This week we will read Chapter 3. Respond as you did last week and reply to someone’s reflection on their blog or below as you wish.

  1. The authors structure much of this chapter around six questions (listed on pages 45–46) that teachers can use to guide classroom discussions about differentiation. Through this, teachers can work with students to develop a shared understanding about the purpose and nature of differentiation—in other words, they can act as leaders to enlist the support of students in creating a classroom that works for everyone. Discuss the line of logic that these questions reflect. Why these questions and why in this order?
  2. These questions seem to reflect many of the usual first day discussions most teachers have with their new students in order to set goals and parameters in managing their classrooms. I believe that these questions do follow a natural progression for good discussions between the student and the teacher. These help them get acquainted with each other and help them come to a consensus of how the class will be managed. Furthermore, they help the student make a personal connection and gain the sense of the implications of being an integral part of their learning.

  3. What are your preferred ways of getting to know your students as learners and as people? What ideas do you think your students might suggest if they were asked how you could address their varied learning needs and preferences? What do you think your students would say they want you to know about in order to teach them best?
  4. I usually have a craft prepared that invites the students to share about themselves and their families that gets completed by the end of the week with a short little presentation. It gets harder and harder each year because of base-line testing and schedule changes, but I still make it a point to send home a letter and questionnaire that helps me get to gain insight to the student and their families.
    If I ask my students about their preferences, I think most would agree that using technology is their preferred method of instruction. Since I do assign a short Student Inventory as part of the first week’s activities, I know that most of my students like sharing with me about their pets, or activities or hobbies. I try to read all of them early in the year and incorporate them in my lessons as “examples.” This of course, makes them smile and feel important because I remembered something about them personally.

  5. In what ways would addressing the first four questions prepare students to answer the fifth question? How might student perceptions about fairness in the classroom change over time in an effectively differentiated classroom?
  6. Interestingly enough, kids always seem to demand fairness but none of my kids felt that I was being un-fair. I think the questions are a natural and logical way to get the students to accept responsibility for their own learning and the questions all expand their awareness of that.

  7. What are realistic indicators of success in an effectively differentiated classroom? The authors pose several possible indicators of success that we might pose to our students, including hard work, willingness to take intellectual risks, willingness to revise work to make it better, and seeking help in order to grow and succeed. What might change in classrooms if these were commonly held indicators of successful teaching and learning?
  8. I have been using an old proverb, “The proof is in the pudding.” (Circa 14th Century) to help my students understand that they have to try out food in order to know whether it was good, therefore, they have to try my recipe for success in order to decide whether it is worth for them to achieve success. Some learn the phrase well, but don’t buy in to the invitation, others accept it and make it part of their learning philosophy during the year, but the proof often comes when interim testing scores come and the students see it in the

  9. What do parents need to hear and see from you to believe that you are working with their children’s interest at the heart of your decision making? In what ways do your responses relate to a philosophy of differentiation?
  10. I have always been very interested in including my parents as part of out learning community. I make it a point to give them many different ways to contact me and stay well informed of what is happening in our classroom. This is partially directly aligned to my attitude towards D.I.. You might be thinking,“How is that? Well, in the same way that I cannot teach all students in the exact same way, with the same curriculum, I find that I must offer parents different opportunities to connect to our classroom besides sending home flyers or emails. Therefore, besides my teacher website, I use social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Some parents, especially the younger ones (I’m not one of them!) prefer it to the more traditional ways. I’ve been criticized by some that think I work too hard to connect to my parents, but honestly, I find it to be very helpful in not only in keeping parents informed, but also in reaching my students. It really amazes me how I get the support from home that I need in order to help my students succeed.

Mrs. P