DIFFERENTIATION: buzzword, load of sh^& or important & do-able?🤔 Lots of debate over this term- like Inclusion, there is lots of strong feelings guiding the arguments. 🤗 BUT whatever you think of differentiation, it stills remains an important practice when approaching education inclusively.✨ Think about this, if we only offered stairs into a building we are limiting the people who can enter the building. By adding a ramp, double-wide doors, and accessible openings- everyone can enter (though some may require a caregiver to support them). 👍 Stairs or Ramp- it does not matter, but it allows everyone access to the building. THAT IS THE POINT OF DIFFERENTIATION: 👍Increase access 👍Reduce barriers An inclusive approach assumes that difference is the norm. 👎differentiation is a a HUGE challenge when class sizes go over 20 or so kiddos, especially in the lower grades 👎It is a pain in the bum with standards, grade-level curricula, and oh so much pressure. ✖️As teachers, there is very little we can do to work around these structural and policy driven frameworks. ✔️You can still differentiate for all of your kiddos. It will take time, you will need to be flexible, BUT YOU GOT IT💕 ✔️Be clear in the task/activity/expectation. “It is time for math. Today in math we exploring/looking at/trying.....”. ✔️Be clear in what you expect each child, each group, each level, or whatever to do. “Today you will.......”. Some kiddos might be working on attending skills during math while others might be working on enrichment..... and everything in between. ✔️Small groups are key to differentiate lessons realistically. ✔️Be consistent- it is going to be VERY hard when you start differentiating. Eventually, not long, you will be doing it automatically. INSTEAD of thinking in standards THINK with flexibility. ✔️Change the narrative from they can’t to they can. 🧩Children are puzzle pieces. We need to help them see how they fit and teach them accordingly.
Check out our upcoming posts for more information and realistic ways to differentiate in today's busy busy classrooms.