The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners

The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners

The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners

The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners

Synopsis

Drawing on nearly three decades of experience, author Carol Ann Tomlinson describes a way of thinking about teaching and learning that will change all aspects of how you approach students and your classroom. She looks to the latest research on learning, education, and change for the theoretical basis of differentiated instruction and why it's so important to today's children. Yet she offers much more than theory, filling the pages with real-life examples of teachers and students using-and benefitting from-differentiated instruction.

Excerpt

She waited until they were all in their usual places,
and then she asked, “Did I choose you, or did you choose
me?” And the Souls answered, “Yes!”
E. L. Konigsburg
The View from Saturday

I enjoyed writing this book because it reminded me that teaching is, in part, a history. I enjoyed writing this book because it reminded me of my history as a teacher. Writing this book connected me with teachers of another century in one-room schoolhouses on the Great Plains of the United States. These teachers accepted all comers and said by their actions, “I’m grateful for every one of you who came to learn. Different as you are, we can make this work!”

This book also transported me back to late nights at the home of my first real teaching partner nearly three decades ago. She and I tried to make sense of multitask classrooms, which seemed the obvious need of our very diverse students. After three decades of a remarkable friendship, Doris Standridge still works with me to make sense of teaching—and of life. In this book, she also created all the graphics.

Writing this book led me to recall the names and faces of students I taught and who unfailingly taught me. They were high schoolers, preschoolers, and middle schoolers. They were so alike, yet so different. They needed me to be many things to them, not just one person, and they taught me how to achieve that.

This book reminded me of colleagues in Fauquier County, Va. They worked hard, took professional risks, thought “outside the box,” found joy in classrooms, and created joy there, too. It was a classy school district, and it was a great training ground for teaching because there was encouragement to be an innovator.

Writing this book helped me retrace my steps on the journey of my “second life” at the University of Virginia and in schools around the country. I now work with teachers in all the different kinds of places that make up the United States and with all the sorts of students who are its future. At the University of Virginia, my colleagues push my thinking and model excellence. My students often ask, “Why?” Then generally they follow with, “Why not?” Students still are my teachers.

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