Differentiation of instruction is challenging, but needed. All of my students have different areas of strength, and I need to be able to let them use those strengths. After attending a reading institute this summer, one of the big “takeaways” I left with was giving students plenty of choices. When I give specific instructions on how an assignment needs to be completed, it can tend to limit the creative nature of many of my students. At this institute, I got the chance to complete a project in any way that I desired. I felt so much freedom and really enjoyed putting it together. All of the projects were unique, but they all contained the information that was required. I wanted my students this year to have that feeling about some of their assignments. My fellow English teachers were at the institute also, and we all wanted to let our students experience this freedom of choice. We decided to give them different choices on a novel project and gave instructions on what to include. It was up to the students to be creative and choose the format that appealed to them. I thought it would be mass chaos, but these projects were so diverse and entertaining! One of the choices was a movie trailer. I had a student who filmed his own stop action film (in my classroom) using Lego’s. He then took his movie clips and made a movie trailer for the novel The Outsiders. My mind was blown! That is something I would never have dreamed of assigning, but that student used their creativity and produced a wonderful product. I am so thankful to be able to allow my students to put their own unique twists to assignments, and I will continue to do so.
Mrs. Anderson – 7th Grade ELA