Choose Your Next Adventure: A Differentiated Learning Experience

Children Studying in Classroom

Differentiation, individualized instruction, personalized learning - these buzzwords represent some great teaching philosophies, but actually incorporating them into your daily practice can be tough. This week, we'd like to lend a hand with a fun theme that's easily differentiated to suit all your students' learning styles and needs.

Send your students around the world, back in time, and into magical fantasy lands with a fun travel themed reading unit! Most students, regardless of their ages and stages are excited by the idea of exploring a new place - especially if they get to choose. Tap into that curious energy by suggesting stories about far away lands, then follow up by asking students to recount their adventures in a variety of ways. Pass out tickets enticing your students to visit distant locales, collect your students' information about their adventures, and recognize their achievements with passport stickers, brag bracelets, and bulletin board displays. Encourage discussion about the stories students liked by asking them to create documentary style videos, travel brochures, or commercials. Invite your students to become spokespeople for the stories they enjoyed and watch as they excite each other into exploring new genres and reading more.

Like the idea, but thinking "nobody has time for that?" Don't worry, we've got you covered with all the printables, story suggestions, and implementation ideas!

Choose Your Next Adventure

Differentiated Titles-1

Check out the printable ticket bookmarks for more title ideas.

Pick a Place

The first step is choosing a destination. Curate a collection of books and stories or let your students choose for themselves.

  • Create a bulletin board "Departures" display indicating each story title so students who chose the same genre or story can collaborate. 
  • Distribute tickets that suggest titles related to particular genres or destinations (past and future time periods make great destinations, too!)

Enjoy the Experience

Set up virtual checkpoints or way stations for students. You'll need ways to make sure they're on track with their work timelines and points for observation in case you need to offer guidance or support. Your students get more opportunities to talk about their adventures and engage with the content.

  • Assign trip reports at regular intervals, asking students to describe what they know thus far, and their predictions for the rest of the story.
  • Invite students to share their stories' progress - split students into groups and let them discuss their stories, the differences in the storytelling, and their ideas about what might be coming next in each story.
  • Get students in the habit of keeping Journey Journals - ask them to turn these in periodically so you can keep tabs on their progress and understanding (and make suggestions for future listening). They can keep track of character and plot development, jot down words or ideas they aren't sure about, and draw while they listen - all great ways to help them focus on the audio and actively work on their own comprehension.

Recount, Review, Report

Even as adults, when we travel to places in real life, we don't all keep our memories in the same way - we journal, blog, record videos, take photos. Let your students review their journeys in ways that suit them and share them around to encourage others to try those titles next!

  • Keep the travel theme going longer term (a great way to encourage continued listening at home over winter holidays!), by issuing passports to your students in which they can collect genre "visas" for completing the necessary trip reports. 
  • Create a photo album - these can be created digitally or hard copy using magazine images or student illustrations.
  • Award brag bracelets to students as they complete a full trip (including listening/reading the story, assigned trip reports and review). Deputize them to share their stories with each other and encourage other students to give their books a listen.

Looking for something to appeal to older students? Check out last week's post and open a book cafe:

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