1. My Experiences with Ability Grouping as an Educator
My experiences are primarily using
Within-class Ability Grouping.
All of my students identify with a heterogeneous class.
They are regrouped by ability only when reducing heterogeneity is particularly important for learning, as is the case with math or reading instruction.
These groups work on different materials at rates unique to their needs and abilities .
My groups are Flexible in that they allow for frequent reassessment of student placement and for easy reassignment based on student progress.
2. My Experience with Differentiated Instruction in conjunction with Ability Grouping
According to the research by Carol Ann Tomlinson and Caroline Cunningham Edison (2003), differentiated instruction is simply responsive teaching which stems from the teachers ability to respond to varied learners needs by teaching in ways to help all learners bridge gaps in understanding and skill and help each learner grow as much as he or she can.
I group students flexibly and utilize time, space, and materials in a variety of ways. I involve my students in understanding the nature of our classroom therefore allowing them to contribute to their own academic success.
Children are invited to move to different spaces in the room to work; carpet area using clip boards, side tables, bean bag chairs.
3. The following are some ways in which I differentiate learning in ability groups:
Reading - readers workshop, guided reading, trade books, visual and kinesthetic manipulative to teach phonics and vocabulary, books on tape, literature circles
Writing - Writer's workshop and journals with opened ended writing prompts, word journals, peer editing
Spelling - individualized spelling where students choose words from set lists
Math - individualized math folders, Self paced math websites
Homework - optional monthly challenge packets
4. Technology in conjunction with Ability Grouping
Interactive Reading websites such as abcya.com and starfall.com
Read, Write and Think writing activities on the computer,
Graphic organizers and mind maps using Kidspiration
KidPix slide show story presentations
Math self paced websites such as AAA.com and Funbrain.com
Web Quests centered around specific units of study in Science and Social Studies
5. Peace Is Power Project
After being exposed to the information we have been learning about Multiple Intelligences and childrens unique Learning Styles, I created a project using Google Page Creator for k-5 students that encompasses this idea. You can view it at:
6. New ways to incorporate Technology
After taking the SmartBoard workshops last semester, I wrote a proposal to get a SmartBoard for my classroom. I am thrilled to say that my request was approved and for the 2008-09 school year I will be receiving a SmartBoard for my classroom.
I am anxious to try Podcasting with my students
I am in the process of setting up a wiki space called Kids Connect for students and parents
Also, I am interested in setting up a classroom Blog Spot
7. Module and Ability Grouping
Garger and Guild (1987) have summarized the characteristics of field independent and field dependent learners. After reading the information it is clear to me that both my learning style and teaching style are a combination of both field dependent and field independent.
Similarly, I feel that I am both Global and Analytical in my teaching and learning.
I feel that this is a benefit to my students in that my teaching approach can appeal to different types of learners.
After reading this module I have been more conscious in terms of my presentation of material to my students and more aware of their unique styles of learning.
8. Something I Plan to try in my classroom Something I plan to try in my classroom is working with the Environmental Influences in the classroom: Sound, Light, Temperature and Seating. Also, the Physiological Elements: Intake, Time of Day and Mobility. This will be a challenge for me however, it is something I believe is important and want to try. I am also interested in administering some of the Learning Style Assessments as well as the Multiple Intelligences Inventories to my students at the beginning of the year in September so I will be better able meet their individual needs.