Differentiated Practice

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Most days, my students practice using differentiated practice. This typically means students are doing mild, medium, and spicy practice based on data from their mid-lesson mini-assessment called “practice and score”. This allows all students to practice the new skill at the level they are currently. I circulate to all students for this practice, but pay particularly close attention to students doing mild practice.

I will often have multiple levels of rigor available for the same question, such as shown above. If students are struggling with the concept, as shown by their mid-lesson mini-quiz, they complete heavily scaffolded “mild” problems that take them through how to complete the problems step by step. If students are comfortable with the concept, they complete more difficult “mild” or “spicy” problems. Above is an example with discount rates, where struggling students review how to find a discount step-by-step, and students who have mastered the concept apply their knowledge to a real-world situation. Below is an example with subtracting integers, where struggling students review the concept that subtracting is adding the opposite using a number line while comfortable students jump to subtracting integers without the scaffold of a number line.

Students also frequently use visual models as well. This helps students get a more concrete image of what the math means in real-world terms. For example, when we were reviewing the meaning of percents, students used multiple visual models of a percent. As shown below, students saw the meaning of percent both as a fraction out of 100 and as a decimal.

Other days, rather than have students complete differentiated practice for the same lesson, I’ll do a reteach only to students who did not master a certain skill. For example, I broke students into groups to either work on their personal learning path on ALEKS if they already mastered combining like terms, to work with me if they partially mastered combining like terms, and to work with my City Year teaching assistant (Ms. Elise) if they did not know where to start combining like terms according to their most recent quiz data:

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