Differentiation … what is it?

We had an interesting conversation going on another thread about this concept of differentiated instruction. What is it? What does it have to do with the new common core standards? How do teachers know what to do? How do parents know if teachers are doing it correctly? It’s a big can of worms, so we went to a source we personally know for some answers.

Ella Smith is a special education inclusion science teacher at North Springs High School in Fulton County. A resident of DeKalb, Ella ran for school board in 2008, but was defeated by Don McChesney. Ella has written posts for DeKalb School Watch in the past, and has graciously shared her knowledge of differentiated instruction below. READ ON:

Today’s teachers find a variety of needs in a classroom, from gifted/advanced students who need enrichment, to students with many different special needs. Differentiation is a response to being able to teach all the students using different means due to one size not fitting all the needs of all students. It means as teachers we are becoming proactive and being forced to plan varied approaches to what students need to learn, how the different students will learn the standard and how the students will show that they have learned the standard. The presentation does need to be in many different modalities to reach more students also. Students may show they have learned the standards in many ways. In pre-test students may show they already understand the standard, and they can receive enrichment or go on to another standard they may not have mastered earlier in the year or they may go ahead and start working on a new standard.

A teacher could have different tests for different students depending on their vocabulary, their reading level and their abilities. However, it does mean different things depending on the needs of the student and the teaching situation. Many times a teacher will group students in their classroom. Sometimes students may even be grouped in different classrooms. In the same classroom, a teacher could have different assignments at stations or projects based assignments, which takes into account the level of the students or how the particular student learns best. Teachers could even work together and divide the students according to the pre-test or the level of understanding of a standard, which may or may not have anything to do with ability level. As team teachers, we divide the students frequently and in ways that have nothing to do with special needs. One of us may do enrichment while the other one continues to work on the standard that a group of students did not appear to have mastered yet.

So many people are so afraid of the fairness of these practices. However, the new teacher’s evaluation tools include a tool that evaluates if the teacher is providing differentiated instruction. It is becoming a requirement of all teachers. Another issue that is changing is how we grade students. Next year at North Springs High School, we will grade whether a student has mastered a particular standard. There will not be A’s or B’s or C’s as in the past. The new grading system will break down each standard and show if the student has mastered each particular standard. I have not done this yet so I am sure it will be an interesting year. I have only received minor in-service training on this. I am not sure if we are a pilot or not but it is my understanding that this type of grading system is coming to all within the state.

After the new grading goes into affect, you will have a great deal of differentiated instruction in a classroom because teachers must go back and remediate students who did not master a standard. Teachers are expected to do this now, but many continue on with the next standard regardless of whether all students have mastered the current standard. Differentiation means that students in the classroom will frequently be working on different standards. This will be the norm.

In getting away from grades as we know them and concentrating on each student mastering each standard, differentiated instruction will be an every day occurrence in all classes. The fairness of this approach will be that all students must show they have mastered the particular standard and this could be shown in many different ways. It does not always have to be a test, but it could be several different tests on several different reading levels or project-based learning.

Differentiated instruction is a response to all the needs of students in a classroom and it is a means for teachers to be proactive and plan for all the different needs. It may involve many different things depending on the situation and the creativity of the teacher. Since it will be part of the new evaluation tool for teachers it is a necessity for teachers to show differentiated instructions in their lesson plans and in their presentation of material to different students with different needs regardless of what these needs may be. It is a very difficult task and it makes teaching even more difficult.

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55 Responses to Differentiation … what is it?

  1. Internet-Libertarian says:

    What’s interesting:
    The next BOE Rep for District 6 said
    We Live in a world where achievement gaps and lack of access to resources such as technology often cause our young people to be mired untenable circumstances that can lead to unconscionable instances of failure and discontent …. This is why we must do what is necessary to stop curriculum differentiation within the DeKalb County School System.

    Dunwoody Mom said:
    I read Denise’s entry and many of the comments and I come away concerned, very concerned.

    To quote SNL:
    I’m all verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.”

  2. Amy Parker says:

    When I was in school, we differentiated by putting students of similar abilities in the same classrooms. That is now unpopular. All students are in the same classrooms, where the poor teacher is trying to tutor the slower ones, and the faster ones are bored out of their minds.

    Why would a teacher want to take on all this extra work? This is just crazy. Group kids according to their skills, so that the quicker ones can blaze ahead, and those that need extra attention can get it.

  3. RealWorldEducation says:

    Any ideas on how to do this with 36-39 students? I have had classes of 25 with students who have mastered the standard, are on level, below level, have an SST, have an IEP, and have English as their second language. That’s a possible 6 differentiations running on the same day for ONE lesson. I must also keep data on all of the differences and how students perform, while planning the next day’s 6 different options per lesson..when I have a planning period, which was sometimes once a week.It’s not that teachers want to do this, we are told this is what we must do or else…with 36-39 it’s a bit much. To grade based on standard mastery sounds awesome..I would like to see how this works on a practical level with larger and larger classes.

  4. atlantawombat says:

    I am so sick and tired of these mandates from on high! And all of the bloody documentation to appease the administration! And the fashionable theories! Whatever happened to plain old common sense?!?

    First: Increased class size = decreased teacher effectiveness
    Second: More documentation for administration = less teacher prep time
    Third: Fewer resources from district = shortages in classroom
    Fourth: Lower teacher pay = lower teacher morale
    Fifth: Lower teacher pay = fewer classroom resources (I can’t afford to pick up the slack with
    my own money).
    Sixth: More responsibilities for teachers = poor quality of performance in all areas
    Seventh: High stakes testing is NOT equitable. EOCTs do NOT recognize different learning styles. Students may NOT submit a project for the SAT, ACT, ASVAB nor AP exams.

    Good teachers automatically “differentiate” instruction. We monitor for understanding. We adjust our strategies during our lessons. We adapt. We allow our students to demonstrate mastery in various ways. But at the end of the day, everything hinges on a multiple choice test and/or an essay. That’s it and that’s all.

    In our current educational model, the end of year results–the numbers–matter; not the children.

  5. murphey says:

    @atlantawombat – “But at the end of the day, everything hinges on a multiple choice test and/or an essay.”

    I agree! That’s why I’m skeptical about allowing students to demonstrate mastery in various ways. We may end up with students who have good grades but lousy ACT/SAT/AP scores. And it will be the teacher and the school who will be blamed and suspected of grade inflation.

    I don’t think we should throw in the towel and abandon traditional testing until the ENTIRE system allows “various ways” of demonstrating mastery. We’ll all be old and gray by the time that occurs.

    It’s great that the student has learned the material but in this day and age it’s about testing. Some colleges look beyond ACT/SAT/AP scores but most do not.

  6. I guess we no longer have to ‘Wait for Superman’ – it has been deemed that he/she is our teachers!

  7. Douglas says:

    Another problem is when you differentiate with different tests can you truly measure if they truly mastered the standard–adding a number problem is quite different than a word problem which requires addition. And what happens to those that do not master the standard after say 10 weeks? Do they move on are repeat the standard? Get credit for 5th grade, 6th grade, or 7th grade math?

  8. Susan Curtis says:

    Carol Ann Tomlinson is perhaps the educational DI expert. Here’s what she has to say about DI. I’ve taught in classrooms of 32 and never really had a problem differentiating. I don’t understand the hoopla – this is not a new idea.

    What Is Differentiated Instruction?
    By: Carol Ann Tomlinson

    Differentiation means tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. Whether teachers differentiate content, process, products, or the learning environment, the use of ongoing assessment and flexible grouping makes this a successful approach to instruction.

    Related resources

    Webcast: Differentiated Reading Instruction This link leads to video content about Webcast: Differentiated Reading Instruction
    Best Practice for RTI: Differentiated Reading Instruction for All Students (Tier 1)
    Differentiation Tips for Parents

    At its most basic level, differentiation consists of the efforts of teachers to respond to variance among learners in the classroom. Whenever a teacher reaches out to an individual or small group to vary his or her teaching in order to create the best learning experience possible, that teacher is differentiating instruction.

    Teachers can differentiate at least four classroom elements based on student readiness, interest, or learning profile:

    Content – what the student needs to learn or how the student will get access to the information;
    Process – activities in which the student engages in order to make sense of or master the content;
    Products – culminating projects that ask the student to rehearse, apply, and extend what he or she has learned in a unit; and
    Learning environment – the way the classroom works and feels.

    Content

    Examples of differentiating content at the elementary level include the following:

    Using reading materials at varying readability levels;
    Putting text materials on tape;
    Using spelling or vocabulary lists at readiness levels of students;
    Presenting ideas through both auditory and visual means;
    Using reading buddies; and
    Meeting with small groups to re-teach an idea or skill for struggling learners, or to extend the thinking or skills of advanced learners.

    Process

    Examples of differentiating process or activities at the elementary level include the following:

    Using tiered activities through which all learners work with the same important understandings and skills, but proceed with different levels of support, challenge, or complexity;
    Providing interest centers that encourage students to explore subsets of the class topic of particular interest to them;
    Developing personal agendas (task lists written by the teacher and containing both in-common work for the whole class and work that addresses individual needs of learners) to be completed either during specified agenda time or as students complete other work early;
    Offering manipulatives or other hands-on supports for students who need them; and
    Varying the length of time a student may take to complete a task in order to provide additional support for a struggling learner or to encourage an advanced learner to pursue a topic in greater depth.

    Products

    Examples of differentiating products at the elementary level include the following:

    Giving students options of how to express required learning (e.g., create a puppet show, write a letter, or develop a mural with labels);
    Using rubrics that match and extend students’ varied skills levels;
    Allowing students to work alone or in small groups on their products; and
    Encouraging students to create their own product assignments as long as the assignments contain required elements.

    Learning environment

    Examples of differentiating learning environment at the elementary level include:

    Making sure there are places in the room to work quietly and without distraction, as well as places that invite student collaboration;
    Providing materials that reflect a variety of cultures and home settings;
    Setting out clear guidelines for independent work that matches individual needs;
    Developing routines that allow students to get help when teachers are busy with other students and cannot help them immediately; and
    Helping students understand that some learners need to move around to learn, while others do better sitting quietly (Tomlinson, 1995, 1999; Winebrenner, 1992, 1996).

    References

    Excerpted from: Tomlinson, C. A. (August, 2000). Differentiation of Instruction in the Elementary Grades. ERIC Digest. ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education.

  9. Dekalbite2 says:

    Ella Smith is talking about differentiating instruction, not differentiating the curriculum. That’s why she calls it differentiated instruction in her post.

    IMO – The part you quote from Ms. McGill’s post refers to the practice of for lack of a better term “dumbing down the curriculum” in Title 1 schools and also offering a different curriculum in Title 1 high schools. This in turn drives involved parents to seek special programs and services outside their neighborhood. She appears to ask that equity be a driving force in DeKalb schools.

    If you look at demographically comparable schools and systems in the metro area that have much better outcomes for Title 1 students, you will see that the offerings from school to school are more equitable than DeKalb.

    I agree with most of what Ms. McGill says which probably means little since she is not running in my district. The candidates in my district do not express these same concerns although they share other concerns that she has discussed on this blog (e.g. fiscal responsibility). However, if DeKalb is to right this ship, equity goes to the heart of the matter. Educational equity isn’t just about how many new schools you build. It is also and more so about equality in course offerings and curriculum.

  10. howitworks says:

    Exactly! This is what is done at the Catholic Schools and the Private Schools. They take the kids by Math ability and rotate them that way. The highest scoring kids are in the “C” group. The next highest group are in the “B” group. The lowest performing group is in the “A ” group. When you complain about your kid being in the “B” group instead of the “C” group they tell you their is really no difference. Also, they do not let boys start school whose birthday is after June 1, of the year. Most don’t take any boys born after April 1, of the school year. My daughter whose birthday is March 10th was refered to as one of the younger kids. In public school she is old. Also in private school and Catholic School they have Pre-first to address any issues found with kids who are either immature in kindergarten or don’t appear to be latching on to schoolwork as fast as other kids.

    Parental involment should be 100% mandatory!. If you don’t have the time, then you can pay a surgate or write a check for a donation.

    One of my friends who child goes to a private school, just got a bus scholarship, since she has to work more due to a divorce. I wrote the application for her. She told me that it requires her to volunteer. She then says what am I going to do. I said simple, you were born in France, you are a native speaker, you go in an introduce your self to the French teacher. i am sure she will be glad to have a volunteer who is a natiave speaker.

  11. Internet-Libertarian says:

    Hi Dekalbbite2!
    How are Title 1 schools’ curriculum different than the other schools?

  12. Dedicated Educator says:

    Your point was thorough and well-stated. Based on many of the posts there is a lot of confusion regarding what differentiation is and is not. Those of you who are confused, re-read Susan’s post and learn.

  13. Dekalbite2 says:

    @ Internet-Libertarian

    Why don’t you say why you think it’s equal? There is a reason that all these special programs and schools are embedded in DeKalb.

    The way gifted services are delivered is different. Also AP offerings and advanced classes are not the same. Before you blame this on the students, do some research as to the number of transfers out of DCSS neighborhood schools and then look at the number of transfers out of neighborhood schools in other demographically similar metro school systems.

    BTW – I believe in ability grouping with struggling students being taught by highly qualified teachers in small groups specific to the subject they are having trouble mastering. That’s passé today as they want to pack 39 in a room and “coach” the teacher in differentiation, but that model is impossible with these numbers. Struggling students should have remediation in small group settings, and most of them should not stay in remedial classes forever. Just look at how Massachusetts runs their schools with the best results in the country. Standardization begins at the state level. And every student in Massachusetts has access to the most widespread and comprehensive technical and vocational programs in the country.

  14. Dekalbite2 says:

    I think Ms. Tomlinson’s description of differentiatinginstruction has more applicability for elementary school students who are with their teacher all day. This is very much how my 4th grade self contained class operated. Many of the challenges our middle and high schools face preclude quite a few of her suggestions. For example, what if you do not have a classroom – rather you use others classrooms during their plan periods so you move from room to room? What’s if your room (or trailer) is sized so that 36 or 37 students cannot move around without bumping into one another? What do you do with 50 minute class periods – actually more like 45 allowing for class changes? Does a DeKalb teacher who Is operating on a scripted learning program have this flexibility?

    Not saying it can’t be done. Just that not all (too many) teachers in DeKalb do not have the environment or working conditions conducive to this way of teaching. This is not their decision. They dance with the partner they are given.

    Saying class size doesn’t matter is hiding your head in the sand. Saying the physical environment and access to equipment and supplies is not important to differentiating instruction is also incorrect.

    Class size and the classroom environment is up to the school system administration. Teachers have very little to no control over these factors that are critical to differentiating instruction in DeKalb. Look at the schools and classes that are held up as models in DeKalb and you will see their class size and environment is much more conducive to Ms. Tomlinson’s ideas for differentiating instruction.

  15. atlantawombat says:

    Just another case of “theory” versus “reality.” In a perfect world, blah blah blah can happen…

    Nonetheless, as I stated before, good teachers have always differentiated instruction (and will continue to do so) despite the challenges. I just refuse to generate all of that meaningless paperwork for the administration to prove it. If administrators don’t know good teaching when they see it, then they should not be supervisors.

  16. Susan Curtis says:

    Amen to administrators knowing good teaching. When I taught 6th grade Language Arts, I still differentiated – it’s more a philosophy/belief that leads to action within the classroom – but the paperwork is unnecessary.

  17. RealWorldEducation says:

    Exactly. We differentiate instruction, allow for multiple forms of mastery, then the test is MC. Even the CC tests, which have yet to be created, do not appear to be differentiated. If a teacher is evaluated on how well her students perform on MC tests, she will make sure they can perform on that “standard” FIRST, then they can show mastery using multiple methods of production. Where is the test which allows for multiple reading levels and text difficulty, or “multiple intelligences”? Where is the test for kinesthetic learners? I tried small groups in a 34 plus class…they couldn’t move the desks enough to make it very workable in the small room and everyone was too close to each other, so people just chatted from group to group.

  18. RealWorldEducation says:

    Ah, but how do they know you are differentiating if you cannot show it through data? How do you know if they are learning or not if it is not in your data? I have been told by those in positions to know, admin, etc., that it only counts if it is in the data. If you do not produce the data, the paperwork, what you do in the classroom has no tangible meaning to the number crunchers. I have learned to loathe the word “data.” It’s not about my using it to actually aid instruction. It’s a requirement to produce it on a daily and weekly basis for inspection. There’s no time to actually analyze it and use it if I wanted to, as new data is always required and must be posted and logged and double checked. It is not there to help the teacher to improve their craft or to help students fill in learning gaps. Data exists because it must exist.

  19. Ned says:

    Not my district, but when I read things like “often cause our young people to be mired untenable” or putting the “ownest” on someone or “curriculums” I’m not convinced the individual in question would get a lot of respect from teachers should she be elected to the school board.
    I don’t mean to say Ms. McGill’s ideas are good or bad, but we already have two fairly inarticulate board members (Jay, Sarah) . . .

  20. atlantawombat says:

    @RealWorldEducation – 5:12 pm
    So true!
    Data notebooks, data charts, data rooms…

    I learned that the purpose of data is to drive instruction. Assessment is not just for grades; it should be used to inform our teaching. If all of the students are unsuccessful on an assessment, that should inform me that I need to re-teach that standard. The data should provoke the teacher to reflect upon the lesson/activity; to modify the lesson; to implement different strategies; to collaborate with colleagues; to research other methodologies, etc.

    I just wanna’ teach…

  21. Internet-Libertarian says:

    Dekalbite2,
    I don’t know anything about the curriculum whether it’s equal or not. You said Title 1 High Schools offered a different curriculum. How is it different?

  22. DinoMom says:

    Ella’s description of the instructional method being implemented at North Springs HS next year sounds very much like a variation on Benjamin Bloom’s “Mastery Learning” model, an instructional mode that has been used very successfully at Ben Franklin Academy (a private school near Emory) for many years. Under the Mastery Learning model, a student must demonstrate mastery of a topic before he/she moves on to the next topic.

    http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Mastery_learning

    Mastery learning, when implemented correctly, can be an extremely effective instructional method. However, it is very costly in terms of teacher resources and I cannot imagine how it could possibly be effective in a classroom of 30+ students. There simply isn’t enough time in a typical class period for a teacher to effectively assess and teach to 30+ students who are all proceeding at his/her own pace through the required material. What a nightmare.

    My mother, a long time teacher who eventually became the supervisor of the public high schools in her county, was tasked to implement mastery learning in those high schools over 20 years ago. She was not successful – the burden on the classroom teachers was simply too great for that instructional method to succeed. Before Mastery Learning, or any other type of differentiated instruction, can succeed, we must first reduce class size to something that is sane and manageable. Asking a teacher to effectively implement differentiated instruction in Dekalb County would be a pipe dream at this point in time and in my opinion, totally unfair to our already immensely overburdened teachers.

  23. DSWparticipant says:

    Differentiation: The degree to which must differentiate will depend on the diversity (and range within those categories) It is difficult for us to talk about this because most teachers do not have access to the guidelines for populating classes. Can we not be honest and admit that there are students for whom some curricula are not appropriate, regardless of how the teacher might differentiate. There is only so much time in a day, and if one takes time attempting to teach a standard that amounts to being in another ballfield from where particular students are functioning, then one ends up differentiating not only instruction but curriculum. There may be some teachers that never encounter the need to differentiate curricula, and that’s great for them and their students. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t classes where both become necessary.

  24. atlantawombat says:

    And since we are being honest and frank…everyone is good at something; no one is good at everything. I was an above average student in high school. I performed very well in social studies, language arts and life sciences. However, geometry and chemistry made me cry. I was in chorus (and enjoyed it) though I had (and still have) a terrible voice. So…natural aptitude and interest count. No amount of differentiation would have improved my voice. My geometry teacher was excellent–I went from an “F” in the class to a C-. Despite all of my teacher’s best efforts and best practices; despite the hours in tutorial with him AND other math teachers; I never mastered the material. I understood enough to get by. It was NOT my teacher’s fault. It was just me.

  25. DSWparticipant says:

    @RealWorldEducation: Differentiating under your circumstances [36-39 students? I have had classes of 25 with students who have mastered the standard, are on level, below level, have an SST, have an IEP, and have English as their second language. That’s a possible 6 differentiations running on the same day for ONE lesson. I must also keep data on all of the differences and how students perform, while planning the next day’s 6 different options per lesson..when I have a planning period, which was sometimes once a week.] It is possible for YOU to differentiate and make your lesson plans look like that’s what you’re doing to possibly satisfy an observer. (Wow! Look, she’s having the student draw the Taj Mahal because the student can’t learn Gujarati in a Gujarati class.) The problem is that the low student may not get enough of what s/he needs and a lot of time will be wasted. The teacher will be burned out and the student will have missed the chance during the Gujarati class of learning something (essential) at which s/he could have been successful.

  26. DSWparticipant says:

    @DinoMom. Well, the plan to cut 412 positions is already in motion. On July 20th there will be discussion on cutting 125 more paras and 250 teachers. Now, how will that impact differentiation & mastery learning?———————————————————————————————————–
    Actually, the schools that may weather this loss of support personnel & increased class sizes most smoothly might be the schools where the special ed & ESOL teachers are already accustomed to immersion/inclusion. In such a scenario, the specialist can serve as back-up for the general ed teacher. Whether or not they should from the stand-point of whether or not students are getting ESOL is another matter. Nonetheless, they will already be in the general ed classrooms. One more body. In this case, a plus for inclusion, from the vantage point of general ed. 🙂 ————-
    —————————Now, from some other vantage points . . . Well, we won’t go there right now.

  27. dekalbite2 says:

    It appears you need to reread my comment.

  28. dekalbite2 says:

    I had a friend who sent her son to Ben Franklin Academy. Excellent school, but the class sizes were under well 10 students per class. This can hardly compare to 36 – 39 students.

  29. DinoMom says:

    @Dekalbite2
    That’s pretty much the point I was trying to make – it would be next to impossible to implement true differentiated instruction with class sizes of 30+.

  30. Internet-Libertarian says:

    Dekalbite2,
    You said “AP offerings and advanced classes are not the same.
    My question to you … again … How are they different?? Examples?? Anything to tell me what the differences are?? AP offerings are different … understood … but how are they different? Which two schools have these different AP offerings?

  31. @Internet-Libertarian

    Please do the research yourself to determine the difference between AP classes and advanced classes.

  32. DSWparticipant says:

    DSWparticipant says: July 10, 2012 at 10:55 PM
    ——–
    3:25 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, 2012 Dekalb County News
    ———————————————————————-
    DeKalb school board to consider eliminating positions
    By Ty Tagami ————–The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    ———————————————————————–
    The DeKalb County school board has scheduled a meeting Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. to consider cutting positions. ——————————–
    More DeKalb County news ———
    School media centers to lose staff ————
    New policy on immigrant students—————
    ——————————————-
    The board will consider a “reduction in force” of up to 120 paraprofessional positions and 250 teacher positions. This comes atop 412 positions eliminated June 28, including paraprofessionals, media clerks, media specialists, interpreters, school resource officers, central office workers and bus monitors.——-Meeting location: 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Stone Mountain.

    Above I said July 20, but this sounds like tomorrow (July 11, 2012). Don’t know where I got the July 20 idea. (how about 7/20/2015? Wishful thinking.

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  33. DSWparticipant says:

    Thank you for speaking up on this topic.

  34. DSWparticipant says:

    With word problems what that item may in fact be assessing is more a person’s proficiency in English or the person’s level of reading skill. With all things being equal, the person who cannot do the math problem when English and reading are challenges, might be able to do the word math problem just fine. So we give everyone word problems and say individuals in the categories mentioned couldn’t do the math. Do we honestly respect ourselves more for this . . . that we obtained a piece of false data? Of course, this is a topic that may be beyond the power of the county. I don’t know.

  35. no duh says:

    Trust me Ned. I just came from the EduKalb candidate forum. Ms. McGill is a Mensa candidate compared to her competition. The Cannon woman seemed to pick random words from the dictionary to string together, creating her own personal language. The Walker woman couldn’t hold an idea. And “Dr.” Johnson wasn’t much better.

    Once Ms. McGill gets her passion (which comes off like anger) under control, I think she’ll become much more articulate.

  36. Dekalbite2 says:

    Ms. McGill has always sounded articulate to me. I saw the EduKalb forum as well and agree that she’s far above her competition.

  37. Shacklesoff says:

    Ms. Parker,

    You make more sense than most people on this blog! Many people don’t understand how long it takes to create and implement a real lesson where you have to differentiate for different levels of kids (Gifted, SWD, ELL’s, Level One Students, etc.). I spend five hours on a single lesson sometimes because I know that many students struggle with certain standards. It is much easier on teachers if the students are grouped by ability levels. Like you say, “The faster ones are bored out their minds.”

  38. DSWparticipant says:

    @AtlantaWombat, so sick and tired. Amen a hundred times over! Thank you for saying it. Teachers in other districts who have experienced this sort of thing have expressed the same sentiments, for whatever that thought is worth.

  39. Educate says:

    S.O.L.

    SAVE OUR LIBRARIANS! How can one librarian take care of the needs of +1600 students, their teachers, school technology, book club, Reading Bowl, student news, etc…? Don’t say that other workers at the school will be able to pick up the slack, because they are all stretched too thin already (except the assistant principals). Proposal: Trade one of five APs for 1 1/2 librarians. Let the principals decide which AP needs to needs to go.

  40. TruthSetUsFree says:

    DSW,
    I don’t like people who make serious allegations without backing them up. This blog used to stand for statements backed up by facts.

    I, for one, would like to know what dekalbite was talking about.

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