Keeping an Open Mind in School-Based PD


Differentiating instruction is not a set of strategies that can be duplicated from a text — differentiating is about adapting what you already do in your classroom to meet a range of student needs. In this video, teachers stress the importance of being reflective practitioners, as they collaborate on school-based differentiated instruction professional development.


  1. Differentiated curriculum, instruction, and assessment all play crucial roles in closing the achievement gap. It helps engage students which increases positive behavior and a sense of belonging (Smith, Hofer, Gillespie & Solomay, 2003, p. 3). Tomlinson, Brimijoin, and Narvaez (2008, p. 4) say:
    Differentiated instruction is systematic attention to readiness, interest, and learning profile. Learning profile is one-third of the domain of differentiation and consists of learning style, intelligence preference (there are two strong models addressing intelligence preference), gender-related preferences, and culture related preferences.

    For my masters thesis I built an app to help educators differentiate instruction. Educators may use it for free at I’m getting it all set for schools starting in Fall 2012.

    Smith, C., Hofer, J., Gillespie, M., Solomon, M., & Rowe, K. (2003). How teachers change: A study of professional development in adult education. NCSALL reports number 25. National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL).
    Tomlinson, C. A., Brimijoin, K., & Narvaez, L. (2008). Differentiated school : Making revolutionary changes in teaching and learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.

  2. I have been a second grade teacher for five years and since I started teaching I have always thought that differentiation as a necessity for teachers. We know that everyone has different learning styles and learns at different rates. The only way to make sure that every child is learning in your classroom is to make sure that the work is given to them on their level. Challenge a student that is performing above the class, and do not frustrate students that are below grade level. Our job, as educators, is to teach ALL students. We cannot do this if we are giving the entire class the same work.

  3. Amanda your are absolutely correct when saying that we cannot give students the same work. We must give students work on their level. I’ve only been teaching a few years. No two students enter a classroom with identical abilities, experiences, and needs. Learning style, language proficiency, background knowledge, readiness to learn, and other factors can vary widely within a single class group. I’ve observed when kids are given the same level of work, some students will sit there looking at it like a dear in the headlights. In order to assess whether a student is learning, they must be provided with work on their level.


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