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How Differentiated Instruction Builds a Healthier, More Engaged Classroom

Posted by Hannah Alvarez on April 19, 2018 at 4:29 PM

Differentiating instruction in the classroom has many benefits—some of which are obvious, and some less so!

With a little help from Freckle’s differentiation platform, teachers can see these benefits without burning out from working extra hours creating separate lessons for students at each level.

In this post, we’ll walk you through some of the benefits of differentiation and show you how Freckle can help!

1. All students are working at an appropriate challenge level

One of the more obvious benefits of differentiating instruction is reaching every student at their own level and increasing their chances of success. When the content is differentiated, every student is working at their own level.

Students who are above grade level don’t get bored and disengaged with skills they’ve already mastered. They can keep learning new and more challenging material; the sky's the limit! Freckle’s algorithm seamlessly determines when it’s time for a student to move up to the next level and automatically presents them with the right challenge.

Students who are below grade level don’t simply fall further behind. Instead, they can keep learning and growing at their own pace. With Freckle’s reports, teachers can tell at a glance how each student is performing in each skill and quickly assess when intervention is needed.

Finally, students who are at grade level still get individualized lessons, not simply a one-size-fits-nobody textbook. Since teachers don’t have to spend all of their time focusing on students above or below grade level, the students in the middle can benefit from more instruction time with the teacher.

2. Everyone is able to participate in activities

From ELA group discussions to science projects, differentiated instruction allows all students to participate in and contribute to classroom activities. No students are left out of learning opportunities simply because the reading assignment was above their level.

Placing students into mixed-level groups for small-group projects provides the perfect scenario for peer-to-peer coaching. Students at higher levels can share knowledge and tips with students who need extra help. However, since every student completed all reading assignments at their own level, higher-level students don’t have to “do all of the work” for the other students in the group. Everyone can contribute! Freckle’s Class Grouping report makes it easy to group students into mixed-level groups or same-level groups, depending on your classroom’s needs.

ELA Grouping Report

Group activities and discussion not only help students learn the material in a new way; they also teach students to collaborate and build each other up, not just strive for their own high grades!

3. Students learn to value individual interests and abilities

In a differentiated learning environment, students have an opportunity to explore topics that interest them.

For example, each student can choose their own Freckle ELA article to read and then share what they learned with the class. Students might choose articles as varied as Bubble Gum, Harriet Tubman, Glassblowing, Sea Turtles, and the Golden Gate Bridge! Everyone gets to choose a topic that makes them excited about learning.

Freckle ELA Library

Additionally, students can learn and demonstrate knowledge in different ways. There are opportunities to learn and practice alone, in groups, by reading, by watching videos, by completing projects, and more.

Students all learn differently, and Freckle wants to ensure that every student has an opportunity to learn in a way that works for them.

Differentiation teaches students that there isn’t just one right way to learn; everyone is different, and everyone has different strengths!

Instead of seeing others as simply “good in school” or “bad in school,” students can see the value of their peers’ individual interests and strengths.

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