How I Approach Instructional Differentiation

Classroom management: we all know the very phrase conjures up a myriad of ideas, thoughts and how to improve upon it. One of the most elusive facets of managing a classroom is how to achieve diversification of student learning. Most of us will find that no one learns in the precisely the same way. The secret to success is one word – change.

If something is not working, then we change it. In my middle school classroom, one student is utilizing technology on a daily basis through I-Ready and Unique Learning for his core content, while another advanced learner is challenged to express his thoughts as he writes using more of his opinion supported by facts. Don’t be afraid to modify curriculum either! With the new integrated reading curriculum, I explained that I wanted the kids to try it all online and asked for their opinion on what they thought worked. What I learned was that, although they loved being on the computers more, the structure of the curriculum caused the children to be inundated with up to ten different things before they got to the actual assignments. So I sat down and let them choose which way worked for them, and I was surprised by my twelve year old’s.   They said, “Mr. Willett, can we just do the book portion? Sure the questions are harder but you explain the questions so we can understand what it is we are supposed to answer.”

Learn that you do not know it all, accept that you can change along with the students, and yes in some cases, let them know you are learning with them. We do make mistakes as do our kids, and that should be allowed in a learning environment. We are life- long learners, and an atmosphere of change reflects this one true reality.


Mr. Willett

Teacher – The Broach School, St Petersburg

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