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 camera
-A student, adult, or tripod to hold the camera and film the lesson.


For greatest result, ability to view the videos with an instructional coach or team of educators to reflect together on the lessons.


-Willingness to film self teaching a lesson.
-Willingness to plan and implement a similar lesson with support strategies for differentiation embedded.
-Willingness to note student engagement and responses in each of the lessons and compare them.

Can You Spot the Differentiation?


Problem Statement & Description

When students are learning English as a new language or struggling with new content or skills, they need teachers to modify standard curriculum materials or lesson delivery to differentiate for their learning needs. Knowing how to adapt materials and lesson delivery to differentiate for students’ needs can be challenging for teachers to visualize in the context of a real lesson. Some teachers may also question the impact that differentiation can make on students’ learning. A teacher filming a lesson twice, once without embedding support strategies in the lesson and once with support strategies embedded, can help a teacher to identify opportunities for differentiation and to recognize impact on student engagement and responses.

How To


Film a lesson segment no longer than 15 minutes that targets “mainstream” learners. This may be the version of the lesson outlined in a teacher’s guide.


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 elicit increased responses from all learners. (For example, strategies to make content more comprehensible or strategies to facilitate student interaction.)


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.


View the second video with an instructional coach or colleagues.


Observe and note student engagement and quantity and quality of student responses.


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.

Evidence to know we're on the right track

Teachers report via survey, email, or personal interaction that they feel more at ease with differentiating a lesson to meet students’ needs and observe more student engagement and increased student responses, especially among at-risk students, such as English Language Learners or struggling learners.

Protips for Practical Problem Solving

Filming tips:
-If a student films the lesson, make sure to advise student to move camera horizontally but not vertically while filming to avoid seasickness while watching the video.
-Circulating among small table groups or pairs best captures student engagement and responses, when students are talking to each other.

Reflection tips:
-While collaborative viewing and debriefing videos is recommended, a teacher could also reflect alone.
-To add an interactive element to the second video and increase potential use for professional development of other teachers seeking to improve differentiation skills, a teacher could create a second version of the video with support strategies embedded. In the second version, the teacher could provide commentary to identify all points in the video where differentiation occurred and the teacher’s rationale for using each strategy. This version of video with commentary could help viewers determine ability to recognize differentiation where it occurs and impact on student engagement and responses for each support strategy as the lesson progresses.
-To add commentary on a video, Windows Live Movie Maker or YouTube can be used. While watching the muted video, a teacher can record his or her commentary using the audio recorder on a Smartphone and then email the audio file to him or herself. From the email on the computer, the audio file needs to be saved as a music file. Then, in Windows Live Movie Maker, in the “home” tab, click on “Add Music.” Click on the commentary file in your music folder. This will overlay the audio commentary over the video. To mute the normal classroom sounds in the lesson, go to the “Project” tab in Windows Live Movie Maker. Click on “Audio Mix.” Move the bar all the way to the right to only hear the commentary on the video and to mute the regular classroom sounds. Save this version of the video with a different name than the first version. In this way, a teacher ends up with two versions of the video with differentiation, one version with regular classroom sounds and another version with only teacher commentary with the video lesson.


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