Differentiation (7th-grade Math)

Observation Notes (What did you see?)

The material within the class wasn’t very differentiated but the 7th grade math itself had three different levels: low, middle, and high. There was time for individual practice and some guided practice on a new concept. The teacher supported struggling students and gave students the opportunity to do extra credit if they finished early.

The teacher gave a time limit to individual practice and adjusted (started next concept early) according to the class. I noticed the teacher repeated simple instruction to one student. The student seemed distractible, or should I say able to focus on things other than the lesson, and was the only student all day that sat away from the other students.

Since I was observing a math class, I primarily saw the incorporation of logical-mathematical intelligence. There was a little linguistic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligence incorporated. I did not see musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, or naturalist intelligences.

I saw the work as primarily read/write and visual. The teacher let some students get their wiggles out by having the responsibility of handing out papers. I saw the math class as primarily practical rather than analytical or creative.

Reflection (What do you think? How will this affect your teaching?)

I’m not sure what to think about “tiered” classes, it makes me think about tracking. Tracking students could be dangerous if students are at a different developmental stage or didn’t have as many opportunities as others. I need more experience to know when to support students and when to let them work on their own and I should have extra credit readily available.

I think time limits help provide structure and good teachers are mindful of when to be flexible. Some students have trouble with more than one step at a time and it’s a delicate matter to repeat instructions to one student without drawing negative attention to it. The room was set up so that students could be reseated away from class if necessary.

I think it was appropriate to see logical-mathematical intelligence incorporated into a math class. It might be a stretch to incorporate some of the multiple intelligences. However, I could play music and incorporate spatial and bodily-kinesthetic intelligences into my lessons.

Since I learn primarily in read/write and visual modes, I am concerned I will teach too much in those modes. I like the idea of giving students responsibilities within the classroom, even that could be differentiated. I think a practical pattern is appropriate, an analytical pattern could be incorporated, and creative pattern would not be as appropriate in a math class.


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