50 Strategies for Differentiation

50 Strategies for Differentiation
from the amazing teachers at Greenford High School

shared at Teaching and Learning Takeover
at Southampton University 19th November 2013

Get the basics right: CONSISTENCY
1. Exercise Books – organisation
2. Exercise Books – meaningful marking, with DIRT – Dedicated Improvement and Response Time
3. Seating plans with info relevant to students’ needs
4. Get to know your students as well as possible
5. Show them you care, ask about their lives, remember their replies
6. Use the behaviour management systems of the school

Obvious, but often ignored
7. Grouping
8. Re-arranging tables in a room
9. Teacher position in classroom
10. Schemes of work with challenge at different levels
11. Homework booklets adapted for a range of abilities
12. Clear coherent planning to teach what is really important, not a moment wasted
13. Listen to your students during the lesson and change your plans accordingly

Less obvious
14. Setting and re-arranging students and class sizes to support the most effective learning
15. Reading ages have different elements, eg comprehension, decoding. Use these.
16. Students with statements in sets where they can best make progress, not clustered together.

Additional challenge
17. Topic booklets for each new topic in A level w a variety of readings, additional research/self-study exercises, and exam Qs, short & long
18. Subject specific reading library in dept that students borrow books from.
19. After school skills workshops tailored to suit different A* students’ needs to bring up all skills to level of their best skills.
20. Develop a culture of learning by making mistakes, eg Art work experiments outside sketch book, discussing +ve aspects of mistakes.
21. Get a second opinion – invite other teachers and students to give feedback on work of the highest level, prepares students for outside world and provides additional challenge.
22. “I’ve finished!” Ask, “What have you forgotten?” (Jim Smith @thelazyteacher’s truly superb, all purpose, no nonsense extension strategy.)
23. Press the most able into really developing their answers rather than simply offering sound bites.
24. Give students roles associated with evaluation during class discussion.
25. Take students out of their ‘textbook comfort zone’ with big open questions that they have to answer. eg How should the government solve the problem of teenage pregnancy?
26. “Co-construction” – if your end game is students teaching each other, what are the steps you need to take as a teacher to scaffold this? (NB: “Go off and do a PowerPoint about X is NOT going to work!”
27. Use your Post 16 students to challenge A* GCSE students in lessons, and your gap year students or university undergraduates to support your Post 16.
28. Enrichment: STEMnet, Speakers for Schools, BBC School Report, competitions, debating (DebateMate), subject associations, Royal Institution, university Access teams, Nuffield bursaries, summer schools, Duke of Edinburgh award.

29. Teach skimming and scanning and key terms and skills explicitly (see case study on the skill of ‘inference’.)
30. Word bank, w visuals for new words, and students say these words aloud as they use them, eg in a PE lesson
31. Vocab builder: alternating word and meaning columns, students fill these across the page.
32. Pre-read any text you plan to use with students. This will help you to spot any potential issues re: vocabulary, layout etc.
33. Model the reading of any new or challenging text. Discuss the reading strategies you are using, any difficult vocabulary and any specific features of the text that students need to be aware of. Same goes for WRITING and SPEAKING ! Use Post 16 Young Interpreters for new EAL students who do not have enough English to comprehend.
34. Ensure any reading activities have a clear purpose. Why are students reading? (To make notes, answer questions, for understanding etc.) Same goes for WRITING and SPEAKING !
35. Regularly remind students about the reading strategies they can use to access texts, e.g. skimming, scanning, and close reading. Same goes for WRITING and SPEAKING !
36. Use directed activities related to text to encourage active reading, e.g. sequencing, reconstruction of text.
37. Used coloured overlay (yellow) and dyslexia friendly font, Barrington Stokes books for dyslexics who struggle with reading.
38. Use alphasmart writers or laptops for dyslexics who struggle with writing. Assistive technology can also be used in exams if this is the student’s normal way of working, as long as the correct Exam Access assessments are done and applications for access arrangements are made to the Exam Boards.

39. Share your difficulties, and involve everyone you work with in support
40. Stickers
41. Wheelie chair in centre of a horseshoe of tables, giving lots of one to one attention
42. Team spirit and, for some groups, competition
43. Writing on students’ work as they work
44. Emotional check-ins
45. Reviewing set lists, can you re-arrange combinations of students for better learning?
46. De-escalation (Team Teach offer training in this)
47. Short term tangible rewards
48. Engage families: parents and carers
49. Nurture: be positive at all times (most difficult part of teaching these students!)
50. Have high expectations of work and behaviour
51. Recognise that some students work by stealth
52. Take nothing personally, it is all a front
53. Develop (and maintain!) a sense of humour even w trickiest students

Students with Autism
54. Work should to shoulder with Learning Support team, eg Teaching Assistants – they translate the world for our students, and translate our students for us as teachers
55. Share info/concerns with LS team,yr example may be good for a Social Stories session
56. Same seat every week, near the same students (most reliable, calmest characters)
57. Give student a step by step overview of the lesson, eg print out PowerPoint/ flipchart
58. Tick off lists & short sharp challenges
59. Loud clear voice, start with student’s name, look directly at students, but do not expect eye contact in return
60. Remind other students to ignore inappropriate behaviour
61. Watch out for surreptitious bullying
62. You make the rules irrespective of needs, eg teacher can make use of time out cards for students, BUT students have to stay in their seats at all other times
63. Say what you mean, and know that EVERYTHING you say will be remembered, think before you speak
64. Boundless positivity


About Jude Enright

Jude Enright is Headteacher of Queens Park Community School. Jude was an accountant with Reuters Ltd before training to be a teacher. After being Head of ICT in a London Catholic comprehensive, Jude worked as a consultant for the National Strategies in schools across The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Part of the team that set up Chelsea Academy in 2010, Judith went on to join the leadership team at Greenford High School in Ealing, where she became Deputy Head for Teaching, Learning and Assessment. An active member of the ResearchED network, Jude is interested in how schools can use research to make the best decisions for their students and studied at UCL/IoE for an MSc in Research for Public Policy and Practice.
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