December Currently

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  December 1st brings feelings of joy, gratitude, giving AND sharing....what's up with you right now? I can't wait to read about it! Link up with Farley and take part in the fun!
I have a sale to get to so I am going to make this QUICK!
If you aren't down with Modern Family, I am not sure I want to be friends. (jk) No, but seriously.  I know I am like 5 years behind but I.LOVE.THIS.SHOW!
We got a LIVE tree and it is awesome! First one for us ever.  I grew up with a HUGE live tree every year (my parents' house has 17 ft ceilings!!).  Now they switched to fake so it's just not the same.  I had a void that needed filled.  It was super fun to pick it out and bring it home (strapped on the roof, Christmas Vacation style).  Only a few profanities slipped during the transportation and setting up process so all around a SUCCESS!
I don't want to brag but we have off tomorrow! Why, you ask? Because it's the first day of hunting season, duh!! *insert sarcasm*  Not a hunter myself but I can get behind any reason for an extra day off!
I have THE MOST difficult parents to buy for.  Mostly, my dad.  Gift suggestions are welcome, encouraged, please. help.
I started going to the gym. {pats self on back}.  See, I got this new job--still in education-- and well, I have more time and energy to go.  AND get this, they reimburse gym memberships.  Well, hello? It was a no brainer. 
My lack of productivity=your gain
Here is my unfinished 2nd grade Print and Go Math for Winter.  **FREE** Enjoy : )
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The 4 P's of Differentiating

Differentiating is one of those major buzzwords that has surfaced in the past few years of teaching.  It is something we probably always did.  I can't imagine one room school house teachers didn't differentiate just a little bit to reach the wide range of ages in that room.  However, differentiating has changed a lot over the years. (Trust me, I have been around for 4 years : )

As someone who has felt like a full time interviewer lately, I try to tweak and improve my answers each time.  "How do you differentiate?" has always been one of those kickers.  I know what I do.  But how does it look? And how do you put it into words what you do so it sounds somewhat coherent?  Because we all do it all the time all day, most of us without thinking about it.

The other night while I was trying to sleep I was thinking about all the ways you can differentiate. (Really exciting, right?)  I came up with the 4 Ps and I furiously wrote it down so it wouldn't become a fleeting thought.  I figured I would share on here.  Not because I am some expert or this is anything new to anyone.  Just so I could document what I felt was helpful for me at the time--to put it into words--all the ways I see it.

It's how you...

Present the Information: How are you actually teaching this stuff so it reaches the various learners? Chunking information, rephrasing, proximity to students (on the carpet, at their desks?), what visuals you use, incorporating movement, song, manipulatives....whatever works to get their mental juices flowing. Some of these will help all students.  Some will help...some.  I see this as the first step in differentiating your instruction---incorporating specific strategies to reach those individual learning needs.

Provide multiple Processes: (There is actually 2 P's there, maybe I should call it the 5 P's?)  You can't always do this one but I like to use math as an example.  Giving students various strategies to choose from in order to reach the goal.  This is the "how-to" for the students.  Providing multiple methods reaches the majority of learners and then they can use what works best for them.  Take even and odd for example: this year I taught what felt like 100 ways to figure out if a number was even or odd.  Using your hands to share the number, referring to your math notebook to look at the even/odd chart, counting by 2s, using manipulatives, drawing a picture, meeny meeny miny mo (just kidding).

Practice: If I had to pick, this is my favorite. What opportunities are you providing for students to use the skill?  Centers? Independent work? Small groups?  How they practice it can be differentiated based on their readiness level.  This was my most proud development in my last long term position. I established math center time at the end of class.  I was able to create centers with varied levels of difficulty and I matched my students by skill level.  After everything was up and running, students worked independently so I could visit a few groups each day or work with a small group to reteach.  Sometimes the practice is a worksheet---but you can vary the level of the worksheet through the types of problems, number of problems or simply adding an extra "challenge".

adapt the Product: What is any good lesson without assessment?  Change the rubric, requirements or tweak the test to make it fit.  Testing accommodations would also fall under this category. Is the student reading aloud or independently? 4 choices or 2?  You make it appropriately challenging but ensure it still evaluates the skill and, of course, aligns with the standard.

 Remembering the 4Ps will certainly help me give a logical answer next time.  I hope, maybe, it fit your needs too. : )