Think back to your toddler days. Did your parents give you one chance to learn how to walk? Of course not! With an unlimited number of tries, and loving, patient arms ready to pick you up after each fall, you finally mastered the art of walking. Was there a magic age you were supposed to learn to walk? Of course not! Whether you were 9, 11, or 15 months old, it really didn’t matter. The end result was the same and your parents clapped and cheered and celebrated your walking victory!
Fast forward to present day and the learners in our classrooms. Uniquely created by God, each of our students comes to us with his or her own individual learning process and pace. Some students may master a skill or concept on the first attempt, while others need multiple opportunities to achieve the same result. No matter the process or the pace, one thing is true…our students need advocates with loving, patient arms to pick them up after each fall, who are ready to clap and cheer them on and celebrate each victory!
Our students can hit any target…they just have to see it! Ensuring our students have a clear view of their target isn’t always easy, though. As advocates, teachers take on the responsibility of creating learning pathways to ensure the target is visible, approachable, and achievable for learners. However, the thought of such necessary differentiation can be exhausting and overwhelming. The reality is, though, differentiation is key for our students’ success.
Differentiation can come to life in today’s classroom in a variety of ways, but it doesn’t mean developing an individualized learning plan for each student. Incorporating purposeful strategies and activities into the instructional plan, which allow students to keep their eye on the target, is the key. However, what works for one student may not work for another. Filling our instructional toolboxes with pliable and flexible resources is a great place to start.
Several educators from the IN District recently attended Rick Wormeli’s workshop entitled FAIR IS NOT ALWAYS EQUAL. COMING SOON: “A-ha” thoughts and ideas shared at the workshop to help fill our instructional toolboxes and ensure our students are offered more than one arrow to hit their learning target!