Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How I Make Differentiation Easier

What is it?

We want all of our students to succeed, and if you believe that all students can learn, then you need to consider differentiating your class. This means that instruction should be planned for all students, above-plan students, on-plan students, and below-plan students.  This means that students are at all levels of understanding, and differentiation needs to be for all the students.

Common Misconceptions

 Differentiation is for only below-plan students. This is not true, because the students that are above-plan need differentiation to be challenged in class.

Differentiation is accommodations and modifications.  To differentiate you need to make a change in your practice by using the 9 principals of differentiation.  The 9 principals are the following: respectful tasks, flexibility grouping, content, process, product, readiness, interest, learning profiles, and ongoing assessments.

How to Make Differentiation Easier

1. Look at the grade above and below Common Core standard you are teaching.  On either side of it is the lower grade and higher grade standard that corresponds with it.  You can use all three standards to differentiate, so make sure you keep the standards handy! An Example is shown below to see how simple it is!

Click here for English Standards

Click here for Math Standards

2. Use the ELD 2012 Standards to differentiate for the English Language Learners (ELL).  Every ELL in America is CELDT tested to see what level of English they are at.  You then find that level as soon as you have the information, and compare it to the ELD 2012 Standards. All you need to do is find the grade level you are teaching in the link below, and print/bookmark that page.  If you print in color, it will make your life so much easier because the creators of the ELD 2012 standards made it so easy for the teachers to read the document. In addition, the creators have given every ELD standard the correlating Common Core standard, so anytime you need help differentiating for a student for a specific lesson, just look it up in the ELD standards, and teach away!

Link to ELD 2012 Standards.

3. Have choices for students during assessments.  Some students are only going to be able to list what they have learned, and some students are ready to provide a critique of what they have learned. All the students are at different levels, and assessments need to have choices. They greatest (and easiest) way to differentiate assessment is by having choice boards, dinner menus, rafts, tic-tac-toe, and many more. You can find all of this and a lot more resources in the following link:

Click here to access Choice Boards and other assessment differentiating tools.

Powerpoint on Raft Activities

choice board from
tic tac toe activity from
dinner menu from

4. Use the Bloom's Taxonomy Rose for figuring out what assessments to use for your assessment with choices. Print this document any time you are creating a differentiated assessment.

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