Erhan Gülşen Erhan Gülşen

Online Differentiated Reading Lesson
5th Graders (Secondary School) (Differentiated Instruction) level


Abc Exercises on suffix -ing (differentiated)
Abc Problem and Solution Worksheets (Differentiated)
Abc Brainstorm Bear (Online Reader) Levels H, K, N

Main Aims

  • To provide detailed reading practice using a unrealistic fiction in the context of problem solution

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide process writing practice of a summary in the context of story


Warmer/Lead-in (3-5 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Before the lesson starts, the teacher assigns the book Brainstorm Bear to each students in their respective English levels determined according to Cambridge Flyers Sample Test. Thus, the component for DI, content (the reading material), is differentiated in the beginning (Tomlinson, 1999). And, the students are seated in a way that there will be pairs with different reading levels at each desk. - First, the teacher writes the sentence "Brainstorm bear has a problem" on the board and gives each student one empty sheet of paper. S/he asks them to draw what comes to their minds when they hear this sentence. They have to finishing their drawings in 40 seconds in black pencil. When they are done, the teacher asks the students to swap their paper with their friends' and explain to each other what they see on their friends' papers and share their opinions. This exercise is to help the students with spatial and interpersonal intelligences as put forward by Multiple Intelligence Theory (Tomlinson, 2011; Conti, 2013). Fifth grade students are mostly keen on expressing their feelings or sharing their ideas with each other, just as they are good at describing their ideas through drawings and imagination. - For students with bodily-kinesthetic intelligences, an alternative warm-up task can be practiced. The teacher hangs 4 empty papers on four corners of the classroom and divides the students into groups of 4-6. S/he gives each group one board marker and asks them to stand up and write what comes to their minds when they see the words on each paper. (The words are "Brainstorm, bear, problem and solution." They do this activity through a gallery walk activity. Alternatively, the teacher may let the groups use the smart board in turn. The papers stay where they hang till the end of the lesson. At the end of the lesson, the teacher may ask the students whether their ideas were true according to the story. Here, the student trait, "learning profile" is considered according to the principles of DI. (Thiesen, 2002).

Pre-Reading (8-10 minutes) • To prepare students for the text and make it accessible

- Before pre-reading sessions, the teacher organizes the student peers once more. (In a way that there will be students with the different English levels - or book levels - at each desk). This is related to differentiating the component, "process". Letting the students work with different peers for each activity in this way, or making cooperation dynamic, can boost the motivation and fasten learning (Tomlinson, 2001). - Next, the teacher tells the students that they are going to read a story about a family who finds a bear in a tree in their backyard. S/he has them work in small groups and brainstorm ideas about how they would try to get the bear out of the tree. The groups discuss for 5-8 minutes and then the teacher asks them to share their ideas to the whole class in the end. The teacher may also ask the students to give feedback on the other groups' ideas through a short debate without sharing his or her idea. The students work on their own here. The teacher does not give any feedback. So, by working with different peers and debating with the whole class, the students have the change to collaborate on different dimensions and learn from or support each other, which differentiates the component "process" further (Heacox, 2002; Theisen, 2002).

While-Reading (20-25 minutes) • To provide students with autonomous reading task

- After the pre-reading session, the teacher organizes the peers again; this time, in a way that there will be students with the same proficiency or book level at each desk. Then, s/he asks the students to open their tablets and go to Razplus. There, they find the book assigned in their respective levels. Before they start reading, the teacher explains that good readers stop now and then while they are reading to retell what has happened so far in the story. S/he points out that stopping to retell the events of the story helps readers understand and remember what they are reading. After reading, they all retell the story to their partners. S/he provides three ways of retelling, to heed different learning profiles (Loeser, 2015) - Taking down notes, - Drawing pictures, - Copying and pasting sentences from the book on tablet - Taking screenshots Next, the students start reading their books. Before they read, the teacher reminds them that they can use the internet sources for unknown vocabulary, answer the questions at the beginning of the book before or after they read, work on reading comprehension questions at the end with their peers (because each level has got a different number of questions, which vary in complexity and level.) or themselves, finish reading the book early and start thinking about the answers they gave in the warm-up session. Also, the teacher reminds the students that they should reread the books if there have got more than 2 wrong answers. So, to take responsibility of their own learning, the students are given the chance to perform the below metacognitive stages in achieving learner autonomy here (Oxford, 2001; Bedoya, 2014). The sole reason behind this is that different factors such as achievement and language learning experience influence the emergence of LA (Benson, 2014). 1) Determining learning styles (each has a chance to learn about the vocabulary and content in their own way - through peer collaboration or doing research. 2) Planning the learning process (they can answer the questions while reading the book or after reading it. They can start reading it again to rectify their mistakes) 3) Planning the pace of learning (they can read their books quickly and check their guesses) 4) Monitoring and evaluating learning (they reread their books to check their mistakes). In another aspect, they can make use of their capacity to make decisions to read, control their reading, take responsibility and achieve self-efficacy in reading by using internal and external factors (Tabiati, 2016). After the teacher ensures that the students finish reading their books, the teacher Hands out the Problem/Solution worksheets to each peer. There are three levels of the same worksheets (H, K, N). Thus, each peer should take the relevant worksheet to work on. Here, the students work on their own levels again. The teacher asks the students to do the activities as stated in the instruction section. The students work autonomously, by getting support from their peers again (Tabiati, 2016). If they get difficulty understanding the meaning of the words "problem" and "solution", the teacher may ask them to use online dictionaries. Thus, here, the teacher gives the students the chance to overcome their problems on their own, one of the factors in achieving LA. - After that, the teacher hands out the next differentiated material to each peer in their relevant levels, in which they work on -ing forms in their own levels. Again, the teacher lets them do the activities with their peers by referring to online dictionaries, if necessary.

Post-Reading (8-10 minutes) • To provide with an opportunity to respond to the text and expand on what they've learned

- The teacher rerranges the peers again, to boost the opportunity of collaboration and differentiate the process more. S/he asks them to work in groups in 10 minutes to retell the story. There are three options for this activity: - Role-playing (for kinesthetic learners) - Preparing posters or videos (for linguistic and spatial learners) (Conti, 2013) These post-reading activities are applied as formative assessments, to get information about what students have learned and their learning processes (Tomlinson, et al. 2015). After the lesson, the teacher checks his or her Razplus account and give feedback to the answers of the students.

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