Series: Success at the Core: Instructional Expertise

Using Expertise to Group Students
Lesson Objective: Pair student needs with teacher expertise to improve learning
All Grades / All Subjects / Differentiation

Thought starters

  1. According to the teachers and the principal, what are the benefits of the differentiated labs?
  2. How are teachers' individual areas of expertise identified?
  3. How does this school use instructional expertise to advance quality instruction?
The benefits to this differentiated lab is that the teachers all meet to discuss the learning needs of each child. They then place them into a grouping. Based off of that grouping the students are all learning on their level with challenge as well. The teachers assess which classroom they feel they would benefit in teaching. They look at their strengths in teaching. They work closely together and know each other well. This approach would help group ELLs in mainstream classrooms because the teachers can assess who they feel would be most successful teaching their learning style.
Recommended (0)
The benefits of differentiated labs help meet students where they are at and push them to achieve higher. Students are more engaged and take on more active roles when they are in their same-level group. Also lesson plans get a makeover and incorporate expertise from all teachers, improving the quality of the lesson. Teachers identify different expertise through PD experience and willingness to work with a specific group. Teachers's expertise is used to improve the quality of the lesson, for ongoing conferring and sharing different strategies that were successful.
Recommended (0)
How do the teachers use data analysis to inform their instruction? The teachers use the scores of the group so that he or she can move at the pace of that group.
Recommended (0)
Differentiated labs benefit students across the board. Exceptional students and English-language learners are able to learn the lab at their own pace, which may be slower than the pace in an undifferentiated lab. Teachers found that some of these students who sit quietly in regular labs participate more in the smaller, differentiated group. Advanced students, on the other hand, can be challenged more and also incorporate computer technology other students might not. Teachers ensured students were appropriately grouped by placing them according to objective science exam scores. The teachers know better than anyone what student populations they handle best. They chose populations they've worked with and enjoyed in the past. By breaking the students into three groups for science labs, the school can provide lab experience that will challenge students of all levels without discouraging any.
Recommended (0)
How do the teachers use data analysis to inform their instruction? - The teachers evaluated data and collaborated in order to build better relationships amongst their students. They were capable to meet weekly and they decided on grouping based on their understanding of the lessons. How did the teachers specifically challenge students? - Once the students were put into groups, each group was learning similar things, just on different levels. Each teacher controlled a group (ex: high, medium, low, etc.) Instruction was differentiated and the pacing depended on the grouping and the ability of the students. Different styles of the lesson are taught to each student and each child, in every group, is pushed to work to their harder potential. Comment on some of the "findings" that the teachers discuss towards the end of the video. - The teachers were able to reflect on their own teaching style and which group they feel the most comfortable with teaching. This allows the teachers to not always be stuck with the same group. They also found that although they are all teaching separate groups, all the students in the end were like "one collective brain".
Recommended (0)

School Details

Covington Middle School
11200 Ne Rosewood Rd
Vancouver WA 98662
Population: 1046

Data Provided By:



Byron Molle
Suzanne Sooter
Kristi Young
David Piercy


Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Planning

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Engagement

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12 / ELA / Tch DIY