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Differentiated Instruction Lesson Plan Assignment

Lesson Plan: Food Pyramids
Victoria Judkins
April 2, 2013
EDU723: Teaching and Learning in Inclusion Settings
University of New England
Differentiated Instruction Lesson Plan


Description of Students
This is a life skills classroom with approximately 6 students enrolled in the fifth period class. All
of the students in the life skills classroom have been identified with disabilities (names have been
changed for confidentiality purposes).

Student 1: Alex is identified with having Autism and moderate intellectual disabilities. He
performs significantly below grade level both academically and emotionally (6-8 grade levels
below same aged peers). Due to intellectual disabilities, he has difficulty retaining information
and needs a curriculum based on functional life skills (daily living skills). Alex struggles with
sequencing events both in life and during academic work. He easily becomes frustrated and his
anxiety increases during times of frustration. He requires visual and verbal prompts for work
completion. Additionally, Alex comprehends material better when verbally read to. Alex is a
kinesthetic learner and requires tangible items for success. Additionally, he requires frequent
breaks and occasional opportunities to move about due to high levels of anxiety and limited
coping skills. Going on walks with an adult is a method that has been found to help reduce his
anxiety as well as frustration.
Student 2: Michael is identified with having Autism and other health impairments.
Academically, Michael demonstrates skills in reading, writing, and math that are 3-4 years below
grade level. Developmentally, his adaptive skills are significantly below that of same age peers
in the areas of communication, socialization, and daily living skills. Due to deficits in attention,
executive functioning skills, and difficulties with flexible thinking, Michael requires assistance
with task initiation, modified assignments, copies of class notes, frequent checks to ensure

understanding of directions, and a structured schedule. Michael feels confident when provided
with predictability and clear expectations.
Student 3: Morgan is identified with having Autism. She is academically, developmentally, and
emotionally approximately 6 years below her same aged peers. She has experienced a
significant decline in functioning emotionally. Unidentified triggers can also cause screaming
statements of distress, throwing objects, perseverating on topics, as well as discussions with
inanimate objects. It is important to provide Morgan with clear expectations of behavior and
frequently review this with her. Desired behaviors need to be frequently modeled and
consistency needs to be in place. Visual cues allow for smooth transitions between activities.
For optimal success and comprehension, Morgan should be read to orally. She has trouble
understanding those around her and requires a syntax log. Direct instruction should be
implemented when she does not make a comprehendible sentence.
Student 4: Paul is identified with having Autism and intellectual disabilities. He requires
modified instruction due to deficits in attention/concentration, executive functioning, as well as
memory functions in order to be successful in school. His executive functioning correlates with
poor attention capacity, inflexibility of thought, and challenges with transitions. Paul performs
significantly below grade level (ranging in ability level from the mid third grade to early eight
grade) in all academic areas. Paul does best in small group or a one on one setting. He has
difficulty retaining information and needs a curriculum based on functionality and Life Skills
(daily living). It is important to note that Paul requires frequent breaks, opportunities to move
about, as well as individualized attention. In the past, Paul has exhibited a history of occasional
aggression towards people and objects. Paul requires an Ed Tech due to behavioral needs and
appropriate modeling of desired social behaviors. These deficits impact Paul's daily school

routine and requires a functional, hands-on curriculum that involves a high level of structure and
Student 5: Logan requires extensive modified methods of instruction due to his identified
disabilities (Autism and intellectual disabilities). Logan requires specialized instruction in the
life skills setting for math, reading, writing, science, social studies and life skills due to low
academic levels ranging on average 7 grade levels below that of his same-aged peers. He
requires adult assistance 100% of the day for academic support. Developmentally, Logan needs
frequent reviews of expectations and pre-teaching of upcoming transitions to prevent anxiety.
Logan will often become easily frustrated or overwhelmed with work tasks therefore tasks are to
be taught in short increments, using meaningful reinforcements. His adaptive skills are
significantly below that of same aged peers in the areas of communication, socialization, and
daily living skills. Logan requires assistance in the bathroom and with life skills such as making
snacks, washing dishes, cleaning his work area, and getting ready for transitions. Due to deficits
in attention, executive functioning skills, and difficulties with transitions, Logan requires
assistance with task initiation and requires an adult to model expectations. Due to deficits in
motor functions, Logan needs assignments modified in length and/or extended time to complete
Student 6: Hector is identified with having Autism and is following curriculum at a different
rate than that of his peers. Hectors adaptive skills are below age and grade levels in
communication, daily living, and socialization skills. Hector has difficulty sustaining attention to
task indicating that he requires direct instruction in the areas of academic, developmental, and
functional life skills. Hector is easily distracted by external auditory and visual stimuli and
requires an environment with limited to no distractions. He is socially behind his peers and

functionally requires support of adults to help him navigate his social and academic
environments appropriately.
There are five para-professionals assigned to the classroom. In this setting, the life skills teacher
has determined that all staff should be familiar with each student and therefore they work with
each student throughout the day on a set schedule to ensure familiarity for the students. It
should be noted that personal IEP accommodations should be followed throughout this lesson.

Explanation of instructional decisions
Students are grouped based on the standards and the purpose of the lesson, using flexible
grouping. The grouping dynamic is a combination between the knowledge-based group, which
is formed according to the students background and previous experience with the food pyramid
and the interest group, which allows student to select their favorite topic within the unit (e.g.,
grains, vegetables, meats and beans). These groups were determined by pre-assessment asking
students to identify the elements of the food pyramid produced by the United States Department
of Agriculture (USDA). These groupings were additionally influenced by their individual
strengths in the classroom as well as their interests. This data has been collected throughout the
school year and changes are made as needed. Finally, applicable IEP objectives helped identify
the goals for this lesson as well as the determination for group dynamics.


Lesson Plan
Lesson objective:
Students will be able to:
1. Identify and create a healthy, balanced meal using the food pyramid and USDA portion
2. Classify foods by groups in MyPlate.
3. Summarize the importance of a healthy, balanced meal.

Common Core Essential Standard (Nutrition and Physical Activity)
K.NPA.1: Understand MyPlate as a tool for selecting nutritious foods.
K.NPA.2: Understand the importance of consuming a variety of nutrient dense foods and
beverages in moderation.

IEP Objective- Daily Living
A. To increase the students ability to independently make choices for a balanced meal.
B. To increase students skills to plan balanced meals.
C. To help the student develop independent nutritional meal choices.

Aim: To enable students to make healthier and optimal nutritional choices by having the
information, resources and tools to help them create a balanced diet.


Review- At the start of the class, the students will spend five minutes completing an entry slip
identifying the elements of the USDA food pyramid.
Entry slips will be accessible on traditional paper-pen format and computer-based via student
email. A visual of the food pyramid will be provided along with a word bank. Students who
select the traditional paper-pen format will have the option to cut out the words, or have the
words cut out for them, from the word bank and place them under each section of the food

Prerequisites- Students will be able to identify different foods and have a basic understanding of
their category (e.g., fruit, vegetable, meat).
Materials- Groceries (e.g., ketchup, bananas, apples, pears, ham, cheese, yogurt, bread), Poster
boards, Computers, Markers/Crayons, Plates, Kitchen access
Lesson Activities:
Anticipatory Set- The teacher will introduce the lesson by having students join in a whole class
discussion regarding food nutrition. The teacher will act as the facilitator encouraging the
students to share their knowledge about the food groups. There will be a visual layout of the
different food groups consisting of various foods from each group. The foods purchased for this
lesson will be selected based on an interest inventory regarding each students favorite foods to
ensure that there are at least one or two things each student will want to eat.
The interest inventory has multiple options for completion. They can list three things from each
category, select from an array of pictures depicting their favorite foods, or verbally tell an adult
in the room.

During the discussion about the different food groups, the teacher will hand out a visual of the
Food Pyramid with a brief description of each category. The students will also be directed to go
to the following website:
The para-professionals in the room will help students access the website. They will also help the
students navigate the website.
The teacher will direct students to explore each category of the food pyramid as a team. The
teacher will remind students of the team expectations:
We always stay positive and respectful
We are patient
And most importantly, we remember to work together
The teacher will ask for volunteer readers to read aloud, taking turns. At the conclusion of the
exploration, the students will be asked to take the quiz online. At the conclusion of the quiz,
they will be asked to print their results.

The teacher will then have the students access the website:
The students will explore each of the subcategories (e.g., vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein)
as a whole-class. After exploring each category, the teacher will model what they have learned
using a visual. The teacher will take a plate and section it off into portions, highlighting the
recommendations (e.g., half the plate being for vegetables and fruits, one fourth protein, one
fourth grain) using ketchup. Ketchup was selected due to all of the students preference of

ketchup as their condiment of choice. The teacher will then show what the plate should look like
by placing the different foods in the correct section of the plate.

After modeling this, the teacher will ask for the students to direct them as to how to section the
plate. They will then ask the students to pass them food and place it on the new plate. Once they
have practiced together, the teacher will hand out plates to each student. They will be reminded
that there is only one ketchup bottle, so they will need to share. Again, the teacher will recap
team expectations:
We always stay positive and respectful
We are patient
And most importantly, we remember to work together
The para-professionals will help the students who require assistance with sectioning their plates.
Then, the students will go to the table laden with food and select what they would like to put on
their plates. Each category is on its own platter and the completed plate modeled by the teacher
will be on the table as a visual. Once the students are done, they will be allowed to eat the food
on their plate.
This is a perfect opportunity to provide a movement break for the students and allow them time
to digest the information they have been presented. Fifth period is typically snack time, so it
additionally allows for their snack break.

After their short break, the students will be paired into small groups of two. (Groups were
determined during the break when the teacher had opportunity to review the entry slips).
The teacher will review the group expectations prior to starting the activity, which are:

Listen to others
Be on task
Encourage and help one another
And most importantly, participate positively!

Prior to the students breaking off into their groups, the teacher will have the entire class say
aloud: I am a success because I do my best! The teacher will encourage the students to show
how much theyve learned.
In each small group setting, the teacher will provide each group with an option between two
categories. Each group will learn about their identified category of the food pyramid. The
students will work hard on their specific food group and work as a group. The students will
display visual aids to show the class (e.g., posters about their foods, PowerPoint presentation
using media of choice) while they are presenting to the class. The presentations will last no
longer than 3 minutes a piece.
Based on the group-ability level, the challenge level will vary. For the challenge level 1, a
graphic organizer completely filled out will be provided. For the challenge level 2, the students
will be provided a graphic organizer with sections that have a header filled in. For the
challenge level 3, the students will need to outline what information they will want to present.
The students will complete a group assessment for their team member prior to presenting in
front of the class. The assessment may be completed with traditional pen-paper or media based
via email.


Group Member Assessment Checklist
Name: Date:
Assignment/Task: Food Pyramid Section

Not Yet Sometimes Most of the

Stayed on task


Showed respect
for group

Completed his
or her share of
the work

Observers Signature: Date:


Extension and Enrichment:
After completion of presentations, the students will be provided a movement break (e.g., short
five minute walk). When the movement break is over, the students will be provided a menu to
select their individual projects, which they will complete in a one-week span. They must select
from both the MyPlate and Writing Prompt. A para-professional will be available to read
the selections for individual students.
My Menu Selection:

Writing Prompt
Choice A: Prepare a balanced meal in the
Choice A: Write why it is important to eat
a balanced meal
Choice B: Draw a balanced meal Choice B: Compare and contrast a
balanced meal to a non-balanced meal
Choice C: Complete a poster showing the
sections of a balanced meal
Choice C: Keep a food journal and reflect
on which meals are balanced
Choice D: Create your own presentation! Choice D: Create your own writing
Prior to starting their projects, the teacher will hold a teacher-student conference with each
individual student to help them identify their learning goals for their projects. Goals and rubrics
will be created based on the individual student at the conclusion of the teacher-student


Assessment of Lesson Effectiveness:
For this lesson, it should be noted that mastery is evident when the learner uses the skill
automatically after several days have passed. This should be re-visited continually and is not a
one-time lesson. I will use the student group member assessment, rubrics, and student work
samples to determined whether or not each student understood the lesson and was able to
complete the tasks effectively.

Reflection of Lesson:
Overall, this lesson was successful. The students were actively engaged throughout the
entire lesson and were effective participants in the learning process. The sampling of the many
different foods was a huge hit as well as using the ketchup to section off their plates. The
ketchup was a great visual for the students and provided a tangible example for them. During the
guided practice section of the lesson, there were no behavioral issues. As previously mentioned,
all of the students were actively engaged and voiced how the were enjoying the material being
presented. They especially liked using their computers and exploring the interactive food
pyramid, which was one of the major strengths in this lesson as well as the physical food
provided. I was fortunate that there were no Internet connection problems, as a large part of
this lesson relied on Internet access. In the future, I intend on having a backup PowerPoint
highlighting all of the information gathered from the web resources.
It should be noted that there were behavioral issues during the group activities as some of
the students quickly became frustrated with their partners. As a consideration to this, I would
adjust the grouping dynamics and allow the students to select their own partners. Moreover, the
research section did not take very long for some of the groups. Although I had modified the

challenge levels available for the presentations, some of the groups at the highest challenge level
were still done significantly sooner than other groups. As a reflection on this, I would have the
higher challenge level students research two categories of the food pyramid and do a comparison
on the identified categories as part of their group work.
The extension and enrichment section was a very large success, as the students enjoyed
selecting from the My Menu Selection. While reviewing the menu, one of my students asked
if they could create a PowerPoint presentation instead of a poster. I thought this was an excellent
idea, and so for an adjustment to the lesson I decided to add a Choice D for both the MyPlate
and Writing Prompt on the menu, which allowed for the students to come up with their own
project ideas. The requirement for Choice D, on both sides of the menu, was that the individual
student would need to set up a meeting with the teacher to receive approval. I am still waiting
on some of the finished projects, as most of my students have extended time to complete work.
The only major concern I have with this lesson is that I did not feel that my students fully
understood why it is important to eat a balanced meal. They showed that they comprehend what
a balanced meal looks like, however most were unable to explain why they should eat a balanced
meal. The common response was Because it is healthy. When asking what healthy means to
them, a common response was Being healthy. In the future, I will include some instruction on
the meaning of the word healthy and why it is important to be healthy. I also intend on
including the stairs into the lesson, which is an addition to the food pyramid to promote exercise.


ALTEC at University of Kansas (2000). Rubistar: Create rubrics for your project-based
learning actvities. Retrieved from
Chapman, C., & King, R. (2012). Differentiated assessment strategies: One tool doesn't
fit all. (2nd ed., pp. 155-172). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin: A SAGE Company.
United States Department of Agriculture. (2013). Food groups: Choosemyplate.
Retrieved from
United States Department of Agriculture. (2013). Usda myplate & food pyramid
resources. Retrieved from