Differentiation without extra handouts

I recently came across a really interesting blog: Differentiation without extra handouts.  Sometimes we all find it time consuming to fill the gap before the end of the lesson for learners who have completed their work. 


I came across this site while researching learning activities, and found it so simple to follow the tips I thought I'd share.


The blog is by Joanne Miles (Consulting) and it's really worth a visit as she has some great ideas.


But back to my original point.  Here's a section from an entry in August 2012 entitled "Differentiation without extra handouts: Tips for stretching and challenging learners". 

When you plan your lesson, think up two or three meaty questions that consolidate the learning from different stages of the lesson.  Note them on your lesson plan or on slips of paper to give to students who finish activities early, or who need additional challenge.

If computers are in...

BESD in Post-16 Mainstream Education

BESD in Post-16 Mainstream Education

You wouldn’t send someone into a risky environment without proper health & safety training would you? Yet every day we ask staff in Further Education to work with students who have a variety of behaviour disorders without the proper preparation. It’s barmy!

FE classrooms can be a risky environment. Learners moving ‘up’ at age 16 are not required to disclose any SEN (although the majority usually do).  However if a learner has a BESD it is highly probable that they will conceal their chequered educational past, in the belief that revealing this could harm their educational prospects.

Specialist ADHD researcher Russell Barkley states:

35% of ADD/ADHD teenagers get suspended from school
35% of ADD/ADHD teenagers drop out of school

Students in Further Education who received support from School Action Plus or intensive SEN intervention (or those who have been through the PRU system) in their previous school careers, continue to...

How can an Egg Timer help you win the war?

I meet a lot of teachers in FE who shy away from group work because of the carrolling and shepherding that's needed.  In some lessons it's just blimmin' hard work and there's not enough time, right?  You've got a MOUNTAIN of stuff to do and it's better if everyone just gets on with it.  But research has shown conclusively that group work in class significantly raises co-operation, increases engagement and improves learning.  So what does that have to do with Egg Timers....?

If you have time constraints, use whatever it takes to keep on track.  Each working group could have their own egg timer on the table.  Nominate a time keeper for each group.  When there's only 5 minutes left for the activity to be completed, the nominated time keeper turns over the egg timer and counts down.

Another use for an egg timer is to have times for absolute quiet in the class. ...

Attention, Prevention, Retention

We're in the 'ention' phase: Attention, Prevention, Retention

So, in the last week of September - two or three weeks into term - and the cracks may be starting to show...... I'm sure by now you will have begun to see the different types of students who will grace your classes in college. Some will need a bit more attention than others, preventative 'behavioural' measures will be tested to the limit, and the all-important CENSUS takes place in a few weeks. We then land into the retention phase.  Let's face it, it feels like a re-run of every other year so far.

BUT! Does it have to be?

If behaviour is starting to get in the way, now's the time to get onto it quickly by getting back to the agreed classroom rules; keep it open for discussion. Threats of disciplinary proceedings without follow- through will soon make your credibility drop. So it's best to...

Differentiation: What it IS and what it IS NOT

Do you shrivel at the thought of having to prepare lots of ‘special’ resources for students who have differing learning needs?  Before you spend long hours preparing all-singing-and-dancing lesson plans, it’s important that you know how simple it can be to differentiate.  Here’s a list to use as guidance:


Differentiation IS:

Using a range of tasks to present the topic
Increasing pace and variety to lessons
Making changes – building blocks of knowledge – from small to large
Providing opportunities for students to respond in ways other than writing: displaying work or role play (for example)
Assessing work in a number of ways
Using flexible groupings
Delivering the curriculum by using a variety of teaching practices


Differentiation IS NOT:

Lunchtime sessions
After school/college clubs
Letting students leave early if they have finished
Self-supported study
Extra/additional tasks
Entering external competitions


I guarantee that you're going to LOVE this link, which helps you to create your differentiated lesson plans and scheme of work, just click through to The Differentiator...

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