While we like to think we know a few things about education, no one knows it better than educators on the front line who teach every day. We wanted to tap into those expert minds and learn how they view differentiated instruction, how they use it and what benefits it provides. Below you’ll find four thoughtful answers from our Castle Learning community. How do you differentiate instruction? Let us know!
High School Math Teacher
East Ramapo - Ramapo HS
Spring Valley, NY
“As for differentiated instruction, we may consider three kinds (areas) of differentiation. They are: differentiation in content, differentiation in process, and differentiation in product, based on the student's existing physical condition and preferences, student's knowledge, and student skill level.
For those students who are language learners, for example, we may have differentiation in contents by using different material for instruction and presentation such as powerpoint so that the student can get concept or understanding from more visual material. Also, the same topic for teaching but differentiation in its content of material in terms of degree of difficulty according to the student's different levels of knowledge and skill.
For the differentiation in process, the students have the option of resolving the problem by different processes (or methods). This differentiation in process will offer students a different angle of view and to have independent thinking in order to answer the related question or solve the related problem by different approaches (processes) for comparison and completion. For example, the same physics problem can be resolved by different processes from geometrical way or algebraic way, or by the different principles or laws in physics.
The differentiation in product can assign different related tasks or related problems to students for a given topic so that the students can present their solution or answer as different products. By this way, teachers can selectively assign the problems or tasks to students according to the student's ability, knowledge, and skills for the differentiation purpose.
In real classroom instruction time, multiple differentiations can be applied to meet the needs of the students who come from different culture backgrounds, who have different strengths, interests, and preferences, and who have different levels of knowledge and skill.”
High School Math Teacher
Brooklyn Boys & Girls HS
“Three possible ways of differentiating instructions are:
Know the students' strengths and weaknesses and use them to drive instruction
Create mixed or equal ability groupings for workgroups
Use different strategies e.g. visuals, kinesthetic, verbal; depending on the interests of the scholars”
Freshman Algebra Teacher
Broome Street Academy Charter School
New York, NY
“I have been using Castle Learning in my Algebra Class for a year and have found it extremely helpful, especially when it comes to differentiation. I am teaching freshmen in high school the NYS Common Core Algebra curriculum. I have students on a broad readiness spectrum. They range from a third grade level to a ninth grade level.
To keep my high-performing students challenged, I provide them with a different activity through Castle Learning than the rest of the class.
Students who need remediation are assigned different problems that hone their skills. For example, fractions have been an issue. Castle Learning gives excellent detailed solutions for the problems when in an “open” mode.
Exams have been differentiated as well. Some of my IEP students’ exams have been altered to fit their needs and still test for understanding. These are usually printed.”
Director of Academics - Grades 9-12
Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart
“Set clear and measurable learning goals so you can vary the means by which students demonstrate mastery of the goals.
List acceptable ways that students can demonstrate mastery that vary in content, process and possible products.
Provide opportunities for students to re-take assessments to demonstrate mastery. Rates of learning vary.”