Easy Differentiation in Secondary Science using Microsoft OneNote

Differentiation in Secondary Science is very important to help all students to be able to achieve and get the most out of every lesson.   This can be a time consuming task and to differentiate in Science properly you almost need an individual program for every student. This is impractical unless you are willing to give your life to your students.  OneNote is a great tool that makes it easy to differentiate in Secondary Science without having to give up the rest of your life.

For written information that we are trying to get the students to engage with, it can sometimes seem like we are hitting our head against a brick wall.   We tell them and they do not listen. We get them to read it and only half have the literacy to comprehend what we have given them.   Let’s not forget the smarty pants who already know most of what you are teaching them. And this is without all the students in your class who have assessed special needs.  With OneNote you can easily differentiate the Science information you want them to learn.

Create a OneNote notebook using texts that are no longer in print. You can scan the text and use the ‘copy Text from picture’ function. Once you paste it into OneNote it is very easy to edit. To differentiate easily for a Secondary Science class you can highlight the important bits or summarise the important information on the side. For students who have English as an additional language you can include a glossary of the non-standard terms.   Students who have difficulty reading the text can use narrator which will read the text for them.

Even doing all this you will still have difficulty getting some students to engage with the information. This is where you pull out the big guns; videos and games. A screen clipping with the URL for a YouTube clip or two are a great way to start. There are an amazing number of good Science which will help you differentiate on the web. I find Mr Anderson has a good, easy to understand selection but there are a whole heap out there. Khan Academy is a great one for extension. Type in “‘topic’ interactive” into a search engine(e.g. Food chains interactive) and you will find a lot of great games.  Even the hardest to please student will get involved with these. For the students who need to be extended add a link to Wikipedia and get the students to evaluate the quality and validity of the information.

Ok, but this all takes time right? So get the students to differentiate your Science work and then you will have it all ready for next time. Break a large piece of text into paragraphs and give each student a section. Get them to highlight the important text and then summarise the important points. In this way students are learning how to read and summarise text and you have it for the students in later years. You may need to edit it a bit.  Do not assume that the students know what they are doing.

Differentiation in the Science classroom using OneNote is an easy way to make sure all of your students are actively engaged in learning.


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