July 18th – July 29th

8:30 – Noon, Monday-Friday

426 Waterman Building


UVM Green On A Hot Summer’s Morning

Instructor: Charles Rathbone, Ph.D. (Syracuse University)

Office Phone: 656-4578

Department Phone: 656-3356 (Courtney)

E-mail: charles.rathbone@uvm.edu

Students process and make sense of ideas and information more easily when their classroom activities are interesting to students, call on students to think at high level, and cause the student to use a key skill to understand a key idea. In DI, students do this in a range of modes at varied degrees of sophistication, in varying time spans, with varying amounts of teacher or peer scaffolding. Tomlinson, p79,80.


The title of one of our texts is called How to differentiate instruction in mixed ability classrooms. As if all our classrooms weren’t mixed ability classrooms! The reality of teaching in 2005 is that our public school classrooms are getting more diverse in terms of the academic proficiency of the young learners who walk through our doors. Mixed abilities have always been a challenge to most teachers. Not all, but most.

“Differentiated Instruction” is the most recent popular response to educating mixed ability groups successfully. This course is designed to assist educators understand both the principles and the practice of differentiated instruction. Where appropriate, participants will construct differentiated curriculum designed to advance the learning and achievement of each student in their classroom. All participants will emerge from this course having a more sophisticated grasp on what it takes to successfully and equitably educate a classroom full of all our children.

We come to this task with many different identities. Even though small in number, our class membership will include instructional liberals and instructional conservatives, teachers with years of experience and teachers just beginning, individuals who love to play with ideas and individuals who simply love to play, individuals who grew up in households that valued education and schooling and individuals whose homes modeled values that were quite different. Some of our diversity will be obvious, some of it will be less obvious. We are, in many ways, a mirror of who we are teaching or preparing to teach. I’m hoping we can be an equitable classroom as we learn more about the promise and potential of differentiated instruction. I hope, in fact, we will build a sense of effective instruction that goes beyond DI as we work together. The realization of that hope depends as much on you as it does on me.

Classtime each day.

At the outset, I’m planning that each class period be broken into five distinct periods of time. This will make the morning flow more easily, just in terms of time. But more importantly, dividing our time into several different formats will allow us to access the content of this course in multiple and overlapping ways. I’m hoping the discussion and dialogue helps us build a more stable understanding of the multiple dimensions of DI and the implementation of its principles and practices.

We will revisit this organization of time by Wednesday of our first week. A small numbers will allow us flexibility in terms of how we want to spend our time. I’d like to be able to vary time in such a way as to maximize the learning curve for each one of us.

Classroom Meeting. A time to check in. Deal with logistics. Share the comfort/discomfort of working with the ideas of this class and the connection of these ideas to our professional lives. We’ll try to distinguish and keep clear the difference between our jobs and our work.

CR Time. The teacher is always supposed to have something to offer. That’s what this time is for. Sometimes it will be activity and follow-up. Sometimes discussion. Sometimes presentation. Depends on how our knowledge base evolves as we sink deeper into the ideas of this course.

Strategy Time. A time to look at specific teaching methods and their place within the set of ideas and instructional strategies called DI. The goal of this time is to sharpen our view of various methods from the point of view of what is it that constitutes an equitable classroom.

Literature Commentary. Processing time for assigned readings. I’m asking that we utilize the discussion feature of the DIBlog for a first level of processing text. This will allow us to be more on top of the readings when we arrive at class so we begin our analyses having reviewed each class member’s input.

Work Time. Just that. Work time. A time to focus on your project. A time for CR to check in with you and vice versa.


Grading are earned based on class participation and the quality of work accomplished. Class expectations are to be found in the “assignments” category. Individual rubrics for the assessment and evaluation of project work will be generated by each class member by the end of week one.


Cohen, E. (1994.) Designing Groupwork: Strategies for the heterogeneous classroom. Ed. 2. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Heacox, D. (2002.) Differentiating Instruction in the Regular Classroom: How to reach and teach all learners, grades 3-12. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishers.

Tomlinson, C. A. (2001.) How To Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms. Ed. 2. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.