I was working as a member of the SEND department in my placement so the need to differentiate was near constant as I worked with several students with varying and complex needs. The differentiation section in the Pedagogy Corner in the Weekly Update helped to guide and inform my sessions during the year. Keeping differentiation in mind helped me to manage my expectations of what they should be achieving by mentally comparing their results with what I would expect of a student of similar or slightly higher abilities.
When working as part of a focused reading group of around four students of varying and generally low abilities, I differentiated their learning by task. All students began with the same task, a comprehension worksheet, and as they were working, I would set individual targets based on their responses to the questions and would provide them with different tasks when they had finished the first piece of work.
For example, a student was making consistent spelling mistakes so I assigned a second piece of work that focused primarily on spelling. Another example, a student who found the comprehension aspect of the work difficult was encouraged to complete another comprehension but with more guidance.
By setting an initial task to assess the ability of the individual students and then tailoring the next piece of work to their areas of least confidence, I was able to respond effectively to the needs of each child whilst keeping the lesson fluid. This encouraged individual learning and built the confidence of the students involved in each of the areas they were least able.