Chapter 8 of Differentiation and the Brain delves into the difference between leadership and management and how leadership is what teachers should really be striving to achieve in their classroom routines. Additionally, the authors share some ways to use leadership to differentiate and meet students' needs. Click through to read the whole summary of this chapter.
This summer, the Tools for Teaching Teens group has been conducting a study of an incredibly useful book, Differentiating and the Brain by David A. Sousa and Carol Ann Tomlinson. I have learned so much from this book that I plan to implement in my classroom in the upcoming year. If you are just joining us, be sure to check out the other chapter summaries and reflections:

Introduction
Chapter 1: The Nonnegotiables of Effective Differentiation
Chapter 2: Mindset, Learning Environment, and Effective Differentiation
Chapter 3: Curriculum and Differentiation
Chapter 4: Classroom Assessment and Differentiation
Chapter 5: Differentiating in Response to Student Readiness
Chapter 6: Differentiating in Response to Student Interest
Chapter 7: Differentiating in Response to Student Learning Profile

This last chapter is full of ideas for managing a differentiated classroom. As I read, I found myself imagining the many ways I will transform my classroom this year.

Chapter 8 distinguishes between leadership and management. Essentially, managers manipulate, while leaders build relationships. A differentiated classroom must be led through flexibility, not rigidity. Of course, management is a factor in leadership, but not the factor.

The first sign of a dysfunctional classroom is combativeness. There is a "me against them" attitude on the teacher's part, and the students' respond in kind.

This type of dysfunction doesn't occur when the teacher is a genuine leader.

Tomlinson and Sousa offer strategies for becoming an effective leader. But before we delve into the strategies, let's look at the principles at the foundation of leadership:
Chapter 8 of Differentiation and the Brain delves into the difference between leadership and management and how leadership is what teachers should really be striving to achieve in their classroom routines. Additionally, the authors share some ways to use leadership to differentiate and meet students' needs. Click through to read the whole summary of this chapter.
The key to becoming an effective leader is to build relationships with your students. Tomlinson and Sousa recommend doing this by
1. Learning their names right away
2. Sharing stories (yours and theirs) briefly every day
3. Acknowledging birthdays
4. Using humor (though not sarcasm).

Making the classroom belong to everyone is also imperative. Teachers should make students aware of class goals. Students should understand why the class is differentiated so that they will feel ownership in the classroom. They recommend a series of activities to illustrate the need for differentiation. One of my favorites is "Paper People."
Chapter 8 of Differentiation and the Brain delves into the difference between leadership and management and how leadership is what teachers should really be striving to achieve in their classroom routines. Additionally, the authors share some ways to use leadership to differentiate and meet students' needs. Click through to read the whole summary of this chapter.
Chapter 8 of Differentiation and the Brain delves into the difference between leadership and management and how leadership is what teachers should really be striving to achieve in their classroom routines. Additionally, the authors share some ways to use leadership to differentiate and meet students' needs. Click through to read the whole summary of this chapter.Students color the person according to their preferences, and then display them to try to find one exactly like theirs--that doesn't usually happen. You can download and print this handout by clicking HERE.

Also, lead students in finding a shared classroom vision through team-building.
1. Students should understand why the classroom matters.
2. Students should understand why each person is important.
3. Students should feel pride in being a part of the classroom.
There are a ton of team-building ideas HERE.

While leadership is primary, management is secondary. Here are Tomlinson and Sousa's ideas for managing a differentiated classroom:
Chapter 8 of Differentiation and the Brain delves into the difference between leadership and management and how leadership is what teachers should really be striving to achieve in their classroom routines. Additionally, the authors share some ways to use leadership to differentiate and meet students' needs. Click through to read the whole summary of this chapter.
The take away from chapter 8? Leadership is the key to managing a differentiated classroom effectively. Leadership emerges from building relationships. Care about your students. Care about their learning. Have a quality curriculum. All will be well.

What do you think? Do you have a differentiated classroom? Did you find this book as helpful as we did? Leave a comment below to let me know!
It's been a rainy week in Georgia, and the rain has foiled our plans.

Looking for some books to read during your down time in the summer? I'm sharing a list of a few books I've read that I thoroughly enjoyed, and some of them will even make great choices for literature circles in some secondary classes, like sociology. Click through to get the whole list and read a brief synopsis of each recommended book!
On Saturday (Happy July 4!) we were supposed to visit the historic Marietta Square for a parade, antiquing, and fireworks. But it was a no-go (thank you, rain). We're going to go there this Thursday, weather permitting.

We did grill (under an awning), and I had a chance to start a new book. I've had it on my list for a while, and I finally got to it.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
True, Unbroken has been out for quite some time, and most people have probably at least seen the movie (I wanted to read the book first), but I've been insanely busy lately. So far, so good. Our protagonist is quite the character--drinking at 8, stealing pies when older, and rough-housing always.

As a soldier in WWII, he is captured by the Japanese and subjected to innumerable horrors.

I'm looking to implement literature circles (if I can find the time) in history. I don't think the board would approve this one for 10th graders, so I guess I'm just reading this one for myself. It's a good feeling.

If you're looking for some good summer reads, here are a few I've enjoyed (I won't mention the Game of Thrones books, but if you enjoy the show, you'll enjoy the books more):

The Passage and The Twelve, by Justin Cronin
This is a post apocalyptic series about a vampire inducing virus that knocks out a large portion of humanity. I had to read them because Stephen King said, "Cronin puts the scare back in vampires."

Cinderella Ate my Daughter, by Peggy Orenstein
This is an engaging sociological study of the "girly-girl" culture promoted by our society (through the Disney Corporation's Princess Franchise). This one, along with The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, I plan to use in sociology literature circles.

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, by Francine Prose
This novel takes place in Nazi occupied Paris. The backdrop of the story is a nightclub where misfits congregate. Beware of unreliable narrators!

To Marry an English Lord, by Gail MacColl and Carol Wallace
If Downton Abbey is a guilty pleasure of yours, this is a must read. This book is about the early 20th century fashion of American heiresses marrying impoverished English lords. Money for title.

Exit the Actress, by Priya Parmar
This is a novel about the Restoration England actress, Nell Gwynn. Gwynn was also mistress to the Merry Monarch, Charles II. It's a fun and informative read.

Here is a great Horrible Histories Sketch about the Merry Monarch himself!
video
What are you reading this summer? Leave a comment below to let me know! And check back next Monday for more Hometown Tourist Adventures (weather permitting).
Chapter 4 of Differentiation and the Brain is all about effectively utilizing pre-assessments and feedback. The authors of this book argue that grading pre-assessments and formative assessments isn't the right way to go, and they say the same about closed-ended questioning. What do they recommend instead? Click through to read a summary of the chapter and find out!
I'm working on my craft (teaching) this summer by doing a book study with the Tools for Teaching Teens group. If you're just joining us, you can hop on over to Ellie's blog for ch.1, Brigid's for ch. 2, and Brittany's for ch. 3.

You'll find quite a bit of overlap between chapters 3 and 4 because effective assessment and quality curriculum are inextricable. It makes sense--without clear goals, assessment creates stress (release of cortisol in the brain) which impedes results (and learning).

Tomlinson and Sousa advocate beginning with meaningful goals that are clearly communicated to the student in the form of preassessment. The preassessment should be followed by meaningful feedback. That doesn't mean "Nice Job" or "D". That means, "Here is what was good about what you did--here is how you can improve."

Teachers should then guide students toward improvement through formative assessment, offering choice along the way--portfolios, presentations, essays, short answer, etc.--and offering constant, constructive feedback. This will cause the student's brain to release dopamine (signaling reward), encouraging learning.

By the time summative assessment is upon the classroom, there should be no surprises (goals have been clarified and practiced from the outset).
Chapter 4 of Differentiation and the Brain is all about effectively utilizing pre-assessments and feedback. The authors of this book argue that grading pre-assessments and formative assessments isn't the right way to go, and they say the same about closed-ended questioning. What do they recommend instead? Click through to read a summary of the chapter and find out!

Tomlinson and Sousa note, however, that our typical methods of summative assessment (multiple-choice) are not the best way to go. Closed-ended questioning accesses only one point in the brain, making students more susceptible to stress (cortisol) and results more likely to be skewed. Since open-ended questions (short answer, essay...) access more areas of the brain, cortisol is less likely to impede each of these areas.

They then warn of the dangers of acclimating young students to closed-ended questioning--it can impede their development as creative, abstract thinkers.

The classroom that communicates clear goals and employs pre and formative assessment will naturally differentiate. The teacher, in assessing, will consider, "What is the best way for this student to achieve the desired outcome?" Modification will follow.

Tomlinson and Sousa say, "No," to grading pre and formative assessments and "Yes" to constant, quality feedback (geeze, they'd hate my Spring Survival Tip #4, though I think they'd approve that students got credit just for doing the assignment and my feedback was separate from a grade--that's what I'm taking from it, anyhow).

That leads us to report cards--if we've been doing our job with assessment and goals all along, the grade should be an outcome of that. There should be no surprises. Later grades should count more than earlier ones. Standardized tests should be burned. (Okay, I threw that one in, but I think they'd agree that they need to be rethought.)
Chapter 4 of Differentiation and the Brain is all about effectively utilizing pre-assessments and feedback. The authors of this book argue that grading pre-assessments and formative assessments isn't the right way to go, and they say the same about closed-ended questioning. What do they recommend instead? Click through to read a summary of the chapter and find out!

These things are important to consider as we plan for next year. Hop on over and see what Andrea has to say about ch. 5!

What are your thoughts on differentiation and assessment? How are you improving your craft this summer? Leave a comment below to let me know!


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