Differentiation can be a lot to manage...what strategies can you use to be efficient about it?

@informed_members @Certified_Educators

Yesterday, me and @rdene915 led a #formativechat about effective differentiation and so many awesome educators turned up to share their perspectives. One of the main obstacles to implementing differentiation is the amount of possible factors to consider. We’d love to continue the conversation here and invite you to share the strategies you use to be efficient about it!

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Here’s a helpful graphic breaking down the different components of differentiation that you could implement (click on it to see a bigger version):

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In a similar vein, you may wish to explore my differentiation with tech website I created this for a PD I led a couple of years back and may provide you with some tools and ideas that can be used to implement different levels of differentiation.

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This is SO awesome! I love how the homepage of your site says: “Whenever you reach out to an individual or small group to vary your teaching in order to create the best learning experience possible, you are differentiating instruction.” I think it’s important to recognize the great things that you are already doing to differentiate learning and that you can build in additional pieces over time.

I also love how your website is organized into tools for differentiating the content, process, and product of learning. The examples you provide for the tools are super useful too. All in all, I think that your website provides a great starting point for teachers who are just starting to intentionally implement differentiation and for teachers who regularly use it and want to add an additional piece in. I will definitely be sharing your website toolkit with others :slight_smile:

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My two most effective approaches to differentiation relate to the product and the process. For the product, my PLC creates a tiered assignment that increases the DOK per the student’s readiness. For the process, I frequently use a whole to group teaching. The students sit in a homogeneous or heterogeneous grouped seating arrangement (something I predetermine depending on the task). The homogeneous groupings will be students of similar ability levels, whereas heterogeneous are a mix of high, medium and low groupings.

Changing the groups has numerous benefits. In the homogeneous grouping, the higher students don’t have to slow down for the lower students, while the lower students have the material and pacing that fits their needs. In the mix of high, medium, and low each can work towards progress. My lessons offer small and more extensive opportunities at working in groups.

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I like how you are applying Depth of Knowledge levels to differentiate the product of learning. Have you ever tried keeping the DOK levels the same across ability levels, but changing the amount of material/content that students need to apply their thinking to?

It’s also awesome that you are finding benefits in both homogeneous and heterogeneous groupings. Do you find that students at different ability levels are able to help each other when using heterogeneous grouping?

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