Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I loved the quote at the very beginning of the chapter, "Schools are like airport hubs; student passengers arrive from many different backgrounds for widely divergent destinations. Their particular takeoffs into adulthood will demand different flight plans." I feel like this quote sums up my thoughts on differentiation. Differentiation forces me as a teacher to keep all of my students in mind when I am considering the curriculum and what will be the best way to reach every single student. I think so often it has become the norm for teachers to become complacent in reaching the majority of the class. Not anymore. This reading has really helped me recognize the importance of differentiating. I liked reading about the four different student traits, and the four classroom elements. Differentiation seems like such an awe-some task, but when it is broken down like that it makes me feel like differentiating my own classroom might actually be doable. I loved when it talked about meeting the students needs. Affirmation, contribution, power, purpose and challenge are all so important and I really feel like if I can fulfill my students needs in all of those areas the rest will naturally follow. Take for example contribution. I know that if I create a classroom where my student feels like their contribution is important I will be fulfilling the "hallmark" of giving every child respectful and engaging work. It is so important to fulfill the needs of that student, if I can do only that I feel like I will have accomplished much. I also believe that as I begin to fill the needs of my students, they will in turn fill my needs and the needs of their peers. If each individual does not feel valued in my classroom, I will never achieve the goal of creating a classroom and community of learners. Really, everything I can do in my classroom will not be successful if it is not built on the foundation of meeting the needs of my students.