What's the Deal with Differentiated Instruction?

As a teacher, you know that there are many different ways to teach your students. It’s important that you are flexible as a teacher to different strategies that can help make learning easier and more fun for your students. Because students learn in different ways, you need to remain in tune to what your students are feeling and what concepts exist to make it easier for you to teach to your students’ needs.

Differentiated instruction is one of the most important concepts for a teacher to embrace in their classroom. It gives students the best opportunity to learn the material they are being taught. It is based on the concept that not every student learns in the same way. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the importance and benefits of differentiated instruction.

 

Teaching According to Learning Style

Differentiated instruction is intended to ensure that every student learns in the way that is best suited to them. Students tend to learn differently. There are three learning styles:

  1. Auditory: Students learn through listening.
  2. Visual: Students learn based on the things they see, such as pictures and images.
  3. Kinesthetic: Students learn by being physically involved or through their sense of touch.

 

A visual learner will typically have a difficult time learning when they are only given an auditory lesson, while an auditory learner will have a hard time learning through a project that allows them to use their sense of touch.

Differentiated instruction helps ensure that you teach in a way that best accommodates each student’s learning style.

 

Teaching in Multiple Ways

When you choose to embrace differentiated instruction, it means delivering the same material in different ways. This not only will help ensure that every student in the room has the chance to learn in a way that best suits their own personal learning style, but students will also go over the same material over and over again. The repetitiveness may make the material easier for them to remember.

One of the most important parts of differentiated instruction is that it allows you to reach every student, no matter where they are in the learning process or what way they learn the best. It creates a more diverse learning experience for everyone involved.

That is why many of our social studies and science units include various activities to help you meet all your student's needs.

Kinesthetic with Outdoor Learning Centers

Take advantage of the pleasant weather and get the students up and moving outdoors. Our Major Landforms Unit for Interactive Notebooks is the perfect example of how this works.  Plan ahead of time of where you could set up your outdoor learning centers.  Remember to review the rules ahead of time. Let students know if they don't follow the rules then you'll have to bring them back inside. That is usually enough to stop any misbehaviors.

The following 12 major landforms are included in this unit:
*Island
*Lakes
*Valley
*Volcano
*Rivers
*Peninsula
*Glaciers
*Mountains
*Canyons
*Oceans
*Swamps and Marshes
*Delta

There are twelve Landform Foldable Booklets with questions and scenes about each landform for students to read, answer questions, cut, paste, and color. These foldable booklets fit perfectly inside their interactive notebooks and provide a tool for students to come back to review at any time.

In addition, there are also twelve Landform Posters with a brief info and a real-life photo so students can visualize and connect to the information. The landform posters can be placed in at centers, a learning station, or a creative bulletin board display.

Create an outdoor learning station about each of the landforms. Be sure to put the foldable booklets and landform photo poster at each station or center. Each passage gives a definition of the landform and an example of one so students can form a connection to the information. You could have the students work in pairs or group work.

The foldable booklets have four questions for students to answer. There is also a related landform scene for students to color. They can use the posters with real life photos to help them visualize and connect to the information.

Providing different activities like taking the students outside is just one of many ways to differentiate learning in your classroom. These are just some of the benefits of differentiated instruction and why it’s so important to implement it in your classroom.