Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fair vs. Equal

Many times, being fair means being equal.  If you are giving your children cookies, you give them all the same: 2 cookies.  By doing so, you are being fair and ensuring no ones feelings are hurt.  However, in education, giving everyone the same amount of something isn't fair because it's not what every student needs.  In a differentiated classroom, fair and equal are not the same thing.

Yesterday, Marsha talked about pre-assessing.  Pre-assessment is key in a DI classroom.  You have to know your students, who they are, where they are, in order to differentiate and meet their needs.  For example, you may give your students a two-minuted timed addiction fact assessment.  At the end, you know which students can do their facts but need to build fluency and speed.  You know which students know their facts well, and breezed through it.  That two minute assessment can help you give fair math homework: some students may work on addition flash cards, some may work on subtraction flash cards, and some may work with manipulatives to understand the concept of addition a little more.  A pre-assessment will give you the information you need to differentiate for your students so that you are meeting their needs.

Are you an equal teacher and give everyone the same thing?  Or are you a fair teacher and give your students what they need?

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