The Differentiated Math Classroom!

Here we go!  The final two questions of section two!  

I know that there is SO much variation from school to school, district to district, state to state, and country to country!  How much control do YOU have in your planning and execution of your teaching?  I'm curious!

Consider these two questions and share out your ideas.  Be honest--if you have doubts about something, I guarantee others do as well!  

Chapter 6 is all about planning your instructional time--from yearly planning to daily planning.  How much flexibility do you have with your planning?  What is a "typical" math class like for you--and how do you feel you need to change it?  

Chapter 7 provides us with some detailed examples of differentiation in action.  What "aha's" did you have? What DOUBTS do you have?  Let's be honest--it all sounds good on paper, right?  What do you perceive to be the biggest obstacles to some of the ideas presented in the last few chapters?

Ready to dig in?  Like I mentioned on Saturday . . . this section opened up some glaring "holes" in what I do, and I need to do some soul searching to figure out how to make some improvements!  I look forward to your thoughts over the next few days!


  1. We have a textbook series, but as long as I teach the standards, it is up to me whether I use the series - which I don't because my opinion of it is not high. The requirement for RTI though gets tricky with flexibility. I can't use assessments I make up or find. They have to come from the math series.
    I am constantly trying to change and improve how I do things, so the way I taught math last year is going to get a make-over; not because it was awful, but because I want to do better. I've said before that I feel like small group is just where it's at in teaching. If I could find a way to teach completely in small group I would, but I haven't figured that one out yet! Last year, I started with teaching a lot of small group, but felt like I was falling behind in "getting things taught" so I ended up doing ALL whole group with a stations open to early finishers. I got my material covered but my low students stayed low, medium stayed there, and high stayed there. That always bugs me. I want those low and medium achievers to come up. So that is what needs to change for me, although I'm not sure exactly how to go about it. Everything is officially changing every year now. Standards, state tests, district tests, how we keep up with important records and WHAT is considered important... it feels like "we" are saying that everything we do is a bandaid covering a burst pipe. It's only good for a small amount of time and then we need another one. SO... since I still have all this planning flexibility (the good news) I really want to work extremely hard this year to, despite new requirements, help my students individually succeed at math (and ELA and Science and Social Studies :). I still don't know quite how and would love to hear someone out there knows (lol), but this book has definitely given me some ideas.
    Something that I struggle with personally is thinking/adapting/responding on the spot or in the moment. Whether it is a friend needing advice or a student not getting it, I am often in the moment unsure what to do and then the answer comes to me that night (or at least something to try) after hours of thinking about it. So this year, we got ipads and I found Evernote. I have heard teachers are using it for fluency and record keeping. Not only do I plan to use it for that reason but also in math. I can record student explain their thinking and take photos of their work. I am very excited about this. Something else I want to change and improve is sticking to a schedule and using time well. I tend to get anxious about how little time is left in a grading period or year an when I hit that panic button, I tend to throw my routines out the window to get material covered before that big ol' test. I have got to stop that! :) One more thing I want to work on is ( and this ties in with small group being awesome compared to whole) is that typically after a new math lesson, more students need help in independent practice than I have time to reach. My idea for this is to somehow work out a system of teaching the "new" whole group and then starting stations, deep-problem solving, etc. right after so I can delve deeper in small group with the new concept.

    1. What a thoughtful response! I notice a lot of "me" (and probably most people!) in it...throwing routine out the window when pressure mounts, etc. I also want to work out exactly how I want to structure my math lessons better...I know I can't do the same thing every day, so I need a "toolbox"...centers some days, whole class explorations others, etc. Thanks for chiming in!

  2. Meg,

    What a neat idea having a book study. The book you choose looks like one I would like to read. I am your newest follower.