1. This chapter proposes several “givens” or principles of planning that support effective differentiation:
- All students (except those with IEPs indicating otherwise, which is the case for other the givens that follow) should work with the big ideas and essential skills of a topic.
- All students should work at high levels of thought and on authentic tasks.
- All students should have consistent support for growing in understanding and skill.
- All students should have opportunity to make personal meaning of important ideas.
- Teacher-guided instruction should ensure clarity of student understanding.
- Students should have full knowledge of learning goals and indicators of success.
- Pre-assessment and formative assessment should guide teacher thinking and instructional planning.
Examining the principles one by one, what are likely outcomes in classrooms where teachers attempt to “differentiate instruction” when the principle is not evident in the teacher's practice?
2. It is likely the case that, at various times, teachers play the role of direct instructor, facilitator, and coach (See Figure 6.1). Give specific examples of when each role is needed. How do you think differentiation looks different across those roles? What would remain consistent about differentiation across the roles?
3. Review Figure 6.2: Options for Flexible Use of Classroom Elements to Address Learning Needs.
- Which classroom elements do you already use in flexible ways to address learner variance?
- In which of the elements would you like to continue developing flexibility of use?
- Revise the figure by suggesting other examples of flexible use and other learner needs the adaptations could address.
4. Based on your own experience and ideas from the chapter, what are ways teachers can make instructional planning more manageable and efficient when they work to meet the varying needs of diverse learners?