Friday, September 17, 2010

Menu Books Are Great

I'd like to recommend a book series that I just purchased. (I only bought 2, but I might look for more!) They are the Differentiating Instruction With Menus books by Laurie E. Westphal. I just got Math and Science. I'm particularly excited about using this whole concept with my fast and accurate mathematicians and with all my scientists!

I love that all the foundational work and layout is done, and there's the variety of menus. Some of these include: Tic-Tac-Toes (which I'm already familiar with creating), List Menus, 2-5-8 (very cool and simple), Baseball Menus, Game Show Menus, and some variations on these.

Honestly, many of the actual menus are a little more advanced than where my 4th graders are at this point in the year (I think they're designed for middle school), but it would be a small amount of work to modify what is already provided versus creating the whole thing from scratch.

I've used menus off and on my whole teaching career. My 2 favorite aspects are student choice and the fact that work load and degree of difficulty can be varied will everyone is still doing "the same thing." That last part seems especially important to kids who struggle more and always know they're not reading the hardest book, but they wish they were. Menus are great tools for differentiating if you don't have support or resources at your disposal.

What resources do you recommend for differentiating learning and teaching to be serve your students?

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