Standard 3: Differentiation

3.1 Demonstrating Knowledge of Students [1]. To me, 3.1 means that teachers use their knowledge of individual students and groups of students to present information in a way that best utilizes students’ skills, knowledge, and language proficiency. According to Birnie (2015), “As teachers learn more about differentiating successfully, as they modify and refine approaches and techniques, as they include more and better technology in the mix, they will become more proficient in differentiating instruction. Instead of being abandoned, it should become an increasingly important strategy in every teacher’s tool kit” (pg. 63).  Students studied The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and I wanted to facilitate students in making connections between the text and informational texts, which results in students to analyzing the accuracy of how Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is portrayed in the novel. Two of the articles I selected were less complex and more straightforward. The language was less dense and the main claims were clearer. I assigned these articles to lower-performing students who I have identified as struggling with reading comprehension and developing claims. In contrast, I selected two articles that encompassed more complex ideas in order to challenge students who I have identified at or above standard. Students were provided these informational texts with no knowledge that I had distributed each text based on the prior identified skill levels [2]. Students were assigned the same graphic organizer (Figure 1.1 and Figure 1.2) to fill out the column designated to their article.

Figure 1.1

 Figure 1.3

Figure 1.2

Figure 1.4

I deliberately selected each informational text in order to give students a wide range of different perceptive in regards to ASD. Students would share their responses to Figure 1.1 and Figure 1.2 to their group members.  The article from MSNBC, “Autism seen as an asset, not liability, in some jobs,” by Chris Tachibana, outlines how individuals with ASD have valuable assets in particular professional settings. An article published by The New York Times, “A School District That Takes the Isolation Out of Autism,” by Michael Winerip, describes a school district’s effort to integrate students with ASD into general classrooms and how students have responded positively to this emphasis. An article, also published by the New York Times, “School Bullies Prey on Children with Autism,” by Anahad O’Connor, describes how bullies are targeting students with ASD and the effect bullying can have on students. Lastly, an article from The Seattle Times, “I want my daughter to have opportunities,” by Becky and Paige Bisbee, which explains the progressive legislation and increasing professional opportunities for individuals with ASD. Students were instructed to analyze their respective article through guided questions. These guided questions included academic language, such as, claim and textual evidence to further understanding and usage of these terms. [5] Students were responsible to share their article, guided by the questions in Figure 1.1 and Figure 1.2. According to Pressley and McCormick (2007), “One reason individual accountability is so crucial is that many students are tempted to coast when there are in small learning groups, with only one or two participants working hard (Hogan et all., 2000; Lindauer & Petrie, 1997)” (pg.277). This form of differentiated learning allows students to access a reading that meets their comprehension and analysis skills, while prompting students to contribute to their group in the same capacity as higher-performing students. The next step is identifying additional circumstances for differentiated instruction when students are reading the same primary text. This will be accomplished by consulting with colleagues and implementing differentiated instruction in order to facilitate analysis of the text [6].


Birnie, B. (2015). Making the Case for Differentiation.  New York: The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 88:2, 62-65, Reading Horizons, 50(3), 147-168.

Pressley, M., & McCormick, C. B. (2007). Child and adolescent development for educators. New York:     Guilford Press.



About powelli

Seattle Pacific University Graduate Student - Master's in Teaching - Anticipated Graduation August, 2016.
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