Tiered Lesson Plan

Differentiated instruction is a concept that has gained in popularity over the past few years. The goal of differentiated instruction is to maximize learning success for all students. This type of instruction provides a variety of different ways for students to take in information and make sense of ideas (Hall, 2002). The expectation associated with differentiated instruction is that a teacher is willing to make certain modifications in order to ensure learning participation by all students (Hall, 2002).
Each student learns in a different way and in order to make sure that all students meet educational objectives differentiated instruction uses a combination of whole group, small group and individual instruction in order to meet the learning needs of all students (Hall, 2002). In addition, differentiated instruction recognizes that all students have different background knowledge, readiness, language, preferences in learning and interests. Recognizing these differences allows all students, regardless of academic ability, the chance to succeed in school.
Unfortunately, society has a negative attitude about those with learning disabilities (Carolan & Guinn, 2007). However, it is essential that teachers are able to modify lesson and curriculum in order to meet the learning needs of all students. Teachers cannot have abelist attitudes towards their students. They cannot expect them to do things they are not able to do (Carolan & Guinn, 2007). Therefore, this lesson aims to “minimize the impact of disability and maximize the opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in schooling and the community” (Carolan & Guinn, 2007).

The lesson calls for each student to write a report about a farm animal. Modifications about length, number of sentences and spelling requirements can be made for struggling writers in Tier I performing below grade level. A visit to a local farm has allowed all students the chance to see animals in their natural habitat to find out what they eat, what their offspring are called and what resource their animal provides for humans. In order to encourage struggling writers to include all of this information they could write a list instead of whole sentences.
In addition, they could include illustrations to help them get their point across. The idea behind the standard (Students use writing as a tool for learning, inquiry, and research) is that students get the opportunity to practice their writing skills. For a struggling writer, simply writing a few words would meet that objective. In addition, students are also required to write a letter to their animal. For struggling writers this could include just one sentence and a picture. Another option would be to have students glue a picture of their animal to a piece of paper and thank their animal for what it provides to humans.
Tier II includes students learning at grade level. These students must complete the objective according to grade level so they will be required to include three complete sentences in their letter to their animal. They will also include information about their day in their letter. These students will be expected to use proper capitalization and punctuation as well. Tier III includes students performing above grade level. Often these students are not challenged enough in the classroom so certain modifications need to be made to ensure that they are learning.
To this end, these students can write a complete story about their trip to the farm including a beginning, middle and end. They could also create a poster telling why their animal is the best animal on the farm. These activities, in addition to required assignments, will provide high achieving students with the chance to further their writing skills through extended activities. In order to best serve each student they must be placed in the appropriate tier. Students of the same age are not all alike when it comes to learning (Tomlinson, 2001).
Therefore, careful consideration must be made when choosing the best tier for each student. In differentiated instruction, commonalities among students are noted but differences are also addressed as well (Tomlinson, 2001). Realizing the differences is what allows a teacher to maximize educational success for all students regardless of ability level. Each tier allows students to process and internalize information based on their specific skill level (Tomlinson, 2001). This type of division promotes classroom learning by all students. Students will be placed in tiers based on their writing abilities.
Students who struggle to write complete sentences, form individual letters or incorporate capitalization and punctuation will be placed in Tier I. These students will enhance their skill level in these areas by focusing on fewer sentences but more time spent on creating a correct sentence. Students who are performing at grade level based on writing skills will be placed in Tier II. These students will display the ability to write complete sentences using capitalization and punctuation and will also be able to write legibly in order to get their point across.
Finally, students who are performing above grade level will be placed in Tier III. These students will show remarkable ability to quickly write more than three complete and correct sentences. They will show higher levels of thinking in their writing. The lesson will be considered successful when all students have correct written work to show for their time. Regardless of ability level, all students will write, based on their individual skills, correct sentences.
Tier I students will write one complete and correct sentence that shows improvement in capitalization and punctuation just as Tier II students will write three sentences. Tier III students will show higher levels of learning through writing using paragraphs. It doesn’t matter how many sentences each student writes, but it does matter if they can show what they have learned about farm animals through the writing of clear and concise sentences. Grades will be given based on the final product but the most important assessment of student learning is the growth a teacher is able to see from each student (Tomlinson, 2001).
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