In my previous blog post, I talked about why it’s crucial to meet the needs of all of your students. In this post, I’m going to share some simple tips on how to do just that! Let’s get straight to it!
Use Educational Websites
A lot of teachers think it is difficult to differentiate instruction for their students, and initially, it is. I like to use supplemental resources to provide differentiation.
Reading websites like Achieve3000, Raz-Kids, and Istation are excellent ways to not only give each kiddo what they need but also for monitoring their progress. Check out my tutorials on how to get started with Raz-Kids. I also wrote a post about why all elementary teachers should use Raz, so check that out too.
Using these websites as a center is an easy way to make sure at least one of your centers is differentiated. The other great thing is that the kiddos can log in at home. Create contests to get students to log in and work on these websites at home.
Learn Their Interests
Some of you may be slightly confused about why this is important. Knowing students’ interests allows you to make sure your kiddos are engaged. This school year, I have a class that is into ancient societies, so I’m going to make sure we learn more about them.
If you have a math class that is really into multiplication, make contests, and have competitions in class to help them practice that skill.
When you use what they’re interested in and infuse it with the curriculum, the students don’t need convincing to buy in what they’re learning.
Be honest about where they are academically
Students should know where they are at the beginning of the year and the appropriate levels for that grade. I know some teachers don’t want to tell students that they are below grade level because they don’t want to discourage them if they’re behind.
In my opinion, students and parents should know. You don’t have to be demeaning about it, but you should be honest. I like to tell my students, who are significantly below level that we are going to work together. Once they realize that they will get help, the students and parents worry less.
And I’m not blowing smoke we make gains! My students who are grade levels behind grow so much during the school year, and it encourages them to continue working hard the next school year.
Set Monthly goals
If you tell students where they are at the beginning of the year, help them set goals to make sure they get the maximum growth for the year. Have them pick one goal to work on the entire month so they can be actively involved in their progress.
Meet with them regularly to check their progress to make sure they stay on track. I know many of us set goals at the beginning of the school year, but wait until the middle of the year to see if they met their goal. This is ineffective. My students rarely reach their goals if we don’t make them smaller and meet about them at least monthly. Grab the Class Goal Setting Guide, to make goal setting a breeze.
Meeting students needs isn’t as complicated as we make it in our mind. We can start with simple steps and add more as we get more confident. We shouldn’t rush differentiation, but it doesn’t mean to wait the whole year to get started. If you want to see academic and behavioral changes in your students, you need to meet each student’s needs.