Differentiation in a General Education Classroom: Stations

Differentiation in a general education classroom does take a lot of planning and prep, but don’t panic! Differentiation is necessary for all learners. While we do it often for small groups, all areas of the classroom needs to include it. Not all learners are the same. Once we differentiate and create materials and resources, we save them for when another learner can benefit from using the same materials. This post will be the first of a few that discusses differentiation ideas within the classroom. In this post, we’ll start with learning stations.
Not every station and lesson requires differentiation. However, when you review your lesson objectives, be sure that the learner has the skills needed to move on to the next objective. When reviewing data, if there is a learner who is missing a skill that needs to be taught, we start there and bridge the gaps that they may have. Some learning stations within the classroom may have opportunities for differentiation within them already. An example of this is a writing or board game station. Within the writing station, the learner will write what they are able to. They may also draw a picture to depict what they want to say. A board game station has peer models embedded within it. When we plan our groups based on the data that we have, we can use peer models and leaders to help support learners.

One way of differentiating an activity is adding visuals to help support the comprehension of station directions and objectives. If engaging in a task is difficult for a learner, we review how using visuals can help support that. If a learner has a modified activity within a station based on their needs, we as a team ask ourselves “when the learner ends their activity they can join in the activity with their peers using prompts as needed?” Then we look at which type of prompts and how are we going to teach the learner to use visuals and other supports so that they can engage independently and successfully.

When in a kindergarten classroom, literacy stations involve working on phonics knowledge of onset sounds, letter sounds, word segmenting, decoding, etc. The Autism Helper literacy resources that I have put into our stations to help support our learners who our not yet independent in some of the activities are:

How do we know what a learner needs?

Analyzing a learner’s data is the way that we can see what a learner knows and what skills they may need to be taught. The resources that I share below are large resources, If I am not using the whole assessment for an evaluation and rather using them for baseline data or progress monitoring, I pull out the sections that match the learning objectives within the classroom to then see what a learner may need.

  1. ABLLS Resources
  2. VB-MAPP Resources
  3. Informal Reading Assessment Toolkit
  4. Data Sheets for progress monitoring

Teaching is never one size fits all. Using these resources for our learners as individuals takes time, however, it is the way that we teach our learners and recognize them as individuals. It takes teamwork!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *