Differentiation – Planning for maths: Focus – Counting

Differentiation of instruction to cater for the learning needs of my students is my focus when planning. Planning tasks based on careful assessment
combined with quality feedback has enabled my young students to move along their learning continuum. Differentiation involves instruction which is whole class, incorporates fluid/flexible groupings and individual instruction.

Differentiation is not total individualised instruction. It is the provision of multiple approaches to content, process and product. It’s embedded and centred on the continuous learning of both student and teacher. Individual needs are catered for within the task by allowing choice. Providing choice engages young learners and enables them to build on their prior knowledge, skills and understandings.

Assessment is embedded in the program and carefully planned to provide information ‘for learning’, ‘of learning’ and ‘as learning’. Rick Wormeli discusses planning based on quality assessment and states ‘90% of differentiation is what teachers do before kids walk through that door’. Differentiation is ‘good teaching’.

I’ve been asked to provide some posts on teaching maths. Last week I planned a series of counting tasks, one which had my students complete a recorded counting activity. Our focus has been pattern and order, place value, ‘trusting the count’, ‘counting back’, and ‘counting on’ to solve problems.

My students have been counting by 1’s, 2’s, 10’s, 5’s, 100’s from zero and are now exploring ‘skip counting’ from different numbers.

Children are working at different places on the continuum and tasks are planned to cater for all. The continuum for teaching mathematics being developed at my school is Prep to secondary level. Children progress along the continuum after careful and continuous assessment. The children could choose to count by any number they wished. Some chose to count by 1’s, others by 10’s and 2’s. They all worked independently for this activity.

Cheers Nina

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