Question Detail

To differentiate or not to differentiate!

Jul 11, 2013 11:10am

When I look at the instructional shifts that the CCSS require I wonder about my struggling readers and how they will be able to keep up with the complex texts I need to be using. I totally agree that they should be challenged and that having them work through the text is important but some of them are more than 2 grade levels behind (I teach 8th grade) and will truly struggle with the kinds of texts I'm going to be using. My compassionate teacher heart predicts that I will have a hard time with this and will have to find some kind of supports for them that still allow them to work through the text without getting frustrated and giving up. Any ideas or suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

  • English Language Arts / Social Studies
  • 6-8
  • Common Core / Differentiation / Engagement / Planning


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    • Jul 11, 2013 11:37am

      Differentiate. The CCSS are written with the assumption that the students have learned the previous years' CCSS. However, that won't actually be true for several years since most states are still just transitioning to the new standards. Hopefully, several years from now, students entering our classes will be prepared to master the standards as they are written. In the meantime, we need to, as always, put our students and our students' needs first. That's my opinion.

      • Jul 12, 2013 12:47pm

        You can differentiate and skill provide students the access to complex text. In the UDL framework, for example, teachers provide scaffolding, read-alouds, frequent check-ins, etc... so students get the support they need. Also, CCSS emphasizes close reading, so you could always adapt the length of difficult text without sacrificing the rigor. All students, however, regardless of ability should be exposed to the same rigorous text - that doesn't mean you're not compassionate. It means you have high expectations. You'll just need to design supports so they don't get frustrated.

        Good luck,
        Katie (@KatieNovakUDL)

        • Jul 14, 2013 6:38pm

          Read up on close reading strategies. This is a great way to scaffold learning for all students in your classroom. The repeated readings alone will help all students to see beyond the words on the page. I teach seventh grade and saw my students make considerable progress by simply expecting (and demanding a bit) that they always cite evidence from the text, whether in discussion or in written response.