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For busy teachers, a tip for differentiating instruction

Mathew Needleman of Creating Lifelong Learners shares a schedule for working with small groups of different ability levels:

The idea is that you meet briefly with your students are lowest in a particular skill every day but you do not ignore students who need enrichment or those who need just a little bit of help to get to the next level. It’s a mistake to spend much longer than ten minutes with your struggling students as the law of diminishing returns kicks in after awhile.

When I had groups working on differentiated assignments, I remember running all over the place, trying to give the students who were working on mastering basic skills the most help possible, without neglecting the other groups who were working on enrichment assignments. The advantage of this schedule is that it not only would help you stay organized, but you could also post a version of it — naming the groups differently, of course — so that students would know when they could expect your undivided time.

How do you organize time when you’re conferencing with individual students, pulling out small groups, or have groups working on differentiated assignments?

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