“… differentiated instruction refers to a systematic approach to planning curriculum and instruction for academically diverse learners. It is a way of thinking about the classroom with the dual goals of honoring each student’s learning needs and maximizing each student’s learning capacity.”
Students differ in experience, readiness, interest, intelligences, language, culture, gender, and mode of learning.
Educators must meet each student at his or her starting point and ensure substantial growth during each school term.
Teachers that ignore student differences are unlikely to maximize potential in any student who differs significantly from the “norm.”
Teachers need to make modifications in instruction for students rather than assume students must modify themselves to fit the curriculum.
Teachers should always keep in mind that human brains learn best when curriculum is highly interesting and highly relevant.
~ Carol Ann Tomlinson, 2001
The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners , p. 24
Principles of Differentiation
is a teachers’ response to learners’ needs guided by general principles of differentiation, such as flexible grouping ongoing assessment and adjustment respectful tasks ~ Carol Ann Tomlinson, 1999 The Differentiated Classroom, p. 15
multiple intelligences jigsaw taped material anchor activities varying organizers varied texts varied supplementary materials literature circles tiered lessons tiered centers tiered products learning contracts small-group instruction group instruction orbitals independent study 4MAT varied questioning strategies interest centers interest groups varied homework compacting varied journal prompts complex instruction according to students’ through a range of instructional and management practices such as Content Process Product Interests Readiness Learning Profile ~ Carol Ann Tomlinson, 1999 The Differentiated Classroom, p. 15
“ Content is what the students learn and the materials or mechanisms through which learning is accomplished.”
“ It is what a student should come to know (facts), understand (concepts and principles), and be able to do (skills) as a result of a given assignment of study (a lesson, learning experience, a unit).”
Definition of Scaffolding “ Scaffolds are forms of support provided by the teacher (or another student) to help students bridge the gap between their current abilities and their intended goal. Scaffolds may be tools, such as cue cards, or techniques such as teacher modeling.” ~ Barak Rosenshine & Carla Meister, 1992 Educational Leadership, 49 (7), p. 26
With someone on the other side of you, talk about how you have or could differentiate how your students learn
Definition of Product Products are assessments or demonstrations of what students have come to know, understand, and be able to do as the result of an extended sequence of learning. A product is the student’s opportunity to show what she has learned throughout a unit. ~ Carol Ann Tomlinson, 2001 How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-ability Classrooms
“ Products are important not only because they represent your students’ extensive understandings and applications, but also because they are the element of curriculum students can most directly ‘own’.”
~ Carol Ann Tomlinson, 2001
How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-ability Classrooms , p. 85
“ Learning profile refers to ways in which we learn best as individuals. Each of us knows some ways of learning that are quite effective for us, and others that slow us down or make learning feel awkward. . . . The goals of learning-profile differentiation are to help individual learners understand modes of learning that work best for them, and to offer those options so that each learner finds a good learning fit in the classroom.”
~ Carol Ann Tomlinson, 2001
How to Differentiate Instruction in
Mixed-ability Classrooms , p. 60
Quote “ In differentiated classrooms, teachers begin where students are, not the front of a curriculum guide.” ~ Carol Ann Tomlinson, 1999 The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners , p. 3
Flexible Grouping “ No single-faceted plan…will meet the requirements of every student. As we move toward alternative grouping plans, we must be careful to avoid the rigidity that characterizes traditional ability grouping and offer students dynamic and flexible opportunities responsive to curricular goals and individual needs. ~ M. Radenrich and L. McKay quoted by Michael F. Opitz in Flexible Grouping in Reading, (1999), p. 77.
Attending to student differences requires a flexible approach to teaching.
Successful attention to student differences must be rooted in solid curriculum and instruction.
There are many routes to achieving high-quality curriculum taught in ways that attend to student differences and build community.
Developing differentiating classroom calls on us not so much to develop a bag of tricks as to rethink teaching and learning.
Quote “ A teacher in a differentiated classroom does not classify herself as someone who ‘already differentiates instruction.’ Rather that teacher is fully aware that every hour of teaching, every day in the classroom can reveal one more way to make the classroom a better match for its learners.” ~ Carol Ann Tomlinson, 2001 How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-ability Classrooms, p. 5
Not Differentiated Fully Differentiated Examine the differentiation continuum and place yourself on the continuum for each of the specific areas. adapted from Carol Ann Tomlinson, 1999 The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners, p. 16 Differentiation Continuum Not Differentiated Fully Differentiated Assessment is at the end. Assessment is ongoing. A single form of assessment is used. Diagnostic assessment is used. Intelligence is viewed narrowly. Multiple forms of intelligence are valued. Single option assignments. Assignments offer multiple options. Time is inflexible. Time is flexible in terms of student needs. Instruction is whole class. Flexible grouping is practiced. Teacher directs student behavior. Teacher scaffolds self-reliant learning. Coverage of texts and curriculum drive instruction. Materials are varied. Teacher solves problems. Teacher facilitates student problem-solving. Grading is based on teacher-set, inflexible objectives. Grading is determined by learning goals.
A science teacher is preparing to teach his students about the steps of the scientific method. The teacher will provide students with a choice of which experiment they wish to conduct. The teacher will model each step and provide students with guided practice. The teacher will provide students with a list of various ways in which students can demonstrate the steps they have taken. On the list provided students can create a science board, a PowerPoint presentation, a pop-up book just to name a few. The teacher will use a rubric and share this rubric with students beforehand to determine if the student has met each criteria.
“ Differentiation is classroom practice that looks eyeball to eyeball with the reality that kids differ, and the most effective teachers do whatever it takes to hook the whole range of kids on learning.”