Educators educating Educators

Jan 19

Differentiated Instruction

“How has the world of the child changed in the last 150 years? … the answer is, ‘It’s hard to imagine any way in which it hasn’t changed…they’re immersed in all kinds of stuff that was unheard of 150 years ago, yet if you look at schools today versus 100 years ago, they are more similar than dissimilar.”

Peter Senge, director of the Center for Organizational Learning at the MIT Sloan School of Management


We must continue to change CLASSROOMS to meet the needs of students, rather than change STUDENTS to meet the needs of our classrooms.

Schools are required to accommodate students, not accommodate who they would like them to be.

Teachers are required to teach all students, not just the easy ones.


Pattan Leadership conference

Bedford Springs, PA

July 2009

Teri Duckett & Marlene Schechter

Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network


Topic 1: Differentiated instruction Principles & Practices

Since not all students are alike, differentiated instruction provides an approach to teaching and learning that ensures students have multiple options for taking in information and making sense of ideas

The model of differentiated instruction requires educators to be flexible in their approach to teaching and adjusting the presentation of information to learners rather than expecting students to modify themselves for the presentation classroom teaching is a blend of whole-class, group, and individual instruction

The Standards Aligned System ( the foundation for content that is to be effectively taught and learned


A direct relationship is made to academic standards, anchors and curriculum frameworks, with the use of various strategies for students to learn grade level content


Topic 2: Differentiation

Is a teacher’s response to learners’ needs guided by general principles of differentiation?

Respectful tasks or Flexible grouping or Continual assessment

Teachers can differentiate through ...

Content or Process or Product or Environment

According to Students’ ...

Readiness or Interest or Learning profile

Using a range of strategies such as:

Authentic assessment, Cooperative learning, Multiple intelligences, Jigsaw, Graphic organizers, Tiered assignments, Learning centers


Topic 3: Differentiated Instruction

Determine how a teacher could accomplish differentiation for the following:

Content? Process? Product? Environment?

_____ Seating arrangement

_____ Work ahead independently on some projects

_____ Graphic organizer

_____ Travel brochure project

_____ Draw a picture of the vocabulary word meaning


Topic 4: Tiered activities to Alter the Depth of a Lesson

Subject area: _____ Grade level: _______

Topic: ____ Pre assessment ___________






Standard addressed/Outcome




Instruction/Learning activity




Home Learning



Topic 5: Self-analysis Teaching Style

Am I ready to implement differentiation strategies into my classroom?

Y = I do this; N = Improvement needed

1. Y ____ N ____ I know each student

2. Y ____ N ____ I know PA standards

3. Y ____ N ____ Teach with both knowledge and passion

4. Y ____ N ____ Provide data-driven assessment

5. Y ____ N ____ Give students more control over their learning

6. Y ____ N ____ Design meaningful assignments

7. Y ____ N ____ Establish flexible grouping to maximize engagement

8. Y ____ N ____ Provide choices

9. Y ____ N ____ Re-teach to “zap gaps

10. Y ____ N ____ Provide enrichment & enhancement

11. Y ____ N ____ Create the optimal learning environment



Topic 6: Differentiated Instruction: Principles & Practice: The Research

Meta analyses research combined the results from numerous studies to determine the average effect of a given technique

Classroom Instruction that Works (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001, ASCD) identifies those instructional strategies that have a high probability of enhancing student achievement

Meta analyses results on of nine strategies on learning

  • Strategy #1: Setting objectives & providing feedback, Effect size = .61, Percentile gain = 23


  • Strategy # 2: Questions, cues, & advance organizers, Effect size = .59, Percentile gain = 22


  • Strategy #3: Nonlinguistic representations, Effect size = .75, Percentile gain = 27


  • Strategy # 4: Summarizing & note taking, Effect size = 1.00, Percentile gain = 34


  • Strategy # 5: Identifying similarities & differences, Effect size = 1.61, Percentile gain = 45


  • Strategy #6: Generating & testing hypothesis, Effect size = .61, Percentile gain = 23


  • Strategy #7: Cooperative learning, Effect size = .73, Percentile gain = 27


  • Strategy #8: Homework & practice, Effect size = .77, Percentile gain = 28


  • Strategy #9: Reinforcing effort & providing recognition, Effect size = .80, Percentile gain = 29


Topic 7: Targets

A. What knowledge will the student be learning?

  • Setting objectives & providing feedback: Strategy #1

B. What will be done to help students acquire & integrate knowledge?

  • Questions, cues, & advance organizers: Strategy #2

  • Using nonlinguistic representation: Strategy # 3

  • Summarizing & note-taking: Strategy # 4

C. What will be done to help students practice, review, and apply knowledge?

  • Identify similarities & differences: Strategy # 5

  • Generating & testing hypothesis: Strategy # 6


Topic 8: Strategy #1: Setting objectives & providing feedback

The research base suggests best practice …

  • Objectives are posted for students (kid friendly); narrow focus

  • Use of essential questions

  • Front loading a lesson provides a 28% gain in knowledge

  • Feedback must be effective, timely, specific, and the student’s own


The research suggests that students desire …

  • Rapid response on tests & quizzes

  • Immediate feedback

  • An example of an excellent answer

  • The ability to make revisions on their own work


Topic 9: Strategy #2: Questions, cues, and advance organizers

  • Questions, cues, and advance organizers let students know what they are about to learn

  • Advance organizers help students find patterns & make important connections in the learning

  • Higher level questions produce deeper learning then ‘lower level” questions

  • Waiting briefly before accepting responses from students has the effect of increasing the dept of student’s answers


Topic 10: Strategy #3: Nonlinguistic representations

Nonlinguistic representations help students acquire & integrate knowledge in various forms:

  • Graphic organizers

  • Pictographs

  • Mental images

  • Physical representations

  • Kinesthetic representations


Topic 11: Strategy #4: Summarizing & note taking

Explicitly teach summarizing & note taking


  • Analyze & synthesize information

  • Identify key concepts

  • Recognize extraneous information

Note taking

Use notes to document learning

  • 2-column notes

  • Bulleted notes

  • Mapping notes


Topic 12: Strategy #5: Identifying similarities & differences

The thought processes found in identifying similarities and differences are fond to be basic to human thought

Learning is dependent on prior learning; therefore, it is humanly basic to ask, “How is this different from what I already know?”

Effective tolls include:

  • Venn diagram

  • Comparison matrix

  • Concept maps

  • Metaphors & analogies

  • Graphic organizers

  • T charts

  • Pro/Con grids


Topic 13: Strategy #6: Generating & testing hypothesis

Requires students to reason inductively & deductively …

Inductive: Facts then generalization

Deductive: Generalization then facts

  • Problem solving

  • System analysis

  • Decision-making

  • Historical investigation

  • Invention


Topic 14: Strategy #7: Cooperative learning

  • Cooperative learning is a powerful research-based strategy that effectively engages students in learning

  • Groups work best if they are not merely grouped by ability (-23%)

  • Students put into groups of two show a 6% gain in knowledge; when put into groups of three to four, there is a 9% gain; groups of five to seven show a loss (-1%)


Topic 15: Strategy #8: Homework & Practice

Research suggests:

  • Homework should be used as a from of practice designed for application of knowledge

  • Homework for young children should be assigned for the purpose of developing study habits and involving parental support

  • Students need to understand the purpose of homework & how it is related to knowledge, they are learning

  • Without practice, little long-term learning occurs (24 times of exposure & practice for learning)


Topic 16: Strategy #9: Reinforcing effort & providing recognition

Research suggests:

  • Not all students realize the important of believing in effort, but can change their belief

  • Teachers need to help students see the relationship between effort and achievement

  • Recognition is a motivating factor that propels students to greater effort

  • Reward is most effective when it is contingent on the attainment of some standard of performance


Topic 17: Helpful websites


“If we can control the attention of the child, we solve the problems of education.” Maria Montessori

This month Ed Tip will examine how to improve students' learning by activating their attention.