Thursday, January 15, 2015

How High Can You Climb? - A Differentiation Assessment Strategy for ANY Grade!

If you're like me, then you sometimes struggle with differentiating assessments for you students.  It takes a lot of time an effort to make/find different assessments for different levels of kids over one specific topic.  Too time consuming but so worth it...  Here's a little strategy you could use that would help you fix both problem!  It's called "How High Can You Climb?"  It's a 'ladder' strategy that allows students to work on differentiated levels of problems.  Here's how it works!
  • A teacher creates a ladder of about 5-6 problems.
  • The problems go from easy on the bottom of the ladder and get harder and harder as they go up the ladder.
  • Students begin working at the bottom and see how high they can climb without getting frustrated.  This allows the high students to work as high up as they can and then the lower students can work until they feel like they need help.  
This is SUCH an eye opening strategy.  It really helps show those 'frustration' points with all levels of kids and shows where they're making their mistakes.  It helps to them pinpoint where I (teacher) need to go next on my lesson not just as a class, but for each level.  It also gives all students a chance to try out those harder problems without feeling obligated.  And they are quick to make!

Here is an example of a ladder for elapsed time (3rd grade).

As you can see the easier problem is on the bottom and the higher up you go the harder the problems get.  I always allow the back of the paper for work space (or side if I shrink the ladder to 1/2 page size, which I normally do!).  

The students LOVE the ladders.  They like seeing how high they can go and they don't feel pressured to always to go the top.  This strategy can be used for ANY grade and ANY topic area!  I've made a blank template for you as well.  You can click both pictures to download them for FREE!  You can also make your own template to use with the same idea of course!  I'm planning on creating a line of TPT products that incorporate this strategy in the very near future ;)  Keep an eye out!  

I'd LOVE to hear what you think about this strategy!  How are you going to implement it into your classroom?  Do you think it will help you or your kids in any way?  Please leave a comment!

And as always, thank you for reading!!

Make sure you're following Adventures of Room 129 everywhere I go!  

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a great idea! It would be easiest for math problems but I think for many literacy skills it could also work. Thanks for sharing! I'll be looking for your TpT products to see how you use them. :)


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