## March 1, 2017

### Meaningful Differentiation

For a little more than a week, I have tried to help Ian understand number sense using the Eureka Math book that his teacher sent for homework. I do like Eureka, but like everything else, it is not a "one-size fits all" curriculum. Therefore, some kids will understand the Eureka way and some won't. In my case, my child just did NOT get it.
As you can see, we did not even attempt to use the place-value chart. I observed the week before that he was very confused with that chart and it did more harm than good. So, we immediately crossed-out those charts. His preferred strategy was to draw place-value pictures for each problem. The effort was great, but the actual pictures were so confusing that he was not able to accurately add using the pictures. It was just a mess! I gave him two opportunities to get each problem correct and as you can see, he was not successful either time. However, I carefully observed Ian's thinking process as he attempted to solve each problem, I listened to how he counted the ones, tens, and hundreds, and I noticed how he relied heavily on pictures. As a result, I created a place-value chart that made more sense to him.
 Want a copy? Click on it!
To my surprise...Ian REALLY liked this chart and it worked for him! This proves that observations are effective forms of formative assessments and when done effectively, observations can help you design meaningful differentiation. So, the next time you see a student struggling, it's okay not to jump right in and fix the problem. Take the time to observe and reflect before offering assistance. This process may save you some time and may help a child attain success; a win-win!