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National Conference on Differentiated Instruction – Jennifer Braafladt

July 19, 2011

      I recently attended the National Conference on Differentiated Instruction.  I saw so many amazing speakers.  Two of the speakers that I saw were Dr. Bertie Kingore and Marsha Spears, both of whom left me ready to get back in the classroom! 

     Dr. Kingore spoke about the instructional needs of gifted students – pace and level.  Instructional pace should be accelerated and repeated 1-5 times (10-20 for the average learner).  The level of instruction should be advanced with a high degree of complexity with opportunity for in-depth study.  Sometimes, it can be as easy as switching perspective.  For example: If you have an aquarium in your room and you are having your class write about what they see, your gifted student could write from the perspective of the fish about what it sees.  Another lesson that she spoke of was “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow”.  This works particularly well in Science and Social Studies where you can challenge your gifted student to write 3-4 things about what happened long ago (yesterday), 3-4 things that are happening presently that are related to the topic  (today), and then 3-4 things related to the subject matter that will happen in the future (tomorrow).  I enjoyed listening to concrete strategies that I can apply immediately. 

 Marsha Spears spoke about Marzano’s Magic 9.  She broke down the 9 classroom instructional strategies that work: Compare and contrast, questioning, non-linguistic representation, homework and practice, summarizing and taking notes, developing and testing a hypothesis, providing recognition, cooperative learning, and providing feedback.  She gave several strategies for each strategy.  However, she spent most of her time talking about compare and contrast – this is the strategy with the highest percentile gain. 

Ways to Compare and Contrast: (1)Comparing – looking at similarities and differences (2)Classifying: Grouping items into definable categories on like characteristics. (3) Metaphors: The establishment of a general pattern in a specific topic and then finding another topic that seems different at the literal level but has the same general pattern. (4)Analogies: The process of identifying relationships between pairs of concepts.


I plan on sharing these strategies as well as others that I learned with my staff and CISD staff at the beginning of the school year.  I believe that all teachers could benefit from continued education on strategies that can be used in the classroom with their advanced and gifted students.  If there is any opportunity to have Dr. Bertie Kingore or Marsha Spears come to CISD and speak – we would all learn so much!!  Thank you CGA for the amazing opportunity to hear from some of the most influential speakers in education today!

CGA has my permission to post this blog entry on CGA’s website, blog, facebook or newsletter.

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