How does my UbD unit reflect my understanding of differentiated instruction?
There are so many ways in which to differentiate! It can be a daunting task to focus on just 5. This of course is a sarcastic comment. 🙂 It was interesting to note that most people, including me, plan to administer a pretest and post-test. I commented to Shawna that an article I read about differentiating in math contained an interesting element in it. It is called “compacting”. I have heard of it before and it makes sense. The idea was is to pretest students, and for those students that pass certain standards, they could skip those activities and assignments and not have to do them, but in their place, they could be allowed to do enrichment activities, or engage in accelerated learning. The only time I have actually seen this practice is for an online math course. The course can be set up where a student is administered a pretest, and if they score 80% or above, they can skip that section, and move on to the next section of the course. It makes sense! Why study something you already know. I think I may include this in my unit. I need to be careful about how to determine if a student really knows a standard. They could be just doing lucky guessing.
I also commented to Heather that I feel the differences in a regular Algebra course and an AP Statistics course is great. I am concerned about teaching my AP Statistics course next school year. The text, which is awesome, has many wonderful resources, including online help, technology use, and practice problems. The issue is the amount of reading in the text, and the amount of writing and communication that is involved in such a great, real-world course of study. Students are not familiar with doing so much reading in a math course, and the expectation of communicating, explaining, and interpreting. Statistics can be a never ending list of story problems! They are used to showing a little bit of work, and coming up with a single answer. Not so in doing statistics. But I think it would be a nice diversion. I usually don’t make stereotypical statements, but it has been my impression that female students excel in a statistics class because of the amount of communication involved. This tends not to occur with male students. Even though I have some reservations about teaching AP Statistics because of this communication and reading issue, these are standards that are supposed to be taught in any math class. They are considered mathematical practices, but it doesn’t mean they are uniformly taught along with the academic content.
I’m excited to see how my unit develops this next week as I teach it. I look forward to using some new differentiating techniques.