Carol Ann Tomlinson (2000) defines differentiated instruction as “a teaching philosophy based on the premise that teachers should adapt instruction to student differences. Rather than marching students through the curriculum in a one size fits all mentality, teachers should modify their instruction to meet students’ varying readiness levels, learning preferences, and interests. Therefore, the teacher proactively plans a variety of ways to get at and express learning.”
Differentiated Instruction IS . . .
Differentiated instruction that is more qualitative than quantitative.
Differentiated instruction provides multiple approaches to content, process, and product.
Differentiated instruction is student centered.
Differentiated instruction is a blend of whole class, group, and individual instruction.
Differentiated instruction is organic.
Differentiated instruction IS NOT . . .
Just another way to provide homogenous instruction (you do flexible instruction instead)
Just modifying grading systems and reducing work loads
More work for the “good” students and less and different from the “poor” students
Teachers can differentiate through: Content, Process, Product, and Environment according to Students’ Readiness, Interests, Learning Profiles through a range of strategies such as multiple intelligences, jigsaws, graphic organizers, RAFTS, tiered assignments, leveled texts, think dots, numbered heads, cubing, learning centers.
The goals of a differentiated classroom are maximum growth and individual success.
When planning and created differentiated activities and assessments, focus on the learning outcomes. What learning do we want student to demonstrate? Offer students choices or choose their own creative ways to demonstrate their understanding and apply it in new situations.
I have written about and shared activities throughout this blog that I have created to differentiate from different versions of Roll the Dice activities where students select reading comprehension questions based on “I read it and I get it” or “I read it but I don’t get it.” I used learning stations often and offer choices on 75% of the assessments students complete in my classes. Differentiation should be the norm in classrooms today in order to help all students reach excellence.