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Essential elements for successful differentiation include specific classroom management techniques addressing the special needs of a differentiated classroom, planned use of anchoring activities, and flexible use of time, space, and student groups.In a differentiated classroom, the management plan must include rules for working in a variety of configurations.The number of tiers we use will depend on the range of ability levels in your own classroom since you are forming tiers based on your assessment of your students’ abilities to handle the material particular to this lesson.
Due to the broad range of academic needs among students, teachers find themselves in a dilemma.
The Burris Laboratory School outlines how teachers can reach all the students in their classrooms when they are academically diverse, have special needs, are ESL learners or have some combination of any or all of these factors.
Many examples of lessons tiered in readiness have three tiers: below grade level, at grade level, and above grade level.
There is no rule that states there may only be three tiers, however.
Hence, the idea of flexible, rather than static, groups is essential.
No matter how you choose to differentiate the lesson—readiness, interest, or learning profile—the number of groups per tier will vary, as will the number of students per tier. When you form groups based on the readiness needs of individual students, Tier I may have two groups of three students, Tier II five groups of four students, and Tier III may have one group of two students. Flexible grouping arrangements such as pairs, triads, or quads, as well as whole-group and small-group instruction, create opportunities to meet individual needs. A flexible use of time allows lessons to proceed to their natural conclusion, rather than being carried out in set blocks of time. When the lesson is tiered by interest or learning profile, the same guidelines apply for forming groups: Different tiers may have varying numbers of students. Even when students are already homogeneously grouped in classes by ability, there is still variance in their ability levels that must be addressed. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). If their three peers cannot answer the question, the student has permission to interrupt you. Adding the caveat that the student should also bring along the three students who were asked will nearly eliminate the chance that you will be interrupted except in extreme cases. The desks or tables should be arranged in such a way as to facilitate group work, as well as wholeclass groupings that encourage sharing of ideas. A variety of instructional strategies, including compacting, learning contracts, cubing, and tiered lessons, can be used to differentiate instruction (for a discussion of these and other strategies, see Gregory & Chapman, 2002; Heacox, 2002; Smutney, Walker, & Meckstroth, 1997; Tomlinson, 1999; Winebrenner, 1992). It makes sense to alert your administration and the parents that you will be trying some new strategies in the classroom in case there are questions. The tenets of differentiated instruction support both the Equity Principle and the Teaching Principle of the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000).