School-wide Differentiated Instruction

Teachers often ask:
  • How can I ever create enough tiered assignments or project menus to cover all my units?
  • What if I differentiate, and students get used to having some choices in my classroom, but other teachers don't?
  • How does DI fit in with all the other "school improvement" activities we're supposed to do?

Steve Kahl had a great answer to these questions. He explained how teachers in his school put almost all of their "school improvement" efforts into working collaboratively to create differentiated assignments. In small groups of 2 or 3 teachers, they divided up the curriculum and took small, managable pieces of it each year, to create new differentiated tasks. They looked at student work, studied their learning outcomes (GLCEs or HSCEs) and asked: What kinds of tiered assignments, project menus, etc. should we include in our curriculum to improve students' learning.

Over several years, they developed new problems and assignments, tested them in class, and shared them across the school. Not only was this an efficient way to develop lots of new items, but it brought teachers together to study and talk about DI, and encouraged some "late-comers" to start differentiating.

They consider it to be the primary school improvement activity of their school.

How do you encourage differentiated instruction across your entire school? Let us know what works for you, by writing in the discussion tab for this page.