Carol Tomlinson’s book, How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms, is the standard in classroom differentiation. With that said, what is it that we could do better as educators?
Step-by-step how this Arizona elementary school gives its students the additional time they need to master core concepts and elevate their learning to the next level.
The Toolbox of Differentiation
- Task Cards.
- Tiered Lesson Template – great ideas for tired differentiation here.
- Learning Menus – great outline for learning menues here.
Lesson Plans & Rubric – Reteach and Enrich
Sample materials used to teach, assess, reteach, and enrich one week’s fifth grade math objective: differentiating prime and composite numbers. Watch our video or read the article to learn more about Mesquite’s Reteach & Enrich program.
- Standard for Prime and Composite NumbersOverview of math objective for one week: differentiating prime and composite numbers
- Formative Assessment on Prime and Composite NumbersWeekly formative assessment on differentiating prime and composite numbers
- Divisibility Rule KeynoteOverview of divisibility rules for day one of reteach
- The Super SieveActivity used on day two for reteach
- The Factor GameWorksheet for the factor game used on day three of reteach
Example of a game played in enrichment class
- Bingo Call CardsBingo call cards used for enrichment class
- Bingo CardExample of a bingo card used in enrichment class
Activities used by Mesquite teachers for teaching prime and composite numbers
- Fruit Shoot game from Sheppard Software
- Factor Game from Illuminations
- Interactive factor tree from National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
Tools for Data Assessment
Teachers at Mesquite meet weekly with the student achievement teacher to review the most recent assessment data and plan instruction for each student accordingly.
Sample spreadsheet used to track student performance on each objective.
Students whose performance falls in the bottom 25 percent of the class are tracked more closely using spreadsheets like this one.
Benchmark = 1 quarter
AIMS is the state standardized test
PL = Performance Level on AIMS
M = Meets
A = Approaches
FFB = Falls Far Below
Grid displaying per student performance for each objective on a benchmark test.
MS = Meets Standard
AS = Approaches Standard
FS = Falls Below Standard
Profile report of overall performance for one fifth grade class on a benchmark test.
Profile report of overall performance for entire fifth grade on a benchmark test. Codes such as S1C1, S1C2, are weekly performance objectives; M05 is Mesquite, 5th grade.
- Bell to Bell LearningPhilosophy at Mesquite Elementary
- Mesquite and Vail School Districtis ACT StatementCode of conduct for all students in the Vail School District
- Mesquite and Vail School Districtis REACH StatementExpectations for instruction for all teachers in the Vail School District
- Mesquite ScheduleDaily schedule at Mesquite Elementary. Teachers at Mesquite have 35 minutes each day for collaborative planning.
- Mesquite School MapMesquite was designed to encourage collaboration, with each grade level organized in pods around a common area.
Websites & Readings
- Beyond Textbooks — website for the Beyond Textbooks program (Watch the Edutopia video to learn more about how Mesquite teachers use Beyond Textbooks.
- Math Solutions — founded by Marilyn Burns, dedicated to improving math learning
- ABC Teach — free printable resources
- Sheppard Software — free educational games, activities and more
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics — resources for teaching math
- National Library of Virtual Manipulates, Utah State University — games and activities for K-12
- BBC Schools — numeracy for ages 4-11
- Renaissance Learning — tool provider for data-driven schools
- Starfall — learn-to-read website with phonics for K-2
- Brainpop — animated educational site
- Brainpop Jr. — educational activities for K-3
- Study Island — standards-based learning solutions
- Education City — interactive educational site
- Headsprout — programs to teach early reading comprehension