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Using Technology to Differentiate Instruction

|Kelly Tenkely| One of the major benefits of using technology in the classroom is the ability to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of every student in every lesson. Just as every student grows and develops at different rates, they learn in different ways and at different speeds. Technology makes it possible to pace lessons appropriately for each student’s learning level and can be used to promote learning in the multiple intelligences. Below you will find website suggestions that address the different learning styles in your classroom with the help of technology: Verbal-Linguistic These learners enjoy learning through speaking, writing, reading, and listening. In the classroom setting these students shine when given tasks such as taking notes, researching, listening, reading for information, and writing. Websites to encourage learning for Verbal-Linguistic students: 1. http://wordle.net Allow students to express themselves creatively with words 2. http://ed.voicethread.com Capture student voices with audio, text, pictures, and video 3. http://zoho.com- A free online word processor, and presentation tool 4. http://gcast.com- Students can podcast (voice recording) online. 5. http://kerpoof.com – Students can create stories or mini-movies 6. http://www2.shidonni.com- Students create animated stories 7. http://tickatok.com Students can create stories and turn them into a book 8. http://pbskids.org/wordworld A world where words come alive 9. http://readwritethink.org 52 interactive activities related to reading, writing, and speaking 10. http://speakaboos.com Students can read stories online, record their own story and play literacy games Logical-Mathematical These learners love numbers, reasoning, and problem solving. These students enjoy measuring, calculating, and organizing data. In the classroom students will shine when given tasks such as collecting data, conducting experiments, solving problems, predicting, classifying, and sequencing. Websites to encourage learning for Logical-Mathematical students: 1. http://zoho.com- Spreadsheet and data collection tools 2. http://ed.voicethread.com Capture a sequence of events in an experiment or during problem solving 3. http://emeraldisland.com A virtual world where students can experiment and problem solve 4. http://sciencecomics.uwe.ac.uk/index.php Comics about science experiments, and problem solving games 5. http://toytheater.com/index.php Math, reading, music and art puzzles 6. http://sciencemuseum.org.uk/launchpad/launchball- Logic puzzle games 7. http://mathplayground.com Students practice math skills and engage in logic games 8. http://mathtv.org Students watch a series of video word problems for math, watch a step-by-step video solution and work on follow up problems 9. http://iknowthat.com- Games that make students think: science, language arts, math, and thinking games 10. http://enlightenme.com/enlightenme/superthinkers A site the encourages critical thinking and problem solving 11. http://knowitall.org/hobbyshop A hobby shop full of logical-mathematical activities 12. http://mrsp.com- A storybook site that celebrates reading and books Visual-Spatial These learners learn best visually and organize their thinking spatially. They are drawn to information that is presented visually. These students love to illustrate projects, color-code, and create visuals for projects. Websites to encourage learning for Visual-Spatial students: 1. http://kerpoof.com -Students can draw and create picture stories 2. http://www2.shidonni.com- Students create a character and illustrate a world 3. http://xtranormal.com- Students create and direct their own movies 4. http://knowitall.org/artopia Students interact with online painting, media arts, sculpture, and theater 5. http://doink.com Students can create animations to illustrate a concept or story 6. http://eyeplorer.com- Shows information visually on a color wheel to help students discover relations in any topic 7. http://flickr.com A picture sharing website 8. http://picnik.com – Edit photos add effects, fonts, shapes, and frames 9. http://arkive.org Students can view photos of thousands of animals 10. http://animoto.com/business/education Create videos with pictures 11. http://glogster.com/edu Create online posters to visually display knowledge Bodily-Kinesthetic These learners benefit from physical activity, hands-on tasks, and constructing things. These students are able to express ideas through movement. They like to act, manipulate objects, operate the mouse, take pictures, and be involved physically in a project. Websites to encourage learning for Bodily-Kinesthetic students: 1. http://play.ekoloko.com- A virtual world that taps into mouse manipulation, typing, and manipulating objects on the screen 2. http://emeraldisland.com- A virtual world that requires mouse manipulation, typing, and manipulating objects on the screen 3. http://secretbuilders.com An enchanting virtual world where students can interact with historical figures 4. http://arsights.com Augmented reality site that lets students manipulate Google Earth objects by using a web cam and print out. As students move the paper, the virtual model on the screen adjusts accordingly 5. http://ge.ecomagination.com/smartgrid Another augmented reality site that shows students a digital hologram of smart grid technology Musical/Rhythmic These learners learn best through auditory experiences. They enjoy making songs, rhythms, and patterns. These students will appreciate displaying knowledge with audio and video recorders. Websites to encourage learning for Musical/Rhythmic students: 1. http://gcast.com- Students can create podcasts 2. http://toytheater.com Students interact with music, sounds, and patterns 3. http://viddler.com Record video with a webcam 4. http://playmusic.org Students explore and interact with music 5. http://kids.audible.com Download and listen to audiobooks 6. http://capzles.com Create timelines with audio and video Interpersonal These learners enjoy interacting with other students. They enjoy discussions, cooperative work, and social activities. These students will love web 2.0 tools that allow them to interact with others on projects. Websites to encourage learning for Interpersonal students: 1. http://play.ekoloko.com- A virtual world that allows students to interact and work on solving problems together 2. http://emeraldisland.com- A virtual world that encourages students interaction for the common goal of saving Emerald Island from PiRats who want to take over the green world. 3. http://secretbuilders.com An enchanting virtual world where students can interact with historical figures 4. http:tutpup.com A site that lets students practice spelling, and math facts against other students from around the world in real time 5. http://ed.voicethread.com Students can use Voicethread to complete projects together. It also provides the ability for students to interact and comment on other student’s Voicethread projects. 6. http://twitter.com Create a personal learning community within your classroom, encourage students to share learning experiences and new information. 7. http://glogster.com/edu A web 2.0 tool that allows students to create together and comment on other students Glogs. 8. http://www2.shidonni.com Students create an imaginary world and interact with other classmates virtually. They can create worlds and stories together. 9. http://think.com Students can work on projects together, interact with other students and view other student’s learning space Intrapersonal These learners learn best through meta-cognitive practices. They enjoy thinking about their thinking and reflecting on learning. Allow these students to think about what they are learning with reflective tools such as blogs and wikis that can be shared with others later. Websites to encourage learning for Intrapersonal students: 1. http://think.com Students can blog about their learning 2. http://wetpaint.com A wiki where students can reflect on their learning 3. http://pbwiki.com A wiki where students can create and reflect on their learning 4. http://eyeplorer.com- Students can search a topic of interest and take notes about their learning right within the Eyeplorer website 5. http://kerpoof.com Students can record and think about learning through story creation Naturalist These learners learn from interactions with the environment they enjoy field trips that involve observation of the world around them. These students will enjoy activities that incorporate nature. Websites to encourage learning for Naturalist students: 1. http://earth.google.com- Students can explore the earth with satellite imagery, maps, terrain, and 3D buildings. 2. http://google.com/sky- Students can explore the universe including the solar system, constellations, galaxies, and the moon. 3. http://kbears.com Students explore nature, animals, and the earth through a fun interface. 4. http://arkive.org Students learn about thousands of animals and their habitats 5. http://switcharoozoo.com Students create animals, build habitats and learn about wildlife 6. http://play.ekoloko.com- A virtual world that puts students in charge of their own environment 7. http://emeraldisland.com- A virtual world that encourages students interaction with a virtual environment where they keep the planet green. 8. http://nationalzoo.si.edu Students can view live video of animals, view photo galleries, and visit exhibits 9. http://wdl.org/en Students can take a virtual field trip around the world and through time 10. http://vistazoo.com Students can create virtual tours of the world by combining pictures, video, audio, and objects in 3-D The multiple intelligences can be met and enhanced through the use of technology. Many technologies overlap and address several of the intelligences at once. With a little creativity and planning, you can create rich lessons that will meet your student’s needs and let them learn at their own pace and level.   Kelly Tenkely is the founder and administrator of blended learning school, Anastasis Academy in Colorado. Learn more about blended learning at the 5Sigma Education Conference. Originally posted at The Apple

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Dance Lessons for Zombies: Redesigning the Report Card

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 05-03-2013

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|Kelly Tenkely|

One of the byproducts of starting your own model of education: the old systems constantly fall short.  They start to feel forced, frustrating and tired.  The hard part is that SOMETHING is needed, but what others have in place isn’t it.

So you start dreaming.  You try to leave assumptions of what it “should” be like behind.  You work to imagine something new and different.  Something that fills the need in the right way.

It seems like every corner we turn we have to reinvent.  Anastasis needs a way to organize and keep track of student information…easy!  We will hunt down a student information system, there are a million to choose from!  [This is the part where we hit a brick wall.]  There may be a million student information systems to choose from, but none of them fits our needs.  None is flexible enough to use the way we need to use it.  They make assumptions based on a system that we aren’t a part of.  So, we come up with our own solution.  We mash-up tools that were never designed to do what we do with them.  We make them bend to our will.  Eventually, I’ll just create my own solution (The Learning Genome Project), and it will do just what we need it to because it was designed apart from the assumptions.

The most recent challenge: redesign the report card.  This may seem like a simple task.  It has been anything but simple!  This has been going an ongoing challenge for us.  We redesigned the learning experience from the ground up.  We don’t give grades, at least not in the traditional sense.  So then, how do you help parents come to understand everything that happens in the 8 hours that their children are with us every day?  How do you show them the richness of learning, the uniqueness of their child, without reducing it to a score in a handful of “essential” areas?  How do you change a culture who seeks validation that their child is “smart” based on a piece of paper that comes home four times a year?  How do you help them really understand the difference in philosophy if the reporting looks the same?

This is a challenge because what makes us learners is so wonderfully complex.  It isn’t only about math, reading, writing, science, social studies and art.  At Anastasis, we are in the business of helping students “Stand Again” (the Greek translation of Anastasis), to become fully alive in who they are as unique individuals contributing to the fabric of the world.  Our reporting has to reflect this.  Obviously, your typical report card isn’t going to cut it.  We’ve looked high and low for a ready-made solution.  It doesn’t seem to exist.

On Wednesday mornings, we have a late-start for our students.  This gives the staff great time to come together and tackle these daunting tasks.  We talk often about all of the incredible things that we see in our learners every day.  We wonder over the phenomena of parents just wanting to know what their grade would be…you know, if they had one.  What they are really asking is: “is my child going to be okay?  Are they going to do well in life?”  The grade they are seeking doesn’t really answer those questions. As teachers we know that if a child is in an emotionally hard place, or doesn’t have the attitudes and habits of learning built up, they won’t perform to the fullest in math/reading/writing/science/social studies.  It isn’t about them just knowing their math facts, they also have to have the spirit of risk-taking, the discernment to know which operation to apply to a problem, the perseverance to stick with a problem they don’t immediately know the answer to, etc.  We want SO much more for children than for them to recite math facts by memory.  We want them to be fully ALIVE as learners.  We dreamed, we made list after list of what we want graduating students to look like.  We drew pictures. We laughed (a lot). We got frustrated that it wasn’t simpler.

Over the last week, I’ve taken those notes, scribbles, drawings and lists and drew up a report card.  It looks very little like any report card you’ve probably seen.  It isn’t perfect. I suspect it will go through some evolution.  Our main objective is to help communicate that we are teaching amazing, unique beings.  In the center you will see my crude version of the Vitruvian Man. I love the blend of disciplines that daVinci revealed.  There is a sort of perfection in the overlap…it looks a lot like life.  We stuck with the Greek theme, and used ethos, pathos, mythos and logos to help us describe different parts of a child.  In true Anastasis fashion, we made up our own Greek-inspired word, Pneumos, to show the creative force…the “life-breathed” spiritual aspect of a child.  Below is our re-imagined report card.  I’m still working on the second page that includes definitions of each word listed in our circle.  In addition, we use standards-based-grading and a variety of rubrics.  Our standards-based-grades are a little different (surprise!), our goal is forward progress through learning, standards gives us a framework for this to happen.  We don’t stick within grade levels.  Sometimes second grade students are ready for fifth grade standards.  We say, “have at it!”


We are really working toward changing a culture.  I like to think of it as dance lessons for zombies.  As a culture we seemed to be immersed in systems.  We take them for granted and let them dictate our every move.  Systems can be good, they can bring order and rationality.  But they can also stifle and keep us from really living.  They can make us look a whole lot like zombies.  We are working to make learning look more like life.  We are working toward helping learners “stand again” in who they were created to be. To dance.

Comments (5)

I am really looking forward to taking a peek at that format, but the Issu link seems to be broken 🙁

It should show up embedded right in the post (desktop version is working anyway!)

Tried it on my desktop and got to it – thanks 🙂

I absolutely love your futuristic report card, even if it will evolve. I have created a standards-based report card for use with my fourth graders, and really appreciate the feedback I am able to provide. However, it hasn’t had the best parent feedback- even with definitions of the scoring system and student-specific comments included, some parents just want a traditional report card with a single letter grade. Helping parents realize the big ideas of your third-to-last paragraph is a powerful step in changing current assessment methods. Thanks for this!

We have found the same with the standards based reports that we currently use. There is SO much more information and it is richer, and more accurate to where a child is in their learning. And yet- it is still just a portion of the story. We are really working to communicate to parents that teaching the whole child is SO much more than just did they turn their homework in. To only report the latter is to do a disservice to the child.

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