Opinion
Teaching Opinion

Book Recommendation: Differentiating the High School Classroom

By Starr Sackstein — August 07, 2016 1 min read

Gearing up for a new school year always requires reflection and new learning. We often speak of differentiation and although I’ve been doing this awhile, I always have the nagging sense that I’m just not doing it very well and perhaps you share in this conundrum.

After looking at Kathie Nunley’s solutions for 18 common obstacles, I realize that I do a lot more than I ever realized. How incredibly validating.

As I read each chapter with interest and enjoyed her practical solutions (it’s actually structured similarly to Teaching Mythology Exposed), I couldn’t help but think that the next page would elucidate some hidden differentiation secret I’ve yet to discover. Many of Nunley’s suggestions are really easy to implement even if you fall under the many “obstacles” she suggests like:

(Chapter titles from the book)


  • “I Long to Return to the Good Old Days”

  • “I Thought I Was Differentiating”

  • “I Teach the Way I was Taught”

  • “I Don’t Know How”

  • “I Have Too Much Content to Cover”

  • “I Subscribe to Ability Grouping”

  • “I Don’t Know How to Measure My Students’ Learning Styles”

And many more.

Nunley’s book is a great desk reference for planning time as you are trying to reach that one student who stubbornly won’t seem to cooperate. We need to turn inward and ask ourselves what we aren’t doing to better serve every child.

Using Nunley’s many tips I’m sure will prove helpful in making me feel more confident that I’m really doing everything I can to address the needs of my many diverse students.

If you were like me, and feel a little fraudulent in the differentiation field, check out this practical handbook and give a few “solutions” a try. Appreciate that each chapter stands on its own and if you have specific challenges, you can likely find them in the table of contents and go straight to the ones that best apply to you.

What are your favorite differentiation techniques? ... Mine definitely start with student choice. Please share yours

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.