Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What is Differentiated in the Differentiated Classroom?

When we talk about the differentiated classroom, we are referring to the many aspects of the teaching and learning process that may be differentiated – that is, the things that may be approached in different ways for the different students in your classroom. Four of the most important are:
  • Content
    • ideas, skills, knowledge, and information being studied
    • content is structured by state standards, district curriculum, guides, textbooks, and teacher-developed units of work
    • all students must learn content, but can learn it in different ways
  • Process
    • various ways students interact with and think about content
    • often defined by the different levels of bloom's taxonomy 
    • processes at the knowledge level may include: memorizing, reciting, defining, etc.
    • processes at the analysis level may include: compare/contrast, classifying, sub-dividing, etc.
  • Products/Performances
    • the multitude of ways students can demonstrate what they understand, know, and can do as a result of their learning
    • allowing for different products and performances is the first step to differentiation in the classroom
    • giving students product choices is motivational, accounts for learning styles, and creates variety 
  • Learning Environment
    • includes the classroom or learning space, how that space is used, available resources, and grouping patterns for students
    • students always sitting in assigned seats within rows is not optimal for differentiation
    • flexible grouping and seating along with a variety of resources invites differentiation

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