PD – Differentiation

Follow these instructions for the first time you use this page for professional development. (Full Instructions: click here for copy of full instructions)

Shortened Instructions: In the 30 minutes given please complete the following:

  • Watch: Watch one of the videos below
  • Read: Read one of the articles below
  • Comment: Leave a comment at the bottom of this page answering the following questions:
  1. Which article & video did you learn from today?
  2. What was MVP (most valuable point) you learned today?
  3. What is one new way you might differentiate instruction to help students based on today’s learning?

Part 1 – Videos:

New to Differentiation Video: Differentiating Instruction

Watch as a teacher and her mentor discuss, plan and implement differentiated instruction for the first time. In this video you will find simple tips to make differentiation work and a reasonable timeline for making it a part of your routine. This video is 15 minutes, and worth every minute of your time.  Perhaps the best nugget from this video is the encouragement to only try to do 1 or two differentiated lessons per quarter.  Over the course of a few years you will have a wide range of tools for effective differentiation.  This makes the daunting task of differentiation seem much more palatable.


New to Differentiation Video: Responsive Teaching with Carol Tomlinson

This is a short video excerpt from a lecture given by Carol Tomlinson on differentiated instruction that was delivered at Graceland University.  She defines differentiated instruction as choosing to be responsive to the differences in our students when we teach.  She suggests that this should not result in jettisoning the content.  Rather she suggest that we alter how we teach based on student needs. Essentially, this video will help you take the ‘improvising’ out of your planning. (This is a YouTube video so you will need the web filter override if you chose to view this clip.)


Ready to Implement Video:Differentiated Lessons Based on Self Assessment

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 7.16.33 AMIn this video you will learn how Mrs. Benz differentiations here instruction for students preparing for a unit exam.  This is a lesson in which students use a pretest to determine what stations they will complete in order to differentiate the instruction. Consider how you might be


Ready to Implement VideoDaily Assessment with Tiered Exit Cards

Here is a “Do Now” strategy for differentiating your instruction for the next lesson.  Essentially, in this video you will discover how one teacher differentiates her ticket out the door based on the level of mastery students achieve during the lesson. Students receive Tiered Exit Cards.  The responses to these Exit Cards help determine further individualized interventions and grouping during the warmup activity in class during the next lesson.  There are numerous nuggets of  great instructional strategies in this video.


Ready to Implement VideoCarousel Activity

This video presents an fresh and interesting take on the “stations” approach to learning. Rather than having the students move between stations, the stations move between different groups of students.  Students in each group have different tasks and are working on different aspects of the problem.  As the stations move around the room, each group builds upon (and checks) the work done by the preceding groups.


Ready to Implement VideoProactive Instruction with Carol Tomlinson

This is a short video excerpt from a lecture given by Carol Tomlinson on how to proactively plan differentiated instruction.  Tomlinson suggests that you can predict areas of instruction and learning where groups of students will struggle.  Rather than wait until you “discover” deficits, this video shares how to anticipate areas that will cause challenges.  (This is a YouTube video so you will need the web filter override if you chose to view this clip.)


Ready to Implement Video: Snowball Technique 

Check out this glimpse of a great technique to differentiate instruction by gradually introducing new learning to students.  This video shows us a history classroom in England where students use group work to build learning gradually. Although this video is not explicitly about differentiation, it is clear that this simple technique can be used to free up a teacher to differentiate more effectively.


Ready to Implement Video: The Self Checklist 

In this video you will see how Mr Burke (a Greece Central School District teacher) leads his students through self reflection and assessment. His students record and track their progress each day. Each student then has an individualized learning target moving forward based on the content or skills they mastered and those they still need to work on.  This is a great way to reduce the work load on the teacher and shift the responsibility of independent learning to the students. Click here to seen another video by Mr. Burke in which he explains his warm up routine, called “The Appetizer.”


Ready to Implement Video: Interactive Writing Rubric 

In this video by Greece Central School District History teacher Lauri Secker, we learn a simple technique to differentiate our feedback for students in regard to their essays.  By breaking down the rubric in to a clear and simple chart, Ms. Secker is able to give targeted feedback.  This feedback is kept in a writing portfolio and is referenced by the student prior to the next essay.  This is an extremely efficient way to maximize the impact of differentiated feedback. Click Here for another video by Ms. Secker explaining her Essay Analysis Booklet, a strategy she used to force students to think deeply about the quality of their writing prior to receiving her feedback on the Interactive Rubric.


Advanced Practitioner Video: Gradual Release of Responsibility 

Check out this great video from the Teaching Channel called “Improving Practice with Sarah Brown Wessling”.  Sarah lays out a clear and efficient way to gradually release responsibility to the learner in our classrooms.  This 4 minute video is well worth the time spent… click the picture go to the video.


Advanced Practitioner Video: Open or Closed: That is the Question 

Watch excerpts from a lesson integrating questioning in the classroom, and then listen as the teacher and a mentor break down the quality of the instruction by watching the video.  Very cool stuff. Looking for ways to hold different students to a different level of accountability through your questioning is an easy way to begin differentiating in your daily instruction.


Advanced Practitioner Video:  Differentiation Lecture (30 min) by Carol Tomlinson

This is an entire lecture from Carol Tomlinson that was given as a part of the M.S. Ed program at Graceland University.  If you are really interested in digging into the topic of differentiation this video is for you.  It will obviously take more time than we have allocated for the Professional Development activity, however, it will be time well spent. (This is a YouTube video so you will need the web filter override if you chose to view this clip.)

Part 2 – Research Summaries:

New To Differentiation Articles:

The Basics of Differentiated Instruction (PDF: ASCD Summer Conference on Differentiated Instruction) This resource contains detailed explanation, lists of strategies and examples to help implement differentiated instruction on a regular basis.

Defining Differentiated Instruction (Web Link: Edutopia – Rebecca Alber) This article introduces the concept of differentiation and offers strategies for integrating it into daily instruction. Key Quote: “The definition begins with this: Equal education is not all students getting the same, but all students getting what they need. Approaching all learners the same academically doesn’t work. We have to start where each child is in his learning process in order to authentically meet his academic needs and help him grow.”

Ready to Implement Articles:

Busting Myths about Differentiated Instruction(PDF: Rick Wormeli, Teacher & Author) This article delves into 10 commonly held myths and presents a more accurate view of the realities of effective differentiated instruction. Key Quote: “If teachers and principals are going to promote differentiated lessons and assessments, then both need to be clear about what they are and are not.”

How to Differentiate Your Instruction (Web Link: Teachology) This article reviews the three bodies of research that support differentiation.  It also contains numerous links for supporting differentiated instruction through direct instruction, inquiry based, cooperative and independent forms of learning.

Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed (Web Link: Edutopia – Ben Johnson) This article challenges the commonly held assumption that all students should be treated equally. Key Quote: “One of the hardest things for a teacher to do is to treat students differently. It goes against our very nature. We are programmed to treat each child the same as we would treat any other child. No child deserves special privilege, nor does any child deserve less attention — regardless of race, gender or academic ability.”

Advanced Practitioner Articles:

From Differentiated Instruction to Differentiated Assessment (Web Link: ASCD – Doug Reeves) – Practical ideas for making differentiated instruction and assessment manageable. Key Quote: “Here are some practical ideas for busy teachers who want to meet the different needs of students while managing the demands on their already busy schedules.”

Busting Myths about Differentiated Instruction (PDF: Rick Wormeli, Teacher & Author) This article delves into 10 commonly held myths and presents a more accurate view of the realities of effective differentiated instruction. Key Quote: “If teachers and principals are going to promote differentiated lessons and assessments, then both need to be clear about what they are and are not.”

Comment Section: 

  1. Which article & video did you learn from today?
  2. What was MVP (most valuable point) you learned today?
  3. What is one new way you might differentiate instruction to help students based on today’s learning?

191 Responses to PD – Differentiation

  1. Lori Ruggeri says:

    1. Article: How to Differentiate Instruction
    Video: The snowball technique

    2. One size does not fit all. We need to modify instruction so that it meets the varying learning styles within the classroom.

    3. Modify content, instruction, assessments, and word production. Differentiating does not just mean having some students do 3 problems and others do 10. We pick specific problems, tasks, and assignments that fit the need and level that the student exhibits. For example, when learning to graph, one group will have equations that are already in y= form, another group will have to put the equations in y=form using 1 step, and another group will have to put the equations in y=form using 2 or more steps. At the end, all students will be able to graph an equation identifying the slope and y-intercept of an equation, but they will all be performing this particular skill at a different level.

    • Julia says:

      I watched New to Differentiation Video b/c there are so many levels and abilities in my Studio Art classes. I liked what the teacher in the video said. ” I will not be a master at differentiating today and I won’t be tomorrow but I will get better at doing it.” In art differentiating has always happened to a degree. It is, however, in writing about art or doing projects like perspective where cognitive ability is needed that differentiating makes more sense. I had always assumed that students coming through the Greece program had some degree of perspective knowledge before entering ninth grade. This year I found out differently. Many of my students had never had any instruction. In this video levels of readiness was addressed. My assumption and their readiness were not the same.
      Another thought I had concerning differentating instruction in the video concerned the final results. There were students at advance levels through to students struggling. At the end of the day when you have all students needing to reach x level of complextiy, and all students needed to be at the end game at the same time (Regents) how is it possible? I get the basic understanding of differentiating but I don’t get how you can get all kids to the same complexity of understanding at the end. It would be different if I could say to Johnny you’re ready for the Regent test now and to Suzie let’s wait a month and review a little longer because you’re not quite ready. That is not the reality.

  2. Cory Doty says:

    Open or closed: That is the question.

    MVP: I learned that competition can be used to motivate students

    Tip I use: Grade projects at different levels of completion so you can always get some points

    • Susan Fix says:

      Thanks for your response! I love the use of competition to drive engagement; I have already seen it in your classroom and hope you continue to use it as an instruction tool. Do you see yourself able to adjust a project to have two or three versions based on the knowledge, skill and/or interest?

  3. Lisa Marsh says:

    I viewed the self- checklist video. This idea seemed very easy to implement and use in the classroom. The students were interested in sharing what they learned and it was okay if it was different from the other students in the class. Each student was able to write down something they remembered based on their own learning.

    • Susan Fix says:

      Thank you for your response. You build such a warm environment in your classroom that your students also have a comfort in having different strengths, and this is a strategty your students would benefit from. If you get time watch the snowball video! I can see your students teaching one-another…how powerful!

  4. Andrew McCormack says:

    I read “Defining Differentiated Instruction”. Great article talking about looking at the individual skill sets, background and interests of each student to determine the best “starting point” to lead each student to success.
    I also viewed the video “Snowball Technique”. This demonstrated the effectiveness of having students active in the learning process rather than passive listeners, and how this can help play into the different levels students may be operating at.
    I try to do both of these when I design and implement lessons in the classroom, and in particular I think determining the starting point for a student is critical in knowing where to address their needs for intervention and support.

  5. Sandy McLaughlin says:

    I watched the Gradual Release of Responsibility video and read the article on differentiated assessment. While I felt that the video offered nothing new but validated my current practice, I found the article very interesting. I’d like to see the homework menus in practice. I do not give homework in my reading class; however, I could do an assessment menu…something to consider.

  6. Scott Parsons says:

    Video: Differentiating Instruction
    Article: Defining Differentiating Instruction

    In order to differentiate the teacher needs to respond to the needs of all of their students…. it becomes “responsive teaching”

    The teacher needs to know what levels the students are at…. the teacher needs to assess their individual learning levels and styles… this needs to be a continuous process

    Lessons need to be tiered and scaffolded.

    I can begin to tier my lessons in order to begin to meet the needs of all of my students and not just the needs of my highest level students.

  7. Kathy Mastes says:

    “How to Differentiate Instruction, What’s All the Hype?” and Laurie Secker’s video on rubrics

    Need for more inquiry-based activities in the classroom

    FOLD: Similar to what I do but easier for students to understand.

  8. kathy says:

    I read the snowball technique for differentiating. I am familiar with this technique, but it was called jigsaw. I didn’t think of it as a method for differentiating. I read the article on defining differentiating. I think I responded most to the idea of knowing your students to be more than bodies in a seat. ( I believe most of us do that)

  9. Erick Mock says:

    I read How to Differentiate Instruction and it mentions that a teacher needs to have different types of techniques to reach the needs of all the students. If a lesson can be taught with more than one strategy it may help meet the needs of the other learners in the room. We frequently do this in math classes by using multiple representations such as algebraic equations and graphs to represent a solution or a set of points.

    I also watched the video on the Snowball Technique. The idea is to give each student different information, have them analyze it, and share the results with other students and eventually they get the bigger picture. While this technique may be a bit more challenging to implement in a math class, we do something similar by starting out with easier questions and working our way up to more challenging equations that still test them on the same skills.

  10. pam vail says:

    Hi , watched video Differ Instruction,read Defining Diff Instruction
    Respond to needs of students, understand your audience, Tiering a lesson
    There is a lot to learn , wow

  11. Mandi Shutt says:

    After watching the video on “Snowball Technique”, I was interested to see the the students engaged in the topic and able to discuss and teach what they learned about the topic. The video and the article “How to Differentiate Your Instruction”, both encouraged me that I am already differentiating my instruction. There is room for improvement, of course, and I have topics/lessons that I know I can effectively differentiate.

    • Susan Fix says:

      Thank you for blogging!!! With differentitation there is always a way to mix it up! I love that it is one of your instructional strategies. I always liked differentiating based on learning need one time and then the next time grouping students by interest or learning style. Have fun with it!

  12. antonietta marino says:

    differentiation is a great tool in the introduction of a new concept and also in a review of core concepts

  13. Francie Wehry says:

    After reading “Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed” and watching “The Self Checklist” the point of allowing each student to build off the skills they already have is made as being a starting point for all differentiation. One differentiation tip I use is through selective partnering. Sometimes I partner students one high/one low so the students can aid each other and a necessary objective is met by all, or I partner the students with similar skill levels and assign them a task that is both rigorous and accessible to their particular skill level.

  14. Kathy Benz says:

    Video:The Snowball Technique.
    Article:Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed .

    Modify lessons and/or homework so that everyone sees some sort of success in the classroom.

  15. Amy Wilkin says:

    Watched Differentiating Instruction video and read Defining Differentiating Instruction article. Key points to remember: Being responsive to the needs of students, understanding your audience, and “tiering” your lessons for students. Lots to read and learn.

  16. Jason Bunting says:

    1. Defining Differentiated Instruction/ Burke’s video on The self Checklist
    2. Equality is about meeting the needs of the individual
    3. I had different assessments for students depending on their level of understanding and if they were special ed or not.

  17. Larry Frisa says:

    I watched the “Snowball Technique.” It was interesting and reminded me of a jigsaw activity. However, I didn’t quite get what the teacher’s method was to pass out the fact cards? Is the objective to have them know a tidbit of information, or is it to learn about the whole event? I wish the video would have explained more. Maybe I don’t have enough caffeine in my system to process it fully 🙂 The video description does say it isn’t pure differentiation, but I guess I wanted to see more on how she did it.

    I read the article, “Fast Track to the Top.” It had the idea of reteaching at the end of the day. I find this to be a great idea, as it has proved effective in the past. I remembered when I first started working here my co-teacher at the time had a “re-teach” class she shared with another special education teacher at the end the day. Everything we did in class that day was reinforced in that session. I think this could be an effective model if it was built into a teacher schedule (for example, I would only teacher 4 classes and a re-teach) but if it was shoved into Advisement or something like that it wouldn’t have the backing of the staff. On a side note my wife’s school district does this at the end of an elementary school day. The staff there accepts this with mixed feelings, but it is targeted towards specific students and objectives.

    I’ve used differentiation in class in several ways. I found the most effective way is through authentic assessments. I have a project and give the kids the latitude to do it through their own strengths of intelligences. For example, if they are musical they can write a song. If they are a great drawer they can create a poster….etc.

    Have a great day everyone!


  18. amy mccabe says:

    I watched Improving Practice with Sarah Brown. I think the hardest part of handing over responsibility to the group of students is that we have a large numbers of students that suffer from “learned helplessness”. Meaning, they will do nothing when placed in a group. What do you do with them? Do you separate them out and see what they do? At a loss there. The article I read was from DI to DA. I have differentiated assignments when the kids are reviewing. It has worked fairly well. However, the regents exam is not differentiated. I do scaffold exams throughout the year to build students to this level. Also, Each video didn’t look like our kids. I would love to see students like ours using these techniques.

    • Susan Fix says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I believe the “learned helplessness” you sometimes see is actually a symptom of continual failure. Planning differentiated experiences, based on readiness level, with built in opportunities for positive reinforcement is a teacher’s best defense against this condition.

  19. Lisa Gross says:

    1. I watched the video by Lauri Secker and read the article “Differentiated Instruction allows students to learn”.
    2. The MVP was in the article, allow do-overs. I believe that it is important that my students learn a concept even if its not by the “due date”, while at the same time, teaching responsibility.
    3. I translate my notepackets into 3 languages (Russian, Spanish, & French) for my ESOL learners.

    • Susan Fix says:

      What about the differentiation you are doing in preparation for the January exams and midterms – I can’t wait to hear about the results!

  20. Rachel Furuta says:

    Today I read the article “Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed.” One of the points that I found most valuable was a reminder that there needs to be an allowance for “do-overs” (i.e., rough draft) if the expectation is for students to achieve mastery level on a particular assignment. In addition, I watched the video “Improving Practice with Sarah Brown Wessling.” Again, this video served as another reminder about the importance of a concept called the “gradual release of responsibility.” The article and video connect in that with the gradual release concept, there is room for do-overs as students move from watching the teacher model (“I do”) toward working independently. While I haven’t necessarily used the exact gradual release terminology, I do frequently model and pair students together with similar skill levels and have also paired students together who will challenge each other.

  21. tricia saltzberg says:

    Defining Differentiated instruction article, Interactive writing rubric and essay analysis videos.
    MVP is to remind us that what is right is more important than what is fair , in a student’s eyes.
    I have used articles, usually never more than 3 at a time, with varying reading levels or topics to have students pick based on choice.

    • Susan Fix says:

      Thank you for sharing your work.

      Have you had success with students coming away with the same BIG IDEA from different articles? I think as educators we fear that if we provide different experiences students may miss something.

  22. val derleth says:

    I agree a rubric is a good way to give students feedback. I do this often when students hand in homework. I find as the teacher, the students still need to be reminded to read the comments as they move forward with more practice.

    I also have allowed students retakes on quizzes and tests when they have completed homework and are still struggling with the skills. I think I already do many things with my students that would be considered differentiating.

  23. Diane Maddock says:

    I read “Differentiated Instruction to Differentiated Assessment”. I liked the idea of using a “menu” to differentiate assessment items. I think that this is definitely doable.

    I watched the “Gradual Release of Responsibility” video and was struck by the familiarity of the model of instruction represented. It reaffirms to me that many of us are differentiating already and that we really need a common understanding of differentiation across the board.

  24. Carol Schneider says:

    Article: How to Differentiate Instruction; Video The Snowball Technique
    Valuable Points
    – Know the students interests, abilities, behaviors and learning styles
    – develop an array of teaching strategies to reach the various students
    – be prepared with assessment that evaluates what was taught/learned
    – differentiate using the knowledge you have of the students so that your instruction will enhance the potential for student success.
    I do have students become experts in an area and then share out what they have learned.

  25. I recently watched a video on open or closed and read the article How to Differentiate Your Instruction. The MVP of differentiation would be creating interest through competition and a strategy used in DDP would be our project competitions where the students take the Tech trophy home for the night.

  26. Donna DiVirgilio says:

    I give feed back to all students verbally and in written form regularly. Just as we debrief after each lesson, so should the students. Often, a student looks only at the grade.

  27. Will Spencer says:

    Interactive Writing Rubric / How to Differentiate Your Instruction

    MVP: Differentiation also includes focusing on varying interests, not just abilities (eg: SpEd, GenEd)

    Strategy: I provide different leveled readings covering the same content for students based on their reading ability. When the reading activity is done, all students come away from the reading with the same essential content and are ready to build on that knowledge.

  28. Jim Johnson says:

    The video was interesting. I liked the thought for the ticket to leave and find out what students have learned and then come up with ideas to differiente instruction. I would like more training to assist me with using more differiention in my classes

  29. Jen Lagana says:

    I know there is a need for a variety of methods of instruction due to different learning styles. I do a lot of direct instruction, which is the nature of the course of mathematics. However, I know the importance of student led discussion, group work and the discovery/investigative approach to curriculum (Discrete Mathematics). Using these different approaches has the potential to reach all students (or at least the majority of them)!

    • Jackie says:

      Jen – it’s exciting to have your PLT this year to work on this! Our book came in today. Lots for all of us to learn.

  30. Monica O'Brien says:

    “New Teacher Survival” Video
    Not a fan of blogging- watched it, reflected,keeping thoughts to myself…not caring to share

    • Jackie says:

      Collaboration is critical, you have too much experience and background knowledge to keep it to yourself!!!!! Share Sister!

  31. Karen Brockman says:

    I watched Differentiating Instruction and read the Basics of Differentiated Instruction.

    My MVP was that it is important to give some sort of assessment to gauge where students are and then to tier lessons based on this information. Grouping students by readiness and interest is a good way to get started.

    I already use the “ticket out the door” strategy to assess students but I have never used it to group students.

  32. Michelle Spafford says:

    The Basics of Differentiated Instruction article, and Differentiating Instruction video
    The task seems overwhelming, but I like the advice about implementing 1 lesson per month and building a set of differentiated lessons.
    Previously, I have allowed students some choice in their unit projects and how they want to present the information / demonstrate their skills.

    • Jackie says:

      It can seem overwhelming but breaking it down into managable chunks is a great way to take control. Plus, you have a dynamite LOTE PLT to help you tackle this! Keep plugging away.

  33. Ray Gangarossa says:

    I watched the video on “New to Differentiation” and read the article “Defining Differentiated Instruction”. Still seems a bit overwhelming. I like the suggestion from the video of implementing one idea per month. The article suggests making it fair. That may be the MVP for me at this time.

    • Susan Fix says:

      One way I recommend to “make it fair” is to have struggling students work within their preferred learning style – building on successes; and have stronger students challenge themselves by learning in a non-preferred method – challenging them.

  34. Mike Carges says:

    Video: Differentiating Instruction
    MVP: Differentiating requires much planning and time to do correctly.
    Strategy: Seating groups (not always intentionally created) are changed every five weeks. (Flexible Grouping)

    • Susan Fix says:

      Time well spent…especially with inquiry-based instruction that occurs so naturally in your content; you can guide students in different directions based on their ability and/or interests

  35. Joe Lynch says:

    I watched the Differentiating Instruction video, and read The Basics of Differentiated Instruction and Defining Differentiated Instruction. The “most valuable point” was that tiering seems like it would help students and is not too difficult to implement. I’ve done this on some assignments already- I’ll make up a large number of problems starting from basic and ramping up the difficulty. Then let the students choose which ones they will do. For example, “…each problem has a number of points associated with it. Pick which problems you will do. You need to solve 100 points worth of problems…”

  36. tyler beach says:

    1. I read “DI Allows students to succeed” and watched “Self Checklist”.
    2. Rough drafts can be valuable tools in science writing.
    3. I allow re-writes of certain written assignments.

  37. Kelly Poole-Davis says:

    1.Video: New Teacher Survival Guide: Differentiating Instruction – You need to begin with an assessment and it has to be continuous. It is hard to incorporate and it takes time. Some districts have people that you can work with to help you incorporate different lessons in your classroom.

    2. You need to modify your teaching to meet all students needs and different learning styles.

    3. Grouping kids by different levels.

  38. Nancy Sloan says:

    I read the Snowball Technique. Interesting way to differentiate complex topics. May be useful for students to investigate some parts of our meteorology unit. It seems that the main advantage to this is the gradual addition of information allowing students to process more, and it seems more engaging to students if you use the right sources. I also read Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed. Very practical “easy” ways to differentiate. One interesting part was that he considered “do-overs” as a method of differentiation, rather than allowing a student to fail and forget about it. We’ve been experimenting with this by allowing students to do test corrections, note where they found the correct answers (ensuring that they’ve actually studied and interacted more with the material), then do makeups on castlelearning.

  39. Jean-Paul Scott says:

    I watched both “The Self Checklist” and “The Appetizer” featuring Mr. Burke and his class. Additionally, I read “How to Differentiate Your Instruction.” The key point I both read and observed is that “Effective teachers have been differentiating instruction for as long as teaching has been a profession. It has to do with being sensitive to the needs of your students and finding ways to help students make the necessary connections for learning to occur in the best possible way(“How to… Instruction”).” Both sources served to reinforce my belief that there is differentiation going on both in my classroom, as well as in the school. Similar to Mr. Burke, most classes (including my own) have some sort of bell work/do now activity to start the class. The challenge continues to be insuring that these activities are meaningful and engaging, and also in acknowledging that differentiation can go TWO ways–elevating activities to meet the needs of high achievers, as well as modifying instruction in such a way that the needs of struggling students are finding success. As an teacher I struggle with reconciling the fact that the indicator of success I am held to is the ability of students to perform to standards on a state assessment, which while different than the success a student (and I as their instructor) might feel following incremental movement toward the larger reading or writing goal, and given higher public credence.

  40. Tim says:

    Article: Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed
    Video: Gradual Release of Responsibility

    MVP: That instruction needs to be tailored to the individual, and the only way to do this is to take the time and effort to get to know who your students are.

    with vocabulary I often have my visual learners draw or get visual representations of terms to aid them in learning the meaning of words.

  41. Ian Gupton says:

    1. Video: “Gradual Release of Responsibility”
    Article: “Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed” (Edutopia)

    2. MVP TDQ: “When a student is given a learning assignment to turn in, is it really a learning assignment if they have only one chance at meeting the mastery-level standard?”

    3. Recommended differentiation strategy based on the article: “When a student submits a substandard piece of work, rather than assign a grade immediately, we can provide personalized, individual feedback to that student, which includes providing suggestions for improvement and giving it back to the student for revision…Some students might be able to do it right the first time, while others need several revisions. This strategy is the ultimate in designed differentiation.”

  42. Emily Rounding says:

    Video: Differentiating Instruction
    Article: The Basics of Differentiation of Instruction

    One of the most valuable points I found in both the video and the article is the importance of preparing separate “practice” activities based upon various learning styles after a skill is learned as a large group… the importance of challenging some students without frustrating others is something I’ve heard before, but not explained as thoroughly. For example, if I’m teaching a new research skill for a larger group of students, it may be much more helpful to prepare a few different examples to showcase the various ways an issue can be explored. Several of our online databases already have an option for students to be able to hear an article read aloud to them, which is one way we are currently providing some differentiation for those students who need extra support while reading text.

  43. Nichole Blackwell says:

    1. New To differentiating video: Differentiating Instruction & Defining Differentiating

    2. Try doing one lesson at a time and not all at once to prevent being overwhelmed.

    3. Present concepts to the whole class, then tailor groups to differentiate.

  44. Barbara Kleman says:

    Vocabulary has always been a struggle in Art, the KICK ME video exercise is wonderful for the students to review vocabulary on a regular basis. As, I went through articles, Stress- A Land Mine for the Brain, stood out to me. The chemical TMT actually disrupts working memory and desire to learn or solve problems. Perhaps a little meditation or relaxation methods could help along the way.

  45. Sunia Smith says:

    I viewed the Snowball Technique and read DI Allows Students to Succeed. I took in how both met the needs of different learners while still allowing them their dignity. While teachers may give an “easier” task to a lower-achieving student, all students are held to an expectation. And they know it!

    I very often ask students to complete a rough draft of their work. The article offered this as a method of differentiating.

  46. Shannon Lane says:

    Watched: “Snowball Technique”
    Read: “How to Differentiate Instruction” & “From Differentiated Instruction to Differentiated Assessment”
    -The “menu approach” to homework & assessment seemed interesting.
    -I like the differentiated units/lessons I do, but they took a lot of time and planning to come up with…I would love to have more time to plan more differentiated units & assessments.

  47. Ellen Shoemaker says:

    I watched The Self Checklist and The Appetizer. I read Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed. I liked the self checklist that went along with the appetizer in Mr. Burke’s classroom. It seems to build more accountability into the warm-up. One way I differentiate in my classroom is by allowing students to come in and review a test or quiz after receiving their grade. Any student can come in – no matter how well or how poorly they have done. I “give back” points on the test if I feel they can demonstrate either verbally or in written form the content previously not mastered.

  48. icwilder says:

    I watched the video from the chemistry teacher..”differentiating instruction”
    The most MVP about differentiation I read is that the material to be mastered must be a respectable task for all.

    One strategy I already use : when I teach irregular past participles I use multiple intelligence strategies. Students present to class how they have learned them; some write a dialogue with them, some sing them to a jingle , some write a journal entry etc..depending on their interest.

  49. Dan Hickey says:

    Article: How to Differentiate Instruction
    Video: Gradual Release of Responsibility

    After reading the Article I felt one of the most important strategies to engaging students in the learning process is using activities that motivate and challenge students to remain on task by providing activities and resources that connect to different learning styles. “One size does not fit all” therefore teachers should provide choose when ever possible to address an individual students different learning style and if a student is not sure of their learning style presenting information in many different ways can help them discover their learning style.

  50. Erin Mufford says:

    Video: Self-Checklist with Jim Burke
    Article: Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed
    MVP: Students need to self-reflect–don’t leave it up to the teachers to do all the reflecting. Never assume that the quiet ones are OK. Love the idea of rolling the die to determine grading/collecting.
    Strategy: Give students a rubric for a writing piece based on class instruction and let THEM choose the topic to prove how they have met those standards.

  51. John Clifford says:

    Differentiated Instruction: Fast Track to the Top presented excellent points in the transformation of education in the 21st century. The “Nintendo Effect”: the trance-like level of engagement that students achieve for sustained periods of time when they play video games. Students would not be engaged by merely watching videos; rather it’s the improvement in competence and the exercise of power, making choices every minute, that keeps them engaged. This is one of the most significant points in educational research. Students do multitask with everything they do with the technology regardless of ability level. The Video on Kool Catz was great also. The teacher and mentor did an excellent job showing the importance and proper places for closed and open ended questions. I frequently differentiate reading assignments by having 2 or 3 reading levels available so there is something appropriate for students to use while working independently.

  52. Anne Camp says:

    I watched Open or Closed: That is the question – I read Differentiated Instruction to Differentiated Assessment

    MVP – HOmework Menu – Using the menu at a glance to see students progress, understanding, assessing where to go next

    In reviewing for tests, I like to use teams using a variety of games from jeopardy to survivor type of formats – The competition is great

  53. Brian King says:

    I watched ‘The Snowball’ video. The idea of having students ‘teach’ other students allows them to gain a different perspective and use collaboration to learn. Some students may benefit from this technique. I see how the teacher used the students to differentiate the materials and allow them learn in a different fashion, one that perhaps is different then the normal teaching/learning procedure.

    I read the Ben Johnson article, ‘Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed.’ This was very interesting in that he recognized that it is not the norm for us to treat students differently. We are used to trying to make sure every student gets the same amount of our time and effort as the next. His points regarding how the quiet, middle of the road kids are just as important and need just as much attention as the others is well made. Recognizing every student is something in our area we do daily. Because we evaluate kids on their own individual growth and progress we really have to give each student the time and attention they need for us to assess them correctly and see what efforts we need to make to help them continue to grow. I enjoyed this article.

  54. Amy Domm says:

    I read the article “Differentiated Instruction: Fast Track to the Top” and watched the video “The Self Checklist.” The article is about a school district’s efforts to “reteach and enrich” what students have previously learned in the classroom. Students who are struggling with a concept are given time during the day to have the material “re-taught” and those who have learned the material are given opportunities to enrich what they already know. I love that every student has time carved out of their day specifically for this. Mr. Burke’s checklist gives every student a chance to reflect on what they have learned that day and honestly reflect on what they need to focus more time on.

  55. Gail Evans says:

    1. Video: Differentiating Instruction
    Article: The Basis of Differentiated Instruction (ASCD Summer Conference)

    2. Both video and article describe differentiated instruction in terms of elements of effective teaching: a) establish clear learning goal(s) (what students should know and be able to do by the end of the lesson) and the essential to know (power standards) for each lesson; b) frequent checks for understanding through common formative assessment that is aligned to the learning goal (determine student abilities/differences); c) thorough understanding of content and prerequisite skills ( to scaffold/tier lesson/tasks); c) consideration for how students learn ( brain-based, multiple intelligences, learning style); and e) flexible grouping depending on content, skill, product. Not to overstate the obvious, this takes a high degree of teacher skill, knowledge and experience. It is an on-going learning process because every class, every year is a different combination of learners.

    3. One thing Athena has tackeled over the past two years is common formative assessment and identifying essential content. This is a good place to build toward more differentiation.,

  56. Milli Lake says:

    I watched “New Teacher Survival Guide: Differentiating Instruction; Grades 9-12, Science, Lesson Planning” and I read “The Basics of Differentiated Instruction.”
    MVP: I learned that it appears effective to have a mentor to consult with about the process, describe the desired outcomes, put together a plan, and assess how it worked. Elements stressed were tiers, scaffolding, and the importance of targeted assessment.
    I have used the jigsaw activity recently when working with ninth grade students. We used it for teaching graduation requirements, terms used in the course offering guide, and counseling department resources.

  57. marie wilson says:

    I watched the Differentiating Instruction video and I agree that flexible grouping, ongoing assessment ( my students expect an exit card at the end of every lesson) are wonderful tools/strategies for instruction. I read the Defining Differentiated Instruction article, it’s so important to really know your students, individually. It’s not only their personal interests and style of learning that are important, or even how they present in the classroom. It’s also important to understand the family and social/emotional dynamics that also play an important part of each student’s development as a learner.

  58. Nicole Berardo says:

    Video: Self Check Sheet: Mr Burke’s class
    Article: “How to Differentiate Instruction: Whats all the Hype?”

    I really liked Mr. Burke’s “Self Check Sheet” and the use of self assessment. This lesson was student centered. Students were provided the opportunity to self assess. Then they were asked to write one thing they learned, and share one thing they remembered with their peers. I thought his lesson went along nicely with the article I read on how to differentiate instruction. I thought his “Self Check Sheet” did a nice job of not only assessing if students were learning the essentials it also provided students with a fun and meaningful experience. I hope our counseling department can work together to come up with an interactive self check sheet for our students to do when we push into classrooms. The main points that I learned from reading the article were: “one size does not fit all,” we need to utilize techniques and strategies that connect with individual student learning styles/strategies, we need to maximize student success, we need to be flexible and open to change, take risks, and manage our instructional time to not only meet standards but provide students with experiences that are motivating, challenging, and meaningful! 🙂

  59. Colleen Crowder says:

    Video: Snowball Technique
    Article: Defining Differentiated Instruction

    MVP: Liked the cards concept where the students underlined concepts then basically used think, pair and share. This was a good way to teach the concept to each other in “kid terms”.

    One thing I do for students who struggle with reading comprehension is simple highlighting. I highlight copies of the text we are reading for those kids who struggle with document based questions.

  60. Eric Ingerick says:

    I liked the snowballing method of differentiating I witnessed in the video from England. I have done it in the past with Simpson’s Paradox and it has given me some notions for how to approach some lessons in Data Driven Decision Making starting next month. The article I read was somewhat generic with limited additional information I was seeking. However, the most important sentence catching my attention was the following: “It’s about managing instructional time in a way that meets the standards and also provides motivating, challenging, and meaningful experiences for school age students who are socialized to receive and process information in ways that require differentiation of experience.” I have found given the mammoth nature of the standards for many math courses, tied together with a limited readiness by a “critical mass” of students, there is seemingly systematic sabotage toward motivating, challenging, and meaningful experiences taking place, and more often than not, teaching math process by “gimmicks” seems to be ruling the day. Many attempts to differentiate are focused on remediating students who are limited in what they bring and these are often the same ones who are somewhat blind to attempts by teachers to motivate and challenge them in the first place. All of this given what amounts to a near impossible time constraint. I believe differentiating instruction will be far more valuable for all students once we start creating more homogeneous classes for math instruction.

  61. Kathy Dyer says:

    We watched the Snowball Technique video. It mainly showcased the concept of active student engagement vs passive learning as a tool. We read B. Johnson’s article, Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed. The main concept I took from the article was that of designed differentiation which is customizing the effect to match the level of the student as well as the “rough draft” strategy. The MVP point about differentiation that I took away from today was that it is of great value to every teacher to know the levels of each student as an individual. If we know how each student learns best (visual, kinesthetic) we can hopefully plan lessons that incorporate strategies to meet the demands of all levels within a classroom setting.

  62. Deidre says:

    New Teacher Survival Guide: Differentiating Instruction

    I remember when I was a new teacher in the early eighties. I taught third grade. We had three reading groups in my class; higher level readers, average readers and struggling readers. I remember that one group was called the Bluebirds. I can’t remember the names of the other groups now 🙂

    First, I would teach a lesson to the whole class. Then we would break up into our smaller reading groups to practice our new skills. I met with each group for about 30 minutes daily. This was one of my first experiences with differentiated instruction.

  63. BJ Schoonmaker says:

    1. Open – Closed: I thought the Repeat, Rephrase, Reduce “mantra” for questioning was terrific. It allows the teacher to monitor comprehension in a way that allows the students to “save face” if they don’t “get it”. “Phone a friend” is also a very kid friendly approach.

    2. Differentiated Instruction:Differentiated Assessment: I love the menu approach. Once again, tiered assessments allow kids to proceed at their own pace without the risk of revealing their weaknesses to their peers.

    3: Comments: Given my student’s vast range of abilities, differentiation is the foundation of what we do each day.

  64. I watched the “New Teacher Survival Guide: Differentiating Instruction” and read the posting “The Basics of Differentiated Instruction.”
    MVP – Differentiation are techniques that will take time to develop in your classroom. At times, it is difficult to read or watch videos about differentiation in other subjects because it doesn’t seem to apply to your classroom. However, it is important to communicate with colleagues who are more experience in differentiation in your subject area. These trusted colleagues could be from your building or another school.
    Strategy – As students become more experienced in writing in Global History and Geography in the 10th grade, I begin to allow students to choose their method of pre-writing. Their choice must be based on their comfort level and previous writing assessment grades. This method eliminates the idea of differentiation as “dumbing-down” the writing. Students who have improved their writing may choose not to write a rough draft or outline an essay using a mindmap. Their writing may have improved enough to allow them to develop their own pre-writing or to eliminate the process. Students who need to improve their writing still may need the structure of pre-writing to reach the objective of the lesson.

  65. colleen meger says:

    I read the New teacher -Differentiating instruction.
    Discussion about scaffolding.
    Identify where students are and then teach to that level and learning style.

    Structure assessment of students on different levels to be fair to student strengths and efforts.

  66. Julia says:

    I watched Lauri Secker’s video on rubrics.The rubric individually offers the student a current assessment. The best part is her comment area where she writes how the student needs to improve. That was also supported in Rebecca Albers article. Knowing where a student is currently helps to break down what can be done to get the student to the next level. Keeping folders of the rubrics would be important in order to keep measuring the student’s needs and growth. Preparation time is a key factor here. It will take time. I liked the suggestion of preparing folders w/ graphic organizers. sentence starters etc. The sentence starters was a new idea for me. This idea will definitely help my ninth grade students who are working (reading and writing) at a fourth grade level.

  67. Melanie says:

    1. Video: Snowball Technique
    Article: How to Differentiate Your Instruction

    2. One size does not fit all…..need to build student learning gradually….Need to have an environment that maximizes the potential for student success.

    3. Cooperative Learning Activities…..grading assignments along the way

  68. Mike says:

    Video: Differentiating Instruction
    Article: Basics of Differentiated Instruction

    Best point of the video: We need to know our students to differentiate well and that one or two differentiated lessons per quarter makes the task less daunting. It was interesting to finally see a science example.

  69. AD says:

    Video: Advanced Practitioner Video: Open or Closed: That is the Question
    An interesting take on differentiating instruction and engaging students in learning through competition and making connections.

    Article: The Basics of Differentiated Instruction
    An excellent refresher from Tomlinson on what differentiated instruction looks and sounds like in the classroom. A great resource of ways to simply integrate this type of instruction into your classroom.

  70. Susan Fix says:

    The video “Ready to Implement” and the article “How to Differentiate Instruction” both indicate the value of meeting students at their readiness level. I believe much of the disengagement seen in our underperforming students comes from their downward spiral into failure cycle. By meeting students where they can succeed and by creating opportunities for them to build knowledge, skill, and confidence we break that pattern.

    My favorite/tip practice is having struggling students work within their preferred learning style and the stronger students work in a growth area – it worked to equalize the pacing of student work while creating the success and enrichment I felt my students needed.

    I love this stuff and miss the creativity of planning this way. If anyone wants help planning or to bounce ideas past someone stop by 212, I would love to help!

  71. Michelle Scamacca says:

    The Basics of Differentiated Instruction
    The Snowball Technique

    It seems that flexibility and change are very important when differentiating. I really like the many suggestions of various options that were listed in the article.

  72. Tara says:

    Article: Snowball Technique
    Video: Differentiated Instruction Allows Students To Succeed

    Do-Overs: Remember it’s a learning assignment for each student. They can redo the assignment over and over until they have mastered a skill.

  73. Jackie says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Never understood why kids can’t!

  74. dan train says:

    video: open or closed
    reading: how to differentiate instruction

    MVP: to have a variety of teaching strategies ready to go to hit upon various learning styles.

    tip: using blooms taxonomy, i gear the level of questions towards a certain level of capability…at first it’s hard to hide, but with practice, it can come pretty routine.

  75. Ralph Fornarola says:

    Video: New Teacher Survival Guide: Differentiating Instruction
    Read: The Basics of Differentiating Instruction
    MVP: I thought an important point was when grouping students to try and do it by interest or learning styles. Also, I liked the discussion of trying to tier and scaffold lessons in a way to challenge all students.
    Tip: I try to use the multiple intelligences approach when designing lessons and try to give students choice on projects within certain parameters.

  76. Jeffrey Telle says:

    I read the article “from differentiated instruction to differentiated assessment” and watched the video “Open and Closed”.
    The article made great points about a homework process that can engage all levels of learners and the video used a hands on activity to allow students to relate with different governmental policies. The one point that I learned in comparing the article and the video was that each differentiation process focused heavily on the students levels of engagement and found ways to meet each child where they were at.
    One differentiation strategy that I have found useful in working with kids in special education classes is to look at each kid individually.

  77. Mike Setzer says:

    Video: Differentiating Instruction
    Article: The Basics of Differentiation

    MVP: There are many ways to differentiate (readiness, interests, etc.) and it is important to try to engage all learning styles and abilities.

    Tiering is one strategy that interests me.

    • Sandy Garcia says:

      When I viewed the Gradual Release of Responsibility, I was interested to see the similarities between this method of –I do, we do, you do– and the Common Core push for Close Reading. Both strategies have the common goal of ultimately encouraging students to work independently, think deeply and struggle with the text/task.

      The video also illustrated the elements of differentiation (direct instruction, inquiry-based learning, cooperative learning, and information processing strategies) as highlighted in the article, “How to Differentiate Instruction.”

      It’s encouraging that we really do have knowledge and information that will help with refining differentiation in the classroom.

  78. sara drahms says:

    I read “How to Differentiate Instruction.” The article offers great strategies and resources on brain based research, learning styles, and authentic assessment”.
    I also viewed the video “Snowball Technique”. This demonstrated the effectiveness of having students active in the learning process rather than passive listeners.

  79. CJM says:

    (1) I watched Differentiating Instruction and read Defining Differentiated Instruction. (2) Accurately assess competence of my students. (3) Having evidence before moving on, scaffolding, and continuous, ongoing checks.

  80. Snowball Technique is a logical step by step process for learning a dense and complicated topic. The students learn in incremental steps pieces of information, while at the same time work independently, followed by a pair share technique, followed by groups of 4 working together. After a whole class discussion, the teacher can target next teaching points based on what the students learned and did not learn.

    The Basics of Differentiated Instruction- The essence of the article is to consider differentiating instruction in terms of content, process, and product, after considering each students’ level of readiness, interest, and learning profile. A variety of instructional strategies to differentiate are offered

  81. Tammy Aubrey says:

    Videos: “Snowball Technique” and “Self Checklist”
    Article: “How to Differentiate Your Instruction”

    I thought the Snowball technique was a great way to ensure that all students were engaged. No one is accidentally left out or can choose to “sit back” because their peers are relying on them for information they gather. In this activity, differentiation is automatic because students are not expected to all do the same thing…each idea they come up with to share is individualized and can be added to or tweaked by the teacher and the students’ peers.

    The self checklist was a real quick and engaging way for not only the students to “self check” but also for the teacher to see where each student was so he knew which students needed more review, what topics needed to be re-taught, etc. This activity is a good form of differentiation because each student’s responses are individualized and can inform the teacher of what topics need to be differentiated even more during instruction…The little spin he put on it at the end helped the students buy into the activity because it was fun.

    “How to Differentiate Your Instruction” provided a good explanation of four steps needed to successfully implement differentiation (knowing the students, having a variety of teaching strategies, having a variety of instructional activities, and knowing different ways to assess your students)…I think a lot of times we do a really good job on one part (i.e. having a variety of teaching strategiews) but may neglect one of the other four steps, such as “getting to know your students”. I could see that differentiation can be a lot more effective if those four steps are all in place.

  82. Teresa Bussey says:

    Video: Differentiating Instruction
    Article: Defining Differentiated Instruction

    Great information for someone that is new to this or just starting this practice. The article and video give great examples of how to differentiate instruction but also do a great job of helping someone to see it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or difficult. It does take some time, I think, for instructors, to look at student records, history, etc. to get an understanding of where a student is at in their education and why they are struggling with their learning. Sometimes things aren’t as obvious as they may appear to be. The first thing I thought about when I began reading the articles is how difficult it must be for a teacher to have to do this for every student but through the use of graphic organizers, scaffolding, and tickets out the door, it seems these things are easy enough to do for every student and can benefit every student.

  83. Sue Lloyd says:

    “Fast Track to the Top” – Video and article.

    Reteach and Enrich makes a lot of sense. You hear “review”, “repetition” and “enrich” so often in the ICT/SpEd world. This video takes place in an elementary school. I wonder what this “system” would look like here in the HS setting, in the fast paced world of content, vocabulary, and undifferentiated (regents) exams.

    We do a lot of review, reteaching and pull aside work. It would be great to think about a systematic approach to this idea using, perhaps, part of advisement time.

  84. I enjoyed seeing a chem teacher using differentiation in the classroom. I need to review different ways to differentiate. I tried grouping students differently the other day and thought it went well.

  85. John says:

    Article: The Basics of Differentiated Instruction
    Video: New to Differentiation

    The MVP from today was that differentiation can be many different things, some of them are simple and some of them more complex in terms of content, end product etc.. but all of them allow the student to obtain the necessary content knowledge.
    In the video It was good to see differentiation in a science classroom. So many of the examples that I have seen on differentiation have not been science related and would have been tough to fit into a science context. Differentiation is something you do one step at a time and build up over the years.
    One thing that the Biology Dept does is scaffold lessons , vary grouping and activity, small group instruction.

  86. george h says:

    I watched Mr. Burke’s class record and reflect on their progress.This mid-unit activity allows students and teachers a chance to assess their knowledge while still giving time to reteach when needed-It looked fun and gave students a chance for extra credit.

  87. Gary Kleiman says:

    The Snowball Technique (video):

    This technique seems to make a lot of sense to help students process material more actively and effectively. Adding bits of information incrementally and having students discuss it makes them more active learners and certainly makes sense in the classroom.

    Differentiating Instruction (article):

    It only makes sense that all students learn somewhat differently and may require different approaches to learning. Much more of a student and how they learn can often be obtained through a child’s learning history, so I felt this was a very important point. Also, it makes sense to meet the child where he/she is at in the learning process and some kids may be at a more concrete level, than abstract. I also agree that alternative assessment methods/techniques are essential in helping the learner gain meaning from a task and that what they garner from an assignment is quite dependent on their learning styles and needs, which I believe differentiated instruction addresses.

  88. Bob Marion says:

    I viewed the “Snowball” video and followed it up with the “Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed” article.

    The “Snowball” video was instructive in that it apportioned content through a jig-saw format. Like Larry Frisa, I would like to know more information about pairing and grouping- whether the instructor differentiated within/between/among pairs/groups.

    It occurred to me that it is possible to differentiate within and between and among pairs/groups for content activities when using the “Snowball” technique, a trick I often employ. Some students are better recorders; others excel at synthesizing info; With some leg work, it is possible to divide up and apportion students accordingly.



  89. Mary DiMuro says:

    I viewed the “snowball” video. I liked the concept of a snowball…it gave a visual that I think many can relate to (I never liked the term “scaffolding”). I think all of us learn better if we build on a concept but most importantly can then share it with others!

    The article I read was, “Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed”. I read this since I felt I could relate to the concept of being able to differentiate instruction but often missing the child in the middle. I like the idea of providing individualized feedback to each student as suggested —

    “when a student submits a substandard piece of work, rather than assign a grade immediately, we can provide personalized, individual feedback to that student, which includes providing suggestions for improvement and giving it back to the student for revision”.

    I often differentiate my instruction by allowing choice to my students as far as possible topics or methods of learning/presenting material for various assignments/projects.

  90. Rob Cerone says:

    Selfchecklist video : I like how the students are asked to write down one fact or thing they learned that day and having 8 to 10 facts learned by the end of the quarter.

    Differentiated instruction allows students to succeed : Very important to allow students the opportunity to work at their own pace.

  91. george h says:

    I watched lori secker’s interactive rubric video and read busting myths about differentiation .
    2)lori stressed keeping her writing rubric clear and concise and focused on the state learning standards.What teachers teach is irrelevant-wow man now I get it.It’s what students leave with
    3)I’ll try to focus more on how, not what I teach,make it fun,and never raise my voice

    • We must have watched different videos… That is not at all what I took away from what Lauri shared… What I think she was getting at was that we have a set of standards from the state that guide our profession… It is our professional responsibility to ensure that we every student knows how they measure up to and is ultimately able to meet the standards. This is exactly like the standards and guidelines that guide doctors, lawyers and every other profession. The standards shouldnt limit great instruction, rather they give a framework within which great instruction can be available to every student. That is the science of teaching…the art of teaching is the unique and incredible methods, ideas and strategies each teacher chooses to employ.

  92. Tyler Beach says:

    I watched “tiered exit cards.” It seems like a very paractical strategy to try a few times per unit, with a little pre-planning. I used the “self checklist” that Mike Burke did in class prior to each unit test and it seemed to work pretty well. It allowed students to focus in on key ideas, identified weaknesses and held them accountable for thier learning. I wonder if I’ll get a similar return on my effort with tiered exit cards. I also read Doug Reeves differentiated assessment, using menu choices. That seems as though it would need a few trials to revise the “menu” idea to the point where students can’t always choose the easiest assignments.

  93. Doty says:

    Which article & video did you learn from today?
    Busting Myths about Differentiated Instruction / Carousel Activity

    What was MVP (most valuable point) you learned today?
    Confabulation is when students get a partial understanding of something but the brain requires the whole picture, so it makes up information or borrows from other memories and inserts information in the missing holes, convincing itself that this was the original learning all along.

    What is one new way you might differentiate instruction to help students based on today’s learning?
    I will try the Carousel activity when reviewing the problem solving steps.

  94. Ralph Fornarola says:

    1. Article- Defining Differentiated Instruction
    Video- Responsive Teaching with Carol Tomlinson

    2. MVP- You can’t teach every student at the same level. You must assess where each student is and start teaching where each student is in the learning process.

    3. To create a “toolbox” that has various “tools” available for differentiation such as assorted graphic organizers, visual aides, and sentence starters.

    • I love your MVP… That is the key to this whole thing. The tough part is finding the time and the consistency to make it a reality. I think the toolbox idea has a lot of merit… Especially, if you are making the same strategies and “tools” available over time.

  95. Today I read the article The Basics of Differentiated Instruction and watched the carousel activity video. The most valuable point from the article it was “Flexible grouping helps ensure student access to a wide variety of learning opportunities and working arrangements.” The carousel activity encompasses this idea by promoting small flexible groups and allowing peer to peer education as well. Breaking students down more into small groups can using the carousel activity can be beneficial to my classes.

  96. I really liked Mike Burke’s video. Having students tell an important fact they learned that day and his process for having them know how important that fact was is a great learning tool for the student. It personalizes the lesson. It also gives them study guides for assessments. The article I read on Busting Myths about Differentiated Instruction answered some of the myths I had. I like the idea of challenging students at their own individual level either in whole instruction, small groups or individual work.

  97. Lisa Gross says:

    1. Article: Busting Myths about Differientated Instruction
    Video: Snowball Technique

    2. MVP: To continue to allow students to demostrate their knowlegde of a topic, even if it is past the “deadline”. They gave an example of babies learning to walk by the time they were a specific age and if they didn’t learn by this deadline then they were put into a “nonwalker” group, etc..

    3. I think I might try a similar snowball technique in math. Give all students a definition or theorem to learn and then have them share it with their group. This might work well in alg/geo connections with the start of the Triangle Proof Unit.

  98. Terri Panzica says:

    I watched the “Carousel Activity” and used it in my PreAlgebra class. The students moved throughout the stations doing one step of the graphing activity. They not only had to do the next step, but they had to review all of the previous steps that the other groups had already completed. They found mistakes and fixed them, showing a deeper understanding of the specific style of graphing (linear inequalities and equations to find solutions and solution sets). They came away with a greater understanding and were more engaged. The quick pace kept them engaged, as well as the requirement that all students needed to be the writer for a task. I’d like to see this in my Int. Algebra classes. They are so used to starting and finishing their own problem that this style of “being a different starting points” of the problem gets students to a deeper understanding.

  99. R.L. Marion says:

    I viewed the “Proactive Instruction” with Carol Tomlinson video and followed it up with the “How to Differentiate Instruction” article.

    The Tomlinson video was instructive in that it laid out the rationale for what she terms “pro-active” (v. “reactive” /”improvisational”) differentiation, that students learn differently. The most “robust” pedagogy involves pre-planning according to Tomlinson.

    The companion article “How to Differentiate Instruction” provides an easy to follow differentiation formula: Know your students; Have a repertoire of teaching strategies; Identify ways to assess or evaluate student progress. The “Bottom Line,” then, is maximizing the potential for student success by being open to flexibilty and change.

    I found the referenced videos to be useful as well.


    • Bob, I love the comment you made about “being open to change”. That is the key point here. As our student population is increasingly becoming more impacted by poverty, our instruction will need to be come increasingly more differentiated, engaging and targeted. I am looking forward to chatting more about how this looks in your classroom moving forward.

  100. dan train says:

    today, i watched the video demonstrating the snowball technique and read the article, the basics of differentiated instruction.

    mvp…the snowball technique allowed group interaction and collaboration for all members to contribute to the task at hand. groups were expanded to allow for more interactive ideas and to expand individual learning. during this type of gradual learning process, the teacher is free to help out individuals or groups depending on their task completion.

    i really like the way learning is very active in this video instead of passive and coming up with new way for students to learn this way is very beneficial.

    • Dan, I look forward to hearing how the snowball activity works in your class. I appreciated your comment about the importance of active verses passive learning. Bob had a similar comment… The challenging part of that is that it is tough to get all students actively engaged in the learning. It seems fairly easy to get a few actively involved… but getting them all actively involved at the same time, that is great teaching. I’d love to chat more about this sometime.

  101. Nancy Sloan says:

    Video watched: Carousel Activity
    Article: Busting Myths About Differentiation

    MVP: It becomes differentiated practice when teachers use assessment to guide
    instructional decisions. “Tell me how you used assessment to guide an instructional approach this week.” It’s not enough to just divide students up into groups unless you know why you’re putting them in that group. Assessment, in some form, is necessary or its just creative teaching, not differentiation.

    Next Step: Try the carousel activity with heterogeneous groups, then maybe an assessment and follow up activity based on the results of the assessment.

  102. Emily Rounding says:

    1. Watched Carol Tomlinson “New To Differentiation” video and read the “Defining Differentiated Instruction.”

    2. Most valuable point today– I like how Carol spoke about the commitment to acknowledging the differences between students, and that those differences truly matter in the differentiation process.. where the students have come from academically and sometimes personally.

    3. In the article on differentiation, I like how the author spoke about the fact that we can’t get caught up in what is “fair” vs. what is right. For example, another option for differentiating in the library is to offer various technology options depending upon the skill and comfort level of the student. It’s important not to get caught up in forcing everyone to utilize the same tool when multiple options are available for presenting the same information.

  103. Anne says:

    1.Which article & video did you learn from today?
    Improving Practice with Sarah Brown Wessling
    Busting Myths About Differentiated Instruction
    2.What was MVP (most valuable point) you learned today?
    Not to worry about the erasures, arrows and scribbled notes on lesson plans – It could be the “sign of responsible lessons” – I was always worried it would make me look unorganized and that no one would understand I was changing to meet the needs of all my students.
    3.What is one new way you might differentiate instruction to help students based on today’s learning?
    Using the process of focus lesson, guided, collaboration and indiviudal from the video “Improving Practice . . .” incorporate modeling at the collaboration level with the assistance of another adult such as the teacher aide or another available teacher as opposed to talking through the collaboration process by myself. This will allow students to see the collaboration process in action and how we went about analyzing the cooking lab. When we switch our focus to the individual aspect, each person can demostrate “how they think” cognitively. That there is not right or wrong way as to “how they think”.

  104. Mike Carges says:

    1. Article: Defining Differential Instruction
    Video; Responsive Teaching with Carol Tomlinson

    2. Teach content to individual students rather than just teach content.

    3. Have students explain specific concepts in context to their own individual background and experiences.

  105. CJM says:

    “Busting Myths about Differentiated Instruction” — Snowball Technique

    MVP–Differentiated instruction is not individualized instruction — learning something new every day!

    One new way–Being sure information is understood and cemented into long-term memory.


  106. Will Spencer says:

    Video – Gradual Release of Responsibility – Students need to own responsibility for their own thinking/learning. This metacognition emphasizes the learning process above content. This builds autonomy for our students. Having students use Post-Its makes students individually accountable and provides quick, meaningfulness formative feedback for teachers. A benefit to this model is for students to see how other student’s minds may work differently.

  107. 1. Ready to Implement: Self Check List

    2. You are able to check knowledge and understanding in a variety of ways without having to take a great deal of time away from instruction. This method held students accountable for their own learning, understanding, and questioning.

    3. We plan on using the 3-2-1 method as a ticket out the door. Regardless of the unit of study, or subject area that you are teaching in, this will work. Students needs to write 3 things they learned, 2 things they want further exploration on, and one question they still have. Nancy Sloan has used a variation of this technique in her Earth Science class, and it has proved to be beneficial.

  108. Eric Ingerick says:

    I watched the video on Tiered “ticket outs.” I thought it was interesting and potentially dangerous for the math teacher to differentiate the ticket out at different levels and then use those to determine the homogeneous groups her students would work in the next day. The article I read related to differentiating via many types of lessons including Direct; Cooperative; Inquiry; while viewed through the rationales of brain science, multiple intelligences, and authentic assessment.

    • Wondering why you thought that the homogeneous groupings the next day for the “warm-up” activity was a dangerous idea? I can see it being dangerous if it was for the whole lesson, but it struck me as a a great way to differentiate e time allocated to learning the essential content. just curious what your thinking was.

  109. Kathy Benz says:

    I watched “Differentiating Instruction” and realized that Differentiating doesn’t happen over-night. It will take time and I don’t have to do it everyday all class. I can do it in “chunks”. I can start with my “neediest” class and try something every other week or as needed. I can use something complex for my stronger students and then scaffold for my weaker students.
    The article that I read was “Defining Differentiated Instruction”. This article allowed me to realize that I can differentiate to just one student and not to the whole class. After watching the video and reading the article I now have ideas for whole class differentiating as well as individualized differentiating.

    • Excellent point… I love the idea, that this is not an all or nothing process. It really doesn’t have to happen over night. Actually, if done well, it can’t happen over night. But the benefit of a consistent effort over time in this area can have a huge impact in the quality of learning for our students. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  110. Sunia Smith says:

    Video: Proactive Instruction with Carol Tomlinson
    Article: Busting Myths about Differentiated Instruction

    MVP from the video: Reactive Differentiation (where I am many days) ~ teach to all, identify needy students as they become apparent and “react” accordingly versus Proactive Differentiation (where I try to be as often as possible) ~ plan with the needs of all your students in mind. Differentiation would begin immediately.

    MVP from article: I am unconvinced about Myth 2 and I believe that the author contradicted himself. In any case, I do believe that differentiating isn’t about making things easier so that students pass assessments. Differentiation is whatever works to ensure that students learn.

  111. Erick Mock says:

    The video I watched was Closed or Open. The task was modeled by the teacher and a competition was created among the students to engage them in the activity. The activity was directly a lead into the 3 economic systems. The students were engaged by tying the new information into the activity they were already familiar with. The video then covers information about questioning. If you are going to check for understanding, ask questions that have right or wrong answers and close ended questions which do not go on forever. If you want to create dialogue, ask open questions that dig deeper and ask why. Open questions promote more engagement and thinking. If a student struggles with a question, repeat, rephrase, reduce.

    I read From Differentiated Instruction to Differentiated Assessment. In this article Doug Reeves suggests techniques such as Homework Menus to give a variety of problems at different levels and allowing the students to choose a certain number of problems to do based on their level. When the teacher checks the work he or she can easily tell where each student is at that moment to differentiate the next lesson. Reeves also gives examples of how this can be done at a larger scale with assignments. Two 50-point assignments for a higher level student can still work out to be the same as 5 20-point assignments to another student who may need things broken down differently.

    My MVP for today is to use more of the questioning techniques from the video. It will especially be helpful as we eventually roll out the CCSS over the next couple years. Also, in the past I have done similar things in my classes that could be compared to the Homework Menu concept and I would like to find ways to implement that more often in my classes to encourage struggling students to engage more in the classroom.

  112. Val Derleth says:

    I agree with the teacher’s idea of an exit card in the video about using it Daily assessment with tiered exit cards in math class to asses student understanding to check those that may need reteaching. I know checking with students on a daily basis is important in math to make sure student’s have a building skill accomplished before they are ready to move on to another. At Athena, we have found math support in Algebra helps us reteach skills to our weaker students to fill in the gaps. It has made them more confident in their abilities and skills.

  113. Jen Lagana says:

    Video: Daily Assessment with Tiered Exit Cards
    Article: Busting !0 Myths of Differentiation

    I liked the teacher’s exit card differentiation strategy used for grouping kids for the upcoming class. Doing a quick check of how well the kids understood the material and then checking to see who needs to be retaught the material for the next class or who can move on, can be accomplished quickly by checking the exit cards.

  114. Will Spencer says:

    Article – Busting Myths about Differentiation
    MVP – Fair does not always mean equal. Students who learn a slower or otherwise different paces or ways should not be held to the process of learning as other students. They can learn at their own pace and still achieve at target standards.

    In the classroom – Use leveled readings and reduce or modify work load for struggling students so that they can focus on just the most essential content.

  115. Donna D says:

    Tiered Exit cards

    MVP: To continue to summarize my lessons at the end of each class.
    Tiered exit cards helps the teacher to callenge each individual student and push them to the next level.

  116. Carol Schneider says:

    Tiered Exit Cards
    Article: Busing Myths about Differentiated Instruction; Video: Exit Tickets

    Learned: Provide exit tickets at different levels – at instructional level and for some above instructional level

  117. Ellen Shoemaker says:

    Video – Carousel Activity
    Article – Busting Myths about Differentiated Instruction

    MVP – this idea from the article…..teachers divide students into groups or offer project choices without regard for students’ needs, it’s called “being creative” or “breaking up routine,” not “differentiated instruction.” It becomes differentiated practice when teachers use assessment to guide instructional decisions.

    In math support, I design a lesson or activity for all of the students, however, what they need to do (usually means how much practice) depends on them demonstrating (written and verbal) proficiency. Some students just need a refresher, others need many repetitions before showing proficiency.

  118. amy mccabe says:

    video – tiered exit cards
    article – 10 myths
    MVP – usefulness of exit tickets. I have wanted to use them, but don’t always find them useful. Maybe it is time to try again and be more conscious of the summarizing piece. When I do summarize, I like to have the kids walk through the “what we learned today points”.

    • That is a great idea Amy… It would also be interesting to see if the “what we learned today” is the same frothy students perspectives as the learning objectives you originally set out to cover. Looking forward to hearing how this goes.

  119. Deidre says:

    I watched the video entitled Daily Assessment With Tiered Exit Cards. I read the article entitled Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed.

    I’m not sure that handing in “exit cards” is really any different from handing in your “classroom assignment” at the end of class. We are always looking for “new labels” i.e. “exit cards” for “old practices” i.e. “classwork”. The key is to give quick feedback, whether on an exit card, a test or an assignment. I liked the fact that students were put into groups based on the results of their exit cards. This allows for enrichment, progression or reteaching.

    The article made several key points. I especially liked the idea of allowing students to use multiple mediums; such as art, music, acting, etc. to demonstrate understanding of a concept.

  120. Diane Maddock says:

    Open or Closed: That is the Question – Video
    This was a seventh grade class, so some of the activities would be too “hokey” for high school, but the explanation of when to use close or open ended questions was useful. To increase involvement of all student when given an open ended question during discussion was to “think-pair- share” ( which I typically don’t think is effective) with the understanding that any one of the pair could be called upon to answer the question. If the student has no answer, then the teacher scaffolds the questions: “repeat, rephrase, reduce” to encourage the reluctant student to attempt to answer.

    Busting Myths About Differentiation- Article
    I like this very much because it busts some myths about differentiation: i.e. “Differentiation Equals Individualization” and my favorite myth, “There is only one way to differentiate.”
    I also appreciate the introductory paragraph:
    “Many teachers and principals claim that their schools differentiate instruction diverse learners, but when pressed to define differentiated practice, some of them offer contrasting and even misinformed descriptions. If teachers and principals are going to promote differentiated lessons and assessments, then both need to be clear about what they are and are not.”

  121. Amy Domm says:

    Video – Interactive Writing Rubric
    Article – Article: Busting Myths About Differentiation

    MVP – Learned that rubrics don’t need to be fancy, they just need to provide effective feedback. Will focus on outlining next steps/goals for future writing pieces.

  122. Jim Johnson says:

    I looked at the Mike Burke Video and the Defining Differential Instruction article. What I felt was the most important point was that you had to understand where each student ability level is and have the flexibilty in your lesson to adapt to each students needs. One way I learned to differentiate instruction was to receive student feedback and develop your next lesson after receiving the feedback.

  123. Gupton says:

    1. “The Self Checklist” video and “Busting Myths about Differentiated Instruction”

    2. The Most Valuable Point I learned from the video was that the warm-up activity could not only be used to check for student understanding and to hold students individually accountable, it can also be used to authentically showcase different perspectives and interpretations.

    3. I use ticket-outs in this way, but I like how the resulting products in the video were chosen randomly by students in regard to how they were used/assessed.

  124. Colleen Crowder says:

    Video: Tiered Exit Cards
    I thought it was a great idea to use in math to see if the kids really did understand the process. Seemed as though it made grouping a bit easier for her. However, not sure how it would work in a health class but would be interested in giving it a try. Perhaps an idea to bring to our Health Collegial Circles.

  125. Mike Setzer says:

    Article: Busting Myths…
    Video: Self-checklist

    MVP: Formative assessments are sometimes more valuable in differentiated lessons that sum. ones.

    I like the self assessment by Mr. Burke. It holds kids accountable for their learning.

  126. 1. Which article & video did you learn from today?
    Snowball Technique: Build Knowledge Incrementally Video & Busting Myths about Differentiated Instruction
    2. What was MVP (most valuable point) you learned today?
    Relating to the myths of differentiation, it is important for teachers and administrators to understand differentiation does not always “look” the same. It is not always in small groups (cooperative learning). A differentiated classroom can ask students to work individually, or in small groups, or learn primarily in whole-class instruction. It is important to try to use all of these techniques.
    3. What is one new way you might differentiate instruction to help students based on today’s learning?
    The use of scaffolding writing assignments allows student to work at their own pace (within a time frame). In addition, it allows the teacher to work individually with a student on specific elements of writing when the need arises. It is difficult to assess students writing only at the final draft. Scaffolding allows a teacher to understand what part of the writing the student is having difficulty with during the process, which will allow to teacher to come up with a strategy or strategies to help a particular student.

    • Great point about differentiating not always looking the same. That is so true… That is the definition of differentiation… Different instruction, for different learners. There are many, many ways to differentiate. You mentioned that whole group instruction can be differentiated. I would love to hear more about how you are doing that in your class. That sounds like it would be very challenging. Another point here, is that not every part of every lesson should be differentiated. The key is figuring out what content and skills needs to be differentiated and which students need it differentiated. For some reason, we tend to assume that every student should get the same amount of time to learn everything. This rewards the brightest and fastest, and penalizes the kids who don’t learn as fast. Perhaps this is the human obsession with being first, and fastest. In education, it shouldn’t be about it first and fastest, it should be about thoroughness, completeness and content/skill mastery. I love your thinking and can’t wait to chat more about these ideas.

  127. Linda Ingram says:

    I watched the self checklist and liked the self reflection the students did. It is a good way to start or end a class.
    I also realized that we differentiate a lot in class on a daily basis.

  128. BJ Schoonmaker says:

    I read The Self Checklist and watched “Busting Myths……”. I think the most valuable point taken from both sources is that teachers need to be fully aware of their students developmental levels and learning styles. This awareness is most easily attainable when providing students with meaningful opportunities to “show their stuff”. The use of checklists is already a daily practice in my class, but the one student I have who can read above the 2nd grade level would probably love to complete his own “what I learned” list.

  129. Tammy says:

    Video: Carousel Activity
    MVP: Allowing students to work off other students’ work can help them focus on each part of the task and help them learn from each other and allows flexibility for different levels of understanding and proficiency.

    Article: Differentiating Instruction Allows Students to Succeed
    MVP: The idea of using any piece of student work as a rough draft is a very simple form of differentiation and can help struggling students while at the same time, challenging proficient students.

    New way to differentiate instruction: To improve our carousel brainstorming activity with the 9th graders, we could have the students rotate (first make the groups smaller) instead of rotating the chart paper like we’ve been doing.

  130. Ida C. Wilder says:

    I watched Ms. Secker’s interactive Writing rubric
    I read Ben Johnson’s “Differentiation Instruction allows student to succeed”
    The most valuable point is to use differentiation so that the middle student does not get left behind. I will attache the rubric to students’ writing so they can see where they did very well and where they need to improve.

  131. Karen Brockman says:

    I watched Daily Assessment with Tiered Exit Cards and read Busting Myths about Differentiated Instruction. The most valuable point was that instruction should always reflect what teachers have learned about what the students know and don’t know. For example, in the video, this teacher gives an exit card at the end of every class in order to tailor her instruction for the next class. She also uses that information to group her students based on their needs. This is an easy thing to do daily that gives the teacher important information needed to proceed in the lesson. I can definitely try this in my classroom.

  132. Michelle Spafford says:

    I watched the video about Tiered Exit Cards and read the article Busting Myths about Differentiation. I liked how the exit cards were immediate feedback for the teacher as to how successfully the student learned the objective. I will consider how incorporate this into my language lessons. I think my MVP was that differentiation, although planned and thought out, needs to also be a somewhat spontaneous response to how well students are learning material.

  133. Mike M says:

    video – tiered exit cards
    article – Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed

    MVP – The concept of do-overs for students to master or learn a skill. Students would have an opportunity to redo in order to pass or improve a grade.

  134. Tim says:

    Today i watched the Differentiation Video featuring Carol Tomlinson, and read the article “Busting Myths about Differentiation” by Rick Wormeli . The MVP point in both the video and the article was that instruction must be focused on student success and with that in mind we as teachers must be mindful of the fact that learning is an indvidual experience that takes place in a group setting, and not all of our students are having the same experience. We as teachers are so focused on standardized tests that we often loose sight of this fact, The truth is success comes on standardized tests when kids learn, and the ultimate goal of differentiatrion is kids knowing the material.. While both the video and the article offered informative information on what Diferentiation is and can be neither offered any suggestions on how to put into practice.

  135. Milli says:

    Video: Carousel Activity
    Article: Differentiated Instruction Allows Students to Succeed, by Ben Johnson.
    MVP: Carousel activity is one way to have students build on each others’ work. Also gives them a different perspective and allows them to see the same process applied to different problems. (Also give them a few moments to move around.) Differentiated article stresses value of using the rough draft–repetitively until outcome meets standards.

  136. Julie LaRosa says:

    1. Which article & video did you learn from today?
    I read Rick Wormeli’s “Busting Myths about Differentiated Instruction” and viewed Sarah Brown Wessling’s “Gradual Release of Instruction” video. Both provided some valuable insight on leading students to be independent thinkers. I believe we are doing our students a disservice if we fail to teach them “how” to learn. Wessling provides an excellent summary on the importance of shifting the cognitive load from the teacher to the student. Teachers create passive students when they fail to teach them how to take ownership for the learning.

    2. What was MVP (most valuable point) you learned today?
    I especially enjoyed Wormeli’s analogy that we would never expect all one year olds to walk on the third day of the eleventh month; yet, we do that when we expect all students to take a test and pass it on a pre-determined date and time. Students should not be allowed to get away without learning the material because they failed a test. If that were the case, we would have many people in wheelchairs since we failed to give them a chance to walk on their own when they were developmentally and cognitively ready.

    3. What is one new way you might differentiate instruction to help students based on today’s learning?
    I will definitely start to wean my students from depending on me for all their knowledge, in addition to, teaching them how to utilize the natural supports within their environment.

  137. Melanie says:

    Article: How to Differentiate Your Instruction
    Video: Proactive Instruction with Carol Tomlinson

    Most Valuable Points:
    Article: Differentiation is about using teaching strategies that connect with all students learning strategies and to keep in mind the effective teaching strategies that lead students to positive learning outcomes and to modify and adjust when necessary

    Video: One size fits all lessons do not meet the needs of all students. Pre-planning is the key to proactive differentiated instruction.

    I will try to implement more authentic assessments into my instruction

  138. Ray Gangarossa says:

    Read the Basics of Differentiated Instruction and watched the video on the Snowball Technique. In the article, I liked the ideas of note taking organizers and supplemental materials since I often give my students notes to take. I also liked the comments on how providing objectives and essential questions help meet “guidlines for planning differentiated instruction” since this is a common practice in my lessons.

    • Ray, I have seen you reference back to learning objectives several times in your classes… It is great when the research and best practice supports what you are doing in the class. Have you thought about what kinds of note taking organizers you might have your students try out. The Cornell Notes is a great way to have students take notes… Recent studies by the AVID organization has shown that students using that particular organizers make reat gains in the content acquisition and retention.

  139. John Clifford says:

    From Differentiated Instruction to Differentiated Assessment:: I saw some clear strengths to the HW menu section. Students are already being selective in the work they choose to complete and turn in. Yes, there is work we all need them to do to be prepared for state assessments, but providing them with some choice makes them more likely to complete independent practice by working to their strengths and interests. Since we can’t accept the response of noncompliance to be failure, we have to find a way to lure kids into compliance. This may be the solution. I enjoyed Laurie Secker’s video on using the writing rubric. Students will do struggle with understanding the differences in the scoring system and how their own work falls into it. i would like to see some rubrics created for our new writing system that could be utilized building wide.

    • Two things you posted stood out to me. I loved the connection you made between differentiating and the amount of content we need to cover to prepare for the exam. sometimes in the effort to cover a lot of stuff… We miss the depth of analysis required to retain information. Periodically, differentiating and and engaging students on a deeper level will pay dividends long term. I also loved the idea of generating some rubrics for the common writing process. We still need a social studies mind on the committee…. Wanna join and help deep something like that?

  140. Kimberley Coon says:

    1. Which article/video did you learn from today?
    Closed or Open – That is the question and From Differentiated Instruction to Differentiated Assessment.

    2. What was MVP (most valuable point) you learned today?
    Questioning: When checking for understanding used closed ended questions to get the direct and correct answer. When looking for dialog and more thought provoking answers use open ended questions.
    Choice, power, and competence: Giving the students choice and creating smaller projects creates more success for the different learners.

    3. What is one new way you might differentiate instruction to help students based on today’s learning?
    Create more open ended questions during class encouraging more dialog.

  141. colleen meger says:

    Colleen Meger

    video Carousel activity:
    MVP: Allowing students to work collectively and build on each others ideas allows them to build and stretch their ideas and enhances learning. I thought it very creative to study for a test using the carousel activity which posted questions . It allowed students to check their understanding, clarity content points.Having questions and answers posted also provides an opportunity for teachers to review the current level of understanding for students.

    Read the article: Differentiated Instruction.
    Conference 2003/ Chicago

    I read the article on Differentiated Instruction.I often use reading buddies when working in small group to even the playing field for students who struggle with reading.

    What was the MVP:
    It is important to to have alternate sources for information. Use of varied pacing allows for all students to be successful. Our class has used the carousel method and students enjoyed the activity and were able to really show their working knowledge of current content material.

  142. Jeffrey Telle says:

    Article- Differentiation
    Video- Busting Myths

    MVP- Differentiation does not water down instruction or limit students ability to be successful on standardized assessments.

    Way to implement- The use of tiered problem solving questions could be implemented to assess students ability to answer -wh questions in the 12:1:1 environment.

  143. Pamela Vail says:

    Video : Snowball
    Video-what does it look like, different ways
    Could use for scaffolding for students and teachers

  144. KREDDER says:

    Video : Carol T
    Article: Debunking Myths
    Learn: new word….”Confabulate”
    MVP – Formative assessments are as powerful as summative.
    NOW- I was thrilled to read in the article that it is appropriate to have individualized practice as a part of class. It is just as valuable as whole group and small group work and essential to have all three components. Students often push back on this, but it is an important part of differentiation. Something I can expect and back up with why it is important!

  145. Michelle Scamacca says:

    Video: Carousel Activity
    Article: Defining DI
    MVP: The carousel activity was a unique idea. I can not considered having kids move and work off of each others previous tasks. I like the idea that students could check each others work for errors before they are able to continue on. In addition, it would be helpful to keep students physically active during a long block.

    • Wen you try out the carousel… Let me know howit goes. I thought this idea was great, and the video seemed to make it look really effective. I have yet to see it in action or hear from a teacher in our school that tried it. Can’t wait to hear how it goes.

  146. mrfrisa says:

    Video: Tiered Exit Cards
    Article: From Differentiated Instruction to Differentiated Assessment
    MVP: I’ve used the exit cards in class many times. I’ve used them to hold students accountable and to see if they learned through class. I’ve also mainly used the correct vs. incorrect ratio to determine my warm up activity or beginning of the next class. I liked how the teacher used the different groups to determine her enrichment class groups. It would be ideal to have that time built into the day with our students, or to forward this information to the AIS teacher. The article by Reeves really emphasizes student choice. I think you can combine this information by giving kids a choice on what type of “Learning Demonstration” the kids can choose (maybe from a menu) on an exit activity. Maybe having them do different things to their liking could be a good strategy?

    • Larry, have you ever differentiated your exit cards? I am really curious to talk with someone who has actually used these cards to gather differentiated assessment data and provide differentiated learning opportunities in future lessons. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes. Although we don’t have the same schedule as the teacher inthe video, we do have Adviesement… This is an 80 min block of time that could be used for this… Just an idea.

  147. Mandi Shutt says:

    Which article & video did you learn from today?
    Snowball Technique
    What was MVP (most valuable point) you learned today?
    This technique is well suited to difficult concepts. It allows students to focus on small chunks of a bigger piece. They have an opportunity to work through their assigned content, wrap their mind around it, understand it, and then they share out in pairs. Great way to hold students accountable and create active learners.
    I was a part of something like this at a recent conference. It’s great to finally put all the pieces together to get a larger and more complete understanding.

    What is one new way you might differentiate instruction to help students based on today’s learning?
    My AP students are becoming experts in one body system and presenting what they learned to the class. I can pair up individuals from different systems, and have them discuss their systems and come up with a bigger understanding of how the systems work to together, since the systems do not maintain life independent of each other. I could spend days “snowballing” one system to another and another and another!

  148. Scott says:

    Video – The Self-Checklist
    Article – Busting Myths About Differentiation

    MVP – The use of the warm-up activity as a way to hold the students individually accountable and not just as a way to check for understanding… I often implement a warm-up activity and I now can see how it can be used a method of differentiating the material as well as the classroom. I also liked the idea that students need to be held accountable for what they learn and also how they learn… this accountability will make them more invested in what they are learning and hopefully help to motivate them…

    I have used the ticket-out the door strategy as a tool in my classroom to assess student learning… but I liked how the video discussed randomly choosing in order to assess learning or how the tickets out the door would be used in the classroom.

    • Scott, I loved the connection you made between the ideas in the video and what yoga re already doing. That seems to me to be a huge part of this journey. We can’t always be adding new strategies. I love the idea of looking for ways to tweak existing strategies to make them more effective. I look forward to hearing how it goes.

  149. Brian King says:

    I watched the Carousel Activity and read Busting Myths About DI.

    I thought a very interesting approach was that the article felt it was necessary to let students make up work and exams. The important thing was not when they mastered the content or topic but that they actually do at some point. The comparison to adults re-taking certification tests and such was right on. The idea of telling someone they have to master something by a given date, and if not then too bad, more or less, was frowned upon here. Interesting………….I liked the connection with the babies walking or not by a certain date as well….funny!! Cool article.

  150. Brian, those are great insights. As educators we often get very fixated on deadlines and not accepting late work or late learning. It certainly is a paradigm shift to view formal education and learning in this light… but this shift is actually very authentic. In no other setting do we assume that if work is not completed by a certain point… that it no longer needs to be completed.

  151. rob cerone says:

    I watched Mike Burke’s video, it is very important that you assess each students level of ability prior to planning your lesson in order to adapt it to meet the students need. In PE we do a ticket to leave, it helps assess the students understanding of the material taught on that day. This helps in the planning for future lessons.

  152. Jeff amoroso says:

    I watched the daily assessment with tiered exit cards video. Exit cards or ticket to leave is a method we’ve used in PE for a few years. It allows us to check for understanding and help adjust our lesson for the next time around.

  153. Tara says:

    Video: Improving Practice with Sarah Brown
    MVP: Give back the ownership of constructing and owning knowledge.
    Reciprocol teaching/learning is an important goal when working with struggling learners. Moving from learned helplessness to “I can do this!” is the direction we need to keep moving forward in.

  154. Sue Lloyd says:

    I watched two of Carol Tomlinson’s Videos on Basic Differentiation. I also read “The Basics of Differentiated Instruction”. I was surprised at how a refresher course in “the basics” put things back into perspective for me. I fond it very helpful. I will try to be more proactive and plan for more differences even in my self-contained 15:1 classes.
    Sue Lloyd

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