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Teaching Tip #20

April 16, 2012

TOPIC: Differentiating instruction.  Most of the specific suggestions for differentiation of instruction in CPM lessons are included within the “Lesson Activity” notes for each lesson. These notes include questions to ask students when they need a nudge to move on with the lesson. Questioning students is one of the best ways to differentiate instruction. One of the best things you can do to meet individual student needs, is to prepare a set of questions as a resource for the lesson. Some questions should check for prior understanding, some should help students explain their thinking, and some should extend their thinking beyond what they have already done. Be prepared to ask individual students within teams to respond to these questions depending on their depth of understanding or the need to help them attain a basic understanding of the concept(s).

In some lesson notes there is a discussion of typical points of confusion or anticipated errors and how to address them. There is also information about the core problems and the extension and enrichment problems and how to use them. Remember that each lesson lists the core problems that all students need to complete. Students who do the non-core problems in your classroom may vary from day to day.

There are some specific resources that can help teachers, students, and parents when more than the lesson notes and student textbook are needed.  Start with the Universal Access document in the front of the teacher’s edition. If you do not have access to that document in print you can find it at http://cpm.org/teachers/resByCourse.htm. This document lists and discusses various strategies to use with various learners’ needs. The last few pages of this resource address literary support strategies.

The Extra Practice booklet provides alternate explanations, examples, and additional practice with topics from previous courses and the current course. The Parent Guide supports parents, absent students, special education staff, and teachers with explanations and examples for each section of the text.

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