Mindsets ~ Differentiation

Good morning!  I am back today with chapter 3 from Mindsets in the Classroom!  I hope that you have been enjoying reading this as much as I have!  I am so excited to bring some of these practices into my classroom next year!!

I LOVED this chapter because it spoke to my heart!  I teach in a school with a variety of students just like everyone else, and I really strive to reach every student where they are.  I have different spelling lists for students, I try to instruct small groups in math to help them master skills they don't have, and we practice Daily 5 for our reading block.

This past year I didn't feel as if I did enough to help my lower kids because my class size was so much larger than I was used to, and I had a lot of students who had a lot of energy.  I'm really hoping to be able to tackle how I want this to look next year so I make sure that I can carve out that time to help ALL of my students succeed, and not just let the quicker students fly by and not be challenged.

This chapter opened with a quote that spoke to me!  "Deficit thinking is a practice of making assumptions about a child's ability based on perceived deficits or because of race, low-income status, English language acquisition, or a variety of other factors."  I teach at a very small school, so it is very easy to get to know some of the kids before they come to my classroom.  Often we hear from other teachers about how great a student is, or how challenging a student can be.  This quote explains why we shouldn't always listen to what others say about a student!  We may get along really well with a student just because our personalities click!  The next year the teacher may not have that same connection, so they may not be able to connect with that student.  It doesn't mean that all of a sudden the student isn't a good student any more, it just means that there isn't the same connection.  We can't judge our students based on what their previous teacher said.  We NEED to make our own evaluations, and really take the time to get to know our students!

This chapter spoke a lot about differentiation and what they will look like.  Each unit should begin with a preassessment.  This preassessment should not be just a true or false question test, because then you are not going to get a true understanding of what they know.  They could just take really good guesses, and then you'll never know what they really understood.  You can do this preassessment verbally as well!

After you administer these preassessments, it's then important to take the information and USE it!  You can't just give the preassessment and then go about teaching your lessons the same way you would have.  I know, I know, this means MORE WORK!  But guess what!?!  Isn't that why you got into teaching?  So that way you can reach your students!?  What good will it do our students if we just keep teaching the same way year after year!?

Anchor activities are something new to me that I learned about this chapter.  "Anchors can also serve as an opportunity to enrich learning by going deeper into the subject area."  I love this, because then I can have my students who are already where they need to be work on something with more depth, while I can give my other students more one on one time to make sure they understand the concept.  This doesn't mean that they are doing "more" work, but instead are doing different work.

The final thing I took from this chapter is that ALL STUDENTS ARE SMART!!  We just need to figure out how we can let every student know that we believe they are smart, help them know they are smart, and then help them show us how smart they are!  Every student can be successful in your classroom!  We just need to give them opportunities to show us!

I LOVE these posters from Mel that she posted yesterday on Blog Hoppin'!  I hope that you enjoy them too!  They are perfect to show our students that we believe in them!

Make sure to check out Hello Sunshine Teachers for more insight on chapter 3!


  1. I loved how personally you connected to this awesome chapter -
    and thank you too for sharing the link to Mel's adorable posters!
    xo Pam

  2. Deficit thinking is a practice of making assumptions about a child's ability based on perceived deficits or because of race, low-income status, English language acquisition, or a variety of other factors." I loved what you said about this quote. I can't stand when class lists come out and teachers want to see your list and tell you which ones are great and which ones are trouble. I don't want to know that. Let me form my own opinion. Each year should be a new beginning for us and for our students. This is why having the whole school on board with growth mindset would be such a positive thing!
    The Blessed Teacher

  3. This really was an excellent chapter! So many ideas thrown at me at once which makes so glad to be doing a book study with it so it forces me to make note of all the great ideas. And I had NEVER heard of doing different spelling lists. This seems so interesting and I think will be really beneficial for my higher babies who I felt like I always neglected when planning our list.

  4. I love the idea about the anchor activists too. So powerful! Thank for the link to the posters too. They are great.

  5. This chapter spoke to me too! I'm so glad we chose this book for the book study!

  6. All of you make my heart smile when I read your comments---this is why I wrote this book--I want these practices to have a positive impact on educators and children. I have seen the difference these have made in the lives of many students-You guys are so insightful..so reflective of your own practices and beliefs...you are awesome!!


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