Is differentiation critical to a gospel-centered classroom?

Yesterday I wondered this as I looked at Cyndy typing away on the computer. Cyndy is indeterrably happy and seems equally indeterrably non-academic. Her genre of choice in writing workshop is fluffy happy nonsense poetry. I have a long way to go–I want to push Cyndy into new writing territories.

But can every student be pushed into such territories? I’m reminded of what Crystal (my fiance) once said to me: a rope can’t be pushed, only pulled.

Differentiation is a wonderful result of reading / writing workshop as exemplified by Nancie Atwell in her book In the Middle. Every student is doing the work of writing and reading in the most authentic way possible–they choose their direction. I’ve taken the plunge into workshop with the Lord during the last six months, and it has been a frightening and overly rewarding experience. I pray for the chance to continue studying students in this kind of classroom next year.

Thank You, Father.

Differentiation seems essential given the fearfully and wonderfully made-ness of each child. So yes, I think differentiation is critical to a gospel-centered classroom. It is a primary means of affirming the worth of each child.

I don’t know if my classroom is gospel-centered, but I know it is gospel-changed–reading and writing workshop is one evidence of that.


About davestuartjr
Dave Stuart Jr. is a full-time teacher who writes about becoming better, saner teachers at He is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Crystal, and a father to Hadassah, Laura, and Marlena.

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