Promote equity and meet academic goals and standards by differentiating mathematics instruction for your diverse classroom. This course teaches you how to target students’ individual strengths and provide personalized supports tailored to their specific learning needs. Receive practical advice for differentiating mathematics instruction in grades K-8, including:
• Proven strategies for meeting the needs of the range of learners in your classroom, including at-risk, English learners, and gifted students
• Powerful models for planning and implementing differentiated, standards-based math lessons that align instruction with learning goals and students’ strengths and difficulties
• Assessment practices for supporting differentiation, including diagnostic assessment, formative assessment, and student self-assessment
• Tools and resources to implement immediate changes to your classroom practice
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By the end of this course, learners will:
- Deepen their understanding of the meaning and importance of differentiation in mathematics instruction.
- Explore ways to gather information on students’ learning profiles and interests for the purposes of planning differentiated math lessons.
- Explore assessment practices and tools that support differentiation, including diagnostic assessment, formative assessment, and student self-assessment.
- Write learning targets that outline measurable goals for math lessons and clearly communicate them to students.
- Build knowledge of, and skill in, applying models and approaches for differentiating math lessons.
- Build knowledge about the varied mathematics learning needs of, and recommended instructional strategies, for struggling students, English learners, and gifted students.
- Learn about ways to create classroom structures, strategies, and a culture that support differentiation of math lessons.
- Apply ideas by planning and teaching differentiated math lessons with students.
Differentiated instruction provides a powerful approach to a pressing challenge for teachers in today’s increasingly diverse classrooms: how to provide effective mathematics instruction that addresses students’ varied learning needs, so that all students become successful mathematics learners. This session provides an overview of differentiating instruction in general, and then specifically for mathematics teaching. Learners will explore ways to gather information on students’ learning profiles and interests and discuss ways to use that information to guide differentiation. To start the course, learners will begin by defining your own professional goals and expectations, explaining their prior knowledge on the topic, and introducing themselves to fellow learners.
- Define their professional goals and expectations for this course.
- Reflect on prior knowledge and experiences with differentiating instruction in mathematics and other subject areas for students.
- Deepen understanding of the meaning and rationale for differentiating instruction.
- Explore ways to gather information on students’ learning profiles and interests for the purposes of planning differentiated math lessons
- Discuss the benefits and challenges of differentiating mathematics instruction for students.
In this session, learners explore the important role that formative assessment plays in implementing differentiated instruction. The session first provides a broad picture of formative assessment as an instructional approach. Then, learners will focus on a key aspect of formative assessment: identifying and using clearly defined math learning goals or learning targets. They will explore the formative assessment approaches of using probes and exit tickets as tools for assessing student understanding of learning targets and using that data to differentiate instruction.
- Understand the essential role of formative assessment in planning and implementing differentiated lessons.
- Describe the characteristics of strong learning targets and ways to use them effectively with students.
- Write learning targets that outline measurable goals for math lessons and clearly communicate them to students.
- Explore probes and exit tickets as tools for gathering student data to inform the planning of differentiated lessons.
- Discuss the benefits and challenges of writing and using learning targets.
This session presents several approaches for differentiating math lessons. First, learners will explore the use of tiered tasks to differentiate based on students’ readiness to learn—that is, the mathematical understandings that students demonstrate. Next, they will explore the use of stations and rotations. They will have opportunities to look at examples and get suggestions for implementing these approaches in their classrooms.
- Explore several approaches for differentiating lessons: tiered tasks, stations, and rotations.
- Build knowledge and ability to apply these approaches to math lessons.
- Explore resources, tools, and approaches to planning for differentiation.
- Discuss the benefits and challenges of differentiating math lessons by student readiness.
Session 4 extends the work of Session 3 by providing additional strategies for differentiating mathematics lessons in ways that offer students choices. Learners will learn about using menus for offering selections of math tasks and about problem choice formats in which students select the numbers for math problems. In addition, they will explore ways to create open questions that allow all students to participate and parallel tasks that provide different levels of challenge for the same math topic. For all these approaches, learners will reflect on the benefits and challenges and identify ideas to apply in their own classroom practice.
- Explore the use of a variety of menu formats for providing students with choices of math activities.
- Build their knowledge of different approaches for creating differentiated mathematics problems.
- Compare and contrast different formats for differentiated activities to identify benefits and challenges of each, as well as implementation suggestions.
- Learn about structures for creating sequences of whole group, small group, pair, and independent work in differentiated math lessons.
- Reflect on their current practices for differentiating math tasks and plan ways to apply ideas to their own teaching practice.
This session focuses on ways to differentiate math lessons to meet the varied needs of struggling math students (with and without identified disabilities), of students who are English learners (ELs), and of gifted students. Since it is not possible to provide an in-depth look at the mathematics learning needs of these student groups within just one session, this session will explore some key ideas and offer additional resources for further study beyond this course.
- Build knowledge about the varied mathematics learning needs of, and recommended instructional strategies for struggling students, English learners, and gifted students.
- Consider ways to use differentiation strategies to address the particular needs of each student group.
- Gain awareness of resources for further learning about each student group.
- Apply ideas to their differentiated lesson plan for the course project.
- Provide feedback to fellow learners on their “Create a Differentiated Math Activity” assignments.
In this session, learners explore considerations for creating a classroom environment and culture that supports differentiation. Structures and routines will not only help teachers manage differentiated activities, but can also help students understand their role in a differentiated lesson and build their independence as learners. Learners will discuss ways to build a culture of respect for learner differences and establish the expectation that students will not all do the same things at the same time. For the course project, learners will have an opportunity to integrate the peer feedback they have received to make revisions to their projects before submitting them. As a closing activity for the course, learners will reflect on their experiences and learning over the six sessions.
- Explore ways to create classroom structures, strategies, and a culture that support differentiation of math lessons.
- Use feedback from a peer to revise their differentiated activity as part of finalizing and submitting a completed course project.
- Assess their learning in the course by comparing your prior understandings to current understandings.
- Evaluate the learning experiences in this course by revisiting their professional goals and expectations.
National graduate credit providers offer graduate credit based on the following hours of course time:
15-hour PBS TeacherLine course = 1 credit hour
30-hour PBS TeacherLine course = 2 credit hours
45-hour PBS TeacherLine course = 3 credit hours
Graduate credit is an additional cost that Learners pay directly to graduate credit providers at the time of registration for graduate credits. Learners must wait until the course begins before registering for graduate credit. Detailed information on how to register is provided in the first Announcement for each course. Cost varies by institution. Please see the list of providers below for more information about credit costs.
Learners who register for graduate credit can obtain a transcript from the credit provider registered with during the course.
Learners who successfully complete PBS TeacherLine courses may be eligible for CEU credits from their state or school district. Learners should check with their district or state professional development office to determine eligibility before enrolling in a PBS TeacherLine course.
PBS TeacherLine provides Learners with:
- The opportunity to print a course certificate of completion which includes a letter grade and course hours of the course.
- A PDF copy of the course syllabus.
PBS TeacherLine does not offer CEUs directly and is not authorized to grant CEU credits. This is typically done by state and district professional development offices.
The facilitator brings the course to life by being present in the learning, keeping the learners on track, giving feedback on assignments, nudging the discussion forums and giving meaningful comments on journals. When learners feel the presence of their peers and the facilitator, they become more accountable and obliged to remain engaged. PBS TeacherLine facilitators are highly qualified teachers who have been peer-selected and hold master’s degrees. They are available for overall support and guidance throughout the six-week session so that even novice computer users feel comfortable taking an online course.
Each PBS TeacherLine facilitated course section has no more than 30 total learners, allowing our experienced facilitators to ensure a manageable course size for discussion and collaboration.
The design and structure of the PBS TeacherLine course is based on best practices and research that highlight the importance of online learning communities. The instructional content is a blend of multimedia resources delivered to improve participant attitudes and practices through weekly assignments, readings, model teaching video, discussion boards, and opportunities for reflection.
A course is divided into Six Sessions. The facilitator will guide learners through one session per week for a six-week term.
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Learners who drop a course before 12:00 AM Eastern Time on the start date, will receive a full refund of their paid course price. This will show as 'Dropped' on the Learner's profile and no grade will be displayed.
Learners who drop a course on the start date, or within the first seven days of the course (before midnight Eastern Time on the 7th day of the course), will receive a refund of 80% of their paid course price. This will show as 'Dropped Late' on the Learner's profile and no grade will be displayed.
Learners who drop a course after 12:00 AM Eastern Time on the seventh (7th) day of the course will not receive any refund. This will show as ‘Withdrawn’ on the Learner's profile and no grade will be displayed.
Learners who cannot continue a course after the 7th day of the course should withdraw from the course so the 'earned letter grade' does not display on the Learner's profile.
PBS TeacherLine will process refunds due to Learners approximately five business days after the drop date. Learners will receive a confirmation email when dropping a course, and another, once the refund has been processed.
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Milly has been a PBS TeacherLine Facilitator since 2006. Certified to teach middle school mathematics, science, Milly taught in the classroom for 35 years, and was an adjunct professor for mathematics, education, and technology courses. Milly has presented at NCTM and VSTE conferences and was her school’s Teacher of the Year. Milly thinks that collaboration among teachers and requiring teachers to reflect on their own classroom teaching are aspects that make TeacherLine courses effective PD. With a Master of Arts in Teaching Mathematics, Milly looks forward to helping teachers develop better math teaching skills. In her spare time, Milly is a Woodturner!