Why do I differentiate? Three demonstrations you MUST do!

Differentiation is something that is so close to my heart.  I can't say that every aspect of my instruction is differentiated, but I do my best to ensure that I am meeting all of my student where they are.  As I was reading "Leading and Managing a Differentiated Classroom" by Carol Ann Tomlinson this summer, I was inspired to do a few demonstrations for my students at the beginning of the year.  All of these activities are intended to be light-hearted and funny.  Excuse me and my silliness as you read this post.

Everybody Gets an Aspirin!

What would happen if we all went to the doctor complaining of different things, and the doctor gave every single one of us aspirin?  Would that mend a broken bone?  Would that cure a bad case of acne?  Heck no!  Each problem, ailment, and symptom requires a different treatment.  Although I'll be passing out Tic Tacs, this is exactly what I plan to demonstrate to my students.

I will be using the patient cards above to select eight students to play along in my demonstration.  Each student will take turns visiting the doctor.  I'll sympathetically listen to their complaints, and with as much composure as I can muster, I'll give them an "aspirin" to make them feel better.

The eighth and final patient card is for a poor patient complaining of a simple headache.  Then, after seven other silly attempts to solve the problems of my patients, I'll finally be successful in handing out an aspirin!

Just like passing out an aspirin to every person sounds ridiculous, so does instruction that isn't differentiated.

Sharin' Clothing

We all know that instruction isn't one size fits all.  For this demonstration, I am planning to walk in to the classroom wearing my husband's jacket and struggle to put on my seven year old daughter's gloves.  While it might *somewhat* help the situation, neither of these items are tailored to ME!  Just like Goldilocks and The Three Bears, they are either too big or too small.

I can't wait to have a discussion with my students about the things that we do in my classroom to ensure that all of my students have instruction that actually fits.

Brown Paper Bag

I recently posted (and shared a freebie) about my Welcome to Fifth Grade Postcards.  On this postcard, I have asked all of my students to bring in three to five items that describe them!  I've also been collecting a few things about myself.  On our first day of school, we will be sharing their items as a class.

After all of the students have showcased their items, I plan to discuss how many items were the same and how many of our items were unique.  My guess is, we will have many items that are very different from one another.  Most importantly, while we may have some similarities, no one has brought in three identical items!

Just as the items in our bags, we all have different likes and dislikes.  This also applies to our learning.  Maybe I like practicing my spelling words by putting them to music (honestly, that's how I always practiced my spelling words), but someone else really prefers to write them on the chalkboard repeatedly.  Our likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses all impact our learning!


  1. I love these!!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. You're so welcome! I can't wait to do them at the beginning of the school year!!!

  2. I love these ideas! I am going to try these! 😊