For differentiation to be truly effective in the classroom, teachers should differentiate both what students learn and how they learn.
A differentiated approach raises student engagement and chances for success. Unlike traditional, one-size-fits-all methods, all students are working at an appropriate challenge level, so no one gets bored or left behind. It provides an opportunity for students to explore content related to their own interests and talents. Yet, it can also encourage students to work on skills that challenge them, not just the things that come easily to them!
Freckle can help teachers differentiate both what and how students learn, and we’ll show you how in this post!
Differentiating content (what students learn)
The same content at different levels
One way to differentiate content is to have students work on different versions of the same material. That way, everyone is on the same page, but is adequately challenged. The advantage of this approach is that every student is learning the same information, but no one is left behind because they didn’t understand the content, and no one becomes disengaged because the content felt too easy for them.
This is great for whole-class discussions, group projects, and other activities that can include multiple students at different levels.
Here are some examples of using the same material at different levels within Freckle:
- The whole class reads the same ELA article at their own level, and then everyone participates in a class discussion about the reading assignment.
- The whole class practices the same Math domain at different levels.
- The whole class reads a Science article at different levels, and then everyone works on a group project based on what they learned from the reading.
Different content for each student
Another way to differentiate content is to give students the opportunity to work on different material according to their own interests, skills, and needs. This allows students to explore topics that engage them, helping them get excited about learning and increasing their personal investment in their work. It can also promote a growth mindset by encouraging students to self-evaluate which skills they’ve already mastered and which ones they need to work on!
Here are some examples of students choosing their own content in Freckle:
- Everyone in the class gets to pick an ELA article to read. Some students are reading about sports, some about food, and some about a historical figure.
- Every student gets 20 minutes to practice Adaptive Math in the domain that they need to practice the most. Each student evaluates their current skill level in each domain and then works on the one that’s the most challenging for them.
Differentiating process (how students learn)
Different types of activities
Differentiating the process by which students learn gives everyone a chance to learn in a variety of ways. Some students learn best by listening, some with hands-on activities, some by collaborating in groups, and some by focusing alone. Offering a variety of ways for students to engage with the material is a great way to give every student an opportunity to succeed!
Here are some examples of differentiating process in Freckle:
- Assigning rapid practice activities like Word Study and Math Fact Practice to help students get a lot of repetitions and build mastery
- Presenting a Social Studies unit in multiple ways by showing an introductory video, assigning an article for students to read, and doing a hands-on group activity
- Giving students an in-depth, real-world exploration of a Math concept through Inquiry-Based Learning assignments
Different group sizes
Teachers can also use Freckle to effortlessly create lessons for different group sizes.
Individual: Many of the practice modes in Freckle are perfect for individual learning, such as Adaptive Math Practice and ELA Skills Practice. However, students can still learn to collaborate even when they’re working individually! If a student is struggling with a particular skill in Freckle’s math practice modes, they’ll see a suggestion to ask for help from certain classmates who have mastered the skill. Many Freckle teachers have found that these peer coaching conversations help struggling students see the material in a whole new way!
Small groups: The Class Grouping Report allows teachers to see which students are at similar levels for each standard, making it easy to sort students into same-level or mixed-level groups for small group projects and activities. Teachers often choose same-level groups for centers so they can focus instruction with 4-5 students at a time. Alternatively, they can split the class up into mixed-level groups when they want to encourage collaboration and peer coaching.
Whole class: Lastly, Freckle can help classrooms get more out of whole-class projects and group discussions. Since every student is reading the content at their own level, everyone can participate in a productive discussion or contribute to a project. In other words, no one is left out because they didn’t understand the reading material.
We hope that Freckle helps you reach each of your students at their own level—in multiple ways! Don’t be shy about trying new types of assignments and activities with your class in Freckle to help every student get excited about learning.