There has been some difficult moments in my classroom lately with one particular student who has touched my heart from day one. She is a very eager and happy student who has a passion for pleasing the teacher. But the one difficult aspect of this child is that she is below grade level and struggles with the simplest task in the classroom. She only benefits from one on one instruction, whether that instruction is coming from me or an AIS aid who is in my classroom for a short period of time each day to work with students like her.
Today, my students were given a new writing assignment to begin in their writing journals. After giving the instructions, going over examples and modeling different writing strategies that they may want to try to use through this writing piece process, this particular student just sat at her desk with a blank stare on her face. I struggle with always guiding her through each writing process step with me telling her each little thing she needs to write about. I do not want to leave her to fend for herself, but I also want to see some of her own creative in her writing. So today, I decided to let her think for a few moments about what she wanted to write about before I went over to her desk to check in on her. When I went over to her, she explicitly told me that she needed help. I decided that I would make sure the rest of my class was under way with the prewriting and drafting of their writing pieces before I moved with the student to the back table to guide her through this writing.
When I brought the student back to the table with her journal, word journal and pencil. We talked about what she needed to write about and some of the things she wanted to include in her piece of writing. I thought it would be a good idea to brainstorm some of her ideas and organize them on a white board so we would be able to easily rearrange her ideas if need be. Since this student is one that does benefit from one on one instruction and verbally communicating her thoughts before she writes them down, I believe that using this technique of the white board would be very beneficial. Once we completed our prewriting together on the white board, I guided her to writing a topic sentence to begin her writing piece. Once she had her topic sentence down, I moved her to look back at the organizer we created to see what she should write about first. I noticed that once she had an organizer of some sort in front of her that she was better able to self direct her writing and stay on topic since that is one thing she does struggle with.
This whole situation made me think about differentiation and how important it truly is to differentiate in every aspect of learning if possible. This particular student of mine definitely benefits from differentiation since the majority of my students are able to free write while they are drafting while this paricular student needs some guidance to get her ideas down in an organizer before she moves on to drafting her writing piece.
Differentiation is always the answer!