While teaching for Northwestern University over the summer, I tested out differentiation strategies from my year-round school in Washington state. Excited about class sizes in the teens, I set out to create leveled activities. A realization quickly unfolded: the amount of prep time for the lower class size was only a little bit less than the many hours I spent differentiating during the school year. Huh. That surprised me.
Granted, I did appreciate the results. Most of my students were engaged most of the time, and nearly every student reported the class was “at the right level for me.” Inasmuch as these same students painted a dramatically different picture about their previous classroom experiences, this felt like a big step in the right direction.
Beyond Factory Model shows a way to meet the needs of the “let’s do more” and “I need help” aspects that are present in most classrooms.