Differentiated instruction is a big buzz word right now. Good teachers have been doing it forever, but it has gained increased attention over the last few years and has become the focus of many school and district initiatives to improve instruction and student achievement. Basically, differentiated instruction is an instructional theory that provides for individual student needs, learning styles, interests, and abilities when planning and delivering instruction. Rather than “teaching to the middle,” teachers are finding effective differentiated instruction strategies to match tasks, activities, and assessments with students’ abilities, interests, and learning styles. And there is a wealth of differentiated instruction resources available now to help them do just that.
I spoke to a teacher recently who distilled differentiated instruction down to the most simple explanation. She said that she is able to differentiate instruction because she knows her kids and she meets each one where he/she is. That resonated with me. Differentiated instruction is not about ability tracking, diluting the curriculum, or developing 25 separate lesson plans. It is really about knowing each student and helping them stretch and grow from wherever they are.
Let us know how you differentiate instruction in your classroom. We’d love to hear your differentiated instruction strategies!
Schoodoodle.com has a wide selection of trusted differentiated instruction resources, free printables, and lesson plans that can help teachers meet students where they are.
Filed under: Differentiated Instruction on September 20th, 2011