For all students to have equal access to academic content and build language skills, differentiation must be an integral part of class instruction for every content class. "Read the chapter and answer the questions at the end" will happily no longer be part of a student's average school day. Not every student learns the exact same way. Taking this into account when planning lessons turns the seemingly unmotivated student into an excited learner.
Through differentiation of instruction, active classroom engagement will be the norm. Teachers will be employing a wide variety of instructional "mixers" that will involve a wide range of students including on grade level students, those with special needs, and the English language learners at all levels of language acquisition. Designing instruction around different learning modalities (visual, kinesthetic, and auditory), for example, draws everyone into the assignment. Teachers providing quick multiple intelligences assessments will open up a plethora of possibilities in reaching and involving all students in their learning. Incorporating activities that tap into several different types of intelligences will provide many opportunities for each student to shine as s/he attacks a problem using her/his strengths to solve it.
If common core based lessons are to be successful ventures in reforming instructional practices in the United States, differentiation must be an integral part of the lesson plan.
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