Different Level Content: Our unit design differentiates for different levels of learners by utilizing groups and group work. On the rubrics and as far as grading goes, students have different levels of achievement based on their abilities. This allows students to plan how they can get the best grade based on what they are able and willing to do. Students are provided with flexible deadlines, as well was hard deadlines. This allows students who need more time to work on the details throughout the activities without getting docked points. They are also motivated to strive to meet some hard deadlines so they can learn to plan and strategize appropriately. Even hard deadlines are negotiable based on needs and circumstances.
Vocabulary Development: In our Unit Plan, each subject has a day where vocabulary is introduced. The following is a list of vocabulary for each subject.
Bar graph: a diagram representing the frequency distribution for nominal or discrete data.
Categorical data: data that fits into a small number of discrete categories.
Data: the observations gathered from an experiment, survey or observational study.
Designed experiment: the process of planning an experiment or evaluation so that appropriate data will be collected.
Exponential Growth Models: When a real-life quantity increases by a fixed percent each year (or other time period).
Limiting Factor: a factor of the environment that stops a population from growing.
Population Growth: when a population experiences an increase in numbers.
Population Crash: when a population experiences a rapid decrease in numbers.
Carrying Capacity: the maximum amount of individuals that a population can reach.
Biodiversity: the amount of different species within an ecosystem.
Graphic Organizers: Using strategies to help students visually organize their thoughts is a way of differentiating. In class, students can easily use technology as well as paper copies of a graphic organizer to prepare for a project. Students can also use a strategy, such as a flow chart (used in the cooperative learning lesson) or a Venn diagram or T-chart, to help them organize thoughts. This especially helps students who have learning disabilities that have a difficult time focusing or collection their thoughts. With the use of drawings or pictures, this is a good way for EL students to express themselves as well.
Multiple Intelligence Activities: This integrate thematic unit has students taking part in multiple group projects allowing students to discuss and collaborate to create cohesive presentations. The objectives each day are shown visually, are read out loud, and some students are asked to read them out loud to each other. Students work in groups and are provided independent time to collaborate. During this time students are encouraged to stand up, gather just outside the classroom, and to take breaks as needed. This helps engage their kinesthetic involvement. Students are also asked to do hands on activities that involve visual and spacial organization in the cooperative learning activity. Conducting and collecting the survey is interpersonal and intrapersonal. Examining the data is logical and mathematical, possibly verbal and linguistic. The VAPA art consumption project is artistic in nature and allows students with musical, bodily kinesthetic, natural and visual-spacial intelligence to express themselves.
Choice Assignment: Students are given choice of who they want to work with in their groups most of the time. Sometimes groups are organized for the best student engagement. Students are also given a choice of which artistic ability they would like to use for the VAPA art consumption project. Students are given a choice of which method they would like to use in order to create a presentation for the principle. When students are provided a rubric they are able to chose to which level they would like to strive to accomplish the requirements.
Rubrics: Students are provided rubrics when completing larger projects. See the VAPA art consumption rubric.
Other Learning Supports
Visual Supports: By using visual supports through lessons, such as pictures, power points, prezis, and art as a visual, students are able to overcome any language barriers that may inhibit them from understanding.
SDAIE Strategies: Throughout the lessons there are various SDAIE strategies that are implemented. We make a conscious effort to speak slowly, use visuals, present clear objectives, use rubrics, and provide items in writing for students. Each classroom is advised and expected to post daily objectives and daily learning targets in a place where all students can see them.
Group Work: This unit of study is based on the idea of group work. Students are expected to work collaboratively in groups in order to collect data, complete assignments, and learn from each other. Group work is a form of differentiating instruction to fit the needs of many students all at the same time. When students work together, they have freedom to make choices about how to complete projects, and they have various ways of hearing and receiving information. They also have a chance to explain the things that they know. This is also particularly good for English Language Learners when there are other bilingual students in the group.