Student Choice vs. Teacher Manipulation
I love to give my kids choices...I think it helps to make the class 'their own.' BUT, I think MOST of the time we give them loaded options that naturally force them to choose the option we want them to choose.
Case in point.
Today, I gave one of my classes the options of:
1. playing a GIMKIT review game that would allow them to earn extra credit banked points (will create another post explaining what those are)
2. Working on a protest poster for the trial of Tom Robinson in "To Kill a Mockingbird"
I planned on doing the poster with the class on Monday, but I wanted to give them the option to do it today if they wanted to and I would switch things around next week.
I honestly thought it was a no brainer... game...ability to mess with other players...game...phones...game... BUT, I had a few who wanted to do the poster.
"No, don't do the poster...you don't want to play the game?" I asked... They said, "No, I always lose my money and get frustrated...plus, if I work on the poster today, I can read and catch up on Monday...
I didn't expect ANYONE to want to do the poster; however, throughout the rest of the day, I had around 25 kids who wanted to do the poster for various reasons...
It struck me then that while I was giving them 'options', I was also trying to manipulate them into doing what I wanted them to do. Granted, I am the teacher, but I also want them to have a say in what we do...I was just taken aback when they actually wanted to do the poster versus the game.
Differentiation is detailing your curriculum, unit, lesson, or period to fit the needs of your students...allowing them to play the game or work on an upcoming assignment fit that definition.
I guess my point in posting this is to be aware of what you do and why you do it. I let MY bias as to what I thought they wanted to do dictate their differentiation.
If you give them options, have everything ready for both options lol.