I've just started reading Differentiation and the Brain How Neuroscience Supports the Learner-Friendly Classroom by David A. Sousa and Carole Ann Tomlinson after it was recommended on Twitter by Elizabeth Helfant. So far, I can tell this is a book I'm going to want to discuss, so I thought I'd see if others were reading it this summer.
This book looks interesting based upon a quick look. I have Sousa's How the Brain Learns, though confess I have yet to read it cover to cover, and Tomlinson is the guru of differentiation, so the combination of the two would bode well for a useful, informative and readable book.
Am focusing on human anatomy this summer, but now you've got me thinking of adding this book!
Hi Sarah, I am attending a Functional Anatomy for Movement & Injury 4-day intensive workshop at Mt Sinai Hospital in July. The workshop is taught by doctors and we will have a lab! I wish there was a similar workshop somewhere about the brain – I would register for it in a heartbeat! Last summer I began watching Marion Diamond's UC Berkeley lectures on human anatomy (Integrative Biology) and this summer am hoping to finish the series.
Undertand completely your hoping to live up to your summer plans. Time…time…time…
Here's to both of us making our plans come to fruition :-)
Just started reading this today. Already I can see why some people report to me "oh this differentiation crap." We already differentiate. We don't need any more of this." and then express wishes for tracking classes. They're talking about differentiated material, not differentiating the levels and means of assessment. I think this has been our major miscommunication and frustration all year regarding differentiation...
More rubrics, fewer tests. More self- assessment tools (besides rote homework) for students.
Haven't started reading the book yet, but after reading this discussion, I will order it.
We grade because we're expected to. Our society expects it. Our parents expect it. Colleges expect it. For the more than 25 years I've taught, I haven't been able to accept the idea that a student's work for an assignment, a quarter or a year can be solely summed up by a single letter or number. Having taught a class this year where the majority of students were 'expected' to earn an A, it's discouraging to think that their entire experience in the class can be summed up by that one letter.
I think that differentiation (as practiced in the public school I hope to be leaving soon) has included altering assessments and teaching methods, but never changing grades. Accomodations like allowing for extra time may be worthwhile short term, but isn't the idea to try to wean the student off of those things so that they can learn to learn without them? When our students enter the job market, how are they going to compete if they tell their boss that they need extra time to type up a report because they have a learning difference. We should be helping them find ways to improve their skills, right?
Maybe I'm jaded from working in a public school for so long. I'm grateful for this board because this type of conversation rarely takes place in public schools. The majority of the discussion lately has been about what the state legislature is doing to change teacher benefits, not on how we can actually improve education.