Sharing ideas on Education, Leadership and Life

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Differentiation- The Key to Meeting the Needs of Our Students ( Blog Post #4)

INTRODUCTORY NOTE:  This is my four blog in my 30 day challenge ( which I may extend but let's take it slow for now ) It started after hearing Kelly Tenkely speak on Principal Cast. So I started then I noticed on Facebook that Jena Sherry ( @jena_Sherry) shared my  status about the challenge. I took that as an opporutniy to reach out and ask her to join me. Jena has been part of pln but until recently honestly we didn't have much contact . We now encourage and push each other with this challenge. OK we or maybe I push more but it has showed me the value of a PLN and of reaching out. We are now trying to get others to join and as of now Theresa Stager ( @PrincipalStager) has joined. Never under estimate the power of your PLN and your friends. The funny part of all the people I have mentioned in this blog I have never met them in person yet I fell connected  with each of them. 

The name of this post is the same as the name of the presentation I recently gave for RSCON5. Below is a link to the Elluminate session. Differentiation,inclusion and meeting the needs of our diverse learners is a real passion of mine. Here are links to two articles I recently posted on Facebook

The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners, 2nd Edition

by Carol Ann Tomlinson   (I have this book on my iPad but  I haven't read it on my to do list )

3 Ways to Plan for Diverse Learners: What Teachers Do

As it says in Ecclesiastes " There is nothing new under the sun". A lot has already been said and written about differentiation and I am not going to add anything new. However one thing that I have heard is that people find DI daunting and many are afraid by what they think it .

Here are my 3 Keys or Essential Ideas

  1. Know your Students- Each student has a unique story know his or her story as Edna Sackson  says " Remember we are teaching people not subjects"
  2. One Size Doesn't Fit All - Even though in many of our schools we put students who are the same age in the same class is doesn't mean they are they same and you need different approaches for each. Kelly Tenkely gave a great analogy. She said that in the same way not all children loose their teeth at the same not all children are ready to read at the same time. No parent will demand that their child's tooth be pulled because his best friend has lost three teeth already.  
  3. Fair but Not Equal- The simplest analogy I could give would be to say well it is unfair that Johnny who is near sited gets to wear glasses. Not everyone is equal because not everyone needs to wear glasses but it is more than fair.

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