Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Differentiated Math Classroom: WEEK 1!

It's finally here!  The first week of our book study!  I have been so exited for this--and so have more than 30 of you who have signed on to join me.  I hope we all leave with some fantastic ideas for making changes in our classrooms--and can bounce ideas off each other for the next few weeks.  Remember, the book is organized into 3 sections, so we will cover one section each week.  

Here's what my "Section 1" looks like!!!

So--for each of the next three Saturdays, I will post my introductory post with some of MY thoughts and then a list of questions for all of us to reflect and comment on!  Throughout the week I will add follow up questions and reflect on comments from other people, and everyone can add on their comments.  Take the time to read what other people have said, share your ideas, and ask your questions.  The one thing I ask is that we NOT include links in our comments; I just do not want people to have to worry about following links that may or may not be legit.  Thanks for understanding!  

Are you ready?  Here we go with my initial thoughts on Section 1!

I was so excited to read even the first few pages and had marked all sort of key points . . . from what Tomlinson says are effective teaching strategies to the issue of math "fear" and realized that those two things ALONE are enough for a week's worth of discussion!

So . . . here are the topics I would like us to cover this week.  Feel free to add your two cents worth on any of them at any time, but I will be posting two of these special "prompts" on three separate days this week to try to keep our thoughts organized!  I am also asking us all to be risk takers!  Share your great ideas--but this is a safe place to say "I don't know how to do this!" or "I just don't understand what this means!".  Someone in the crowd might have an answer for you--and I'll bet a bunch more people probably had the same question or concern!  


1.  Refer back to the Principles of a Differentiated Classroom on pages 22-23.  Which of these are most natural for you?  Which are not?  

2.  Refer to the nine points on page 31 (and the pages the follow) that discuss some of the critical classroom structures to ensure that the climate for differentiation exists.  What can we do as we start our new years to make sure these are in place?  What is already working for you?  Which of these are not in place yet?  How can we build a climate where differentiation will be supported?


3.  What changes might be needed with your physical space next year?  What is working in your classroom?

4.  On pages 36-37, the author refers to "anchor activities" that can be used with very little instruction as the year unfolds.  What types of anchor activities do you currently use or what might you want to try new next year?


5.  Look back at the many activities presented in these first two chapters.  Which one "speaks" to you the most?  Are there any that you feel are "must do" activities for next year?

6.  Chapter 3 is filled with information about the different characteristics of math "learners".  What type of learner do you feel does best in your math class?  Who might struggle the most?  What can we do to make sure our math instruction is accessible to ALL our students?


  1. This sounds like a greta book study! I taught Math this past year for the first time in over 8 years and it was very challenging. Do you think the strategies mentioned in this book will still work when I have to do a structured program like Math Investigations?

    From Mrs. Allen's Teaching Files

    1. Absolutely! My mantra to people who have mandated programs is to remember that you teach CHILDREN, not a math series! You can definitely differentiate within a math program like Investigations!

    2. I work in a district that uses a curriculum that is strict as well. I also have my masters in differentiated instruction and could not teach so that only one sliver of my students were learning. Any curriculum has holes. I love the statement that we teach children not a math series. It does take some thinking and time to work it out but not as much as most think. Once on a becomes second nature and the kids are HAPPY learning!!! Go for it Corrina!

  2. Thanks so much for doing this! I got my book in the mail and I am ready to go.

    1. Yippee! I can't wait to see what kind of posts start appearing tomorrow!

  3. I was feeling like a bit of a slacker for not joining any blogger book clubs this summer, but now that the posts are starting I think I'm going to learn a lot just by following along! :) Thanks for doing this; I'm excited to see it all unfold.

  4. Mine showed up this week! I need to sit down and read chapter 1. I am excited at the idea of having questions to keep me focused as I read! Great idea! I can't wait to be apart of this!

    Mathematically yours,
    Jamie aka MissMathDork!