Today’s post is from the CEO and creator of Holler for Mastro Differentiation Help for Teachers, Kasha Mastrodomenico. Kasha has a Baccalaureate
in secondary education and history and a Masters in Social Studies Secondary Education from the State University of NY (SUNY). She has taught middle school and high school, and is certified in Special Education. Along the way, she became a passionate advocate of multiple intelligences and differentiation in teaching and a presenter on both subjects in her county education network. Through these experiences, she came up with the idea to speed up the implementation of multiple intelligences for teachers so it can become an easy-to-use tool in all classroom units of inquiry. She is currently writing a book on differentiation and how to enable teachers to plan it quickly.
I know you’ll enjoy Kasha’s insights:
Is there really technology to help teachers plan?
My department and I were lucky enough to be asked to give a staff development presentation on how to differentiate in the classroom a few years back to Hall County School District in GA. I was a teacher there at the time. My section of the presentation was on how to differentiate activities. This is a brief overview of my presentation:
- Give four choices of activities to students the day before they are to do it that are focused on different multiple intelligences
- Give students the choice of how they want to work (self, partner, group)
- Create the groups so they are workable and make the copies
After they said it was really nice work and how great the activities and the idea of this type of differentiation was, they said it must take me forever and a day to plan and that it was not realistic. I was crushed. Then I started getting emails from the people that I had presented to asking for more activities and lessons. I even got chased down in the grocery store! I decided that I needed to create something that not only helped students but also helped teachers plan quickly.
A couple of years later I found myself with a web designer and created http://www.hollerformastro.com. My Grandma chose the name of my company so that my maiden name, Holler, was in it. The main part of the site is made up of two engines. One of the engines helps teachers do what I had presented about years ago and it helps them make those four choices of activities in less than 10 minutes! I even made sure that the rubrics were similar to each other for the consistency of grading but unique to each of the activities. The only thing that the teacher needs to do is choose four activities from the 50 project based learning activities provided based on multiple intelligences. They then type in the content they want the student to work with, giving as much information as they want. The last step is to click create. I couldn’t have made it any simpler. The other engine works similarly. It is an expository writing system that focuses on the small goal for students. The teacher chooses the levels of writing, from a topic sentence to a data based question essay, that they need for their class. They type in the question they want their students to write about and then press create. If you would like to see what the site looks like, watch this video:
–reprinted with permission © Ask a Tech Teacher