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Differentiation. Lanier County Elementary. Differentiation. A flexible approach to teaching using teaching methodologies for learners with different needs. Providing tailored instruction to meet the differences among all learners. Why we need to Differentiate.

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Lanier County Elementary



  • A flexible approach to teaching using teaching methodologies for learners with different needs.

  • Providing tailored instruction to meet the differences among all learners.

Why we need to differentiate

Why we need to Differentiate

  • 34% of 4th graders and 27% of 8th graders score below basic level of proficiency (2007 – NEAP)

  • Students reading below the basic level have trouble:

    • Demonstrating understanding

    • Making obvious connections to their experiences

    • Extending ideas by making simple inferences

The need to differentiate

The Need to Differentiate

  • Increase in low-achieving students

  • Decrease in resources

  • On & Above-grade level students

  • Gifted students need engagement and in-depth problem solving

Graduation rates

Graduation Rates

  • “Georgia among 17 states with the lowest overall graduation rates in the country.”

    AJC, July 23, 2009

  • State Graduation rate: 79.9%

    2010 – GA DOE

    • Lanier County Graduation rate - 74.8% (2010)

  • Lower among minority populations:

    72.6% - Blacks; 69% - Hispanics; Whites – 82%

Why do kids drop out

Why do Kids Drop Out?

Not Interesting

Not motivated

Not enough demanded of them

Don’t do homework

They were failing a subject

Could have if they had tried

58% had two or less years left to complete school

Brain research

Brain Research

  • We must use it or lose it.

  • Provide the learner with the appropriate amount of challenge to prevent anxiety or boredom.

  • Appropriate level of challenge is needed to ensure curiosity and learning.

Response to intervention

Response to Intervention

Tier I

  • Universal strategies for all children

    Tier II

  • Customized intervention to meet the specific needs of the student

    Tier III

  • Intensive interventions for students with severe or chronic needs



Lanier County Elementary

What it is what it isn t

What it is…. What it isn’t….

What it isn t

What it isn’t….

  • It is NOT doing something different for 30-plus students in your class

  • It is NOT giving up control in your classroom

  • It is NOT classifying “like-learners” together

  • It is NOT “tailoring”

  • It is NOT giving MORE or LESS

What it is

What it is….

  • It is providing different avenues to

    • Acquiring content

    • Processing ideas

    • Developing Products

  • It is proactive

  • It is rooted in assessment

  • It is responsive

  • It is labor intensive at first

Myths of differentiation

Myths of differentiation

  • There is only ONE right way

  • You have to differentiate ALL of the time

  • Only for SPECIAL ED students

  • It is not FAIR to all students

  • Uses gifted & talented students as TUTORS

  • Makes assessment EASIER

Differentiation scenarios

Differentiation Scenarios

Carol ann tomlinson

“In a differentiated classroom, the teacher proactively plans and carries out varied approaches to content, process, and product in anticipation of and response to student differences in readiness, interest, and learning needs.”

Carol Ann Tomlinson

What is the rationale for differentiated instruction

What is the Rationale for Differentiated Instruction?

How students best learn

How STUDENTS best learn:

The Engine that drives effective differentiation is…..

Wiggins & McTighe









Coaching advanced learners






Maximize capacity for the struggling learner




A teacher s plan for success

A Teacher’s Plan for Success

Avoid Teacher FOG

Set Goals

Make learning relevant

Teach using multiple modalities

Reinforce legitimate success

Think of multiple avenues to learning

Maximize growth for each student

The role of the teacher

The Role of the Teacher

  • Organizers of Learning Opportunities

  • Create ways to learn that both capture students’ attention and lead to understanding

  • Gives students as much responsibility for learning as they can handle, and then gives them a little more.

  • Focus on the role of a coach or mentor for your students

  • Understand students’ interest and learning preferences

  • Create a variety of opportunities for students to gather information, explore ideas, present information and expand understandings.

Teach for success build a sense of community

Teach for SuccessBuild a sense of community

  • Organize and focus the curriculum on essential information

  • See and reflect on individuals as well as the group

  • Know your students, look beyond actions and erase stereotypes

  • Share responsibility for teaching and learning, ensure students are prepared for their role

  • Move students among varied work arrangements to help them see themselves in new ways

  • Give students a voice

  • Be flexible with time

  • Think of many ways to accomplish a common goal

  • Craft learning experiences based on diagnosed need

  • Think of what could go wrong and structure to avoid potential problems

  • Keep track of student growth toward personal and group benchmarks

Rules of thumb

Rules of Thumb

  • Be clear on the key concepts and principles that give meaning and structure to the lesson you are planning.

  • Think of assessment as a road map for your thinking and planning.

  • Lesson for all students should emphasize critical and creative thought.

  • Lessons for all students should be engaging.

  • There should be a balance between student-selected and teacher-assigned tasks and working arrangements.

The learning environment

The Learning Environment

  • Everyone feels welcomed

  • Mutual respect is nonnegotiable

  • Students feel safe

  • There is a pervasive expectation of growth.

  • Fairness is evident

  • Teacher and students collaborate for mutual growth and success.

  • The teacher teaches for success!

Strategies for management

Strategies for Management

Create and deliver instructions carefully

Assign students into groups or seating areas smoothly

Have a “home base” for students

Be sure to plan for students to get help when you are busy with another student or group

Minimize noise

Minimize stray movement

Promote on-task behavior

Give students as much responsibility as possible for their learning

Understand student readiness, interest, and learning profile

Begin at a pace that is comfortable

Time differentiated activities to support student success

Use and anchor activity

Plan how students will turn in work

Teach students how to rearrange the furniture

Have a plan for “quick finishers”

Make a plan for “Calling a Halt”

Let students talk about classroom procedures and group work

Your input

Your Input


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