The Differentiated Instruction Group.

  • Sorry for taking so long to reply - I was on holiday! Sue, the idea of the homework journal sounds very interesting. Did you check each stuents wrote the h.w in her journal before leaving the class?
    Naomi_Epstein, 4 years ago | Flag
  • Here is a different take on differentiating Education...
    Well-Intentioned ‘Race to the Top’ Leaves Only Undifferentiated Teachers Behind:
    Last week’s news read: A national commission says teachers from alternative programs appear no worse—or better—than those from traditional college programs. The reasons for this may easily be summarized as neither program is effective in teacher preparation. Is there a net gain for keeping our teachers bare foot and pregnant?

    There are some great teachers, and even some great Teacher Preparation programs, but these are random occurrences where consistency is essential. The reason is simple: Professional Education is missing fundamental standards found in all other professions. There is no standard curriculum, no sincere effort to identify Best Instructional Practices, and truckloads of weak consultants and players with diluted degrees serving up their own brands of Faculty Development. To be called a profession it is imperative that a profession, one way or another, needs to convene a rolling forum to collect and prioritize the core content of principles and practices that every member ought to know. Ironically, Teachers worldwide are being held to standards for annual yearly progress of their students. Meanwhile, Professors, Learned Societies & commercial schools, and some painfully self-serving non-profit foundations and Universities never even address the need for solid pedagogic content. Worse, those that do publish material under titles referencing Best Practices are quite simply hype, if not fraudulent. The current crop of in-charge “Leaders” dangerously resembles the Investment Bankers who remain in charge of the economic systems that they nearly bankrupted. Perhaps the only way to expose and reform this systemic disaster would be a class action by teachers &/or parents & students against all of us who have been complicit in these myriad layers of self-interest actions bordering on malpractice.
    Since the likelihood of legal action is a remote it would be wonderfully unprecedented for a leveraged agency, such as the US Department of Education to hold a convention of the nation’s leading educators to consider and ideally endorse a covenant of principles and more importantly prescriptive practices ideally on a website that transparently allows these to be challenged, tweaked and further specified for different age-grade-situational conditions. Additionally, such a rolling convention also could address differentiated staffing based on what schools are expected to do, and with a differentiated set of Best Practices for each function, like doctors and nurses, attorneys and paralegals, etc. Schools are expected to carry-on three essential although overlapping functions: 1. Teach new concepts, content and a positive disposition toward self-directed learning; 2. Provide assessment and supervised practice in these objectives; and, 3. Operate a massive custodial role that keeps students in school for at least seven-nine hours a day for about 200 days a year for about 13 years, and now through at least 2 more years of college. Our labor market and economic system depend on schools to meet these criteria at the very least. The problem is not the expectations, but that staffing, and organization do not reflect these three societal essentials. And, sadly there is no free market in which to buy the best ideas and practices. But, this is another complex issue requiring several additional paragraphs that would not begin and end with vouchers and charter schools.
    Meanwhile, please consider joining the websites below offering a potentially startup means of getting the current system moving in the right direction for all who would teach. As an aside, taxpayers would be grateful since increasing classroom effectiveness and adding differentiated staffing could bring about efficiencies that could save billions of dollars with even the smallest degree of adoption. Join the narrative. And…
    Please see too our most recent site for THE PROFESSIONAL TEACHER: : and right here at:
    Anthony_Manzo, 4 years ago | Flag
  • Naomi--Would a homework journal be helpful here? Perhaps the students can keep a journal that lists each homework item, journal their questions, comments, or random thoughts about it, and receive feedback from you if requested. If the students are in charge of their own homework journal, perhaps they can keep it up. If they know they can use their "journal" as a reference or for study, perhaps that would be an incentive for keeping a meaningful journal. I did a form of this with high school students. They essentially had a year-long learning contract with monthly assignments in a variety of categories. It worked well. Most students learned a great deal during the year. Those who struggled a little were those who habitually procrastinate, but even those students did well because of the collaboration around the work. When a student struggled, they always had the option to ask for help from peers, an outside source, or me.
    Sue_Beach, 4 years ago | Flag
  • Nancy--You made reference to self-made "how to" screencasts in your post. Are you referring to webcasts here?
    Sue_Beach, 4 years ago | Flag
  • Hi Hannah, I tried this out and found that Questia provided access to many articles on subjects I was interested in. Now that I am at a university, my library here provides access to all of these journals without cost--so I no longer use this source. Personally, sometimes I just use Google Scholar and find many things through that source for free---but if you are consistantly accessing articles for research and you are not associated with a university, this is a great way to go.
    Jennifer_Beasley, 4 years ago | Flag
  • I am thinking about joining Questia. Does anyone know about this online research data base? If you have used it for research has it been helpful?
    Hannah_Guajardo, 4 years ago | Flag
  • Hi! I'm new to this group and hope you can help me brainstorm!
    My is naomi and I teach in a rather unusual situation. I teach deaf and hard of hearing hebrew speakers in Israel - I teach them english a foreign language. high-school. some kids use sign language, some do not. The range of their abilities in dealing with a foreign language is HUGE: some barely manage with simple sentences in English while others are working on writing compositions of 120 words in english. there are about 7-10 pupils a lesson, from all levels. I work with them in the form of learning center, with each pupil following his/her workplan. It works well except for one thing - homework. I have extreme difficutly in keeping track of homework as every child works at their own pace accoring to their needs (some pupils have additional issues such as L.d or ADD or troubed homes) most don't have the same h.w. Altogether i teach 65 pupils. even though they are divided into only about 8 workplans their pace of working on a workplan is very different. two kids in the same plan would get different h.w. the same week.
    can you help me brainstorm? i need to improve my tracking homework skills. I DON"T grade homework, it just has to be done.
    Looking forward to hearing from you!
    Naomi_Epstein, 4 years ago | Flag
  • I find that technology is essential to differentiating staff development. Since teachers are all at different levels of understanding for any major staff development concept or initiative, there needs to be choices and opportunities for some teachers to move more quickly through the content than others. I am currently using the format of a "writer's workshop" style of presentation with about 1/3 of the time spent on demonstration, modeling, and examples of the concept and 2/3 of the time spent on guided practice and independent learning. This is what takes a lot of planning and technology. With electronic resources (videos, articles, websites, etc.) and self-made "how to" screencasts, the instructor can clone themselves and provide a variety of choices. While teachers are working independently, the instructor can circulate and help individuals with questions. When needed, the whole group can be pulled back together for "mini" lessons, debriefing, and sharing.
    Nancy_Cook, 4 years ago | Flag
  • How are you providing differentiated professional development for educators in their learning?
    Sue_Beach, 4 years ago | Flag
  • Thank you to all who joined us in rome for a successful, fun professional development opportunity! I hope to connect with you here on EDge!
    Jennifer_Barrett, 4 years ago | Flag
  • Hi Nancy, To which presenters are you referring?Thanks!Jennifer
    Jennifer_Barrett, 4 years ago | Flag
  • Hi Martin, these resources are ones that I would recommend to support your PLCs: this helps!Jennifer
    Jennifer_Barrett, 4 years ago | Flag
  • Nancy, Can you be more specific about the content modules?
    Cheryl_Blue, 4 years ago | Flag
  • I heard the panelists and presenters speaking about content modules instead of grades. Is anyone doing this? It makes sense to me but would like to hear from someone who has organized a school using this idea.
    Nancy_Gibson, 4 years ago | Flag
  • My studie focus on: A professional learning community as a model of sustainable and sufficient support to teachers in a multigrade environment.
    My objectives are to:
    • identify and convey the characteristics of an effective professional learning community
    • generate a learning model which illuminate the characteristics of an effective professional learning community as a means of sustainable and sufficient support to teachers
    • assess the generalisability and transferability of such a model to teachers in a multigrade environment.

    Which resources on PLC do you recommend?
    Martin_Gomes, 4 years ago | Flag
  • Deb-Sorry. I'm being a Virginian. It's Harrison (NY) Schools.
    Carol_Tomlinson, 4 years ago | Flag
  • Deb-
    Contact Michael Greenfield in the Harrisonburg (NY) Schools to get some contacts.
    Carol_Tomlinson, 4 years ago | Flag
  • Information has now been posted for ASCD's Differentiated Instruction Institutes with Carol Tomlinson in Rome, 16-18 April. Please visit and look for International Institutes.
    Jennifer_Barrett, 4 years ago | Flag
  • I provide professional development to mainstream teachers who have English language learners in their classrooms and am interested in hearing how districts help their teachers work with these students.
    Judie_Haynes, 4 years ago | Flag
  • Several of our high school and middle school administrators and math teachers are interested in talking with teachers in other districts who are effectively differentiating their advanced level math classes to include special education students and students who struggle with math. Can anyone share the name of a middle school or high school school that is using preassessment, minilessons, flexible small group instruction, individual practice work and feedback to support high math achievement for all of their learners?
    Deborah_Burns, 4 years ago | Flag
  • Please join Carol Tomlinson, Cindy Strickland, Vera Blake, Judy Rex, and me in Rome in April for Differentiated Instruction Professional Development Institutes. Learn how to implement DI classroom-wide or schoolwide. Message me for details!
    Jennifer_Barrett, 4 years ago | Flag

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