Module 2:

Differentiating the Environment

Thinking carefully about the learning environment your students will experience can be critical to successful differentiated learning. Aside from common considerations such as appropriate noise levels and a learning space to work, it is also important to consider a few other key features. Make sure that distractions are kept to a minimum. Aside from noise levels, this also means that one should think carefully about where students might be seated in the classroom. Additionally, consider behaviors that might be distracting. Place pencil sharpeners and learning materials in the back of the room rather than the front so that distractions might be kept to a minimum. Also, think about your classroom management practices and processes so that distractions for restroom breaks and hall passes can also be avoided whenever possible.

It is also important to consider that some students might need opportunities to move around the environment to work successfully. Others might work best on the floor, close to the teacher, or away from the classroom door, where distractions might be more prevalent. Set clear guidelines for independent work that aligns with individual learner needs and goals.

The learning environment should include materials that reflect a variety of cultures and home settings. The classroom should be visually appealing and culturally relevant. Additionally, routines are important. Develop routines that enable students to access help when you are busy with other learners and cannot provide immediate help.

Teacherstack (reviewed here) - Teacherstack helps manage and organize simple classroom tasks such as center rotation schedules, seating charts, and displaying to-do tasks for students.

WellCheq (reviewed here) - WellCheq is a digital application that provides a daily wellness check-in for students. Students log in each day and answer two questions - how are you feeling today, and how are you doing overall? This information is then immediately available to the teacher or counselor.

Classkick (reviewed here) - Classkick is a classroom learning management system that offers several tools for guiding instruction, from lesson planning through assessment. Create or customize lessons using your own resources or combine them with content available on the site's library. Deliver lessons to students for use on any device and monitor progress in real-time. Classkick includes a private chat for students to ask for help privately and also contains options for peer-to-peer feedback.

High angle image of students working with technology