- December 4, 2018
UMS’ continued investment in technological infrastructure allows for a differentiated curriculum to be implemented. Through active leadership, engagement, and involvement from Principal, Mr. Dave Treherne, and Vice Principal, Mrs. Melissa Meevis, staff are bringing differentiation into the classroom. During staff training, workshops, and from grade planning meetings and class visits, staff have been encouraged to expand upon the core curriculum and develop creative lessons while employing differentiated instruction and active learning opportunities for all.
What is a differentiated curriculum? A differentiated curriculum is one where teachers adapt the curriculum in different ways to meet the needs of all their students. At UMS, we take pride in providing students with programs that allow for differentiation. The content taught, the process used, the product expected, or the physical factors of the environment created may be modified to help students achieve their personal success. Task choices and flexible groupings may be used to accommodate background knowledge and interest of small groups or individual students.
What is Active Learning? Active learning is a process in which the students are engaged in hands-on activities rather than passively receiving knowledge. Students interact with others to construct meaning from new ideas and concepts based on their background knowledge. Active learning is fast-paced, fun, and personally engaging because students have the opportunity to try things out, use their senses, ask questions, and discuss outcomes with others. Assignments are designed to draw upon the skills and knowledge that students have or must acquire. Co-operative learning, problem-solving, and project-based learning are active learning strategies which are seen and used in our classrooms.
How does Differentiated Instruction and Active Learning help students in the classroom? In looking at each student profile, we can determine what an individual’s greatest strengths and needs are and develop programming and present learning opportunities for all. Aspects for advanced and accelerated learning as well as areas that need re-teaching/review of concepts are covered. The building of student and teacher relationships is developed as students’ motivation and interest increases . An individuals’ self-esteem and respect for others who
may learn at a different pace or in a different format is appreciated. By setting individual learning goals, students are able to reflect upon their learning curve and determine the trajectory and next steps for project mastery, which includes understanding, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of their efforts.