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Chapter 5 states:

Differentiated instruction is built on a foundation of effective teaching practices. Quality curriculum is one of these defining principles, as what is taught serves as the basis for how it is taught. Quality curriculum has its basis in standards, or descriptions of student outcomes in content areas. (p1)

However, many educators have concerns regarding these new standards for various reasons outlined in Chapter 5 in the textbook including, but not limited to:

  • Lack of training to implement the new standards
  • A realistic view of standard mastery of students with special needs
  • Too much government control over creative freedom of instruction
  • How these new standards will be implemented on such a large scale

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are meant to provide educators and parents with a consistent and clear understanding of student expectations. While written to address English Language Arts and Mathematics, the CCSS address college and career ready knowledge and skills in preparing students to transition from high school to college.

Assignment Instructions:

First, read Chapter 5 of the course text. Then view the webinar, “Common Core State Standards: Where Does Differentiating Fit”.

Next, read and respond to the following scenario:

Ms. Phillips instructs in a middle school inclusion class with 20 ‘typical’ students, three students who have an IEP for a Specific Learning Disability, one student who has an IEP for “Other Health Impairment” (ADHD) and two students who are identified as ELL.  Her class is beginning with a unit on the American Civil War that will focus on the significance of the Civil War Battle and the reason and significance behind President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

As the unit starts, Ms. Phillips provides her students with a KWL chart to share what they already know about the Civil War 

What I already KNOW about this subject?  The civil war was between the blacks and whites.  The black people wanted to be treated equally.  Some people wanted everyone to be equal and some people didn’t.
What do I want to Learn about this subject?  Who won the war?  What kinds of weapons were used?  How many people were fighting on each side?  What impact does the war at that time have on us today if any?
What did I LEARN about this subject?
Example of a Student Response to the KWL Chart (Creately, 2011)

After reviewing the student’s KWL charts (see an example above), Ms. Phillips realizes that she should integrate differentiated strategies to provide a more well-rounded and accurate understanding of the topic and to make it more personally relevant.

For this discussion:

  • Create two measurable lesson objectives that are aligned with one Common Core Standard, and two differentiated content strategies to master the objective/ standard. 
  • Explain how the strategies you’ve suggested are engaging to diverse learners. 
  • Cite scholarly sources to support how your strategies are examples of differentiation. 

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