th grade for experiments. One of the boys in her class was high functioning and I would meet him in his class the day before and run through the experiment with him and let him know I needed his help. He was my "expert" and would help assist groups. He was great. There were some moments where one of the students would start screaming and I had discussed this with his teacher in advance to have her take that child out of the room. Many special needs students participate in science labs without an outsider being able to tell the difference in ability levels. (Those students did not have to do the written part of the lab unless their teacher felt they were able.) As for the language barrier, I've taught at Spanish and French Immersion schools and I would meet those teachers in advance, email my lesson plans, and it wasn't really an issue. I learned a lot in those classes. One year there was a group of students who were always cutting up in their math class. When I had them for science, I gave an assignment to draw a device, using the materials on hand, to create a tool that would catch the living creatures to get them out of an oil spill. The next day, the lab was set up and that group showed up with no drawing. I told them I would allow them to join their group if they drew the tool they were going to construct and then show me. I promise, they all wanted to participate in that lab. Their drawings were done in about 3 minutes and they joined their groups without incident.

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
85619 Activity Points

Great question! Sometimes differentiating can be as easy as partnering the student with another student or having the students work in a center where the teacher can support the learners who need a little extra help or guidance. Another easy way to simply differentiate is to assign group roles. Find what interests the students who need extra support and what they do best. Assign group roles so that everyone knows what to expect and knows that they will be successful. Procedures need to be carefully taught and re-taught. If active learning doesn't work as well as you think it should (this happens) then reteach your procedures.

Susan Farmer
Susan Farmer
1335 Activity Points

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