If you’re like me, one of the biggest challenges you face in the classroom is careful differentiation. As soon as school starts, I’m already trying to discover how each of my students processes information in their own unique way – and I try to investigate all the ways I can make learning work for them.
Carol Ann Tomlinson, a well-known differentiation guru, has given us three ways to differentiate that I like to keep in mind whenever planning: content, process, and product. Here are five Tch videos to help you think about differentiating instruction this year:
1) Differentiating Using Computer Games
See how Mr. Pronovost uses technology to differentiate for content. In this case, the computer games automatically meet students where they are with content knowledge, freeing Mr. Provonost up to work with other students in one-on-one ways.
2) Analyzing Texts: Putting Thoughts on Paper
Ms. Brewer shows us how differentiating for process helps to individualize instruction. You’ll notice how she pulls out a small group and uses gentle scaffolds to help them work through the same material, but in a different way
3) STEM Design Challenge: Edible Cars
In this messy lesson, Ms. Manning differentiates for product. While this can often mean that students demonstrate learning through vastly different products, this inquiry-based lesson is grounded in different solutions, different products.
4) Differentiating with Learning Menus
Ms. Vagenas gives her students a choice in the projects they work on and the students get to work at their own pace.
5) New Teacher Survival Guide: Differentiating Instruction
If you’re a new teacher, you’ll want to watch how Ms. Gurik responds to the diverse learning needs of her students, making sure she’s challenging the top students but not leaving anyone behind.
How are you differentiating in your class this year? Share your great ideas!
Sarah Brown Wessling is a high school English teacher in Johnston, Iowa. She is the 2010 National Teacher of the Year and is the Teacher Laureate for Teaching Channel. She also hosts “Teaching Channel Presents” on public television stations around the country. Connect with Sarah on Twitter - @SarahWessling.
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