Differentiation: Lesson 4

Lesson 4

Before starting a new unit of study, pre-assess students’ knowledge to find out what the students know and do not know about the content in your lesson. This helps you to identify misconceptions, modify instruction if needed, and set up your flexible groups. This assessment may be formal or informal.

You may use a variety of techniques to pre-assess such as:

1. KWL Organizer


Have students respond with the position of their thumb to get a quick assessment.

  • Where am I now in my understanding of ________?
    • Thumbs Up-Know a lot about this
    • Thumbs Sideways-Know some about this
    • Thumbs Down-Know very little

3. Yes/No Cards

Students are given two index cards or students can make simple cards with notebook paper.

  • Students write YES on one card and NO on the other.
  • When a question is asked a student holds up a YES or NO.
    • Ex. Ask the students if they know the meaning of a metaphor?   Periodically call on someone who has a YES card help up to let students know you may ask sometimes.

4. Graffiti Fact

Write all the things the class knows about the topic of study on white board, large Post-it, Smart Board, or allow students to write down their own responses in a notebook.

What We Knew, What We Learned, What We Want to Learn Next

Suggestion: Allow students to brainstorm the question independently at first.

Tips that I found helpful and to the point, written by Kechia Williams, a Middle School Teacher.



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