Reflection: Student Ownership Science Fiction Triple Feature - Section 1: Differentiated Options/Students Read Stories

 

I have been reading a lot about differentiation lately.  I find it really challenging to differentiate when my classes are so large and my content tends to be more focused on processes than skills.  That said, I admire classrooms wherein groups of students are working on different things at different levels, and – since we don’t have a gifted pull out program at my school – I really want to address the needs of the most able learners.

So, today I tried an experiment:  I selected three texts that were science fiction of varying levels of complexity.  I originally had planned to assign the students certain texts, but that can get complicated with reading ability and reading rate not necessarily lining up.  So, I took a stab at letting the students choose.  I gave them some information about the content of the stories, and I explained which one was longer, which was complex, etc. 

The interesting thing was that the students pretty much chose well, meaning that they chose the text that was most appropriate for them.  A few kids went with the easy option, especially at the end of the day, but there were just a few.  And two students who had not chosen the “hardest” one (A Sound of Thunder) opted to read that one IN ADDITION to their selected text.

I do think that the time of year (the end) played into their decisions.  I am not sure that I would let students choose in September, without getting to know them first.  But, who knows?  Today was enlightening.

  Differentiation and Student Choice
  Student Ownership: Differentiation and Student Choice
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Science Fiction Triple Feature

Unit 5: Science Fiction
Lesson 4 of 5

Objective: SWBAT select and read a science fiction story from a short list of options; SWBAT identify the plot elements in the story; SWBAT work cooperatively to prepare productions for their classmates.

Big Idea: Aliens, Dystopias, and Time Travel...so many choices, so little time.

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