You know here at ZONES Math we are all about differentiation. And if you've seen us live at a presentation or training, you know that we stress the importance of differentiation not only in your small groups, but also in your large group instruction. Differentiation in small groups is easy. But what about whole group?
When we teach the whole class, we have take into account not only different levels of mathematical understanding, but also different levels of language acquisition, special education considerations, learning styles, and personalities. While there are many ways to differentiate your whole group instruction, here are my top 3:
1. Differentiate Questioning
Yes, asking questions of our students during whole group instruction is important. But what about the student with limited English? Or the student with comprehension difficulties? Check out this ah-mazing flow chart from Maria at Everyone Deserves to Learn. Isn't it beautiful??
Interaction, with the teacher and with peers, is a great way to differentiate your instruction and allow all students to actively participate in the lesson. Some ideas:
3. Flip the Classroom
No, not with technology (*gasp*). Flip the "I do, You do, We do" process so that students are exploring and doing the work. Students work on solving a problem on their own first, then with a partner, and then the teacher models using ideas and samples from students' work. This can feel scary, I know! And some students will struggle -- that's ok! Use your teacher radar to know when to shift from individual struggle, to partner work, to teacher-led discussion. For some great insight into how to make this work and why it works, check out this article from Christopher Bronke.
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