Harry Wong
Jan 2017
Vol 14 No 1

Differentiation Tips for Middle School Math

By Teachers.Net Community

Follow along as middle school math teachers share ideas for differentiation of math instruction – from a recent discussion thread on the Math Teachers Chatboard.

2×2 teacher posted: I have been told that I now have to write and turn in lesson plans showing differentiation in the middle school math classes that I teach. I don’t know where to start. Please help! Thanks!

Sara’s response: Are your math classes heterogeneous? I’m guessing so or why would they be asking you for differentiation? So we’re going to differentiate along the lines of varying levels of math ability – and not along other lines? That’s the first question to ask when differentiating – differentiating for what? Learning differences? Reading ability? Attention span? Language differences? Or math ability?

Assuming it’s math ability, I put my kids into three groups (they don’t necessarily like it at first… I take the natural
math kids – they ones who almost don’t need to be taught and put them together. Then I put a ‘low group’ together – the ones who almost don’t get it -or don’t get it – even when you teach them. And the middle group is exactly that.

I use different textbooks – I could actually write the whole plan but before I do it would help to not waste time in case we’re not differentiating for varying levels of math ability.

What are we differentiating for? What are the differences between them that we’re planning for?

2×2 teacher added: Yes, it is for differences in math ability. I like the idea of three groups. I am already doing that to some extent. I think my biggest problem is how to write it in a lesson plan. I can’t just put “three groups” in my lesson plan every day. They will all be taking a common assessment so my target is the same with all of them. The person reviewing my lesson plans is looking for cute, creative ideas. I really appreciate your help. No one has ever asked what we are differentiating for before.

Betty Ann posted: Many math texts have several levels of problems in the problem sets: basic, “regular,” and “challenge.” You can certainly have your various groups working on the same concepts, but with different levels of difficulty.

Sara added: I put the easiest questions first on my tests – it boost confidence. I tell them I don’t expect them all to finish every problem but NOT to skip problems – unless they get stuck. I do expect that the ‘top group’ will finish the test and I add a specific challenge section at the end where I pose questions that are more than calculation or harder calculation.

On Mondays, I teach the new operation. On Tuesdays, the top group works on it by themselves in a group off to the side. They consult with each other. I work with the middle and the bottom group going over the operation and doing worksheets together. If any in the middle group think they ‘get it’ , they are welcome to work independently or to join the top group. Wed. I’m still working with the bottom group and I give everyone else the answer sheet to the problems they’ve been doing. (often on Wed. I give the top group and enrichment sheet)

Every Thursday we take a test. Fridays I do enrichment with everybody and I regroup them in small groups NOT based on ability. I don’t know how to write it in a lesson plan either but [next page>]



Pages: 1 2 3

Comment on this article...

Next Article...
This entry was posted on Saturday, January 1st, 2011 and is filed under *ISSUES, January 2011, Teachers.Net Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.8 No.1 January 2011

Cover Story by Alfie Kohn
'Ready to Learn' Equals Easier to Educate??

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
Effectiveness Defined: It's Not a Mystery
Over 30 years of research have identified the three characteristics of effective teachers. The three most important characteristics of effective teachers are...."....

»At-Risk Kids: Who's in Control? YOU AreBill Page
»The Top Ten Greatest Things About Lists (As a Tool for Creative Thinking)Abby Connors
»2011 Printable Calendar by Artist Tim Newlin - for Teachers.Net!Tim Newlin
»52 Character Building Thoughts for ChildrenLeah Davies
»5 Sites for Busy EducatorsMarjan Glavac
»Stuttering Stan Book Now Available in Flash-Animated VersionArtie Knapp
»January is… A month of Special DaysRon Victoria
»Snow Theme Activities - Karen's PreK PageKaren Cox
»Saying It - Why Write?Todd Nelson
»How Can I Improve? Advice for Subsitute TeachersBarbara Pressman
»How To Make a Good First Impression - Advice for SubsBarbara Pressman
»Could It Be Worse? LearningLaffsHumorist John P. Wood
»Apple Seeds - Quotes for EducatorsBarb Stutesman
»January, Winter Theme Activities for Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary
»Use "Essential Questions" to Improve Instruction?
»Penguin Theme Activities, Recipe, Resources
»Early Finishers - What to Do
»Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Lessons, Resources
»iPad Math Apps
»Book Talk - Good Recreational Reads
»Idioms in Spanish - ESL, ELL
»Printable Cinnamon Bear Activity
»New BBC ‘Bang Goes the Theory’ Teacher’s PackNews Desk
»Academic Rigor - Live Chat with Barbara BlackburnNews Desk
»Differentiation Ideas for Middle School Math
»Lunar (Chinese) New Year Activities
»Why Do We Make Art?
»Kindle, eReader Help, Resources Shared by T-Netters
»IMHO - Well-Stated Opinions from Teachers.Net Chatboards
»Looking Ahead to 100th Day, Groundhog Day, Hearts and Shadows!
»Link & Likes
»Printables for preK - 12 Teachers
»Groundhog's Day Printable, Poem, Song, Links!
»Printables for PreK - 12 Teachers

By State
AL   AK   AZ   AR   CA   CO   CT   DE   DC   FL   GA   HI   ID   IL   IN   IA   KS   KY   LA    ME   MD   MA   MI   MN   MS   MO   MT   NE   NV   NH   NJ   NM   NY   NC   ND   OH   OK   OR   PA   RI   SC   SD   TN   TX   UT   VT     VA   WA   WV   WI   WY