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A lesson tiered by readiness level implies that the teacher has a good understanding of the students’ ability levels with respect to the lesson and has designed the tiers to meet those needs. Think of a wedding cake with tiers of varying sizes. Teaching young gifted children in the regular classroom. Flexible grouping arrangements such as pairs, triads, or quads, as well as whole-group and small-group instruction, create opportunities to meet individual needs.
The movement toward inclusion has impacted classrooms by requiring teachers to respond to a broader range of academic needs.
How can we possibly reach all the students in our classrooms when they are academically diverse, have special needs, are ESL learners, or have some combination of any or all of these factors?
Hence, the idea of flexible, rather than static, groups is essential.
No matter how you choose to differentiate the lesson—readiness, interest, or learning profile—the number of groups per tier will vary, as will the number of students per tier. When you form groups based on the readiness needs of individual students, Tier I may have two groups of three students, Tier II five groups of four students, and Tier III may have one group of two students.
These principles direct us to select and adapt content and curricula to meet the interests, abilities, and learning styles of our students; to recognize our students’ diversity; and to encourage them to reach their full potential in mathematics. The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners.
Tomlinson (1999) described tiered lessons as “the meat and potatoes of differentiated instruction.” A tiered lesson is a differentiation strategy that addresses a particular standard, key concept, and generalization, but allows several pathways for students to arrive at an understanding of these components based on their interests, readiness, or learning profiles. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
If their three peers cannot answer the question, the student has permission to interrupt you.
Adding the caveat that the student should also bring along the three students who were asked will nearly eliminate the chance that you will be interrupted except in extreme cases.
When the lesson is tiered by interest or learning profile, the same guidelines apply for forming groups: Different tiers may have varying numbers of students.
Even when students are already homogeneously grouped in classes by ability, there is still variance in their ability levels that must be addressed. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).