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Instruction Reflection:

I agree that a quality teacher will do whatever is necessary to meet their students where
they are at academically and build upon their skills in a variety of ways to ensure
learning. We must assess where students come in, their interests,
strengths/weaknesses, and best ways to learn. I do not think that differentiation is easy,
but it is necessary. I also believe that with practice it becomes easier. Since I have
been in second grade for the past eleven years, I feel that I often differentiate without
even thinking about it. Tomlinson’s article (“What is Differentiation?”) gave some
examples of elementary level content, process, product, and environment
differentiation ideas/strategies. As I reflect on my own classroom I saw similarities
including varying texts, texts on tapes(online), using word lists, reading buddies, small
groups for reteaching/extending, more time, using manipulatives, allowing choices,
movement, quiet areas, teaching guidelines, and expected routines. These are all
things that occur in my classroom on a daily basis. In addition it is important to create a
community in which everyone belongs and wants to do their own personal best (growth
mindset), as well, as keep learning fun.

The articles all had the commonality that there is not one way to teach all children
because they are all unique and one size does not fit all. Tomlinson and Imbeau
(“Common Sticking Points about Differentiation”) stated, “A typical classroom today is a
jigsaw of learners.” This is a great metaphor because all of the pieces are different just
like the students and we all fit together in a classroom like a complete puzzle; however,
each piece gets to its position a different way similar to the way students learn.

Viewing the Workshop model weebly site was beneficial and encouraged reflection of
my own classroom. I do things similarly in my classroom for our language arts block. I
give a couple of mini lessons and allow students to work in small groups at stations
(designated areas). While students are working on their Daily 5 work (some is
differentiated) I am meeting with guided reading groups. This is when I teach strategies
(CAFE) and students work/read/discuss in small groups. For Writing we use WriteSteps
in which a mini lesson is presented online and then students work while I float the room
and confer/help. For Math we use Envision Math and a lot of the teaching is done on
the SmartBoard, then with a partner, then independently. I am not sure that the exact
workshop model would work well for Math. However, while students are working
independently, I am able to work with reteaching. Students that finish early move on to
the quick check on their tablet, xtramath (fact practice), and other apps including
frontrow, ixl, and learningfarm. I felt that the articles were great, but missing the
technology piece that is such an important part of our daily learning. Many of the
learning apps I have found are differentiated and very effective in learning and
engagement. Many apps also have an assessment piece that is already built in so we
know how our students are doing. Showing the evidence of learning is essential
according to Rick Wormelli. This is an area that I feel I am always growing in. During
our team meetings assessment and reteaching have become a focal point. I now need
to ask “What Evidence will we tolerate?” (Rick Wormelli)