Planning for instruction can be an invigorating, but also time intensive process. When possible, it is best if educators can come together, bringing their many facets of expertise, in an effort to build plans that will support all varieties of learners. At the center of good instruction should be age/grade appropriate content aligned to subject specific standards. Content specialists are a rich resource in planning. They bring depth and breadth of content knowledge and many ideas for learning activities. Intervention specialists bring their knowledge of learners who have diverse needs, and their strengths, skills and knowledge of instructional tools, methods, and materials. Interventions specialists are attuned to the needs of learners and can immediately sense when students are, and are not, understanding instruction. They can interject with a new spin on delivery to reconnect students to understanding.
Collaboration can bring teams of professionals together to support learners. Collaborative planning documents can be the glue that binds and facilitates the work of the planning team. Other professionals such as therapists, administrators, and paraprofessionals also have vast knowledge to bring to both planning and instruction. Paraprofessionals can be the eyes and ears when teachers are leading instruction and, with training, can assist in delivery of assessment and interventions. They can also provide instructional supports by coaching learners to use tools that can lead to independence. Therapists can find points of access and suggest supports, methods, and materials for individual students when it seems they may not be able to complete a task in a traditional manner. All professionals can bring ideas for activities and materials that can engage learners in new ways. When many great minds come together during the planning process, there is infinite potential for instruction to become a rich array of opportunities for learners of all types to come together and achieve great things.
PowerPoint Presentation: Spectrum of Differentiated Instruction
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