637 Week 2 Reflections

This week talk about what our methods are/will be for classroom intervention. I do think that it is important to first allow students to first try to resolve conflict among themselves. The resolution is something that will be useful in life. However, there is a point in which we as teachers will need to step in. Knowing your students and their limits will help you make this decision.


This week I learned from my peers:

  • Rachelle talked about how about visual cues to let the teacher know that the students are not engaged.
  • Jim talked about knowing your student’s boundaries. Sometimes students will not be comfortable asking for help or will just need to regroup alone.
  • Cherie talked about her real life situations from her classroom. She is always able to tie in the weekly EQ with words of wisdom.

637 Week 1

Week One ~ EQ:What is differentiated instruction?

My personal style of learning is why Differentiated Instructed (DI) was developed. I am not able to just read about how something works, I need to see a real life example of how this work. Unfortunately, I did not learn this about myself until my college years.

The idea of differentiating instruction to accommodate the different ways that students learn involves a hefty dose of common sense, as well as sturdy support in the theory and research of education (Tomlinson & Allan, 2000). It is an approach to teaching that advocates active planning for student differences in classrooms (Tomlinson, year).

My seven year old son, Jackson, is now showing signs of dyslexia that have I passed on to him. I could see it early on, the number and letter reversals. He had some of the exact same displays as his two sisters before him. I have worked closely with his school staff to create and IEP (individual educational plan) that will help him with his studies. When I look at the key principles on the Scholastic website, I do see the same steps that we took to document his disability.

  • Ongoing, formative assessment: Teachers continually assess to identify students’ strengths and areas of need so they can meet students where they are and help them move forward.
  •  Recognition of diverse learners: The students we teach have diverse levels of expertise and experience with reading, writing, thinking, problem solving, and speaking. Ongoing assessments enable teachers to develop differentiated lessons that meet every students’ needs.
  • Group Work: Students collaborate in pairs and small groups whose membership changes as needed. Learning in groups enables students to engage in meaningful discussions and to observe and learn from one another.
  • Problem Solving: The focus in classrooms that differentiate instruction is on issues and concepts rather than “the book” or the chapter. This encourages all students to explore big ideas and expand their understanding of key concepts.
  • Choice: Teachers offer students choice in their reading and writing experiences and in the tasks and projects they complete. By negotiating with students, teachers can create motivating assignments that meet students’ diverse needs and varied interests.



As you can see from the chart above DI is able to to increase positive learning outcomes, inspire learning, increase engagement, increase self-awareness and help students learn more efficiently with a deeper understanding of their studies. All of which I have seen in my own children’s school progress.

I am confident that we will be able to help Jackson master reading and writing. I am so happy we caught this early on his studies. During the testing we learned that Jackson IQ level was just below genius which must add to his frustration with not being able master his peer reading level. We will continue to monitor his progress through assessments as Scholastic has mentioned, and decrease his help as he starts to level out in his grade level. For my daughters, this happened in the third grade. I am so thankful that we now have approaches like Differential Instruction to help students like my son.



Tomlinson, Carol Ed. D. (N.D). Fulfilling the Promise of Differentiation. Retrieved on Jan 21, 2017 from: http://www.caroltomlinson.com/

Robb, Laura. (N.D). What is Differentiated Instruction? Retrieved on Jan 21, 2017 from: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/what-differentiated-instruction/

Smith, G. E., & Throne, S. (2009). Differentiating Instruction with Technology in Middle School Classrooms. Eugene, Or: International Society for Technology in Education [ISTE].

Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-ability Classrooms. Alexandria, Va: Assoc. for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


637 W1 Reflection

I also apologize for my posts being late this first week. This is the first year my two boys are on different basketball teams. I have a schedule set in my Google calendar now, so I should be on time going forward.

DI (differentiated instruction) is a much needed way of teaching because of how we learn individually. The move away from the standardize methods to a more proven approach is producing great positive results from the students.



This week I learned from my peers:

Both Gerald and Mariah used math examples for their posts. Math concepts are a great topic for DI because of the abstract concepts. I can “do” math in my head. Therefore, I need other methods to learn as well. Cherie brought up a great point about limiting our goals to a small number so that we can master certain concepts. Sometimes I feel like I am just brushing a topic that I find interesting but have not allowed myself the time to study it.

637: Week 2

Essential question: How do you make decisions about your own actions for students in a differentiated classroom? What is your criteria for intervention, and/or for letting learning happen?


I tend to be more over bearing with my kids, I am sure this characteristic will trickle over into the classroom. I would like to give highlights in my lesson plan that I hope will inspire direction in students’ independent learning. I would like to give the starting point (point A) and where they should end up (point B). However, as we have learned in previous classes this journey is not a straight line or the same for all students which is where the differential teaching comes into play.  


The Learner Relationship supports my statement:



We as teachers will prepare the lesson plan such as a Science lesson on Electricity. We will ensure that the content is accessible to all students. This is the Readiness step in the student engagement. Next the students are able to process the information, or can make sense of the information. The student is able to relate to the information because it is interesting to them. They can tie the information in real life situations (Step 2 of the student engagement cycle). The final step in both process is that the evidences that the information was digested by the student. We see this in the learning artifacts, such as the student can explain the lesson back to the teacher, peer, or through some type of classwork.


The differentiated area is when students do not learn the same. They come from different backgrounds and they do not digest the lesson plan the same. Maybe the student is a weak reader or English is not their first language. Therefore, the teacher might pair the student up with a peer student or give additional information to the student to ensure they understand the lesson. I like using analogies and real life scenarios to inspire critical thinking when introducing new concepts.


On my concept map above you can see the teacher giving the Lesson, such as Electricity. Most students are able to digest the information with no issues. However, some do need more explanation of the topic. The teacher is able to pick up on the confusion and helps the student. The student is then able to connect the dots on the concept. The final mapping is that all the students are on the page.



Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms. Alexandria: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD).

McCarthy, John. (2014, July 23). 3 Ways to Plan for Diverse Learners: What Teachers Do. Retrieved on Jan 21, 2017 from:  https://www.edutopia.org/blog/differentiated-instruction-ways-to-plan-john-mccarthy

BBCActive.com. (N.d.).  Methods of Differentiation in the Classroom. Retrieved on Jan 22, 2017 from:  http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/MethodsofDifferentiationintheClassroom.aspx