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Leadership for Differentiating Instruction Texas Tute June 2007


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Title: Leadership for Differentiating Instruction Texas Tute June 2007

Leadership for Differentiating
Instruction Texas Tute June 2007
  • Workshop for Key Leadership Personnel
  • Marcia B. Imbeau, Ph.D.
  • Associate Professor
  • University of Arkansas
  • ltmimbeau_at_uark.edugt

(No Transcript)
  • In General
  • Teachers cover content (we do not teach
  • The content is highly prescribed.
  • There is too much of it for the time available.
  • The end game is success for everyone on the same
  • administered at the same time, under the same
  • Teachers perceive sanctions are great for failing
    to get students to
  • the end game.
  • Student variance is inconvenient at best and
    irrelevant at worst in
  • the race to coverage.
  • In some ways, the need to deliver all students as
    a package is
  • comfortable to teachers.
  • It allows us to retain (and intensify) familiar
    habits of instruction that is
  • teacher-centered
  • low-level
  • text-focused
  • orderly predictable

(No Transcript)
  • It is important to say that change is a possible
    task Schools, classrooms, and school systems
    can and do improve. The factors facilitating
    improvement are neither so exotic, unusual or
    expensive that they are beyond the grasp
    of…ordinary schools.
  • Clark, Lotto Astuto in Michael Fullan (2001),
  • The New Meaning of Educational Change (3rd
  • pp. 59-66.

A Tale of Two Schools
Conway Elementary School St.
Louis, MO
  • Informed, sustained vision and leadership from
  • the principal,
  • Carefully constructed, concept-based curriculum,
  • Strong, on-going collaboration between
  • and classroom teachers,
  • Persistent, long-term staff development in
  • defensible differentiation,
  • Assessment that informs instruction,
  • Flexible teaching as the norm,
  • Greatly improved achievement for the full
  • of learnersincluding the high end.

A Tale of Two Schools
Colchester High School Colchester,
  • Informed, sustained vision and leadership from
  • the principal a curriculum leader,
  • College prep as the standard in grades 9-10
  • College prep and AP in grades 11-12,
  • On-going dialogue with the staff to understand
  • to achieve both equity excellence for all
  • Persistent, long-term staff development in
    defensible differentiation,
  • Assessment that informs instruction,
  • Flexible teaching as the norm,
  • Greatly improved achievement for the full
  • of learnersincluding the high end.

It is one of the most predictable indicators
of schools in which teachers make sustained,
positive change in the practice that the
principal was key in bringing about the
change. Said a different way, it is very rare
that a school will experience positive change
unless the principal is persistently engaged
with the change process.
What is Differentiation?
To Make Sure We Agree about the Target Were
Trying to Hit!
A Few Questions for You...
Has each of your students at this point mastered
what they should know, understand, and be able
to do as a result of the year in your
class? Have students who could have gone further
than those goals had the opportunity support
to do so? If the answer to either of those
questions is, No, for any student in your
class, does that matter? If so, what options do
you have for making the class work better
for those students?
That's Differentiation, Folks!
Differentiation is making sure that the right
students get the right learning tasks at the
right time. Once you have a sense of what each
student holds as given or known and what he
or she needs in order to learn, differentiation
is no longer an option it is an obvious
Assessment as Learning Using Classroom
Assessment to Maximize Student Learning Lorna M.
Earl Corwin Press, Inc. 2003 pp. 86-87
Middle Schoolers Answer the Question, What Does
it Feel Like When Classes Move too Slowly?
I my best to pay attention, but it can be really
hard. I try to copy down absolutely everything
so I can maybe learn something. I always play
with my shoes. I read ahead in the book. I draw
tanks and airplanes. I make up complicated math
problems. I figure out a 20 factorial. I plan out
my day. I color my nails with my pen. I plan my
after-school activities. Sometimes I try to
answer a question and explain things in a
different way so we can move the class forward,
but it make teachers mad sometimes. One thing my
sister taught me to do is to listen to music in
my head, or to think back to a movie, to its
funny parts. I write lyrics to songs in my
head. When I had braces, I used to play with my
braces, and I had braces for four years!
Some Elementary Students Answer the Question,
Whats it Like When You Feel Lost in Class?
I feel scared. Sometimes I try to listen harder
but mostly it doesnt work. I get mad. I want
to go home and watch TV. After a while, I give
up. I wish the teacher would know how I feel and
would help me. I feel dumb. I dont like the
subject very much. I tell myself maybe I will get
it tomorrow. I daydream. Sometimes I get in
trouble. I play with my hair. My mom doesnt
like when I do that. I wish I was smart.
Misconception Alert
  • Differentiation is not a particular strategy, or
    something you do from time to time. Its a way
    of thinking about teaching and learning.

High Quality Teaching…
Who we teach
How we teach
Where we teach
What we teach
Its About Having All the Parts in Place…
Tomlinson 01
Differentiated Instruction is a teachers
response to learners needs
guided by general principles of
differentiation, such as
ongoing assessment and adjustment
respectful tasks
flexible grouping
appropriate degree of challenge
clear learning goals
Teachers can differentiate
Learning Profile
through a range of instructional strategies
Multiple intelligences Jigsaw Taped
materials Anchor activities Varying
organizers Varied texts Varied supplementary
materials Literature circles Etc.
Tiered lessons Tiered centers Tiered
products Learning contracts Small group
instruction Group investigation Orbitals Independe
nt study Etc.
4-MAT Varied questioning strategies Interest
centers Interest groups Varied homework Compacting
Varied journal prompts Complex instruction Etc.
A Planning Guide for Differentiating
Curriculum Instruction
Identify what students should Know, Understand,
Be Able to Do (KUD) at the end of the unit
Define Summative Assessments
Develop a unit plan to ensure student
proficiency w/ essential knowledge,
understanding, and skill
Based on pre-assessment data, differentiate the
unit plans for readiness, interest, and learning
profile-- continue to adjust plans based on
on-going assessment data
On going Assessment
On going Assessment
Administer Summative Assessments
Differentiation of instruction is a teachers
response to a learners needs
Guided by general principles of differentiation,
such as
Respectful tasks are learning experiences matched
to the needs of the student. Tasks that are
respectful of the learner honor the differences
among students readiness levels (appropriately
rigorous), areas of interest (engage the
learner), and learning profile (attends to
learner processing).
Ongoing assessment and adjustment involves the
use of pre-, ongoing, and post-assessment data on
learner readiness, areas of interest, and
learning profile to make adjustments in
curriculum and instruction.
Flexible grouping is characterized by the
combination of whole group, small group, and
independent work. Learners readiness, interests,
and learning profiles serve as the basis for
groups. Student groups remain flexible because
they are responsive to changes in students
readiness, interests, and learning profile.
With high quality curriculum for all learners as
the foundation, teachers can differentiate
Content Content is the what. Content is defined
by the Virginia Beach Instructional Objectives
and the Virginia Standards of Learning. The
content is what students will know, understand,
and be able to do as a result of the sequence of
teaching and learning.
Process Process is the how. Process is how
students will make sense of the content. The
process is made up of the strategies and methods
that form the sequence of teaching and learning.
Product Products are the vehicles by which
students demonstrate their knowledge,
understanding, and skills. They are the tools
teachers use to assess student progress toward
the content goals.
Learning Environment Learning environment is the
where. The learning environment is the
organization of time, space, and resources for
teaching and learning. It is the context in which
teaching and learning take place. Developing a
strong community of learners is essential to
effective differentiation.
According to students
Readiness The goal of differentiating by learner
readiness is growth. Readiness is the point at
which knowledge, skills, attitudes, and
preparedness for learning converge so that the
student is able to meet the demands of an
educational experience. Readiness is constantly
evolving and changing. If all learners are to
progress toward content goals, the varying
degrees of readiness for a given objective must
be honored. Differentiation according to learner
readiness provides an appropriate level of
Interests The goal of differentiating by student
interest is motivation. If students are going to
persist in rigorous content, they must be
engaged. Differentiation according to student
interest provides guided choices based upon
content standards (VBOs/SOLs) where such choices
are both appropriate and motivating.
Learning Profile The goal of differentiating by
learner profile is efficiency. Identifying the
ways in which students best learn helps organize
curriculum and instruction so they learn things
in a more efficient manner. A students learning
profile is the combination of ways in which
he/she best processes information.
from The Differentiated Classroom by Carol Ann
Tomlinson, 1999
Are We Headed in the Same Direction?
Note ideas in the session to this point that
are clear to you. Note ideas about which your
understanding differs from what youve just
heard. Add elements related to differentiation
you feel are important but that are not yet
included in the presentation.
Movie Time….
In This Classroom, Look For An enacted
definition of differentiation… If this is it,
what is differentiation? How does this classroom
match your understanding of differentiation?
(Look back at the previous section for
indicators.) How does it differ from your
understanding? What would the journey be like
toward more classrooms of this sort?
Gatekeeper Skills of
Responsive Teaching
Reflecting on Students
  • What do I want to know about my students as
    individuals? As a group?
  • What do I already know?
  • How well do they read? Write?
  • How well do they understand when they listen?
  • Whats hardest for them in school?
  • How do they feel about their peers?
  • How do their peers feel about them?
  • How does their culture affect their learning?
  • How does gender affect them?
  • What do they already know about what I plan to
  • What are their dreams? What are their interests?
  • How do they work best?
  • What kind of adult support do they have outside
    of school?
  • What experiences do they have that enable them to
    relate to what we study?
  • What attitudes do they have about learning?
    About school?

Tomlinson, 03
Clarity about Curriculum
  • What is this topic really about?
  • Why does it matter to study?
  • What makes it connects to the lives of learners?
  • What would experts say is the essence of the
  • How does the topic help students understand the
    discipline better?
  • How does the topic make sense to experts?
  • What should students know, understand, and be
    able to do as a result of each lesson and the
    unit as a whole?
  • What questions are essential to ask about the
  • What are the key concepts that give the topic
  • What is the genius of the topic?
  • What do experts do with these ideas? What kinds
    of problems do they solve?
  • What is the potential of this topic to show
    students connections?
  • What is the potential of this topic to help
    students understand themselves and their world?
  • What will engage the minds and hearts of the

Tomlinson, 03
Managing for Flexibility
  • How can I use time more flexibly?
  • How can I use space more flexibly?
  • How can I use materials more flexibly?
  • How do I help students understand and appreciate
    the varied needs they represent?
  • Where do I find time to meet with small groups?
  • How do I craft tasks that provide adequate
    challenge, engagement, and structure for
    individuals and small groups?
  • How do I give multiple sets of directions?
  • How do I help students move efficiently in the
  • How do we practice class routines to help
    students become independent?
  • How can I make students my partners in operating
    our classroom?
  • How and when can I coach individuals?
  • What record-keeping systems clarify goals and
    progress for me and my students?
  • How do I establish and maintain appropriate
    levels of sound and movement in the classroom?

Tomlinson, 03
Using Effective Instructional Approaches
  • In what ways might I honor student interests?
  • What options do I have when I share ideas with
  • What options do I have when I craft tasks for
  • In what ways might I honor students varied
    preferences for learning?
  • How can I encourage a wide range of complex
  • What modes of expression might I offer students?
  • What modes of expression might I teach students?
  • How can I support student proficiency with
    reading? Writing?
  • How can I point the way to increasing quality in
    student work?
  • Which instructional approaches best serve the
    goals of this lesson/unit?
  • How do I ensure that the approaches I select
    serve my students well?
  • What choices in learning might I offer my

Tomlinson, 03
For your consideration...
Look at each of the 4 elements in regard to your
staff. Which of the 4 are important areas
for growth? How would you determine which
teachers should target a particular area for
growth? How will you know (and help teachers
know) what growth looks like in each
area? What other key areas for growth would
you add to the mix based on your staff
and your experience as an instructional leader
in your school?
Movie Time….
In Ricks Classroom, Look For The
presence/absence of the four barriers to DI The
nature of the learning environment Connections
between teacher and students Quality of
curriculum The nature and uses of assessment Your
own questions

Principles of Differentiation
Elements for
Developing a Classroom Observation Form
Developed by Carol Tomlinson, October,
2005 1) Evidence that the teacher knows the
students as individuals, continues to seek
information about their learning needs, and
works to let them know of his/her interest in
them. Teacher comments indicates knowledge
about individuals Teacher comments to the class
affirm or positively spotlight individuals Comme
nts to class explaining adaptations based on
needs of individuals/small groups Teacher
surveys students to determine interests, needs,
class effectiveness Teacher stands at the door
to talk with students as they come and
go Teacher makes time in class to have brief
conversations with individuals Teacher
conferences with students to review progress,
needs Teacher connects with individual
students 2) Evidence that the teacher has
established clear learning goals for the day and
that the students are aware of and
understand the goals. Teacher explains goals
for assigned tasks Rubrics or other guides help
students focus on goals Class closure has a
focus on shared goals
3) Evidence that the learning environment is
positive, safe, challenging, and supportive for
the full range of learners in the
class. Tone in classroom is respectful (teacher
to student, student to student, student to
teacher) Active participation by a very broad
range of students is evident Teacher uses
culturally/ethnically sensitive
responses Students ask questions for
clarification, make requests for assistance Each
student appears comfortable with class
procedures Students interact in positive ways
with one another Teacher demonstrates positive
regard and clear, positive expectations for each
student Teacher teaches for success Celebration
of students successes is evident Competition is
against self rather than against peers Teacher
values student similarities and differences
4) Evidence of on-going assessment of
students positions relative to established
learning goals and adaptation of
instruction based on assessment
information. Teacher uses of pre-assessments
prior to the start of a unit Teacher uses of
on-going assessment as a lesson ends to determine
student understanding Small group
instruction addresses student needs revealed in
recent on-going assessment Teacher
attends to questions/interests indicated by
students in on-going assessment or
classroom work
Tomlinson 05
5) Evidence of purposeful use of
flexible/responsive teaching practices. Small
group instruction Multiple modes of
presentation Flexible grouping of
students Flexible use of classroom space Whole
to part and part to whole instruction 6)
Evidence of student tasks/products/assessments
differentiated in response to a) student
readiness reading, vocabulary supports as
needed materials at varied readability
levels instructional strategies addressing
readiness (tiering, compacting, learning
contracts, learning menus, differentiated
homework, etc.) readiness-based small group
instruction b) student interests tasks with
student options based on interest opportunities
for independent inquiry instructional
strategies address interest (interest centers,
expert groups, Group Investigation,
learning menus, RAFTs, etc.) c) student
learning profile tasks with choices about how
to work (alone, with partner, small
group) tasks with multiple intelligence options
(Gardner or Sternberg) tasks offering multiple
modes of expression multiple modes of
assessment attends to environmental needs
(quiet/noise, movement, etc.)
Tomlinson 05
  • Evidence of effective and efficient classroom
    routines that support attention to
  • individual learners and small groups of
    learners as well as the class as a whole
  • Directions and routines are clear
  • Teacher gives multiple sets of directions
    effectively efficiently
  • Students effectively efficiently use of
    classroom rules and routines to support
  • learning
  • Students share responsibility for effective
    classroom functioning
  • Students work effectively without constant,
    direct teacher supervision
  • Supports are in place to provide for student
    productivity when teacher is busy
  • elsewhere (e.g. experts of the day, anchor
    activities, rubrics, task cards, etc.)
  • Evidence of preparation for and appropriate
    response to range of learner needs
  • students who struggle with learning (LD,
    cognitive disability, ELL, etc.)
  • students who are advanced learners
  • students with behavioral challenges
  • students with physical disabilities
  • students who have difficulty reading
  • females
  • males

Tomlinson 05
  • Evidence of attention to individuals and to
    building community among members of
  • the class
  • Teacher reflects on individuals, small groups
    in lesson plans, conversation,
  • or explained to students
  • Teacher helps students develop awareness of one
    anothers strengths/contributions
  • Teacher ensures students know they are working
    toward common goals even if
  • routes to those goals differ
  • Teacher brings students together to share,
    plan, evaluate, etc. as whole class
  • Teacher helps students develop growing
    understanding of DI
  • Teacher involves students in governance and
    problem solving related to class
  • Teacher provides for effective
    student-to-student support
  • 10) Evidence of quality curriculum as the
    foundation for quality differentiation
  • Tasks, assessments, products focus on
    thought/meaning vs. drill and practice
  • Teacher attends to student understanding vs.
    repetition of content
  • Students participate actively vs. being passive
  • Full range of students grapples with important
    ideas, problems, issues
  • Curriculum connects with students lives,
    experiences, interests, past learning
  • Teacher and tasks evidence high ceilings, high
    support for all students

Tomlinson 05
Thinking about the Requirements for the
Journey toward Differentiation What does it
take to Lead for Change?
Managing Complex Change
Action Plan
Change Confusion Anxiety Gradual Change Fr
ustration False Starts
Action Plan
Action Plan
Action Plan
Action Plan
Reprinted with permission of the Houston-based
American Productivity Quality Center Consulting
5 Levels of Leadership
Technical Leadershipmanagement engineer Human
Leadershiphuman relations Educational
Leadershipexpert on matters of
schooling Symbolic Leadershipsignals what is of
importance value Cultural Leadershiphigh
priest who seeks to define, strengthen,
articulate those values beliefs that give the
school its unique identity
All five are important. The first 3 are necessary
for competence. The last two are necessary for
Thomas Sergiovanni (1999). Rethinking Leadership.
Glenview, IL Skylight
The Leadership Forces Hierarchy
Sergiovanni, 1999
Cultural 5
Symbolic 4
Educational 3
Human 2
Technical 1
The greater the presence of the kinds of
leadership higher in the hierarchy, the less
important (beyond some unknown minimum) are
others below.
Fullans Framework of Leadership
Moral Purpose
Understanding Change
Coherence Making
Knowledge Creation and Sharing
Relationship Building
M. Fullan (2001) Leading in a Culture of Change
Wiley Sons
Moral Purpose
Acting with the intention of making a positive
difference in the lives of others teachers,
students, parents, and society as a whole.
Being morally purposeful does not equate to
being emotional.
It also does not preclude pluralism the
reality that we are all motivated by both
egotistic and altruistic desires.
It's About the Vision...
There exists in excellent schools a strong
culture clear sense of purpose that defines
the general thrust of nature of life for their
inhabitants. At the same time, there is a great
deal of freedom given to teachers in how to
achieve the core values. One of the challenges
of moral leadership is to engage oneself and
others in the process of decision-making without
regard to self-interest. When values and
self-interest are in conflict, most people will
choose values over self-interest. A key role of
leaders is purposinga continuous stream of
actions that has the effect of developing
clarity, consensus, and commitment about the
schools basic purposes. It transforms the
school from an organization to a
covenantal community. Leaders in excellent
schools consistently call on teachers and
themselves to do the right things.
Sergiovanni 99
The Rest of the Model
Commitment (External and Internal)
More good things happen fewer bad things happen
Take Home Ideas…
What are take-home ideas about potential teacher
needs in your school in regard to
differentiation ?
A Continuum of Differentiated Instruction
NO DIFFERENTIATION Class works as a whole on most
materials, exercises, projects. Group
pacing Group grading standards Implied or stated
philosophy that all of the students need same
teaching/learning Etc.
MICRO DIFFERENTIATION Adjusting questions in
discussion Encouraging individuals to take an
assignment further Implied variations in grading
experiences Students pick own work groups If
students finish work early, they can read, do
puzzles, etc. Occasional exceptions to standard
pacing. May not need to show work, do all math
problems. Occasional adjustments in grading to
reflect student effort and/or ability Etc…
MACRO DIFFERENTIATION Articulated philosophy of
student differences. Planned assessment/
compacting Variable pacing is a given Moving
furniture Planned variation content/input Planned
variation in process/sense-making Planned
variation in product/output Consistent use of
flexible groups Individual goal setting,
assessment (grading) Grading to reflect
individual growth/process Mentoring Etc…
  • More reactive
  • More dependent on student response
  • More fixed
  • More closed
  • More proactive
  • More dependent on teacher coaching
  • More fluid
  • More open

C. Tomlinson, 1993
Thinking About the Pilgrimage
Toward a Flexible and Responsive Classroom
Letting Go and Facilitative Management
Frontal Control Management
Comfort with Key Concepts, Principles, Ideas
of the Subject
Comfort with Information Related to the Subject
Thinking About the Pilgrimage
Toward a Flexible and Responsive Classroom
Comfort with Many Instructional Strategies
Comfort with Few Instructional Strategies
Balance Teacher-Prescribed Student-Choice
Reliance on Student-Choice Differentiation
Thinking About the Pilgrimage
Toward a Flexible and Responsive Classroom
Use Predominately Proactive Differentiation
Use Predominately Reactive Differentiation
Assessment is Tool for Teacher Reflection
Assessment is Summative, Grade Book Filler
Thinking about the Gatekeeper Skills in Your
CELEBRATE!! (We already do this
(We could think about adding or improving this
(What if we dreamed big…What would we do?)
In Learning to Differentiate, Teachers May Need
Help With
  • A rationale for differentiation
  • Pre-assessing student readiness
  • Effective work with classroom groups
  • Flexible grouping
  • Resolving issues regarding grading/report cards
  • The role of the teacher in a differentiated
  • Appropriate use of varied instructional strategies

In Learning to Differentiate, Teachers May Need
Help With
  • Using KUD-based curriculum
  • Developing carefully focused tasks and products
    tightly aligned with KUDs
  • Knowing how to teach struggling learners without
    remedial expectations
  • Understanding and implementing high end learning
    (raising ceilings)
  • Helping students take responsibility for their
    own learning

To Support Differentiation, Leaders Should
  • Establish clarity of definition
  • Provide an environmental supportive of risk
  • Balance seeing the light feeling the heat
  • Differentiate for teachers
  • Provide guidance in beginning sensible
    progressing steadily
  • Provide materials and time
  • Examine impact of current policies practices
  • Communicate with parents

To Support Differentiation, Leaders Should
  • Begin with those ready to start
  • Develop planning teaching teams which routinely
    include g/t, remedial Sp.Ed. Personnel
  • Start small build local leadership
  • Re-focus/re-energize local leaders with experts
  • Integrate differentiation into curriculum
  • Maintain long term commitment to change
  • Celebrate successes (both group individual)

models the message you are trying to
convey. Its the only way teachers who vary
considerably in skill will can grow into
improved practice. It sharpens your awareness of
what differentiation entails.
(contd) LeaderTeacher TeacherStudent AgendaCu
rriculum (emphasize big ideas vs.
trivia) AssessmentAssessment (pre, formative,
summative) Attention to Affect Build a Community
of Learners High Standards Support Differentiati
on for Readiness, Interest, Learning
Profile Flexibility Non-Negotiables Metacognitiv
e Leadership Shared Responsibility for Success
Thinking about the Leaders Response in
Supporting Teacher Growth in Differentiation….
What Might you Still Need to Do or Do More of
or Do Better?
Whats Already in Place?
(No Transcript)
Both pressure and support are necessary for
success. We usually think of pressure as bad and
support as good. But there is a positive role
for pressure in change. One of the reasons that
professional learning communities are so
effective is that they combine pressure and
support in a seamless way. Successful change
projects always include elements of both pressure
and support.
Michael Fullan The New Meaning of Educational
Change (3rd Edition), p.91.
People do not learn or accomplish complex changes
by being told or shown what to do.
The New Meaning of Educational Change Third
Edition (p.80) Michael Fullan
Changes in actual practice along the three
dimensions in materials, teaching approaches
and beliefs in what people do and think are
essential if the intended outcome is to be
The New Meaning of Educational Change Third
Edition (p.46) Michael Fullan
Becoming Practitioners of Differentiation
  • Staff Development
  • Reading
  • Videos
  • Individual/Small Group Inquiry
  • Peer Coaching
  • Outcome analysis
  • Process Analysis
  • Student Feedback
  • Reflection
  • Goal Setting (Short Term, Long Term)
  • Planning for Implementation
  • Observation
  • Peer Debriefing
  • Classroom Use
  • Co-Teaching
  • Individual Teaching

C.A. Tomlinson/UVa 97
  • Technical training must meet teachers where they
    are and nurture their confidence. Explaining,
    training, modeling, and practicing must be more
    individual and intimate in proportion to the size
    and complexity of the change. It is an axiom
    of organizational development that the greater
    the change, the more interaction it requires.

The Human Side of School Change Robert Evans, p.
Keep the conversation about differentiation in
front of your staff Make it a regular topic of
faculty meetings Provide for regular sharing
among teachers Go into classrooms to watch the
process evolve Ask teachers to teach you about
what they are doing Spotlight successes Create
teams of specialists Get teachers into one
anothers classrooms Provide substitutes for
small team planning for differentiation Provide
materials to support differentiated
activities Have regular summer opportunities to
develop differentiated curricula that will be
shared by grade level colleagues Provide
building-level staff development on
differentiation Attend and participate in the
staff development Watch out for overload
Looking Ahead...
When can I use this information? What else will
I need to know in order to apply it
effectively? How will I know if the
application is effective?
Review Policies and
Procedures What encouragers are in place to
support change for responsive classrooms? Building
level leaders who are present in
classrooms Multi-specialty teams whose members
work in classrooms Shared responsibility for the
change Regular formative assessment of progress
needs Time for planning Active and persistent
encouragement of the principal Providing
training teachers in use of quality
differentiated curriculum What discouragers are
in place to work against change for responsive
teaching? Staff development/initiatives that
pulls teachers in many directions One-size-fits-al
l staff development Contradictory messages about
differentiation and high stakes tests Highly
prescribed/scripted reading math
programs Restrictive pacing guides Grading/report
card practices Lack of parent understanding of
differentiation Absence of DI indicators on
teacher planning evaluation documents
Looking at the Encouragers Discouragers, I
think We Should
Start Doing
Stop Doing
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Do Less Of gt
Planning Tools for Guiding Growth toward Effective
Please take a few minutes to read and take notes
on the following guides for thinking about and
supporting teacher growth in differentiation.
Educational change is a process of creeping
Assessment as Learning Earl Corwin Press,
Inc. 2003 p.15

Teacher Questionnaire
Reflecting On
Practices for
Differentiating Instruction in Response to
Learner Need Read each statement below. Circle
the response that most closely describes the
extent to which you use the practice in your
classroom. Please use the following scale
(1) never/almost never (2) occasionally (3) much
of the time (4) very frequently, consistently (5)
unsure of terms/meaning 1. I pre-assess students
to determine student readiness. 1 2
3 4 5 2. I identify
students interests. 1
2 3 4 5 3. I identify
students learning profiles. 1 2
3 4 5 4. My classroom is
student-centered. 1 2 3 4
5 5. I pre-assess for student
readiness. 1 2 3 4
5 6. I vary the pace of learning for
varying learner needs. 1 2 3
4 5 7. I use on-going assessment
for instructional planning. 1 2 3
4 5 8. I differentiate using
understandings/big ideas. 1 2 3
4 5 9. I use a variety of
materials other than the standard text. 1
2 3 4 5 10. I adjust for
diverse learner needs with scaffolding (e.g.,
reading buddies, organizers, study guides, New
American Lecture, etc.) 1 2
3 4 5
11. I provide tasks that require students to do
something with their knowledge (apply and
extend key understandings and skills as opposed
to largely repeating information). 1
2 3 4 5 12. I use high-level
tasks for all learners (e.g., application, elabor
ation, providing evidence, synthesis, examining
varied perspectives, etc.) 1 2
3 4 5 13. I plan and use flexible
grouping. 1 2 3 4
5 14. I ensure that all students participate in
respectful tasks. 1 2 3 4
5 15. I vary tasks in response to students
interests. 1 2 3 4
5 16. I vary tasks in response to students
learning profile. 1 2 3 4
5 17. I ensure that all tasks products focus
on clearly stated learning goals (KUDs) known by
the students. 1 2 3 4
5 18. I allow for a wide range of product
alternatives (e.g., oral, kinesthetic, visual,
musical, spatial, creative, practical,
analytical). 1 2 3 4
  • 19. The assignments I give differ based on
    individual (or
  • small group) readiness, learning needs, and
    interest. 1 2 3 4 5
  • 20. I provide students a wide range of
    resources. 1 2 3 4 5
  • 21. I use tiering. 1 2 3 4 5
  • 22. I use compacting or other forms of
    acceleration. 1 2 3 4 5
  • 23. I use student learning contracts to
    differentiate. 1 2 3 4 5
  • 24. I support independent study. 1 2 3
    4 5
  • 25. I use interest centers/groups to
    differentiate. 1 2 3 4 5
  • 26. I use RAFTs to differentiate. 1 2 3
    4 5
  • I support students in developing reading
    proficiency 1 2 3 4 5
  • 28. I use high-level cooperative strategies
    (e.g., complex
  • instruction, group investigation) to
    differentiate. 1 2 3 4 5
  • 29. I use technology as a tool for
    differentiation. 1 2 3 4 5
  • 30. I provide student choice within defined
    parameters. 1 2 3 4 5
  • I use Sternberg Intelligences to address
    learning needs.
  • I teach using multiple modes of presentation.
  • 33. I use other strategies to address learning
    needs. 1 2 3 4 5
  • List

Adapted from Leadership for Differentiating
Schools and Classrooms by Carol Ann Tomlinson and
Susan Demirsky Allan, ASCDFigure A.3
Teacher/Peer Reflection on Differentiation, pp.

(Tomlinson, 2005)
Ascending Intellectual Demand Differentiation
  • Expert (Program Outcomes)
  • Skillfully differentiates curriculum and
    instruction through the development of curriculum
  • Models differentiation with fluency and
    flexibility in staff development and teaching
  • Problem solves in situations where
    differentiation is both necessary and difficult
  • Articulates the rationale, philosophy, and how
    to of differentiation to a wide variety of
    audiences (e.g. parents, teachers, students,
  • Uses various methods from a variety of
    disciplines in order to facilitate the
    differentiation of curriculum and instruction
  • Exhibits an unyielding belief in the necessity
    of differentiation for all students
  • Seeks new methods that will facilitate
    refinement in the differentiation of curriculum
    and instruction
  • Understands there is much left to learn in the
    area of differentiation
  • Practitioner
  • Accepts the ambiguous nature of differentiation
  • Demonstrates accuracy and confidence in
    explaining differentiation of curriculum and
  • Makes connections among various methods within a
    discipline in order to facilitate differentiation
  • Understands the connections among content,
    process, product, and learning environment when
    differentiation is achieved in the areas of
    readiness, interest, and learning profile (or any
    combination of the areas)
  • Exhibits a belief in differentiation, but lacks
    confidence at times in addressing challenges
  • Recognizes and avoids the quick fixes to
    differentiating curriculum and instruction
  • Apprentice
  • Tolerates the ambiguous nature of
  • Understands the philosophy of differentiation but
    lacks confidence in application
  • Acknowledges gaps in personal understanding and
    skills with differentiating curriculum and
  • Makes surface level connections between
    differentiation and other models/strategies
    inherent in good curriculum/instruction
  • Demonstrates a willingness to work through
    challenges with some persistence
  • Distinguishes between a good curriculum/instructio
    n and that which is differentiated
  • Asks thoughtful questions about both the
    philosophy and the application
  • Can accurately explain differentiation as a
  • Novice
  • Unsettled by the ambiguous and organic nature of
  • Seeks algorithmic processes and expects
    mastery of differentiation
  • Focuses on the challenges instead of the
  • Seeks solutions that are already part of a
    repertoire of strategies instead of redefining
    the nature of curriculum and instruction
  • Identifies the challenges inherent in high prep
    differentiation (grading major projects) instead
    of focusing on low prep possibilities
  • Lacks a big picture understanding of the
    philosophy due to misperceptions about good
    curriculum/instruction (e.g. assessment and
  • Lacks persistence and a willingness to work at

Ascending Intellectual Demand Differentiation
  • Practice and ongoing support in the
    differentiation of curriculum, instruction, and
    staff development
  • Opportunities to work collaboratively with
    specialists in the differentiation of curriculum,
    instruction, and staff development with
    colleagues in a variety of disciplines and areas
    of specialty (e.g., regular education, special
    education, gifted education)
  • Participation in conferences, staff development,
    and book studies focusing on differentiation and
    subsequent sharing of experiences/knowledge/skills
    with colleagues
  • Opportunities for discussion and problem solving
    in areas of concern associated with
    differentiation with an emphasis on growth
  • Opportunities to work with teachers,
    administrators, and colleagues in the refinement
    of knowledge, understanding, and skills in the
    area of differentiation
  • Ongoing dialogue about the status of
    differentiation in the discipline and/or area of
    specialty with a focus on growth and development
    of expertise
  • Support in the development and monitoring of
    policies and procedures that promote the
    differentiation of curriculum, instruction, and
    staff development

What does the learner need at each stage?
  • Collaboration with varied curriculum and area
    specialists in the differentiation of curriculum
    and instruction
  • Specific feedback on the differentiation of
    curriculum and instruction
  • Discussion and problem solving (with feedback)
    in the detractors of differentiation (e.g.,
    grading, classroom management, fairness)
  • In-depth study of topics associated with
    high-prep differentiation (e.g., tiered
    assignments, flexible grouping, assessment and
  • Opportunities to explain both the philosophy and
    the practices associated with differentiation to
    a variety of audiences (e.g., teachers,
    administrators, colleagues, parents, and
  • Observations and analysis of differentiated
    curricula and instructional settings
  • Practice and ongoing support in the
    differentiation of curriculum and instruction
  • Continued study and discussion with a variety of
    tools and practitioners
  • Opportunities for critical analysis of
    curriculum and instruction to identify the degree
    and areas of differentiation
  • Problem solving with increased challenge over
  • Opportunities to articulate the rationale,
    principles, and methods
  • Discussion and problem solving (with support) in
    the areas of respectful tasks, flexible grouping,
    ongoing assessment and adjustment
  • Focus on the differentiation of curriculum and
    instruction through a study of the topics
    associated with low prep differentiation
  • Opportunities to make connections among
    curricular and instruction models as means to an
    end (differentiated curriculum and instruction)
  • Clarification on both the big picture of
    differentiation as well as the foundational
  • Focus on the theoretical underpinnings of the
    concepts and principles
  • Frequent and specific feedback on perceptions,
    questions, and ideas
  • Opportunities to build upon the characteristics
    of good instruction as a bridge into
  • Specific and clear examples of differentiation
  • Analysis of curricular and instructional
  • Focus on the benefits and necessity despite
    inconvenience and discomfort
  • Opportunities to experience with support the
    organic nature of the philosophy
  • Low risk experiences

Reflective Walkthroughs
  • The objective is to influence
  • Reflective, self-directed, self-analyzing,
    interdependent teachers who examine their own
  • Teachers continually willing to improve their
  • Teachers who are committed to teaching the
    district curriculum and working toward even
    higher student achievement.
  • A walk-through is a data-gathering technique for
    working with teachers, school improvement
    planning, and staff development.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, 750 S. Merritt
Mill Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27616
Observational Category Descriptors for
Walkthroughs including Working on the Work,
Differentiation, Technology and Minority Student
  • Respectful classroom environment leads to
    individual respect and community
  • Teacher directs attention equitably
  • Teacher calls on students equitably
  • Teacher interacts respectfully with all students
  • Teacher demonstrates care for all students
  • Teacher demonstrates connectedness with all
  • Teacher leads students in developing and
    demonstrating respect and appreciation for one
  • There are opportunities for students and teacher
    to learn about one another
  • Routines and rituals are in place to help each
    learn fell a sense of belonging and value in the
  • Teacher helps students appreciate and affirm both
    their similarities and differences in learning,
    cultural background, and interest
  • Students comfortably and respectfully help each
    other in appropriate ways
  • Students and teacher work together to celebrate
    successes of all learners
  • Varied viewpoints on knowledge and classroom
    issues are sought and honored
  • Students contribute to making and applying the
    rules that govern the classroom
  • Teacher guides students in assessing and
    accepting their responsibility for successful
    functioning of the classroom as a community of

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, 750 S. Merritt
Mill Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27616
Observational Category Descriptors for
Walkthroughs including Working on the Work,
Differentiation, Technology and Minority Student
  • On-going assessment and use of assessment to
    direct instruction is the norm
  • Teacher makes continuing efforts to know and
    understand each student as an individual learner
  • Assessments contribute to teacher knowledge about
    student readiness, interest, and modes of
  • Teacher pre-assesses prior to beginning a unit or
    topic of study to determine student knowledge and
    skill related to that topic
  • Teacher uses a variety of assessment modes
    throughout a unit
  • Teacher consistently adapts instruction based on
    findings from both formal and informal assessment
  • Teacher uses assessment to help students
    understand their learning needs and growth
  • Teacher develops assessment options to ensure
    that each student has an opportunity to show what
    he/she knows, understands, and can do related to
    a topic
  • Assessment is tightly aligned with articulated
    and taught learning goals
  • Assessment includes the expectation that students
    will think about and use the knowledge,
    understanding, and skill

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, 750 S. Merritt
Mill Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27616
Observational Category Descriptors for
Walkthroughs including Working on the Work,
Differentiation, Technology and Minority Student
  • Powerful curriculum is apparent
  • Curriculum is based on key concepts, principles,
    and skills to help students understand the
    purpose of the discipline
  • Curriculum calls on students to apply
    understandings and skills in ways similar to that
    of experts or professionals in the field
  • All students work with rich and important ideas
    and essential skills at levels of difficulty that
    are appropriately challenging for individuals
  • Activities, discussions, materials, and products
    call on all students to think at high levels and
    to grapple successfully and complex problems,
    ideas, issues and/or skills
  • Teacher is passionate about content
  • Students actively participate in challenging ways
  • Teacher encourages and supports high quality
  • Teacher teaches for success

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, 750 S. Merritt
Mill Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27616
Observational Category Descriptors for
Walkthroughs including Working on the Work,
Differentiation, Technology and Minority Student
  • Materials, activities, lessons, discussions, and
    products are interesting and engaging to all
  • Teacher helps students make connections between
    their lives and what they are learning
  • Teacher provides choices of materials, topics,
    tasks, or questions, so that students can explore
    key ideas and/or use key skills that connect with
    their own interests
  • There is a variety of materials available that
    deal with key ideas and skills and reflect a
    broad range of cultures and interests
  • Student products are often shared with audiences
    meaningful to the student
  • Students have choices about how to express their
  • Students help design tasks and/or products
  • Curriculum and instruction infuses technology to
    deepen understanding
  • Students show persistence when confronted with
    problems and difficult tasks

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, 750 S. Merritt
Mill Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27616
Observational Category Descriptors for
Walkthroughs including Working on the Work,
Differentiation, Technology and Minority Student
  • Wide range of approaches is used to support
    growth for each learner
  • Teacher helps students recall what they know,
    understand, and can do, and build on that
    knowledge, understanding, and skill
  • Teacher is aware of and builds on particular
    learning needs of individuals relative to current
    areas of study
  • Teacher varies mode of presentation to reach a
    range of learning preferences
  • Teacher uses a variety of instructional
    strategies suited to instructional goals as well
    as the needs and interests of learners
  • Students consistently work in a variety of group
    and individual settings
  • Teacher uses student interests, experiences, and
    concerns to develop course, content, questions,
    tasks, and products
  • Students approach content, activities, and
    products in different ways, while focusing on
    essential concepts, principles, and skills of the
  • Teacher uses whole-to-part and part-to-whole
    approaches to help learners understand how each
    learning experience relates to larger goals of
    the unit and year
  • Teacher uses both whole group and small group
    instruction to ensure that students understand
    ideas and skills at appropriate levels of
    challenge and support
  • Tasks and products are at appropriate levels of
    challenge for varying levels of readiness of
    individuals in the class
  • Students are working at challenging learning
    tasks using technology in high quality ways
  • Teacher provides varied options for student work
  • Teacher adjusts question complexity and provides
    scaffolding to ensure successful participation
    and success

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, 750 S. Merritt
Mill Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27616
Observational Category Descriptors for
Walkthroughs including Working on the Work,
Differentiation, Technology and Minority Student
  • Continued…
  • Directions are given to students in a variety of
    ways so that each learner has access to and
    understands goals for the activity or product
  • Teacher uses a variety of discussion formats to
    maximize student participation and success
  • Text and supplementary materials (including
    technology) are available at varied levels of
  • There are ample supplementary materials to
    support student interest
  • Teacher and peer scaffolding is available to
    support student understanding and successful use
    of materials (including technology)
  • Teacher varies the kind and amount of scaffolding
    necessary for a learner to succeed a bit beyond
    his/her comfort level
  • Teacher encourages students to make significant
    choices about what to learn, how to learn, with
    whom to learn, how to solve problems, and
    criteria for success
  • Teacher coaches for individual growth and success

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, 750 S. Merritt
Mill Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27616
Observational Category Descriptors for
Walkthroughs including Working on the Work,
Differentiation, Technology and Minority Student
  • Clear articulation of criteria for high quality
    work in activities and products
  • Tasks and products call on students to produce at
    high levels of quality
  • Teacher clearly communicates goals/purposes of
    the lesson
  • Teacher helps students effectively self-assess
    learning and reflect on goals as learners
  • Teacher helps students define personal
    accomplishments and goals
  • Rubrics or other criteria for success are used by
    students to develop standards and assess quality
  • Rubrics or other criteria for success contain
    both elements required for all learners and
    personalized goals for growth and success
  • Students contribute to establishing class and
    personal goals for high quality work and to
    determining degree to which high quality work is
    being achieved
  • Students are assessed both on their own growth
    and agreed upon norms
  • Teacher consistently helps students pose own
    questions and skillfully pursue answers to them
  • Teacher consistently helps students build skills
    of independence as learners
  • Teacher encourages students to work for quality
    and provides support and guidance for doing so

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, 750 S. Merritt
Mill Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27616
Unlocking the Meaning of Differentiation A
Look at Professionals
Affirmation Contribution Power Purpose Challenge
The Teacher Seeks
Professional Development is the Vehicle
Important Focused Engaging Demanding Scaffolded
The District Responds
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