5 Misses: Differentiated Instruction

Yesterday, I gave five examples of Differentiated Instruction. Today, I am sharing five things that are not differentiated instruction. Everyone makes mistakes but maybe this post can help guide you away from misclassifying a strategy as differentiated instruction.

  1. Giving students different manipulatives to work on the same concept in the same way. For example, one student gets M&Ms, another uses Jelly Beans and another uses legos. Students are all using a manipulative in some fashion to build one to one correspondence while counting.
  2. Providing a single list of activities or books to the whole class and letting the students select their own off the list. Student choice boards or lists are great but if there is one list for all of the students it doesn’t count as a type of differentiated instruction.
  3. Assigning homework to the class but letting the high achievers skip it. Not assigning a task is not a form of differentiated instruction.
  4. Letting advanced students have free time, play time or even leave class early. Again, lack of instruction activities does not count as a form of differentiated instruction.
  5. Having high achievers teach the low achievers.
    1. Wait didn’t I say peer tutoring is a form of differentiated instruction? I did and it is when the arrangement is reciprocal, both students are acting as the tutor for a topic and student for another topic.
    2. However, if there is not a give and take if only one student is providing aid to another student without it being reciprocated then it is not differentiated instruction.

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