Differentiation is something I am constantly working for. In a perfect world, each student would have an individualised lesson plan, one on one time with the teacher, meaningful group work, reflective individual time, and a myriad of experiences and lessons in between. But, we don't live in a perfect world. We live in a world, at least in the United States where, all too often, the narrative is about a single teacher placed in a room with 30+ kids for one hour each day, a strict pacing guide, a pre-written final, and evaluation standards written by people who make the rules, but don't have to live by them. It creates a hectic, frustrating, non-conducive to learning environment for both teachers and students.
As teachers, we have the power to create the context within which our students learn and (hopefully) thrive. This year, I decided to play around with this a little in my final exam review. I wanted it to be personal to the students, but there needed to be accountability and I wanted students to work with different people each day. Our school is also beginning to use a "Bring Your Own Device" program where the kids can get WiFi access, so I wanted to test its capabilities too. Here is what I came up with:
I decided to do a series of review stations. Each station would be able to be done in groups or individually and they would each have a piece of accountability. Students would be able to choose which station to do each day (in a 50 minute period, they could complete roughly 3-4 stations depending on their speed) based upon what they and/or their group members felt they needed to review. I wanted to test out the BYOD, so I knew I also wanted to incorporate technology as much as possible. This also would serve to cut down on the physical prep I had to do and the amount of clean up afterwards.
I separated the test into four basic sections: Comprehension, Grammar, Culture, and Vocabulary. Then, I put 2-4 activities in each section. This is a list of the materials I used, related links (where needed), and what area they were used for:
- Notecards - Culture; Vocabulary
- paper and colouring materials - Comprehension
- Activities on the Quia website - Grammar
- Activities on the Socrative website - Culture, Vocabulary
- a Google Presentation showcasing student work - Comprehension
- textbooks - Comprehension, Grammar, Vocabulary, Culture
- A QR code generator - Comprehension, Culture, Vocabulary
I set up multiple stations within each section as follows. Some, like the presentations, were student created, so little prep was needed on my part. Others, like the Quia and Socrative activities were teacher created, so they did require a little effort on my part.
- Comic Strips - Students were given a list of stories to access in their texts or notes and created comic strips detailing the story. I took these, scanned them into the computer, and created a Google Presentation for students to review on their own/in groups to connect the images with the stories (total prep time: 5 minutes for each story)
- Character Analysis - Students were given a list of characters we'd learned about in our stories. They could use the stories in our books and culture section to create a character analysis and draw a picture. I scanned the pictures in and typed in the information to create a Google Presentation for students to review on their own/in groups (total prep time: 5 minutes for each character)
- Discussion - Students used the QR code to access the Google Presentations. Students would discuss in Latin what they'd learned (total prep time: 2 minutes)
- Quia Activities - Students would use the computer to access our classroom in Quia and to play a variety of games that went over grammar topics for the final. Students were to take diligent notes during this. (total prep time: 10-20 minutes per game throughout the semester)
- Socrative - Students would scan the QR code which would take them to the student link for socrative. They would enter my room and race against others in the space race I'd set up (upcoming post on this!) Socrative allowed me to download results. This was combined with the vocabulary (total prep time: 20 minutes)
- Flash Cards - Students would create flashcards for important topics in the culture section. One side would have the term/location/person/etc. and the flip side would have 5+ facts about them. (total prep time: 0 minutes)
|Space Race on Socrative|
- Socrative - Students would scan the QR code which would take them to the student link for socrative. They would enter my room and race against others in the space race I'd set up (upcoming post on this!) Socrative allowed me to download results. This was combined with the culture. (total prep time: 20 minutes)
- Flash Cards - Students would create flashcards for vocabulary words. On one side would be the word and on the flip side would be: a picture, a derivative, any synonyms/antonyms in Latin, and a sentence in Latin. (total prep time: 0 minutes)
Overall, I would count this as a HUGE success. There were a few stumbling blocks, but overall both the students and I really enjoyed this. The students were able to focus on what they felt the need to. I was nervous that they would all just do vocabulary and culture or they would all freak out about grammar, but there was a steady stream of activities and everyone always had something to do. I was easily able to keep the kids accountable and work with those who needed extra guidance. Some students chose to work on their own, which was fine. It met their needs and no one minded because they all had the option. I got quite a bit of material to save electronically for next time and they all enjoyed looking at their work online.
The only real issues I found were with socrative. Some students had trouble accessing the site or the site was very slow. Sometimes it could easily be fixed, sometimes they had to choose a separate activity. That being said, it was easy to set up and the kids loved it!
Next semester I think I will do this again, but switch out or add on some activities. It really seemed to get students' needs taken care of while allowing me the freedom to work with those who needed it or get other things done in the classroom. By the third day, it ran very smoothly and students didn't need very much direction. Even with the stumbling blocks, I would mark this as a successful review session!