Diversity, Differentiation, & Accommodation

My student teaching experience thus far has been incredible! The amount of diversity I’ve worked with, the differentiation that I’ve applied to my lessons, and the accommodations I’ve made have taught me so much about learners and learner differences. It’s been such an awesome learning/growing experience!

In my placement at Mason City High School, I work with:

  • a student with behavioral issues [comes from a broken home, has estranged relations with parents, and parental drug use/abuse in the past]
  • an ELL student, new to America this year, who is learning English [to read more about him, click here here]
  • a student from Woodward Academy [a residential treatment facility for troubled youth]
  • a student with hearing and vision loss [to read more about that, click here]
  • a student with an IEP  [Individualized Education Program] that requires specialized instruction/services
  • several students with 504 Plans, plans that require accommodation for learner disabilities

I have worked individually with each of these students and talked to them about their needs. For my individual with behavioral issues, I’ve moved her from the back of the room to a seat in the middle where I can monitor her behavior. I make sure to walk around and talk to her, to keep her on task, but I also expect that she abides by the classroom rules and expectations. I work to be a consistent piece of her daily life, making her do what she’s supposed to do, but also showing her that I support her by talking to her about assignments and checking her comprehension as we go.

My ELL student has been a challenge, but a wonderful challenge! To read more about him, click here.

My students with IEP’s and 504 Plans have opened my eyes to the ways that classroom assignments and expectations might need to be shifted based on an individual. I have a student with a physical impairment in which I have to remember to limit her physical activity. I have a student with diabetes that I have to check with occasionally. I have a student with anxiety and ADHD that I have to extend assignments for and grant extra time to on quizzes. And I have two other students that are a part of the StAR Program at MCHS, a program for at-risk individuals to help them earn back course credits who may need extra time or attention to complete work.

ASCD, Differentiation
ASCD, Differentiation

These students have made my classroom challenging, but also exciting. I’ve learned that sometimes the best method of teaching is to teach to the individual, thus I’ve shifted some of my lessons to be tailored towards independent work, giving myself the opportunity to walk around and meet with students one-on-one. My experiences thus far have been rich I’m excited for the challenges and triumphs to come with the remainder of this placement!


  1. I really like reading your blog, as I am about to embark on my student teaching journey in October! Although I have made quite a few lesson plans I was having a hard time with differentiating instruction. But I like what you have done here by describing your classroom makeup and then giving some examples of differentiation. I think the image is a good model to share in my class for the other middle ed. students so they too can have a better understanding of differentiation. I am also interested in how to work in 504 plans to classroom instruction! Can’t wait to see what else you post!

  2. Thank you! Your encouragement means the world to me! 504 Plans are difficult, but I’m thinking about writing a post on how I’ve worked with a few kids in my classes. Stay tuned 🙂

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