How do you answer these questions in a concise way? Provide a concept map!
The first question’s answer is provided in the three nodes: Roles of Teacher Metaphors (Tomlinson, 2001), Proactive Communication (Wright, 2012), and Best Practices – 4 Goals (Wright, 2014). Tomlinson provides great descriptions of our roles, and it really resonated with me because of my familiarity with music education, and athletic coaching. Our actions speak volumes for reaching students in a differentiated classroom. Each element has merit, value and contributes to the overall goal of reaching every student individually, and as a whole group. The 4 Best Practices should guide us in all our actions and leads us to accomplishing differentiated instruction. Some of these are specific to math instruction, but can be modified to suit other content areas.
The second question is provided by the three nodes: RTI – Algebra (Wright, 2012), Best Practices – 4 Goals (Wright, 2012), and Effective Research-Based Intervention Programs (Hanover Research, 2014). Intervention strategies for high school mathematics students is limited. I used to think RTI was an elementary specific strategy, but it can be modified to accommodate high school math students. The caveat is that in order to be successful in intervention strategies for upper level math, lower level intervention needs to have occurred. This is one of the main reasons it has been difficult to use RTI in high school mathematics. Holes in learning from elementary/middle grades follow students throughout their educational career! If initial mathematics RTI began in high school, I don’t think students can be as successful as if it started in middle school, but preferably students needing RTI should begin in elementary school. Research is still being done to come up with best practices in math RTI so strategies and methods are being developed to help students.
I believe that Intervention Programs such as the ones listed in the concept map are viable and provide teachers tools to fill in the holes that have occurred in early math education. Technology has improved to the point of allowing teachers to focus on individual attention, but allow students the necessary practice, assessment, skill building, and immediate feedback needed to improve math achievement. Math teachers, in essence, have become facilitators of learning, not the main focal point that is stereotypical of traditional math education.
The BBC Active article provided great ways to differentiate in the classroom, and the ones that resonated with me were providing differing tasks for differing level of students, and providing ongoing assessments. (2010). In my experience so far with using an online resource for differentiation, one key aspect of having students use this is to provide students “ongoing assessment”. Every time they answer a practice question incorrectly, they are provided with an explanation of their error, and students are expected to answer a similar question until they are successful. In my opinion, this type of “practice” should be considered “assessment” because of the immediate feedback provided. This is one element that is important in the whole differentiation process.
Hanover Research. (2014). Best Practices in Math Interventions. [PDF] Retrieved from https://www.mbaea.org/documents/filelibrary/numeracy/Best_Practices_in_Math_Intervention_53D80FEED7650.pdf
Tomlinson, Carol (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms, 2nd Edition. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. [PDF]
Unknown Author. (2010). Methods of Differentiation in the Classroom. BBC Active. Retrieved from http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/MethodsofDifferentiationintheClassroom.aspx
Wright, Jim. (2012). RTI: Best Practices in Secondary Math Interventions (7-12). Intervention Central. Retrieved from http://www.jimwrightonline.com/mixed_files/WI_ED_2012/wright_RTI_Math_Secondary_2_Oct_2012_WI_Ed_Resources_LLC_PPT.pdf