in the Classroom
What Does DI Look Like?
Take a special look into a successfully differentiated elementary classroom, where learning is maximized for ALL students through proactive planning. You'll see students working in small groups, with partners, and alone, depending on their learning needs. In partner and small-group work, students learn together—but are assessed individually.
The teacher models instruction first, and then meets with small groups to reteach. And, students generously share skills and knowledge through peer tutoring.
Students choose leveled books and read together in small groups. Students reading in pairs take turns reading and summarizing.
Anchor activities keep children working and learning on their own, giving the teacher time to work with individuals or small groups.
And, technology captures and holds the attention of students at all learning levels.
A Differentiated Math Lesson
Before moving into a new unit involving multiplication, Miss Roeckle had students complete an entrance slip to assess mastery of using addition and subtraction in problem solving. In minutes, she was able to tell which students completely understood how to solve the selected problem, which students partially understood how to solve the selected problem, and which students had little to no understanding of how to solve the selected problem.
Through this quick assessment, she was able to determine that most students fully understood, a few students set the problem up correctly but had a computation error, and that one student didn't appear to understand how to go about solving the problem at all.
Next, she introduced and modeled how to play a math game to the entire class. This game involved working with arrays in multiplication. After instructing students to work with partners carefully arranged by her, she asked a few students to meet her at the back table.
During this time, she used the entrance slips to reteach addition and subtraction in problem solving to a small group. Once she felt students understood the concept, she dismissed them from the group to join partners in the ongoing math game.
Several of the students already understood the concept but needed to work on carefully checking their work.