Strategies for Adaptation: Providing Support to Diverse Learners

The intent of the afternoon ELA session was to help teachers plan curriculum adaptations that maintain the rigor and alignment to the Common Core. Participants started with a discussion about the common learning barriers that students may have. Students reading well below grade level, English levels of ELLs, and scaffolding for processing time were highlighted as some concerns teachers have.

We need to be flexible in our educational goals and teaching methods in order to help all learners succeed. One effective strategy to address the needs of these students is to keep some of these guiding questions in mind when adapting curriculum:

  • Are there ways I can promote learners’ ability to monitor their own learning?
  • Where might my students benefit from different methods of presenting the lesson?
  • Have I identified potential barriers to learning that may be present in the instructional methods and materials?

Other guiding questions may be found within the NTI materials on

Participants also examined potential barriers to learning and adaptations that may inform their own classroom practice. Two student profiles were provided so participants could discuss strategies for adapting Unit 1, Lesson 8 of the Grade 9 Module 1. By first deconstructing the standard and the assessment, teachers could identify three things that the students should be able to do. Participants then talked about the strategies that could be used to adapt the lesson and assessment to meet the needs of the students in the example profiles. The protocols provided in the NTI materials will be very helpful for teachers using the modules who need to adapt to meet the needs of diverse learners.

The second part of the afternoon session was called “Office Hours.” The much-anticipated second ninth grade module was previewed. Kate Gerson introduced the texts:

  • Unit 1- Dickinson’s “I felt a funeral in my brain” and Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart”;
  • Unit 2- Oedipus the King by Sophocles;
  • Unit 3 contains all non-fiction: “True Crime,” a piece by Walter Mosley, and two articles relating to the crimes of Bernie Madoff.

The final performance task for the module was also introduced: two options for identifying and writing about a central theme in both an informational and literary text that was studied in the module.  Kate also highlighted the standards that are addressed and assessed in the module as well as how the questioning throughout the module is spiraled and leads to a series of standards-related Quick Writes. Feedback from the first module was taken into consideration and had an impact in the development of this module. Formatting and pacing are two major changes between the first two modules. The new module will be released soon!


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