Monday, December 23, 2013

Making Differentiation A Habit

Though this post is intended for use with my grad school course at Bethel University called Intro to Differentiated and Responsive Teaching,  I am attracted as a learner and seeker of knowledge to the title of which my blog post must be about.

  • First of all, that of being a habit. 
  • Second of all, differentiation and what that means.

So, what is a habit and how long does it take to form a habit? Habits come out of repeated steps, whether intentional or unintentional and it takes about seven weeks to get anywhere close to the foundation of a habit. Take for example running, keep it up everyday and you will go farther by week seven. Read everyday and you will be surrounded by a wonderful world of words and imagination by week seven. Take up smoking and by week seven, you will be hooked.  Undoing habits, I suggest, take different work as creating the habit does, yet, both the process of doing and undoing are important in the world of habits.

What is the purpose of school? 
So to create a habit where I differentiate my classroom is VITAL to the process of currently UNDOING things that I have learned to do for the past twenty years, well less that that...because I have worked hard in the past three years to work on differentiated instruction, but I digress. It is important for me to pay attention and make action steps to undoing a bad well as make action steps for generating a great one.

Working on building a differentiated learning environment has steam rolled this year into other things. I
question every app I I need this, is this the best app for what I want students to know, why am I standing here at this printer? Who remembers worksheets anyhow? Who ever said, thanks for this differentiated worksheet? No one.

I wonder then, if differentiation doesn't come from books or worksheets where it comes from? Look for example at this infograph from Carol Ann Tomlinson. You will see that it is not a set of tools that you whip out from your files. "Bam, I differentiated today!" Instead it is a organic way to think and to learn. To me, that is why I like differentiation, genius hour and edcamps. Organic. Pure. Learning!

That is why I LOVE and fully believe in #geniushour. The best way I have seen in recent years that not only captivates students, but it incorporates the multiple intelligences as well. I am looking forward as well to our January 10th date for #edcampfirstgrade with my students and the trails of learning they will take us down that morning.  The more student voice that comes into the learning journey, the more students will learn.

Now, I have been working hard at this. I have! But I also realize that I am too, like my students a work in progress. I have many things that I want to still know and understand. I am very excited for this learning journey through my new course that will help me gain skills and confidence so that I can be a better lead learner in my classroom setting!