A recipe for the cookbook

Want relevant & engaging ways to discover new ideas and instructional practices?

In Stage 1, Ana, Derek, Katie, Rene, Rob, and many other educators shared that tailored, realistic video - from classrooms and other professions - makes more of an impact than current video offerings. In Stage 2, Ashley, Efundunke, Faith, Fred, Heather, Katie, Kristin, and Marisa shared their ideas for personalizing PD video and bringing inspiration to educators. Check out how they're bringing these ideas to life to transform PD.

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Heather B


- A video camera or smartphone
- Something (or someone) to hold the camera and film the lesson.
- Video editing option (Microsoft Movie Maker, iMovie, YouTube Video Editor)


- Willingness to film yourself teaching a lesson.
- Willingness to differentiate a lesson

Can You Spot the Differentiation?

Problem Statement & Description

Innovator Heather Byington hopes to change the culture of coaching in schools. An optimist at heart, she envisions a school in which all students are engaged and learning through differentiation.

To test her idea, Byington proposed that teachers record themselves teaching two similar lessons. The first time through the lesson the teacher would not differentiate instruction and note student needs. The second time through the lesson teachers would add differentiation strategies to address those needs. Following the second lesson, Byington believes that by analyzing student engagement and learning in the video, teachers can identify effective differentiation strategies that are likely to produce student engagement and learning.

Even though Byington began her test with the notion that there was one “right way” to design her recipe, she quickly learned that just as the lesson must be differentiated for the needs of the student, so too must the recipe be differentiated for the needs of the teacher.

How To


Recruit teachers of “mainstreamed” learners to film a short segment of classroom instruction. Recruit potential participants by engaging teachers in conversations around planning for their lessons. What misconceptions or difficulties do they anticipate students will have during the upcoming lesson? What differentiations could they plan in advance to address these anticipated difficulties?


View the video with an instructional coach or colleagues. Observe and note student engagement and quantity and quality of student responses. Identify areas in the lesson where support strategies could be embedded to more fully engage and increase responses from all learners. For example, a teacher might identify strategies to make content more comprehensible such as using visuals, kinesthetic movements, and graphic organizers. A teacher may also identify strategies to facilitate student interaction, such as think/pair/share, numbered heads together, and group discussion roles.


Plan another lesson segment no longer than 15 minutes with the same structure but different content. This time plan for support strategies embedded in the lesson. Teach and film the new lesson segment that includes support strategies for differentiation.


Reflect with colleagues on the impact on student engagement and quantity and quality of responses when support strategies for differentiation are included in the lesson.

Protips for Practical Problem Solving

Focus on one differentiation at a time so that it is easier to know what differentiation made the difference in student engagement and learning.

Byington also recognized that some teachers may have a difficult time allowing students to struggle through an entire lesson without applying differentiation strategies. To mitigate this, instead of waiting for the second lesson to apply differentiation, it may be useful to divide a single lesson into two parts - half of the lesson without differentiation, and half of the lesson with differentiation strategies applied.


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