Because I work with an amazing Special Education teacher who co-teaches my inclusion class with me, I want to share a differentiated assignment that she created for our students about the author O’Henry. We have been reading and studying O’Henry for the past five weeks in my English classes. We saved this lesson for the end of the unit so that students could look back and make connections between O’Henry’s life and the characters in his short stories.
For this particular differentiated assignment, there were three different biographies about O’Henry, each catering to a distinct reading level. We color coded the articles and gave every student the same cover sheet with directions so they would not notice the different readings each student was presented with. Students were asked to read the article closely taking notes in the margins and underlining important details. Then, students were put into small groups (one of each article per group) and were asked to answer a series of questions that would require all three articles to answer.
The synthesis questions completed in small groups asked students to examine O’Henry’s decision to change his name and what can you infer about O’Henry because of this. In addition, students completed a chart of the similarities between O’Henry’s life and his stories. Students also addressed O’Henry’s travels and the personal experiences that affected his writing. On a lighter note, because O’Henry has such a distinct mustache, I gave everyone a mustache to use when speaking so they may be inspired to think like O’Henry.
Here is a link to the higher leveled reading.
Here is a link to the middle leveled reading.