Webinar: Differentiating by Readiness (Grades 3-5)
Presenter: Kim Geddie, Teacher, Administrator, Educational Consultant
Sponsored by: Staff Development for Educators (SDE)
Date: 12/01/2015
Time of Webinar: 4:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Total Hours: 1

In this Webinar, Kim Geddie presented practical strategies for differentiating instruction based on the student’s readiness for learning. Similarly discussed in the Webinar “Guided Reading and Writing Grades K-2”, Ms. Geddie discussed setting up instructional groups by “Tiering, Flexible Grouping, and Critical Thinking”. The activities are based on the depth and complexity of the skill being taught. She provided an excellent guide on how to approach this. Examples of differentiation for writing lessons, content areas subjects and critical thinking activities are presented. Tiering accounts for the level of complexity and depth of the lesson. Flexible grouping can be partners, small groups or even students working independently. Another readiness aspect to consider is attention readiness. Students need rehearsal in being interrupted during task completion and improve their ability to come back to task in order to develop readiness for attention. As noted by Ms. Geddie, not all children are ready for the standards teachers are required to teach under the curriculum. A technique she identifies as “gradual release” is important. Instruction needs to begin where the “children are” and gradually moved to more complex activities. Support is released gradually. For example, this varies dependent on the type of writing required or math skill needed. Another aspect of readiness is entitled “Transitional Readiness”. As part of attention readiness, students employ such techniques as “turn and talk to a partner, stand and talk, find a partner, etc.”. In regard to critical thinking, Ms. Geddie advises that a teacher vary levels of thinking within an activity and to assess all levels during the school year. The webinar presented many ideas to cover all areas of instruction. However, Ms. Geddie did not share how she assesses levels of readiness. Since this webinar was presented in only thirty minutes, more time would have been beneficial to delve into more detail about her strategies and suggestions.