Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Using Think Dots

When I first started teaching, I wasn't very clear about what differentiation was. Yeah, sure, I knew it meant "meeting the needs of all learners" but until I started working for a school that really valued it and required it, I wasn't really sure what that looked like in my classroom. 
Now, though, I can say without a doubt that not only do I "get" differentiation, but my classroom wouldn't get things done without it! 
"Differentiated" obviously, can look like many different things in many different classrooms, but I thought I share one of my favorite activities for differentiating instruction. 

The basic premise of think dots is that you create a sheet that assigns a skill, practice problem, or activity to each side of a die. Students then roll the die to determine what activity to complete. Generally, I create more than one board per activity so that I can have students practice the skills at their level, but no one knows really who has what because everyone's looks the same. I bought a bag of 30 dice on amazon for under $7. Another aspect of differentiation in this activity is the perceived element of choice because they are rolling the die. For my high school students, involving the physical activity of rolling the die really does help to engage students in the practice process. 
Here is a link to a google doc of the think dots base worksheet: LINK 
the hardest part about preparing this activity is making the grid with the die pictures in it, so I shared that with you. To make your own, open the link, click "make a copy" and go to town! 

These first two examples are activities differentiated by interest/learning style but not level/ability. Everyone had the same board. 

The next two are examples that are differentiated by level. The sheet labeled 2.0 practices basic skills, while the sheet labeled 3.0 practices more advanced skills within the same topic.
Have you, or would you ever use think dots in your classroom? What kinds of skills could you practice this way?