The Differentiated Math Classroom: Discussion Points 5 and 6

Here we go!  The last discussion points for section 1!  I hope you have been able to join in at least some of the discussions this week . . . and that you'll come back for more NEXT week!  Watch for the introductory post on Saturday again, and we'll run it the same way next week.  Join in when you can, and don't stress when you can't!

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?

Section Two is all about the different "lenses" of differentiating math--from problem solving to planning!  This should start really getting us into the nitty gritty!  Thanks for stopping by--see you next time!


  1. I feel that the "must do" is a profile of each student's characteristics as outlined on page 55. I have felt that the Gardner MI was a good tool but I am glad to see it is not the only one in the box. It is daunting to think of planning for 8 intelligences. I felt if I hit kinesthetic, auditory and visual, I was on top of it. This seems to confirm that for the most part. I am prepared for this next step.
    I feel that style 1 students may be distracted by my style 2 teaching methods. I am working on simplifying my classroom so that there is more visual peace in my classroom.

    1. I agree with you! Sometimes I think people get so caught up in planning for so many intelligences that the integrity of the activity is compromised! I don't think the intent was ever to have every single lesson hit every single intelligence, do you? I think the intent is for us to be mindful of them when doing our planning to make sure we are tuned in to our students' different learning styles and then plan with that in mind. It's a delicate dance!

  2. I hope this is ok to post here, but I am actually reading Section 2 and my question is about it. The thing is, I really am enjoying this book and all, especially these last few pages, but it is very intimidating because it changes everything. Honestly, I've been following your blog for a couple months now and it seems like you are already doing what's presented on pages 113 - 117. My colleagues went to a Common Core Math Workshop last year that pushed us to teach similar to this way, basically problem solving being the lesson and done in cooperative groups with probing questions by the teacher monitoring. It was so intimidating because we kept hearing to teach conceptual knowledge, but our question was "When?" Then this past year, it seemed like I was teaching conceptual knowledge over and over and my students still were struggling with that. So I guess, my question to you is, was starting teaching math this way intimidating for you too and if so, how did you start and make it regular? I am glad to be reading this book but I've got to say I have learned more that I felt I could easily try and be excited about from your blog these past few months because you are showing it to us as it happens with real situations happening now and you are sharing with us that it is not always perfect!

  3. Nikki...what a kind and thoughtful response. I'm not quite sure how to answer your question because I think change happens gradually. I also think that I am lucky in that I am OLD enough that my math instruction in college happened right after the NCTM standards first came out in the late 1980's and my training was "hands on" and conceptually based. In fact, I was lucky enough to work with some of the people in on the ground floor of CGI at the University of WI. (If you aren't familiar with CGI, look it up--a big piece of the CCSS is based on it). So, I guess, philosophically I had a pretty strong foundation. THAT BEING SAID, I found myself "losing" that piece of me when we got a required math series about 10 years ago, and I am only now starting to dig back into what I have always known to be true and good. I'm glad my blog has helped you--it has helped me too! Be patient with yourself because these shifts are not overnight changes. NONE of us are fully proficient at it! When I read section 2 so many things jumped out at me as things I could do better--so don't compare yourself to a other a standard. Just keep reading, thinking, and considering how you are going to refine what you already do. The fact that you are reading and thinking about this puts you miles ahead of many!