Differentiated Instruction without much work

How can we differentiate instruction without putting more work on our plate?

Teachers do not have time to prepare multiple tasks and lessons to meet the needs of each student in the classroom.  The key is giving an anchor task that all students can enter and knowing how to adjust the task based on our observations.

In this class, students were guided to use “Katell’s” method (aka-left to right strategy) to solve the problem 65 – 12.  Notice how the student recorded their thinking process.

How can we differentiate with one task?

During the guided structure component of the lesson, teachers are observing and questioning students.  This student demonstrates and can explain the left to right strategy.  What comes next for this student? During our planning phase, we need to ask ourselves, “What can I do for the student that already knows the answer”?  Looking at this student’s work, how can we deepen the mathematical understanding?

After listening to the student explain his thinking, the teacher commented, I can understand your verbal explanation, but your written work is confusing to me.  I wonder why I am confused? The teacher then walked away, and the student grappled with the idea of equality.  Differentiation is meeting the student where they are at and extending the learning.

Do not try to create more problems for students to practice.  Plan your task thinking of what mistakes students typically make and how you can help extend the thinking. Use your observations to go deeper and differentiate!

What are other ways you could take the task 65 – 12 and extending the task?  Share your thought below.

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