**How to Approach Differentiating Instruction in Mathematics: **

- Focus Instruction on Key Concepts

- One of the most effective ways to differentiate in mathematics is to focus on the key concepts (*big ideas) rather than a narrow, specific curricular outcome.
- To do this try to cluster specific curricular outcomes and use them as learning goals over a few lessons (if this isn’t already done via a curricular continua (ex: Comox Valley Schools – School District No. 71 curricular continua).
- Examine curricular outcomes in other grade levels to understand what the key concepts are (ex: meanings of multiplication)
(Small and Lin, 4)*“It is impossible to differentiate too narrow an idea, but it is always possible to differentiate instruction focused on a bigger idea”*

- Use Instructional Trajectory or Learning Landscape for Planning

- It is important to map out a sequence of instruction that identifies key mathematical concepts (clustered specific outcomes) that students need to learn.
- This allows Teachers to easily pre-assess students readiness, recognize their mathematical thinking/talents and plan out a sequence of instruction for students that aligns with where the student is at in that sequence.

- Provide Choice

- If a teacher is uncomfortable with differentiating instruction in the “main lesson” they can always provide some choice in follow up activities where students practice the ideas that have been taught.
- Example of differentiating practice activities:
**Math Menus**– student chooses from an array of tasks**Tiered lesson**– teacher teaches to whole group then varies follow-up for different students.**Learning stations/centers**– students attempt different tasks

- Example of differentiating practice activities:

References:

*More Good Questions: Great Ways to Differentiate Secondary Mathematics Instruction*, by Marian Small and Amy Lin, Hawker Brownlow Education, 2011, pp. 1–10.

“Differentiating Mathematics Instruction.” Jessica Kanold-McIntyre, *Solution Tree Blog, *26 Feb. 2019, www.solutiontree.com/blog/how-to-differentiate-math-instruction/.

“Differentiating Mathematics Instruction.” The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat Government of Ontario, *Capacity Building Series*, Government of Ontario, Sept. 2008, www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/literacynumeracy/inspire/research/capacityBuilding.html.