Rules of Thumb to Avoid Making
the Top 5 Most Common Mistakes in
Starting Layered Curriculum®
Students sit, the teacher moves.
I see so many classrooms where the teacher will remain at his/ her
desk and tell the students to come up front when they have something
to grade, or "sign-up" when they have something to grade. The problem
with this is that you may discover at the end of the unit, that there
are some students you never saw! They NEVER came to have something
graded. You as the teacher need to move systematically around the
classroom. Check with every student every day to make sure they are
on-task and moving toward their goals. Grade assignments in their
territory, not yours.
Use a "Daily Method" of Layered Curriculum® for the first unit
common error is teachers starting with a "traditional" style unit
and discovering that many students never even attempt the top 2 layers!
The advantage of a daily method is that you are literally walking
the entire class through all 3 layers, together, with lots of support
and instruction. Now students see that all 3 layers are possible for
them. Remember, students should be expected to attempt all 3 layers
on every single unit!
Keep units short - especially in the beginning.
takes time for teachers and students to learn to operate in a Layered
Curriculum® classroom. Allow for a learning period by keeping
your first units rather short. One week or less is not a bad plan.
Even as you move forward, I recommend keeping units to 2 weeks maximum.
In longer units, students get lost, procrastinate, and can't learn
the system as easily.
Don't be afraid to keep a significant amount of teacher, direct instruction.
all assignments need to be optional. There are many things you may
want to do as a whole group with lots of direct instruction. Don't
be afraid to do that. Much of your C layer may even look like a traditional
Offer at least 3 times as many points as required for a grade.
times I see C layer assignments set up in such a way that the student
would need to do nearly every assignment and to near perfection just
to earn a C grade. Try to put a lot of latitude in the layer. If the
student needs 70 points to finish this layer, offer about 200 points
worth of options. But don't feel the need to go overboard on the number
of assignment choices, just increase the point value of assignments
if needed so that you and your students are not overwhelmed.
tips and ideas at: http://brains.org
F. Nunley is an educational psychologist, author, researcher and speaker
living in southern New Hampshire. Developer of the Layered Curriculum®
method of instruction, Dr. Nunley has authored several books and articles
on teaching in mixed-ability classrooms and other problems facing
today's teachers. Full references and additional teaching and
parental tips are available at: http://Help4Teachers.com Email her:
Kathie (at) brains.org
NEXT ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES =>