#02 Newsletter 2021

Rāmere, te 26 o Huitanguru

The reluctant writer – ideas to share

Access some free learning resources and ideas for reluctant writers here. There are free downloads at the bottom of the page, as well as some pretty cool ideas to use in your classroom.

Digital tools that bring visual and writing together

Have you tried Pixton in your classroom? This is a great learner-centred tool that allows students to construct their own knowledge and display it in a way that is meaningful to them by allowing them to create comics representing their concepts and ideas. Features include fully-posable characters, props, speech bubbles, and other comic hallmarks you can control with an intuitive interface. A free version is available for students and educators.

What do successful teachers of writing do?

Follow the link here to a poster created on Canva. This poster has been compiled from a variety of sources. Teachers may like to use it as a base for professional discussion on their writing programmes.

So what is this differentiation anyway?

Differentiation is a form of UDL (Universal Design for Learning). Often when we tailor programmes, adapt texts, find a variety of ways to present ideas and learning, to help ONE student, we find we are helping MANY students. Differentiated instruction, the tailoring of educational experiences to meet individual learner needs, is nothing new. (From TEACHER THOUGHT, contributed by Christina Yu, knewton.com)

5 Examples Of Differentiated Instruction

  • Varying sets of reading comprehension questions to answer from a given book (either chosen by the teacher or student).
  • A personalised course packet with individualised remediation or enrichment materials.
  • An adaptive assessment that gets easier or harder depending on how a student is performing.
  • One-on-one coaching with a student, designed around his/her specific challenges.
  • Students grouped into small groups, which are designed around their strengths and weaknesses so that they can tutor each other.

5 Non-Examples Of Differentiated Instruction

  • Assigning ‘advanced’ students to teach ‘struggling’ students.
  • Giving ‘advanced’ students no homework.
  • Grouping students into different classes based on their ability.
  • Letting advanced students out of class early or giving them more free play time.
  • Simply allowing students to choose their own books to read off of a list.

The NSW Government-Education defines differentiation and provides key principles

There are a number of guiding principles that reflect effective practice in a differentiated classroom, including flexibility, respect and collaboration. The key principles are:

  • A differentiated classroom is flexible: teachers and students understand that there are many classroom elements that can be used as tools to promote individual and whole-class success, such as:
    • time
    • materials
    • modes of teaching
    • ways of grouping students
    • ways of expressing learning
    • ways of assessing learning.

Note: it is not necessary to differentiate everything all of the time.

  • A flexible classroom
  • Assessment and instruction are inseparable
  • All students participate in respectful work
  • Students and teachers are collaborators in learning
  • Flexible student grouping options
  • The teacher defines essentials
  • The teacher modifies content

Assessing Creativity

We know that creativity is vital for student learning. We also know that we tend to value the things we assess. However, when we assess creativity, we can unwittingly cause students to become risk-averse. So, how do we assess creativity in a way that encourages students to become more creative? Follow this link for the full article or podcast by John Spencer.

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