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 a way that is best suited to them. Students tend to learn differently. There are three learning styles:
Auditory: Students learn through listening.
Visual: Students learn based on the things they see, such as pictures and images.
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.
When the Pilgrims made the voyage to the New World in 1620, they wanted the right to follow their own religious beliefs. Many of them wanted to start a new life free from the King of England. Not too long after the Pilgrims settled in Plymouth Rock, a new group called the Puritans left England. They also wanted to practice their own religion. They settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the first colony known as New England. Little did they know that life would be challenging as they faced many obstacles in the New World. New diseases, harsh weather, and little food made life in the colonies difficult.
Take a step back in time...with interactive activities to learn about what life was like during Colonial Times.
Parts 1-3 Life in Colonial Times by Region
The unit is divided up into six comprehensive parts to investigate all the different facets of life in the Thirteen Colonies.
Part 1: Life in New England Colonies Part 4: Interactive Activities
Part 2: Life in the Mid-Atlantic Colonies Part 5: Colonial Jobs & Technology
Part 3: Life in the Southern Colonies Part 6: Vocabulary
Let's explore more...
Have students read the differentiated passages about each region in the 13 Colonies: New England,Mid-Atlantic, and Southern Colonies. The passages focus on each region related to people, natural resources, climate, daily life, crops, houses, schooling, and economy. There is a graphic organizer, brochure activity, and close passage for students to complete at that center or learning station that ties it all together.
Some of the activities in this pack include mystery flaps, flip book, tri-fold brochures for each region, map activities, and more!
Solve the Mystery Flaps
Mystery flaps are an excellent way to assess student's learning. Ask the students to follow to identify each object and tell how it's related to the 13 Colonies. See the pictures below for step-by-step directions.
Flipping for Flipbooks
We hear from teachers all the time that students flip for flip books! Who wouldn't? Flipbooks are a fun way to reinforce learning and review at the end of a unit. Plus they fit neatly inside their notebooks giving them the INB stamp of approval!
Using Differentiated Reading Passages
The passages come in THREE levels of difficulty so that you can meet each student’s reading level with the same content information. Each passage has the same key ideas and essential information.
In this unit, you will find different levels of difficulty that have the same look. The levels are identified by a key at the top of the page. Use the key below to determine which reading level is best for your students. Having three levels for each passage gives you a lot of flexibility in the ways you can use them.
Here are a few examples:
Guided Reading Groups: Divide the class into groups by reading level. Hand out the passages and organizers for each reading level to that group, respectively. Starting with the lower level, rotate between the groups to provide support as needed.
Mixed Ability Groups: Divide the class into 4-6 mixed ability groups. Hand out the MIDDLE level reading passages and organizers. Have students take turns reading and answering the questions on the organizers.
Partner Work: Divide the class into groups of 2. Be sure to have one student at a higher reading level in each group. Hand out the MIDDLE or HIGHER level reading passages depending on the makeup of the group.
Whole Group: Pass out the HIGHER level reading passages. Read aloud with the students for the first read. Then have students read the passage a second time and use it to answer the questions on the organizer or brochure activity.
Individual Reading: Hand out passages and organizers to each student at their approximate reading level to complete on their own.
Other uses: learning stations, centers, interventions, homework, morning work, and review.
Set up Learning Stations
At each station, place copies of the reading passages and organizers in a manilla folder. After reading the passages, students can complete the graphic organizers or brochure activity for each region. Printing the organizers off on different colored papers can help keep the stations organized and easily identifiable.
Reinforce with Hands-on Activities
There are many activities included in this complete unit. You may not use them all, but with such a great variety you will have enough for all your needs. Some activities you might do in class while others you might use for homework, morning work, fast finishers, or to review at the end of the unit.
Here are some of the activities in this unit:
Tri-fold Activity for each Region
Who am I? Activity
Maps for each region
3 Cloze Passages w/keys
13 Colonies Flip Book
Life in Colonial Times Fact Sort
Mystery Flaps Activity Pages
13 Colonies in Order of Founding Chart
13 Colonies Task Cards Freebie
Our 13 Colonies Task Cards are a fun and engaging way to reinforce learning and review at the end of a unit or to use at centers. They are so versatile with so many different ways to use them in the classroom! You can grab the Task Cards Freebie HERE!
Tri-folds are Terrific!
Students can use the information in the reading passages and vocabulary posters to answer the questions on the tri-folds for each region. Tri-folds are a graphic organizer that after you've completely finished it, it looks like a brochure. Tri-folds are designed slightly smaller than a regular brochure so after it is cut out and glued it inside their social studies notebooks, there's still some space around the edges of the notebook page to write additional notes or more information.
Everyone had a job to do! Whether it was farming, weaving baskets, making candles, or melting iron down to shape into horseshoes, everyone had a major role in keeping the colony in working order. First, have students read about important trades in the colonies. There are character studies for Basket-makers, Blacksmiths, Printers, Shoemakers, Tailors, and Silversmiths. Technology changed a lot during this time especially with regards to shipbuilding and plows. Use the Venn diagrams, fact sort, and graphic organizers to compare and contrast life in all the different regions!
Vocabulary is the Name of the Game
Every unit has vocabulary words that help students understand the topic better. Introduce the vocabulary words with the real-life photo posters included. You could post these posters around the classroom and have students travel around to match up and define the words in their flip flaps or use as a center activity. They also make a fun scavenger hunt and a decorative bulletin board, too!
BIG-MATS = BIG FUN
Our newest product line is our BIG-MATS! BIG-MATS are big activity mats with lots of unique activities to do with your class! Teachers love using BIG-MATS to reinforce learning in a unique way. They are an excellent activity to use at the end of the lesson, as a culminating group activity, or to review for an upcoming test. Celebrate Colonial Times with these creative activities, and organizers that are FUN in a BIG way!
There are SIX---11 x 17 BIG-MATS ---TWO for each region--New England, Mid-Atlantic, and the Southern Colonies as PDF. Answer keys are included in this pack. Print and copy this back-to-back in black and white to have the students complete for a one of a kind 13 Colonies activity. There are lots of fun activities, word searches, unscrambles, and questions for students to complete, answer, and color the scenes for each region. Students love them because they are creative and unique. Just copy back-to-back for an easy no-prep meaningful and fun activity.
Ideas for Using:
*You can fold them in half to fit in a folder or a binder. *Great for a culminating project or group work. *Excellent way to review at the end of the unit. *A fun homework activity to reinforce the lesson from the day. *Students can work independently to answer the questions on the back page. *Sample pictures are included
BIG-MATS can be printed at Office Depot for about 50 cents—for one copy--back to back-- in black and white. Simply upload the file online and in less than 24 hours I picked them up. If you choose this option, be sure to pick “Landscape” as the orientation. I also checked ¼ inch margins to make sure that there was plenty of room on each side. Many schools have a copier that can print and copy on 11x17 paper. If you can print it at your school, then you can skip the step above and copy the amount you need for your class.