Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Differentiation in a Title 1 classroom

Differentiation through flexible grouping was an area that I read more about and investigated how I do or could implement the practice in my already differentiated small groups.  Being a Title 1 teacher already lends itself well to differentiated groups.  I teach pull out groups that are designed strictly around data.  Within the students who fall in the lower 30% of the grade, I have found that there are still several ways to break the groups down further by skill or ability.  This fall I focused even more on grouping these students into differentiated skill groups.  After identifying who would receive Title 1, I met with the other teacher and we divided the groups down into very specific skill levels.  This is allowing us to meet the needs of the students by where they are at in the hopes of closing the gaps quickly.  This has been a challenge in the past as students grow at different paces; thus, the groups need to be very fluid and flexible.  So far this is working really well with our small groups.  The students who have lower skill levels are being led with skills right where they are at.  The students who are just below the cut are getting very different skills and should pop out of service much faster that the lower groups.  Once they transition back to class either new students will take their places or the lower groups will be divide again in even more specific skill groups.  Flexibility is the essence to this classroom practice.


  1. Hey Beth,
    We also use this structure for pull out/title time. I think it is working really well and those students that struggle get direct instruction for a half an hour, in small group at their level. They can get intense instruction and build those skills they may have missed. I know last year our principal didn't want any pull out because she thought the students shouldn't move around from teacher to teacher. Instead, the classroom teacher should be using stations or guided groups to meet the different needs. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think it affects the kids moving from room to room for different classes?

  2. Hi Courtney....Happy Birthday to you!!!!!

    This debate has been discussed for the past 10 years that I have been in Title 1. Some years the State people that monitor Title 1 say no pull out and it should be push in, many years there really hasn't been a push either way. In my experience, I absolutely prefer pull out. The kids get a break from the classroom and get to walk in the hallway. This is a benefit because many of them have attention concerns. I find it easier to work with the small group as it is quiet and private. The noise level in a classroom as well as other kids watching is a big distraction. I want to utilize my time the best I can and get the most from the kids. This can't happen in the back of a classroom. This fall, when I go to get the kids, the other kids beg to go with me. They are bummed when they aren't "picked" to go. I am considering having a 'bring a friend" day once a month for kids who want to go so bad. Parents worry that their child will be emotional scarred by the extra attention of being pulled out. For the most part, I get the absolute exact reaction from kids. They love coming to my room, I hope this helps.

  3. What a great service you are providing to the students and teacher - I wish I could have a skilled teacher pull out my lowest kids each class for 20 minutes. For my lowest academic class, I'm still fighting the battle of attention span and disruptive behavior. Do you see behaviors in a small group? I think the behaviors in my class come out because they are low academically and acting out is easier than trying hard.

    1. Thanks Maggie,

      I do have some behaviors in small group but for the most part, they go really well. If there are some concerns I give the students a "warning" so to speak and the next time they go back to class. I have only had this happen but once or twice a year. Working in a small group really helps because I put into place some practices that build trust and limit behaviors.