How to Manage a Differentiated Classroom

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  • 0:02 Differentiation in a Nutshell
  • 1:18 Differentiated…
  • 2:06 Managing Time
  • 3:46 Assessing Needs
  • 4:50 Tracking Student work
  • 5:40 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Sharon Linde
Differentiated instruction is a method teachers use to make sure all students learn. This lesson shows you how to manage aspects of a differentiated classroom, so you can spend more time on students and less time organizing.

Differentiation in a Nutshell

Differentiation is a teaching method that uses different teaching components and tasks to meet individual students' needs and learning styles. In education, a learning style is a student's unique way of making sense of learning. You probably notice this idea in your own life. Perhaps you're more of a visual learner and like to see material for it to make sense to you, or perhaps you need to touch things and manipulate them for understanding. When planning for learning, teachers should keep student learning level, interest, and style in mind.

To learn how to effectively manage a classroom using these concepts, let's meet Ella, who has worked as an elementary school teacher for years. She's good at her job and works hard to make sure all students in her class learn. She uses differentiation techniques to make sure she reaches all learners. The students, principal, teachers, and parents all love her, and she loves her job.

The problem is, Ella spends hours at night working. Her friends and other co-teachers are able to go out after work and relax, but not Ella. She spends her time figuring out the class schedule for the next day or creating activities for students. Ella's mentor teacher, Ms. Miller, has seen enough. She's going to take Ella under her wing and give her some tools to help her better manage her differentiated classroom.

Differentiated Classroom Management

Ms. Miller meets Ella in her classroom and explains that when using differentiation techniques, teachers first need to make sure their classrooms are conducive to whole group, small group, and independent learning. Ella already has her desks arranged in pods to allow students to work together. She has a table she uses to meet with small groups for guided learning activities. She also has several areas in her room for students to work in partner pairs or independently explore, like a science discovery area and a classroom library. Classroom setup? Check.

Next, Ms. Miller takes a peek at Ella's planning. She notices Ella isn't so good at managing the three areas necessary for effective organization: time, pacing, and student work resources. Ms. Miller and Ella get comfortable at a table and get to work.

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