Leading and Managing a Differentiated Classroom

Leading and Managing a Differentiated Classroom

Leading and Managing a Differentiated Classroom

Leading and Managing a Differentiated Classroom


Today's teachers are responsible for a greater variety of learners with a greater diversity of needs than ever before. When you add in the ever-changing dynamics of technology and current events, the complexity of both students' and teachers' lives grows exponentially. Far too few teachers, however, successfully teach the whole class with the individual student in mind.

In Leading and Managing a Differentiated Classroom, Carol Ann Tomlinson and Marcia B. Imbeau tackle the issue of how to address student differences thoughtfully and proactively. The first half of the book focuses on what it means for a teacher to effectively lead a differentiated classroom. Readers will learn how to be more confident and effective leaders for and in student-focused and responsive classrooms.

The second half of the book focuses on the mechanics of managing a differentiated classroom. A teacher who has the best intentions, a dynamic curriculum, and plans for differentiation cannot--and will not--move forward unless he or she is at ease with translating those ideas into classroom practice. In other words, teachers who are uncomfortable with flexible classroom management will not differentiate instruction, even if they understand it, accept the need for it, and can plan for it.

Tomlinson and Imbeau argue that the inherent interdependence of leading and managing a differentiated classroom is at the very heart of 21st-century education. This essential guide to differentiation also includes a helpful teacher's toolkit of activities and teaching strategies that will help any teacher expand his or her capacity to make room for and work tirelessly on behalf of every student.


Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them,
but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where
they lead.

—Louisa May Alcott

I couldn’t tell you in much detail about my sixth year of teaching, or my tenth, or any other specific year in the 21 years I spent in high school, preschool, and middle school classrooms except my first and fourth years. There are memories from each of the years I taught in public school that will always reside in me, of course, but no other particular years exist in my mind with the sharp detail of those two. It was in those two years that I established my compass as a teacher.

During my teenage years, I vowed never to be a teacher. My mother was a teacher (and immensely proud of her work), which was fine with me—until she and I ended up in the same school during my 6th grade year. It was a hard year for me. Not only was I entering adolescence with an impressive case of self-consciousness, but I was attending a new school in a new town. We had just moved away from the town where I’d spent the entire 11 years of my life to a new . . .

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