According to Tomlinson (2001), “differentiating instruction means “shaking up” what goes on in the classroom so that students have multiple options for taking in information, making sense of ideas, and expressing what they learn. In other words, a differentiated classroom provides different avenues to acquiring content, to processing or making sense of ideas, and to developing products so that each student can learn effectively.” Simply put, “Differentiated instruction (DI) is a way of looking at instruction that is centered on the belief that students learn in many different ways” (Smith, 2009). I created my infographic with this definition in mind. I found an article (Tucker, n.d.) that gave four elements (content, projects, process, and learning environments) for differentiated instruction. For the past two years, I have had to write student learning objectives. With every one, I struggle with how to differentiate to meet the needs of my students. I found some “words of wisdom” in an article I read by Hurst (2013). She wrote, “Rather than being overwhelmed by the fact that the ability to differentiate instruction is an ongoing pursuit, challenge yourself to choose one area for improvement to focus on in the coming school year.” I feel that if I remember to focus on one specific area, I will (hopefully) become proficient in differentiating in that area and will be able to add a new focus area each year.
Hurst, S. (2013, August 08). Six Necessary Components of Effective Differentiated Instruction. Retrieved January 19, 2016, from Reading Horizons: http://www.readinghorizons.com/blog/six-necessary-components-of-effective-differentiated-instruction
Smith, G. E., & Throne, S. (2009). Differentiating Instruction with Technology in Middle School Classrooms. Eugene, Or: International Society for Technology in Education [ISTE].
Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms. Alexandria: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD).
Tucker, G. C. (n.d.). Differentiated Instruction: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from Understood for Learning and Attention Issues: https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/treatments-approaches/educational-strategies/differentiated-instruction-what-you-need-to-know