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All students have different interests, and the fact remains that most students are not interested in worksheets about math, language arts, science, and social studies. Think back to when you were in school and the best lesson you've ever been taught by a teacher. What made that lesson stand out to you? Was it the subject itself or did the teacher differentiate to make it interesting for you? Chances are, the best lessons you remember are from teachers who consistently made the classroom interesting and relevant to you. How did they do that? How do you do that?
5 Easy Ways to Differentiate by Student Interest
1.Student Experts. If you map out your learning goals, you can look ahead to the topics you plan to discover with your classes. Having students volunteer to be experts on topics they're interested in or allowing students to serve as group experts on a topic can allow them the freedom decide what they want to delve into deeper. Giving them a chance to represent their topic in whatever format works for them can up their interest level too. Creating songs, making videos, poster presentations, and PowerPoint presentations are all really good options.
2.Jig-saw. If you go to Jigsaw.org, you will find an overview on this technique. Basically, each student plays a part in the larger "puzzle" of the topic being covered. Using what you know about your student's interests, you can assign them to small jigsaw groups and then have them come back to the "home base," which is the whole group, in order to share information with each other. This makes each student responsible for learning very specific parts of the learning goals enough to teach others in the classroom. This method also works when differentiating by readiness levels.
3.Centers. Centers are most frequently done in elementary school, but it's possible to do it in the upper-grade levels as well. According to Tomlinson (2014), a learning center is a place in the classroom where students may complete a "collection of activities or materials" and including interest centers as a part of the centers can help motivate students to explore what they're interested in. All learning centers should have specific learning goals, cover a wide variety of activities, have clear instructions for what they need to do, how to get help, and the next steps when they finish, and should have a way to keep track of what students accomplish there.
4.Learning Contracts. Teachers may provide learning contracts to students as a way to differentiate instruction. Some examples include Think-Tac-Toe, learning tickets, Bingo grids, learning menus, and so much more.
5.Agendas. Instruction can be differentiated very highly using this technique, where students get personalized lists of tasks to complete within a specified time frame (Tomlinson, 2014). This allows the teacher a chance to work with each student individually while they work on their task lists as needed but also allows for differentiating using readiness, learning profiles, and interests. If you create a list using Google Documents, you may opt to just email the agendas out to students, and you can create agendas that fit several different groups of students, but just alter small pieces of the agenda to fit students.
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"]5 Easy Ways to Differentiate and Motivate Using Student Interests Click To Tweet
Once you have learned students' interests, increasing motivation is a natural by-product of them simply being interested in what they're learning. While several other methods exist for differentiating based on student interest, these five techniques are a good way to begin the process. Scholastic has a really comprehensive student interest survey that you may want to try if you need help coming up with a way to gather information on your students.
Do you have specific ways that you use student interests to motivate students in the classroom?
Share them in the comments!
Tomlinson, C. A (2014). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners(2nd ed.) Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]