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Advice about Differentiated Instruction
We are beginning to have concerns that our kids aren't receiving either very much or quality differentiated instruction. Our kids attend a top Oakland public elementary school (it's rated a 10), however, it has been hit or miss (depending on the teacher) in terms of differentiated instruction. I'm wondering if this type of instruction becomes more prevalent in higher grades (our kids are in 2nd and K)? Also, what schools or districts truly implement differentiated instruction? Berkeley? Lafayette? Albany? Chis
There is an extremely wide range of abilities in younger classes. Some kindergarten kids don't know the alphabet yet, while others are already reading Harry Potter. I watched a talented kindergarten teacher use the same Open Court reading materials to appropriately challenge each child in the class by asking progressively more difficult questions. A good teacher can provide a lot of differentated instruction in the classroom by using more open ended questions. Sometimes it looks deceptively simple, like having a ''number of the day'' assignment, where kids write down as many ways to get to the number as they can (it challenges those beginning to add as much as it challenges kids who can do square roots). Additionally, schools can have classroom aids, pull outs, after school specialized instruction, or other formats that encourage all kids to learn and grow.
Differentiated instruction is really just a tool to help ensure that kids with different abilities or in different phases of development can all learn and be appropriately challenged---all while being assigned to the same classroom. If you focus on the goal of ensuring that your kids are learning and are being appropriately challenged, it will be much more useful to your family. Asking about only about differentiated learning seems like a red herring. If your kids are learning, then it doesn't really matter. If they are bored or not learning enough, then the issue is probably bigger than just whether a school offers differentiated learning. Anon
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