Establishing a differentiated, responsive classroom

I've been reading the book, Mindsets in the Classroom by Mary Cay Ricci,  and just finished chapter 3.  It was a real eye-opener.  Through all of my years of teaching, I thought I was differentiating by planning and implementing reteaching and enrichment lessons and activities as my class worked through a unit.  But in this chapter, I learned how important it is to start the differentiation before the unit even begins!

This process begins with the preassessment. So much valuable information can be gathered before you begin teaching a unit.  The purpose of the preassessment is to find how much students understand the content before you plan and teach the unit.
  • Do they have a complete understanding of the content? Then they will need enrichment and/or accelerated activities.
  • Do they have a partial understanding of the content?  Then you need to make note of the gaps in their learning so you can plan accordingly.
Checklists are a great way to keep track of the objectives and student mastery.  From this checklist, you will also see students that need to be grouped for instruction.  Keep in mind that this grouping will change as students master the objectives.
 Classroom Assessments for a Differentiated, Responsive Classroom

Another insight I gained from this chapter is the different types of assessments used in a classroom.  I put together this graphic to sum up the three types of assessment you should be using in your classroom.  Click on the image to download the pdf version.

You can also download this free packet with three quick and easy formative assessments you can use 

 Quick and easy formative assessments

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