The Five-by-Five Approach to Differentiation Success
Two 9th grade boys kept falling asleep while reading. "If you're sleepy," we told them, "you could ask for a hall pass to get a quick drink of water, stand in the back of the room and read, or sit on the desk behind you as long as you are reading." They perked up at the chance to sit on the desks and were soon engrossed in their books.
"What can I do to move this student forward? Is he processing the concepts? Is her thinking being stretched?" As teachers who differentiate, we try to keep these questions in mind at all times. If we didn't, then our "sleepy" students would have wasted valuable reading time. For us (and for many teachers), differentiation is a philosophy. We believe that all students can learn and be productive, and we recognize that our job is to build on what each student brings to the classroom.
The following "Five-by-Five" approach to differentiation contains ideas that we have found effective in our classrooms. It is not a road map: It doesn't offer step-by-step directions. Instead we think of it as a compass: It is a set of strategies that guide...
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