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Elementary Science

Approach to Differentiation in The Classroom

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Annika Krieg Annika Krieg 80 Points

Hello, my name is Annika Krieg and I am a preservice teacher at Wartburg College. I expect to teach K-2 and would greatly appreciate your feedback on the subject of how to approach varying behaviors, learning disabilities, and learning levels of students in the classroom. In regards to lesson planning for a variety of students, using proper behavior management, and everything else that contributes to a successful lesson(s), I am in need of assistance as to how I should approach this situation in my future classroom. In order to be the best educator I can be, I feel it is necessary to be knowledgable of the usage of numerous proper methods of modification and differentiation because each student deserves to learn to the best of their capability. My goal as an educator is to help every student achieve their academic goals, whatever that may encompass. If you have any advice, resources, or other contributions to this question, I would love to hear your feedback!

Best regards,

Annika Krieg

Lorena Chavez Lorena Chavez 2155 Points


Next semester I will be student teaching and I am a little nervous about it. But one aspect I'm extra nervous about is being able to involve every student and also taking into consideration the differences of every student. I didn't think classroom management and class expectations contributed to that but after reading the forum replies, it makes perfect sense. I'll be taking all this advice with me in the spring.

Thanks so much!

Lauren Wolbers Lauren Wolbers 1920 Points

Hi Annika!

I am a preservice teacher at University of Northern Iowa. Differentiation has so many possibilities that it is hard just to narrow down to a few ideas. My minor is teaching English to speakers of other laugnagues, so I have learned different ways to differentiate instruction that works for ESL students and all students. One easy thing to do is provide resources that will allow students to present information in a different way. For K-2 that could include graphic organizers or paper for students to draw out the information. It just gives students a way of looking at the information quickly and keeping focus because they are not reading a block of text. Another great way to differentiate instruction is to give students the vocabulary before the lesson begins. This way students can listen for those words and will have time to process them. A great way to do this is through a word wall or word sort. Another thing I think is very important to an elementary science classroom is creating something tangible to explain something. Instead of just describing what happens to a butterfly as it goes through its life cycle, find a caterpillar and have it as a class pet until it turns into a butterfly. This allows students to make connections. Some aspects of science may be very difficult for a second grader to understand and wrap their mind around and this brings in a real life application. I hope that my ideas help from a future ESL teacher's prespective!

Becca Schouten Becca Schouten 2730 Points

Hello Annika! I am also a preservice teacher, and I think in order to approach varying behaviors and learning disabilities within your classroom, you need to hold high expectations for all of your students, and you need to have structure within the classroom, so the behaviors do not have to be an issue within your lesson. Students are working through learning new content, and sometimes if content is confusing for them, the students will act out because they are confused. If you let students know that you are giving out a lot of information, and you will dig deeper into it in the future, that could ease some anxiety about it, and it could lead to a better lesson overall. Giving students choice also helps with behavior because they feel that they are more independent in their learning. I hope some of these suggestions helped you!  

Molly Hart Molly Hart 525 Points


I certainly agree with Becca--avoiding behavioral issues is key to a successful lesson, so definitely start there. Holding high expectations is important, but also be sure to be explicit with those expectations. Have students repeat your expectations so that you are sure they understand. Additionally, I think catering to the different learning styles is also important. In order for each student to learn to his/her best ability you must be able to teach to their preferred learning style. This means allowing activities that are hands on or interactive for the kinesthetic learners. Some students need visuals while others do not. Also remember that any additional method is only going to help the students. The more ways they know to approach a problem/question, the better.

Madison Steele Madison Steele 2380 Points

Hi Annika!

I am a student at the University of Northern Iowa and we have discussed these kind of topics in various classes I have taken. I completely agree with Molly and Becca on there ideas for you! Another idea I had is to make sure you have good classroom managemnet skills. This could look like having those rules and expectations but also the routines of the classroom. If students know what is expected of them, they may be less likely to act out. Although all learners will learn differently, you can help make your lessons successful for your students by having a variety of choices for them. For example, you could have different stations where students are practicing a specific skill. Another idea is to have some time for individual work time as well as group work! You could also do a 5E lesson plan with your students. This is five phrases of a lesson plan which is engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate. If you can make the transition from having it not be all teacher led and more student led in some areas that might be a good option too. Finally, make sure your stduents are engaged throughout your lesson is key! 

Hope this helps you!


Almadelia Castizo Almadelia Castizo 2815 Points



i mi am a pre-service teacher and from viewing the forum post I have been writing notes for when I become a teacher. This will be extremely helpful when I encounter my first classroom.

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