Friday, December 18, 2015

The Differentiation Fair: an Update

Today is the last day before our winter break and I handed back original copies, posters, activities, and supports from the fair. However, I am so proud of the materials we collected that I created posters out of many of the materials I still have. I'm hoping to take these posters on the road to show others. I can also take these posters out whenever I want to highlight a cool differentiated activity. These bad boys are staying in my life for a long time!

Have a wonderful, relaxing break. Can't wait to start blogging again in 2016!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Party Planning: Differentiation Fair

Last week, I threw a Differentiation Fair (with the help of many, many amazing people including the entire Jahn staff) and the staff showed off such amazing work. It warmed my cold, cat shaped heart.

The original idea of the Differentiation Fair comes from this great article from Paula Kluth, Sheila Danaher, and John Price. You can also find more on creating a fair in Paula Kluth's book Don't We Already Do Inclusion?

Essentially, a Differentiation Fair is a school-wide event that celebrates the differentiation teachers are already doing in their classroom. It helps teachers to recognize:
  • Differentiation is something that they are already doing (and doing well!)
  • Their colleagues are a great resource for new ideas to support all students
I am no party planner but the teacher work was so good so I tried my best. Here is how I put together the fair!

1. The Introduction
First I introduced the fair by talking to each team about differentiation (our teams are split by: primary, intermediate, and middle school) during their weekly team meeting. I handed out the above flyer. I chose three different categories: choice, tiered, and open ended. I chose these three because they matched up with the video below. I liked that these three categories could be used in any academic context no matter the subject. I also thought that using these three categories would be a clear and simple way to initially introduce the topic of differentiation.


2. Getting Materials and Inviting Staff

Getting materials was the trickiest part. I asked for originals, took pictures, made photocopies and asked teachers to share examples of work, activities, and lessons that were able to meet the needs of all the students in their class. Oh boy did they! I put a reminder invite in each teacher's mailbox the week of the fair.

3. Set up!
In the videos below, I do a walk through of the items displayed at our fair. You will notice that I also added two other categories: leveled" and "other supports. As I collected items, I realized that there teachers were doing more than just the original three categories.

4. Party Time!
The Differentiation Fair was held after school from 3:05-4:05 during our school's Flex PD time. Teachers did not have to stay the entire time but the majority stayed for over forty minutes to look at work, talk about differentiation, and eat some snacks. A great time was had by all!

Snacks and an introduction by our principal.
Take a peak at our great teacher work!
Talking about differentiation

Testing out some of the sensory supports!
Taking a closer look
Filling out an Exit Slip for our raffle.

 4. Party Favors

Teachers filled out this exit slip. When they were done, they put it in a basket. Four teachers' names were chosen at random from the basket and won a differentiation related prize. Winners were announced over the intercom the next day.

We raffled off:

If you plan your own Differentiation Fair, I'd love to hear about it!