EDET 637 Week 3

EDET 637 Week 3

How do we prepare parents for differentiation in the classroom? First parents should understand what differentiation is. “It’s a teacher’s proactive response to students’ needs as defined by their abilities, learning styles and interests,” (Eidson, 2008). “The goal is to make certain that everyone grows in all key skills and knowledge areas, moving on from their starting point,” (Henderson, 2012). I think these are great definitions, not only for the parents but for the students as well.

It’s just as important for students to understand a differentiated classroom, as it is for the parents. There are several ways teachers can introduce DI to their class. Chiu uses Mrs. Middleton’s line graph method where in the end students realize how everyone has strengths and weaknesses in certain subjects. Students work together to establish rules and keep track of their own progress.

According to Tomlinson, there are three types of parents: parents of advanced learners, the parents who push too hard, and the parents who stay way from school. There are several things to consider when collaborating with parents of advanced learners: “listen to them and learn from them, rebuild their trust that school is a good fit for their child, and understand the paradox of parenting a bright child,” (Tomlinson, 2001). Those types of parents should understand that we only want to help their child rise to the challenge, not set them up for failure. The advanced learners should understand that “their work is no harder than the work of any other child relative to their skills and understanding.” This is important for both the student and parents to understand.

When preparing parents who push their child too hard for differentiation in the classroom, it’s best to make sure the parents understand that “differentiation is not more problems, questions, or assignments,” (Foucault, 2008). Parents should understand that “learning is impaired when students feel overtaxed, afraid, and out of control,” (Tomlinson, 2001). As teachers, we should encourage our students to express their feelings and have a sense of power in what they do.

When explaining a differentiated classroom to parents who stay away from school, it’s best to first invite them into their child’s school life. Those types of parents have reasons they stay away from school: their experience was not a good one, they feel isolated because of language barriers or they cannot handle another “load,” (Henderson, 2012). To explain a differentiated classroom to these types of parents, teachers can send home weekly newsletters, notes, e-mails, etc. (Tomlinson, 2001) to make sure the parent feels invited. Another thing teacher’s can incorporate is “Wonderful Wednesdays” an open house that invites all parents in anytime of the day to participate in their child’s educational life (Crowe 2014). It’s important they see and hear about their child’s success stories.Both students and parents should understand what a differentiated classroom is, and understand that their education is based on their skills and abilities.


Chiu, F. (2013, June 7). Preparing Student and Parents for a Differentiated Classroom. Lecture. Retrieved from Preparing students and parents for a differentiated classroom by Forest.pdf

Crowe, C. (2004, November 01). Wonderful Wednesdays – Responsive Classroom. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/wonderful-wednesdays/

E. (2008, October 3). Duke TIP. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from https://tip.duke.edu/node/910

Foucault, A. (2008). Differentiation Tips for Parents. Retrieved from the St. Michael–Albertville Schools, Minnesota website http://communityed.stma.k12.mn.us/curriculum/Differentiation_Tips_for_Parents.php.

Henderson, M. (2012, October 5). Preparing Students and Parents for a Differentiated Classroom. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from https://prezi.com/hexs7uuwe748/preparing-students-and-parents-for-a-differentiated-classroom/

Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms. Alexandria, VA, USA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD). Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com




You will choose one of the three scenarios depicting one of the three types of parents where I’m the parent and you’re the teacher.

You, the teacher, will then solve the issue by describing a differentiated classroom to me, the parent.

Parent of an advanced learner:

Parent (me): “Why is my child not getting the same assignments or projects as other students in her grade?”

Parent’s too controlling:

Parent (me): “My child comes home everyday with no homework, why is he not getting any? If he finishes his work in school, can you please assign him more.”

Parents who never come to school:

Parent (me): “ I don’t have time to go to Wonderful Wednesday’s. I cannot miss any work, plus traffic is always too much.”


4 thoughts on “EDET 637 Week 3

  1. Your post was fantastic! It summarized our reading for the week so well. While reading about Wonderful Wednesdays, I couldn’t help but picture a 70’s type hippie classroom where everyone is sitting around happily creating in their bellbottoms. 🙂


  2. I can definitely relate to the part where you talk about parents staying away from the classroom. I think this is harder as students get older. The subject becomes harder and I don’t think the parents feel as comfortable coming in. For me, I need to try harder to reach these parents. I think emails or newsletters would be a good place to start. Something to let parents know what we are doing and what they can do to help their child. In my community I think many parents want to help but don’t know how. This would be a great place for me to step in and help them.

    Great summary of this weeks reading!!


  3. I really connected with your post this week. When you said, “The advanced learners should understand that “their work is no harder than the work of any other child relative to their skills and understanding.””, this is the one thing that worries me about differentiation. I feel like I’m going to get a lot of push back from my advanced students, as well as their parents, because they will need to work harder than the others. I think they have gotten so used to being bored in the classroom that they will be shocked they are actually required to do something.

    I also like the idea of getting parents into the classroom, but I think it is very uncommon in the secondary classrooms of today, so that is something I’m going to try and figure out for the future.


  4. I love that you pointed out the importance to teaching students about differentiation as well as parents. I know that my first graders already understand that “fair” in our classroom is based on each student’s need. I wish that I was allowed to have younger siblings in my classroom with parents, because it would make having something like Wonderful Wednesdays possible. I was told this year that it is a liability to have young children in my classroom.


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