Differentiated Instruction Ignites Elementary School Learning
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Differentiated Instruction Ignites Elementary School Learning

>>Good morning and welcome
to “Forest Lake Today”. Alex, do you have any announcements?>>Narrator: Watching the morning
TV show at Forest Lake Elementary in Columbia, South Carolina,
gives you a good sense of what this school is all about.>>Speaking of cool, Robert, what’s
the weather going to be like today?>>Narrator: It is a place where differentiated instruction
sparks every individual’s passion for learning.>>Right now I want to introduce
you to our team, and they’re going to tell you about their invention.>>Well, the Sani-Sipper, there’s a
tube that hooks up to this nozzle, and it has a detector, causing the
sanitizer to clean it at every use.>>Our mission is the
super-absorbent polymer.>>Narrator: They have partnered
with NASA and focused on science, technology, engineering,
math and geography.>>Here. Let’s link this up. We might need this.>>I think many, many years
ago students who were in teacher-education programs learned
how to kind of teach down the middle and do a little here
and a little there. Well, we know that that’s not
right for children, and there’s no such thing as a regular classroom. Our school is a microcosm of
the world, so we work very hard to make sure that we
know where children are. We don’t take time to teach
things that they already know. We try to go where they are
and take them as far as we can.>>Absolutely. Deval, did you want to add to that?>>You’ll see the students are
at different stations working on different projects and different
tasks that they need to accomplish. The students are self-directed. They know what it is that they
are supposed to be working on, and this enables the teacher to
work with children as a facilitator and also provide extra attention
in areas where it is needed.>>Martha Washington. There she is.>>Everybody’s showing their learning
in a way that is comfortable to them. They’re learning the subject
matter that we assign, but they’re expressing
it in different ways.>>If you missed any, you can go
back and look at your question.>>At the beginning of the year
we do a variety of assessments. We have our MAT testing, which
is a computerized assessment, and it gives us feedback as far
as different literary strands and mathematical strands. And it breaks it down for each child
to let us know what range they’re in and how we can better group them, how we could better teach
them within those groups.>>I decided I want to be a police
officer the day two officers came to our school.>>And we also have palm pilots,
where we sit one on one with a child and we assess their
reading abilities.>>They told us all about their jobs and how the police dogs
work, works with them.>>It’s work that’s well worth it
when you see how far they’ve grown, not only in terms of numbers and
scores, but you see their ability to do things at the end of the year
that they couldn’t do, quite frankly, or couldn’t do well at
the beginning of the year. You feel a sense of gratification,
and that’s why we’re in it.>>That might be good that the classes
work as a group, collaboratively.>>Kappy: We’ve used a number of
different models over the years for staff development and training. At this point in our process, we use a collaborative
meeting every other week, and that is a very
honored, treasured time. You don’t miss your collaborative. Professionally speaking,
everyone expects you to be there, and it’s a meeting that you don’t
want to miss, because it’s a meeting where you kind of massage your
unit plan to be better and better.>>We can take an inventory of things
that they want to specifically learn about that country
and not necessarily– We’re doing graphing and math, so
that’ll be a great way to tie in.>>You want to use the pointer and
make it go up a little bit more?>>Narrator: Technology
is ubiquitous here.>>You ready to check that out? Go ahead.>>From the biometric system
used to check out library books to the student response systems.>>Two nights plus three
nights plus one night, please.>>Narrator: To white boards that
bring the world to the classroom.>>And my friends and I
will be so happy to start with our Arabic national anthem.>>Narrator: To the keyboards. [ keyboard music playing ]>>Left, right.>>Kappy: Actually, there’re probably
a number of schools that have as much technology as we do. I think the difference is that at
Forest Lake we use the technology and we maximize it, and the only way
to do that is to constantly train and to constantly think ahead to find
out what technology is applicable and helpful and can be used as
a tool for academic achievement.>>The first step, as I put them in
different cups, one was polymer. One they did with the Dr. Pepper. One they did with the
cranberry juice, and the other they
did with low-fat milk.>>What attracted you to do
this type of experiment?>>I always wanted to help people
and be a surgeon or a doctor, and so I’m like, I really like NASA,
and so I’m thinking about being a– I want to be a doctor there.>>Sometimes I just go to,
like, writing Web sites, because I’m thinking about
being an author when I’m older.>>I want to be a vet or
I want to be a doctor, maybe a teacher or a librarian. I still have lots of things. My first thing was
a rocket scientist.

About James Carlton

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8 thoughts on “Differentiated Instruction Ignites Elementary School Learning

  1. This may work for this particluar elementary school or it least they say it does. I am not aware of South Carolina being a leader in education. Self-directed 8 year olds sounds like nonsense to me. This is being forced into high schools where it is a complete disaster.

  2. Sounds great. Not sure if it would work in a special education classroom. But it doesn't matter since we had no computers or smartboards in my classroom.

  3. I cannot tell you how excited I was to accidentally land on this site. I teach Integrated Methods (Differentiated Instruction) at the College of Coastal Georgia and I am constantly on the lookout for new and unique examples for my pre-service education students. As a former student, 1961-1966, I would like to Thank you for a wonderful 6 years and a beginning to my love of education.
    Dr. Debra Levine Smith

  4. I find group work only works when everyone's about the same standard. It's real irritating when they are not. the weaker ones just copy the answers and ideas of the advanced kids. Really pisses me off.

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