Differentiation is a way of teaching; it’s not a program or package of worksheets. It asks teachers to know their students well so they can provide each one with experiences and tasks that will improve learning. Differentiating instruction means that you observe and understand the differences and similarities among students and use this information to plan instruction. Below is a list of some key principles that form the foundation of differentiating instruction.
Teachers continually assess to identify students’ strengths and areas of need so they can meet students where they are and help them move forward.
The students we teach have diverse levels of expertise and experience with reading, writing, thinking, problem solving, and speaking. Ongoing assessments enable teachers to develop differentiated lessons that meet every students’ needs.
Students collaborate in pairs and small groups whose membership changes as needed. Learning in groups enables students to engage in meaningful discussions and to observe and learn from one another.
The focus in classrooms that differentiate instruction is on issues and concepts rather than “the book” or the chapter. This encourages all students to explore big ideas and expand their understanding of key concepts.
Teachers offer students choice in their reading and writing experiences and in the tasks and projects they complete. By negotiating with students, teachers can create motivating assignments that meet students’ diverse needs and varied interests.