Differentiating instruction for students based on readiness, interest, and learning style is a powerful way to make learning personal and effective. Research shows that giving students options in how they engage with content and skill practice often results in an overall increase in engagement and growth.

When I made it a point to shift my middle school classroom to a fully differentiated model, I put in the hard work to create student-driven activities and experiences for my diverse population of learners.

There were exploratory projects, fascinating articles, student-created podcasts, curated video clips, gamified practice, and even virtual field trips. My classroom literally had something for everyone. But there was a problem: students were struggling with the time management skills associated with a choice-driven learning environment.

 

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