Leading Change for Rigor in the Differentiated Classroom
The original meaning of a professional community of learners reflected the commitment of teachers and leaders who continuously seek to grow professionally and act upon their new learning. In order to truly incorporate rigor and differentiation in schools, teachers must work together in a variety of ways that allow them to reflect on their own practices, learn about new practices, and share the successes and struggles as they implement change. Learning walks, which are 5- to 10-minute classroom visits, provide a "snapshot" of what is happening in classrooms. When implementing rigorous activities that are differentiated, it is helpful to discuss ideas with other teachers, receive feedback, and then work together to plan the best implementation. One activity that is particularly beneficial when used in a professional learning communities are for teachers to work together to develop consistent expectations, both in terms of rigor and differentiation.