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Differentiation

Differentiation is…

A philosophy that enables a teacher to strategically plan and carry out varied approaches to content, process, and product in anticipation of and response to student differences in readiness, interest, and learning.

Instruction for gifted learners is inappropriate when…

  • It is structured around “filling time.”
  • They spend substantial time in the role of tutor or “junior teacher.”
  • It is rooted in novel, “enriching” or piecemeal experiences.
  • It asks them to do things they already know how to do, and then to wait for others to learn how.
  • It asks them to do “more of the same stuff faster.”
  • It cuts them loose from peers and the teacher for long periods of time.

What It Means to Teach Gifted Learners Well

  • Good curriculum and instruction for gifted learners begin with good curriculum and instruction.
  • Good teaching for gifted learners is paced in response to student’s individual needs.
  • Good teaching for gifted learners happens at a higher “degree of difficulty” than for many students their age.
  • Good teaching for gifted learners requires an understanding of “supported risk.”

Strategies and Techniques Every Teach Can Use

  • Decrease the amount of grade level work required (“most difficult first,” compacting)
  • Increase the pace of lessons
  • Extend the content beyond grade-level
  • Link to student interests
  • Give choice
  • Allow collaboration on extension activities
  • Change your role to facilitator
  • Include parents
  • Anchoring Activities
  • Tic-Tac-Toe & Study Guides
  • Choice Boards & Agendas
  • Cubing & Think Dots
  • Tiering

For more information on differentiation strategies: