This year the theme for the staff is “It’s all About M.E.E!!!!” M.E.E. being an acronym for Motivate, Educate and Empower and as the year progressed we inserted another E right behind the M, which stands for Engage. As a staff it is our mission this year to motivate and engage our students in order to educate them which will empower them to go out into the world and make a difference today and as they grow. As part of our theme we have been doing a book study on “Teach Like a Champion” by Doug Lemov. We have been urged to try techniques from the book and I have mentioned “no opt out” on many occasions as it is one of my favorites so far. The biggest topic of conversation in the past year for our school has been differentiated instruction. Our students come to us at so many different levels and with different interests that differentiated instruction is practically mandatory. Differentiation is a technique that can be used for any age or ability group of children. There are a wide variety of strategies of differentiated instruction, including but not limited to:

  1. Flexible Grouping ƒ
  2. Adjusting Questions ƒ
  3. Extension Menus ƒ
  4. Interest Centers/Interest Groups ƒ
  5. Tiered Assignments ƒ
  6.  Mentorships ƒ
  7. Curriculum compacting ƒ
  8.  Independent Projects/Investigations ƒ
  9. Learning Contracts ƒ
  10. Learning Centers

Along with instructional strategies are also differentiated assessment strategies which are just as powerful and as important. These include:

  1. Observation ƒ
  2. Paper‐pencil Quiz/Test ƒ
  3. Conferencing ƒ
  4. Performance Assessment ƒ
  5. Student Self‐assessment ƒ
  6. Portfolio ƒ
  7. Interest Inventories ƒ
  8. KWL  Chart/I Wonder chart ƒ
  9. Questioning   ƒ
  10. “Most Difficult First”

There are many resources for differentiation online with ideas and strategies for every age and grade level. For years I have differentiated my learning stations in my kindergarten class. Each station would always have different levels of the same center for the different skills of my students. This past year with the conversations about differentiated instruction my toolbox has acquired a few more resources to use with my students. I like to use tic-tac-toe or choice boards with my class. This gives them the feeling they have some control over their learning and keeps them engaged.

Edutopia is a great resource for blogs and information on DI and practically any other topic concerning education.

Differentiated Instruction for Middle School retrieved from: