How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms / Edition 2

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In this 2nd edition of a book that has provided inspiration to countless teachers, Carol Ann Tomlinson offers three new chapters, extended examples and information in every chapter, and field-tested strategies that teachers can use in today's increasingly diverse classrooms. Tomlinson shows how to use students' readiness levels, interests, and learning profiles to address student diversity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871205124
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 117
  • Sales rank: 64,792
  • Product dimensions: 7.94 (w) x 9.82 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Ann Tomlinson is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, Foundations and Policy at Curry School of Education, University of Virginia.

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Table of Contents

Foreword to the 2nd Edition
1. What Differentiated Instruction Is—And Isn't
2. The Rationale for Differentiated Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms
3. The Role of the Teacher in a Differentiated Classroom
4. The Learning Environment in a Differentiated Classroom
5. A Look Inside Some Differentiated Classrooms
6. Strategies for Managing a Differentiated Classroom
7. Preparing Students and Parents for a Differentiated Classroom
8. The How To's of Planning Lessons Differentiated by Readiness
9. The How To's of Planning Lessons Differentaited by Interest
10. The How To's of Planning Lessons Differentiated by Learning Profile
11. Differentiating Content
12. Differentiating Process
13. Differentiating Products
14. Grading in a Differentiated Classroom
A Final Thought
Appendix: A Few Instructional and Management Strategies for Differentiated, Mixed-Ability Classrooms
For Further Reading
About the Author
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I am often asked these days why I think there is such a great interest in the topic of differentiating instruction. My best guess is that the interest is sparked by the realization that it's no longer possible to look at a group of students in a classroom and pretend they are essentially alike.

Even in the few years since the first edition of this book, academic diversity has increased in schools. Greater and greater numbers of second-language students take seats among students whose first language is English. Even the second-language learners vary greatly as a group—not only in their native tongues but also in their degree of experience with their native language and the sort of home support system that follows them to school.

Greater numbers of students are being diagnosed with attention-deficit and related disorders. Diagnosis of learning disability affects students in virtually all classrooms. In addition, students come to classrooms with highly advanced skills and understandings. They come with an array of physical handicaps. They represent cultures that vary in significant ways. Many students bring with them to school stresses from home that are too great for young shoulders to carry. Many students, of course, represent several of these realities—a very bright student whose learning disability masks his promise, a second-language learner whose family teeters on the edge of economic viability, and so on.

If we elect to use what we know about learning, and, in fact, about ourselves, as we craft classrooms, we acknowledge that students learn in varied ways—some by hearing, others by doing, some alone, others in the company of peers, some in a rapid-fire fashion, others reflectively. We acknowledge, too, that individuals are intrigued or even inspired by different topics or issues, and that curiosity and inspiration are powerful catalysts for learning. To teach well is to attend to all these things.

Differentiation suggests it is feasible to develop classrooms where realities of student variance can be addressed along with curricular realities. The idea is compelling. It challenges us to draw on our best knowledge of teaching and learning. It suggests that there is room for both equity and excellence in our classrooms.

As "right" as the approach we call differentiation seems, it promises no slick and ready solutions. Like most worthy ideas, it is complex. It calls on us to question, change, reflect, and change some more.

This second edition of How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms follows this evolutionary route. In the years since the first edition, I have had the benefit of probing questions and practical examples from many educators. This revision reflects an extension and refinement of the elements presented in the earlier version of the book, based in no small measure on dialogue with other educators.

I am grateful to ASCD for the opportunity to share reflections and insights fueled by many educators who work daily to ensure a good academic fit for each student who enters their classrooms. These teachers wrestle with standards-driven curriculum, grapple with a predictable shortage of time in the school day, and do battle with management issues in a busy classroom. These educators also derive energy from the challenge and insight from their students. I continue to be the beneficiary of their frontline work. I hope this small volume represents them well. I hope also that it clarifies and extends what I believe to be an essential discussion on how we can attain the ideal of a high- quality public education that exists to maximize the capacity of each learner who trusts us to direct the course of his or her learning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2007

    too much theory, not enough application

    This book had a lot of information about the theories behind differentiation, but not enough ideas on how to APPLY it in the classroom. It would have been nice if there had been more easy-to-refer to lists to help you transfer the knowledge to your classroom, everything was in paragraphs, making it much harder to synthesize.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I prefer Sugar's "The Silent Crisis Destroying America's Brightest Minds"

    Sugar's 'The Silent Crisis Destroying America's Brightest Minds" is a book that is all about educational reality, the facts on the ground, not vacuous educational theories.

    Sugar pioneered the SMARTGRADES school notebooks that contain the new learning technology, ACANDY Processing Tools, that empower students for academic success. She transformed my kids into Grade A students, soI speak from experience, not hypothetical theory.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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