Here are a couple of things you might like to try.
Most Difficult First
Example: If there were 10 tasks in an assignment, you might pick 4 that represent the highest level of rigor. Students who can complete those 4 accurately and can share their reasoning would not need to do the other 6 tasks.
Why? You’re meeting students where they are. Students who aren’t ready for the mastery tasks right away have 6 scaffolded tasks that will lead them to the final goal. Students who successfully complete just the 4 mastery tasks don’t need the other 6; they won’t be bored and they can move on to the next learning.
Keys to successful implementation:
- clear expectations for completion of tasks
- management strategy for assessing accuracy and completion of tasks
- intentional use of time after completion of tasks
You may be wondering what the students who have completed the tasks do while others continue working. The answer? Intentionally planned anchor activities.
Why? The differentiated classroom is built on two foundational concepts:
- The pace of learning will differ
- Learning is never complete
Anchor activities should be rigorous and relevant to classroom objectives, but they do not need to be time consuming for you to create. Some ideas for anchor activities that can extend student learning include:
- centers or stations
- journal writing
- vocabulary choice boards
- student-directed research
Keys to successful implementation of anchor activities:
- clear expectations
- effective classroom management
- materials readily accessible
- reinforcement that anchor activities are intended to support student’s learning needs
Many examples you will see for anchor activities refer to students who finish “early.” It’s not so much that students finish early as that students different content at different paces. It’s not a race. The goal is for all students to learn all the time.
Click here and here for resources with specific anchor activity ideas.