Differentiation in the classroom is one of the best ways to meet students where they are, and move them forward. But how do you find which students need re-teaching, or just a bit of extra practice, or are ready for something more?
Daily monitoring of student progress is so important – but it does not have to be hard, or take a long time! This simple and fast method lets Google Forms do all the work!
First, create a Google Form with just a handful of multiple choice questions focused on a particular learning objective.
You want it to be focused on just one objective, or even part of one objective. You need to know exactly what skill or knowledge your students know, or don’t know.
Aim for ten questions. Too many questions will take your students too long. You want it to take between five and ten minutes for them to complete. Plus, more questions will not really give you any additional data.
Not sure how to make a Google Form? Check out this awesome tutorial from Surfing to Success!
If your questions are focused enough on a single objective, your students will either know it, or they wont. Students take the assessment, Google Forms grades it, you collect the data. With ten questions, you can easily convert the results into a percentage.
Give your students a time limit. If a student does not finish, assume they need help with the topic!
Once done, quickly take a look at your students’ scores by clicking the ‘responses’ tab.
Then click the little green box at the top right. This will open a Google Spreadsheet of your data. This is where the Differentiation magic is!
Right click on the ‘score’ column and select ‘sort sheet A-Z’. This will put your scores in order from lowest to highest.
Now you can very quickly see who in your class needs re-teaching. (My students are blacked out below for their privacy).
Here is one of the best ways I have found to make differentiation in the classroom happen simply, smoothly, and quickly.
Copy the names from the Google Sheet in groups according to what they need. Paste the names into a Google Doc with a different assignment for each group.
Here is an example of what my students would access in order to get into groups and start working. The Google Doc itself I make up ahead of time, so all I have to do is drop in the names based on their Google Form scores.
Post the list with assignments to Google Classroom, or provide a tiny url – or just throw the document up on the board for everyone to see at once.
Have a short enrichment assignment for the students who did very well. This could be in the form of a fun, related video clip or article with associated questions. It could be something they create, like writing a short story or making an infographic.
For the group that scored in the middle range, they likely just need a bit of extra practice. Consider asking them to re-take the same Google Form question set, but allow them to work with a partner and use their notes.
For an extra level of accountability, make a copy of your original Google Form (or create a new one) and add ‘file upload’ under each multiple choice question. Challenge your students find each answer in their notes and take a picture of where they found it. This adds a layer of accountability and forces them to actually go back to their notes!
**Teaching Tip!** Be sure the answer IS in their notes! I have definitely made this mistake…more than once.
Finally, you can can work with the group that needs the most help. There should only be a handful of students in this group. If more than a few did poorly on the assessment, consider re-teaching the whole class!
How you help this group depends a lot on the learning objective – but be sure you are teaching the in a different way than you taught them already. Use manipulatives, models, something hands-on. Let them practice explaining the concept, or doing the skill, and coach them as they go.
This differentiation time should not take long – I try to aim for twenty minutes. Then we are ready to come back together for more learning.
I don’t do this every day, but maybe twice a week. Let it become a regular part of your class routine. Have three (more more) designated areas of the room that students know to head for depending on where their name comes up on the board. Like any routine, it will be a bit rocky at first, but you will be amazed how much gets accomplished once students get the hang of it!
Looking for more ways to use technology in the classroom? Here are my three favorite online tools – so simple you can learn how to use all three in less than fifteen minutes!
What does differentiation in the classroom look like for you? Let us know in the comments – we all learn from each other!