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Monday, August 30, 2021

How You Can Differentiate in Your Classroom From the First Day of School

    Have you ever tried to differentiate in your classroom? So often I hear that it is hard and teachers don’t know how to differentiate. Today we are going to talk about all things differentiation. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite ways to differentiate in my classroom!

    In my classroom, I use these passports for our two major subjects each day, Math and ELA. In the corner of each page, I put a shape. The shapes let me know which group each student is in. On the passport, I write the work that is due for the week for each group of students. I try to keep the shape pretty small at the top of the page. Behind the passport, I staple all of the work that the students need to complete for the week. I create as many different levels of work as my students need. This can change throughout the school year. At the beginning of the year, you might only need two or three levels, but by the end of the year, you might have as many as five or six different levels. I move my students into different levels as they are mastering the skills on the level they are completing at the time. This is an easy way to differentiate the work for your students. 

    Here you can see the passports filled out and the types of assignments that you could include on your passports. All of my students do the same type of work but I provide several different versions of the assignment. For example, all of my students work on fluency during our ELA block, but I provide different leveled passages based on the reading levels of my students. This can be done for many different areas of your students' learning. You can see above that I have a word work, library, fluency, comprehension and writing section for each passport. At the very beginning of the year, I might start with 2 different levels of passports, and then as the year progresses and my students need different levels of work, I create more passports. I will create as many different levels as my students need. 

    My next favorite thing to use to differentiate is colored paper. I like to use blue, green, yellow and orange. I will put different activities and centers on the colored paper and my students know what color to work on. They just simply go and grab what they need and get started on their work. This is another super-easy way to differentiate and allow your students to take responsibility for their learning. 

    The final way that I love to differentiate is with colored dots. This is another super-easy way for your students to just grab what they need. I use the same colors as the colored paper and so my students know what color they need to grab. I like to put the colored dots on the top of the page, or on the top of leveled readers. 

    There are so many different ways to differentiate in your classroom. I like to make it easy and accessible for my students, so they know exactly what they need to do. Each of these different ways make it super easy for the teacher as well. 

    It is so important that we are differentiating for our students and meeting them at the level where they are. It takes a little bit of time to find all of the different levels of materials, but once you get started you will see how easy it is to keep going. Your students will be excited as well because they are completing work at their level. Your high students are not doing work that is too easy and your low students are not getting frustrated with work that is too hard. What is your favorite takeaway from today? What area of differentiation are you going to fry first? 

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