Why Should Teachers Differentiate? Five Compelling Reasons

Categories: Instruction, PLC, RTI

Differentiation is neither revolutionary nor something extra. It is simply teaching mindfully and with the intent to support the success of each human being for whom we accept professional responsibility.
David A. Sousa and Carol Ann Tomlinson (Differentiation and the Brain, 2018, p. 10)

Successful educators have been differentiating instruction for centuries. Great teachers design learning experiences that respond to their students’ needs/readiness, interests, and learning preferences. Read more

Rebecca DuFour at work with educators

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The “Now What?” Of Life: Celebrating Rebecca DuFour

Categories: PLC, Solution Tree

It was one of those wonderful mid-fall afternoons as I walked to my car, crossing the quad of the university campus. Tree colors were just starting to appear, and the air had that rare “higher temperatures than normal with crispness” smell.

I took off my suit jacket as I approached the car with this intense feeling I had done this very act of taking off my suit jacket and getting into my car, many times before. I had this awareness too that those moments had always left me feeling a bit empty. It was a feeling similar to the one you sense right after spending hours with friends and family, saying goodbye, going on your way, but feeling a bit homesick for them immediately. Read more

Formative Assessment versus Summative Assessment

Formative Assessments versus Summative Assessments

Categories: Assessment

Based on Common Formative Assessment and Embedded Formative Assessment

Defining Formative and Summative

Whenever I do an assessment workshop with a group of teachers, I always start with some definitions so that we’re all talking about the same thing. Almost every teacher I’ve worked with is pretty confident about what the difference is between a formative and a summative assessment. Read more

Skills: Problem solving, critical thinking, literacy, creativity, accountability, productivity, social, communication

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Skills Are as Important as (and May Be More Important than) Content

Categories: 21st Century Skills, Instruction

Teachers have been teaching what they’ve been asked to teach; the curriculum commonly taught, and that we expect students to learn, in classrooms today—for better or worse—reflects the standards in place up until 2010.

However, the policy documents, frameworks, and standards in place since 2010 are qualitatively distinct—and this is a very good thing. Depth and skills are increasingly emphasized and encouraged to be taught and learned. Read more