Making Curriculum Pop

I probably should have done this post on Feb. 2 - c'est la vie. For those of you that don't remember the Bill Murray film Groundhog Day refresh yourself...

The basic premise is that Bill Murray repeats Groundhog Day over and over again until he "gets it right." As you see in the trailer, the mononoty of events causes Murray's actions to become progressively more desperate throughout the first half of the film. Ultimately, in this film, practice does make perfect. Unfortunately, in a classroom, if you do the same thing over and over and over and over.....and over again it will make kids' behaviors become progressively more desperate over time. Repetitive instruction is like trying to convince kids that an Amtrak train is a roller-coaster.

Think instead another film character - Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) - in Wes Anderson's film of the same name. During one of the most entertaining sequences Royal takes his grandchildren, Ari & Uzi, out on the town for a wild afternoon without telling their overprotective father. Explaining the events to his ex-wife Royal says, "I'm having a ball, scrapping and yelling and mixing it up. Loving every minute with this damn crew."

That is how I like to describe my favorite classes.

So how do you "scrap and yell and mix it up" in a school? The answer is simple. Listen to Carol Ann Tomlinson and differentiate the content, process and product explored in your classroom. To help you do this I bring you today's best practice treat - the remixed Multiple Intelligence Differentiation Chart pasted here and attached below as a PDF.

Nicole and I have added to this over the years with help from all the wonderful students and teachers we've worked with. Many folks have found this PDF to be a useful tool for both planning and reflection. You can use it to help you generate ideas as your preparing instruction or use it ex-post facto to see where you need to create more "points of entry" for students with different learning styles. At my high school we ask teachers to use this sheet for every unit in their curriculum binder, highlighting the activities used in each unit.

One caveat, especially if you're a new to differentiation and multiple intelligences. When you craft a learning "activity" make sure you can answer the following question: "What do I want students to know and be able to do?" If you can answer this question for your activity - you're in the shade. If you can't answer this question you might be filling class time with a meaningless activity.

Not to worry because here at MC POP we're busy creating lots of meaning. In fact, you can bounce back to Monday's blog and bust a discussion move to create more meanings for the group to chat about over the weekend.



PROGRAMMING NOTE: I've decided to run the MC POP bouncing blog on a 4-day a week schedule like the great The Colbert Report. Do check your inbox Monday to learn about next week's super duper XXXL exciting theme.

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Ryan, thanks so much for providing this chart--I gave all the ones you supplied at NCTE to students, and it's SUCH a useful tool. I have them talking about how they're using it in their lesson planning as they student teach--wonderful.
:) jen p.
NOTE - Updated Version of the MI Chart was uploaded 11.17.09
Kathy, Thanks for joining the discussion - I'm glad you're finding the resource to be useful!




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