Discuss a three day differentiated lesson for 2nd grade in Math.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A three day differentiated lesson in Math could center around one particular concept and expand it over a period of time.  It should be noted that no lesson plan constructed in theory takes the place of actual instruction.  When we add a specific length of time to the lesson plan, it might not necessarily speak to the needs of students.  Teachers might expand specific lengths of plans in order to meet the needs of their students. For example, if reteaching or review is needed, then a three day plan can become four or even five.  What is offered here is a mere secondary idea to the actual reality that confronts a second grade teacher in the classroom.

I think that a good starting point would be to develop a lesson on graphing data and interpreting data. By second grade, some basic elements about numbers should be evident in their procedural approach to it.  Common Core state standards suggest that in second grade, there should be exposure to the "structure" of numbers and their "strategic" placement in problem solving.  This lesson might just accomplish those ends.  The lesson starts with the teacher suggesting to the students that the kids are going to play "news reporters" today in trying to get information.  (This provides an obvious link to Social Studies in terms of professions around children.)  The teacher has questions written out on paper for students:

  • What is the hair color of students in our classroom?
  • What is the favorite candy of students in our classroom?
  • What is the number of pets that students in our classroom own?

The teacher can model how students can ask questions to students and how to record data.  For example, in asking about hair color, the teacher should show how this is done.  When the teacher asks a student about hair color, they write the answer in a blank that is provided on the paper.  (If teachers have assistants, this process can be facilitated easier.)  The idea of going around and recording data is essential to generating the basic structure of numbers and their strategic placement. Finally, teachers will instruct students to make sure that they have recorded the total number of students. Relaying this to students is critical.   If the teacher feels that one of the remaining two questions is sufficient, then students will go around asking students that which remains.  They will record the data.  This is going to be a bit of "organized chaos" in making sure that all students are accounted for and all have recorded data.  Once again, teacher assistants or parent volunteers would be great for this task.

When all data has been collected, organization of the data is essential.  Students will take crayons and circle like answers. For example, if the question was how many pets were owned, the "Ones" would all receive the same crayon color and the "Twos" would get another color or "Zeroes" would receive a third color.  In color coding the data, students get another feel for another "structural" association with the "strategic" use of numbers.  This process might take one or two days.  The final phase of the assignment is to give students graph paper with both axes of representation already provided.  On the X axis would be the distinguishing characteristic such as "Number of Pets Owned in Our Class" or "Type of Candy Most Liked in Our Class"  On the Y axis would be increments of numbers of students.  The graph paper should be designed so that each box would represent increments of one.  One box moved up is one person and so on.   Students would then receive instruction as to how to tabulate the data by counting the numbered of colored circles in their data sheets.  Then, being able to plot the data is a matter of counting up the circles and then shading in that number on the X axis.  In creating bar graphs that show this data, students receive instruction in the structure and strategic use of numbers in representation.  Once the data has been collected, word problems can be made to help to display basic fact knowledge. Questions such as "How many students own one or two pets?" or "How many students like Snickers and Kit- Kat" could be developed from this data.

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