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Student-Driven Differentiation
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Student-Driven Differentiation
8 Steps to Harmonize Learning in the Classroom

First Edition

Foreword by Carol Ann Tomlinson



May 2018 | 216 pages | Corwin

Conduct Orchestras, Not Trains

“What if we understood that we can teach the important ideas and skills of the disciplines in a hundred different ways?  And that students can learn them in a hundred different ways?” 
– Carol Ann Tomlinson

How can teachers create harmony in the classroom when the educational field is lacking tangible action plans for how to differentiate learning for every student?  Full of just-in-time, step-by-step guidance, Student-Driven Differentiation: 8 Steps to Harmonize Learning in the Classroom will show you how to incorporate student voice and choice in the process of planning for differentiation. This unique approach is based on building collaborative student-teacher relationships as a precursor to student growth. The result? Every student learns according to their own needs. 

Organized into three parts for quick reference, this book will lay the foundation for student-driven differentiation and 

  • Identify the criteria for positive teacher-student relationships
  • Examine four areas for differentiated learning – content, process, product, environment
  • Describe the process of planning and implementing student-driven differentiation
  • Motivate and support you in your student-driven differentiation journey
  • Provide unique examples and engaging vignettes throughout, including a fun project inspired by Shark Tank!
Student-Driven Differentiation illustrates relevant, real life examples of authentic learning, using student-driven differentiation as the foundation for these experiences. You’ll also receive an 8-step roadmap outlining actionable strategies that will help you foster a culture of student-driven differentiation and student-driven leadership.
 
 
List of Online Tools and Resources
 
Foreword
 
Preface
Why Did I Write This Book?  
What Is Student-Driven Differentiation?  
Student-Driven Leadership: A Crucial Component to Student-Driven Differentiation  
How to Read This Book  
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
Part I: Foundation
 
Chapter 1: Relationships Come First
What Are the Criteria for Positive Teacher–Student Relationships?  
How Do You Build Respectful Relationships?  
Discussion Questions  
 
Chapter 2: Differentiation Is What Happens When Teachers Focus on Student Growth
Differentiation Lessons Learned  
Lesson 1: Differentiation Is Not a Goal—It Is a Result  
Lesson 2: The Terms Data and Assessment Are Often Misunderstood  
Lesson 3: It Is Easy to See Different—It Is Not Easy to See Differentiation  
Lesson 4: Differentiation May Never Feel “Easy”  
Lesson 5: There Will Always Be Challenges and a Way to Overcome Them  
Discussion Questions  
 
Chapter 3: Four Areas to Differentiate
Content: What Is to Be Learned?  
Process: How Students Acquire Knowledge  
Product: How Students Demonstrate Learning  
Learning Environment: Where and With Whom Students Learn  
Discussion Questions  
 
Part II: Implementation
 
Chapter 4: Planning Student- Driven Differentiation
Step 1: Define  
Step 2: Hook  
Step 3: Assess and Analyze  
Step 4: Group Students Strategically  
Discussion Questions  
 
Chapter 5: Include Student Voice
Step 5: Set a Goal  
Step 6: Differentiate  
Step 7: Monitor Progress  
Step 8: Assess Again  
Discussion Questions  
 
Chapter 6: Student-Driven Differentiation Through Experiential Learning
Student-Driven Differentiation Example 1: Shark Tank  
Student-Driven Differentiation Example 2: Mock Trial  
Student-Driven Differentiation Example 3: The Amazing Geography Race  
Student-Driven Differentiation Example 4: Mock ER  
Discussion Questions  
 
Part III: Reimagining Schools
 
Chapter 7: Create Learning Environments That Promote Student Ownership
Don’t Update the Factory Model; Discard It Altogether  
Meet the Needs of All Students  
Design Classrooms Conducive to Student-Driven Differentiation  
Make Student Ownership Part of the Classroom Culture  
Use Technology to Promote Learning and Creativity  
Monitor Student Progress Toward Learning Intentions  
Enlist Parents’ Help in Furthering Student Learning  
Discussion Questions  
 
Chapter 8: The Role of Choice in Meeting Learning Intentions
Offer Choices That Fulfill Learning Needs  
Example 1: Use Choice as Part of Curriculum Compacting  
Example 2: Align Choice to Learning Intentions  
Example 3: Incorporate Choice in Homework Assignments  
Example 4: Use Choice to Give Students Ownership of Their Own Learning  
Example 5: Use Choice to Allow Students to Work at Their Own Pace  
Example 6: Use Choice to Promote Student Autonomy and Student Efficacy  
Lack of Choice Can Inhibit Creativity  
Discussion Questions  
 
Chapter 9: Your Journey With Student-Driven Differentiation
We Are Entrusted With Instilling the Desire to Learn  
We Are Better Together: Collective Efficacy  
Mastery Experience: Set Goals to Increase Efficacy  
Vicarious Experiences: Observe Teachers in Action  
Social Persuasion: Inspire Through Storytelling  
Affective States: Support Fellow Educators Through Positive Communication  
Now What? Summing It All Up  
Discussion Questions  
 
Afterword
 
Glossary
 
References
 
Index

Lisa Westman does an excellent job of explaining the what of differentiation as well as the how. Examples from practitioners show it can be done effectively. The variety of voices - students, administrators, teachers, community - lends credibility by approaching differentiation from multiple perspectives. An excellent book to help teachers truly understand how to differentiate. Westman focuses on real world examples that are driven by research and student needs.

Dr. Jennifer Marten, Gifted & Talented Coordinator, Online School Coordinator
Plymouth Joint School District, Plymouth, WI

A Step-by-Step Guide to Differentiation – all educators need to read this book.  It presents a clear and careful blueprint for an insightful and practical foundation in differentiation. When it comes to differentiation, educators have been looking for a practical book: now we have it.

Dr. Lyne N. Ssebikindu, Principal
Crump Elementary School, Cordova, TN

"This fascinating book presents differentiation in a way that demystifies the strategy so that teachers can unlock thinking and promote rigorous instruction."

Marian White-Hood, Head of School
Potomac Preparatory Public Charter School, Washington DC

"To say I have been waiting for this book by Lisa Westman with great anticipation would be an understatement. She was a frequent and very popular guest blogger for my Finding Common Ground blog. Westman has hit it out of the park with her new book, much like she did with each and every guest blog. She has a deeply engaging writing style that  offers practical steps on how to differentiate using her deep knowledge on the topic. She literally differentiated this book in a variety of ways to help us deepen our understanding. Not only is this a must-read, it is a book that will be relevant for a very long time."

Peter DeWitt, Ed.D., Author/Consultant

"Lisa Westman hits a homerun with this practical, powerful, purposeful, and plentiful book about learning, teaching, and excellence for ALL students. With vignettes and examples from the field, blended with Lisa's courageous and proven success as a teacher leader, all who read this book will be able to implement student focused strategies. This is a book all teachers and educational leaders need to read and share."

Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D. - Author, Adjunct Professor
Deerfield Public School Superintendent District 109

"This book by Lisa Westman in a must-read for educators everywhere. She delivers a new look at how differentiation must work in our classrooms, with an emphasis on the concept of “student-driven differentiation,” in which the focus is always on student learning, student growth, and investing students in their own learning and their own learning needs. This book is extremely well written and provides practical tips for teachers hoping to transform learning in their classrooms to ensure that all students learn at high levels. The tools and resources in this book--combined with Westman’s expert insights--provide a roadmap for readers to better meet the needs of all students in our schools. Student-Driven Differentiation: 8 Steps to Harmonize Learning in the Classroom is a game changer for educators--and the students they serve!"

Dr. Jeffrey Zoul, Instructional and Leadership Coach, Speaker, Author

"Westman shows the importance of focusing on the learner and moving backward from there.  She does this eloquently through supporting the educator with practical ideas that goes beyond engaging students, but empowers them in their learning.  Empowering learners should be the norm in education, and Westman helps educators move toward that standard."

George Couros, Leadership Consultant
Author of The Innovator's Mindset and Innovative Teaching, Learning

"Lisa Westman presents a seamless alignment of differentiation strategies with approaches designed to empower students. She expertly weaves research, anecdotes, and personal stories with pragmatic and helpful how to's. Her specific examples and valuable charts and tables provide concrete visual tools to support the powerful professional growth opportunities she offers. I recommend this insightful, well-written book for teachers, teacher-leaders, instructional coaches, curriculum supervisors, and administrators."

Debbie Silver, Ed.D.
Author of Fall Down 7 Times, Get up 8, Deliberate Optimism, and Teaching Kids to Thrive
Key features
In this book, educators will find:
  • Real-life examples in every chapter, from the author and from educators all over the country
  • Checklists
  • Helpful infographics to guide implementation
  • Ideas to give students autonomy to create, learn, and grow at their level
  • A companion website maintained by the author with links to helpful resources

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ISBN: 9781506396576
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