Just a few weeks back, NGPF Fellow Maureen Neuner and I had a great phone conversation (we’re always saying — “Contact us! We love to help!” Maureen can attest it’s true) about the “D” word. DIFFERENTIATION! Love it or hate it, every good teacher’s got to do it, and Maureen and I were discussing specifically how to differentiate in the fin lit classroom.
I spent 4 years teaching algebra and geometry, often to students who really struggled with math, and then I spent another 6 years as a school admin in a school with tons of challenges, so differentiation was always a priority. Here are two ideas I’ve seen work in my own classroom:
- Run 3 table groups simultaneously, with an appropriately leveled activity at each one. The key: Each activity enforces the same learning concepts
- As the teacher, start off sitting with the most struggling group so that you can model as needed and give no one the excuse of not working at all “because I don’t understand.”
- Move on to the middle group to make sure they’re not stuck and struggling too much, and help them with trickier aspects of the activity, or use your time with them to review