How do you differentiate your instruction, activities, and assessments to meet the academic needs of all students in secondary language arts?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The buzzwords when it comes to differentiated instruction is self-monitoring. The 21st century initiative of teaching and learning contends that students must be at the center of the instruction (in all areas) and that they should be held accountable for their own learning.

Differentiation occurs when the teacher prepares more than one activity that addresses specific needs for skills development and exposes the students to many different chances to demonstrate their multiple intelligences.

Two documents are of utmost importance during differentiation in L2: the student interest inventory and the assessment rubric. After giving students the interest inventory, the teacher can plan activities ahead in the form of centers. In L2, for example, the best way is to divide the classroom into groups (centers) that focus on one skill. The activities in the centers will be based on what the students said in the inventory that are their areas of interest. This way, the activity becomes relevant to them.

Each and every activity must come with a rubric. Otherwise, the students will not know what is expected of them as the outcome to their activity. Additionally, each center must have a sample model for students to know what work will get what grade.

These are the basic tenets of differentiated instruction in every area of study. For L2, students can do one center for literacy, another for creativity, another for technology and another for verbalization and communicative language. Once these four areas are covered, the teacher can get creative with vocabulary lists pertaining each of these areas. A communicative unit that talks about food, for example, may include these centers:

  • literacy- reading/writing words and sentences in L2
  • creativity- build a menu
  • technology- apply the vocabulary to a tech project or game
  • verbalization- pretend that you are at the town's burger joint and order a meal. Do a dialogue.