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Student-Driven Differentiation


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Table of Contents

List of Online Tools and Resources Foreword Preface Why Did I Write This Book? What Is Student-Driven Differentiation? Student-Driven Leadership: A Crucial Component to Student-Driven Differentiation How to Read This Book Acknowledgments About the Author Part I: Foundation Chapter 1: Relationships Come First What Are the Criteria for Positive Teacher-Student Relationships? How Do You Build Respectful Relationships? Discussion Questions Chapter 2: Differentiation Is What Happens When Teachers Focus on Student Growth Differentiation Lessons Learned Lesson 1: Differentiation Is Not a Goal-It Is a Result Lesson 2: The Terms Data and Assessment Are Often Misunderstood Lesson 3: It Is Easy to See Different-It Is Not Easy to See Differentiation Lesson 4: Differentiation May Never Feel "Easy" Lesson 5: There Will Always Be Challenges and a Way to Overcome Them Discussion Questions Chapter 3: Four Areas to Differentiate Content: What Is to Be Learned? Process: How Students Acquire Knowledge Product: How Students Demonstrate Learning Learning Environment: Where and With Whom Students Learn Discussion Questions Part II: Implementation Chapter 4: Planning Student- Driven Differentiation Step 1: Define Step 2: Hook Step 3: Assess and Analyze Step 4: Group Students Strategically Discussion Questions Chapter 5: Include Student Voice Step 5: Set a Goal Step 6: Differentiate Step 7: Monitor Progress Step 8: Assess Again Discussion Questions Chapter 6: Student-Driven Differentiation Through Experiential Learning Student-Driven Differentiation Example 1: Shark Tank Student-Driven Differentiation Example 2: Mock Trial Student-Driven Differentiation Example 3: The Amazing Geography Race Student-Driven Differentiation Example 4: Mock ER Discussion Questions Part III: Reimagining Schools Chapter 7: Create Learning Environments That Promote Student Ownership Don't Update the Factory Model; Discard It Altogether Meet the Needs of All Students Design Classrooms Conducive to Student-Driven Differentiation Make Student Ownership Part of the Classroom Culture Use Technology to Promote Learning and Creativity Monitor Student Progress Toward Learning Intentions Enlist Parents' Help in Furthering Student Learning Discussion Questions Chapter 8: The Role of Choice in Meeting Learning Intentions Offer Choices That Fulfill Learning Needs Example 1: Use Choice as Part of Curriculum Compacting Example 2: Align Choice to Learning Intentions Example 3: Incorporate Choice in Homework Assignments Example 4: Use Choice to Give Students Ownership of Their Own Learning Example 5: Use Choice to Allow Students to Work at Their Own Pace Example 6: Use Choice to Promote Student Autonomy and Student Efficacy Lack of Choice Can Inhibit Creativity Discussion Questions Chapter 9: Your Journey With Student-Driven Differentiation We Are Entrusted With Instilling the Desire to Learn We Are Better Together: Collective Efficacy Mastery Experience: Set Goals to Increase Efficacy Vicarious Experiences: Observe Teachers in Action Social Persuasion: Inspire Through Storytelling Affective States: Support Fellow Educators Through Positive Communication Now What? Summing It All Up Discussion Questions Afterword Glossary References Index

About the Author

Lisa Westman has over 15 years of experience as a teacher (gifted humanities, English Language Arts, social studies), and as an instructional coach specializing in differentiation. Lisa is a currently a writer, consultant, and speaker, working with school systems across the country to effectively implement student-driven differentiation, standards based learning, and instructional coaching programs. Lisa is passionate about teaching and learning; she is dedicated to effecting change which positively impacts both student and educator learning. Lisa frequently presents for school districts and at educational conferences. She has presented at ASCD, Visible Learning, IAGC, ICE, IETC, ILASCD, The Gifted and Talented Consortium of Wisconsin CESA 7, and ICIC. Lisa is a frequent opinion contributor to EdWeek, EdWeek Teacher, Corwin Connect, and her personal blog, Put Me In, Coach. This is her first book. Lisa is married to an educator, the parent of a third-grader and a sixth-grader, enjoys destressing at the Bar Method, loves music and the City of Chicago!


Lisa Westman does an excellent job of explaining the what of differentiation as well as the how. Examples from practitioners show it can be done effectively. The variety of voices - students, administrators, teachers, community - lends credibility by approaching differentiation from multiple perspectives. An excellent book to help teachers truly understand how to differentiate. Westman focuses on real world examples that are driven by research and student needs. -- Dr. Jennifer Marten, Gifted & Talented Coordinator, Online School Coordinator
A Step-by-Step Guide to Differentiation - all educators need to read this book. It presents a clear and careful blueprint for an insightful and practical foundation in differentiation. When it comes to differentiation, educators have been looking for a practical book: now we have it. -- Dr. Lyne N. Ssebikindu, Principal
"This fascinating book presents differentiation in a way that demystifies the strategy so that teachers can unlock thinking and promote rigorous instruction." -- Marian White-Hood, Head of School

"To say I have been waiting for this book by Lisa Westman with great anticipation would be an understatement. She was a frequent and very popular guest blogger for my Finding Common Ground blog. Westman has hit it out of the park with her new book, much like she did with each and every guest blog. She has a deeply engaging writing style that offers practical steps on how to differentiate using her deep knowledge on the topic. She literally differentiated this book in a variety of ways to help us deepen our understanding. Not only is this a must-read, it is a book that will be relevant for a very long time."

-- Peter DeWitt, Ed.D., Author/Consultant
"Lisa Westman hits a homerun with this practical, powerful, purposeful, and plentiful book about learning, teaching, and excellence for ALL students. With vignettes and examples from the field, blended with Lisa's courageous and proven success as a teacher leader, all who read this book will be able to implement student focused strategies. This is a book all teachers and educational leaders need to read and share." -- Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D. - Author, Adjunct Professor
"This book by Lisa Westman in a must-read for educators everywhere. She delivers a new look at how differentiation must work in our classrooms, with an emphasis on the concept of "student-driven differentiation," in which the focus is always on student learning, student growth, and investing students in their own learning and their own learning needs. This book is extremely well written and provides practical tips for teachers hoping to transform learning in their classrooms to ensure that all students learn at high levels. The tools and resources in this book--combined with Westman's expert insights--provide a roadmap for readers to better meet the needs of all students in our schools. Student-Driven Differentiation: 8 Steps to Harmonize Learning in the Classroom is a game changer for educators--and the students they serve!" -- Dr. Jeffrey Zoul, Instructional and Leadership Coach, Speaker, Author

"Westman shows the importance of focusing on the learner and moving backward from there. She does this eloquently through supporting the educator with practical ideas that goes beyond engaging students, but empowers them in their learning. Empowering learners should be the norm in education, and Westman helps educators move toward that standard."

-- George Couros, Leadership Consultant
"Lisa Westman presents a seamless alignment of differentiation strategies with approaches designed to empower students. She expertly weaves research, anecdotes, and personal stories with pragmatic and helpful how to's. Her specific examples and valuable charts and tables provide concrete visual tools to support the powerful professional growth opportunities she offers. I recommend this insightful, well-written book for teachers, teacher-leaders, instructional coaches, curriculum supervisors, and administrators." -- Debbie Silver, Ed.D.

"I think this book would be a great supplemental resource for teacher candidates tackling the edTPA. Teacher candidates struggle in completing the edTPA and the stress, anxiety, and worry each semester is burdensome. I think this book practically explains differentiation and using assessments to guide future instruction (a key part of the edTPA)."

-- Natalie Young, Ed. D.

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