Teacher Highlight

Ms. Jones: Differentiation

Getting to Know Ms. Jones

1. Where did you receive your college degree?

I have three degrees and I am working on my fourth!! I have my Bachelors of Music Education from Xavier University of Louisiana (I attended school with Ms. Parker & Mama Caren!!). I have my Master's of Education degree in Curriculum & Instruction in Adult Education from Central Michigan University. I have a Specialists Degree from University of Missouri in Technology Instruction. I am also working on my Doctorate degree in Curriculum & Instruction.


2. How many years have you been teaching?

This is my 15th year of teaching!


3. Why did you become a teacher?

From early on I knew I wanted to be a teacher! I would pretend to be a teacher with all my stuffed animals and write on my chalk board dressed in my mom's clothes and heels. I had the same Orchestra teacher from kindergarten until I graduated from high school. Ms. Kellis made learning fun, but we knew she cared a great deal about us as people. She is the main reason I wanted to teach.


4. What is your favorite subject to teach and why?

I don't have a favorite subject to teach because I love to learn and gain knowledge, so everything interest me.


5. What is one classroom management strategy that works well for you?

Speak to students when they are ready to listen. A cup with a hole in the bottom is useless when you need to fill it with water. Likewise, a child who is not ready to listen won't learn anything. From day one, I let my students know that learning is BIG and it is something that they don't want to miss out on. In my class, once we learn and gain knowledge, it's like being a part of a special club.


6. What is one instructional strategy that works well for you?

Differentiation. I used to be an orchestra director. In my mind I run all of my classes like a sectional rehearsal, so I operate as if I am working with more than one instrument. Each instrument needs unique guidance and support. Likewise, each students in my class has unique needs that I have to address as a group, a section and individually.


7. What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy learning about anything that comes to mind!! I love to cook, sing and study to music. Right now, I am studying the artist Robert Glasper and his group, the Robert Glasper Experience.


8. If not teaching, then what?

I would be lost if I didn't get to teach. I love teaching and passing on what I have learned to a future generations. I believe that Education is the noblest, most selfless profession. There is something beautiful and powerful in seeing the potential of others. It is my calling and I greatly enjoy it. If I had to make a choice, my dream job would to be to work on Broadway because I love the magic and energy of the stage, but I would still want to be actively working with teaching through community outreach.

A Glimpse into Ms. Jones' Class

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Upon walking in, almost all students are engaged in Calendar Time where they review various mathematical concepts. After Calendar Time, Ms. Jones signals a student to lead the transition to centers. The creative learner calls out "Class, Class" and her peers respond excitedly. The creative learner invites her peers to return to their desks and they all begin the math objective of the day in centers.

Differentiation in the Moment

In this moment, Ms. Jones is currently teaching her students to add 2 and 3 digit numbers with regrouping in Math Centers. She also created a center that pre-taught certain creative learners the upcoming objective for the following lesson. Below are some of the differentiated activities in her centers so that all students can attain the learning objective.


There were three different activities:

Check for Understanding

While students are in centers, Ms. Jones circulates and checks for understanding. Check out this creative learner below explaining his thinking!
Explain Your Thinking

Thank you, Ms. Jones, for all that you do for your creative learners!

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Plickers is a great and quick way to check for understanding for your whole class. This tool can be used as a quick exit ticket, review, or assessment of prior knowledge. Each student receives a card. Once the question is posed, the students hold up the card with the letter they believe is the correct answer choice on top. The smartphone quickly captures all students responses and live data shows up on the computer.


Click the link above to explore and integrate technology into your instruction!