Different Students, Different Needs: How Teachers Differentiate by Abby Mallett

A fourth grade teacher sits at her desk, the first rays of morning sunshine cutting through the blinds and striping the stained carpet. Her eyes move swiftly across the screen of her computer, open to a student’s writing from yesterday.  The only sounds are the click of keys and scribble of a pen as she types comments into the document and makes notes on a chart next to her.

The bell rings, jolting her out of concentration.  She quickly switches the document to a morning message to display on the screen for her students.  The teacher proceeds to the door, opening it with a smile.  She greets her students with a “Good morning” in a cheery voice.  The quiet room becomes a hubbub of children’s voices and movements as they unpack backpacks, sharpen pencils, and recount stories of yesterday’s adventures to their friends.

The teacher joins the hubbub, moving quickly, but unhurried around the room.  She stops at a student’s desk and discreetly gives him a graphic organizer to help with his morning spelling assignment.  “I hope your sentences make me laugh again today,” she tells another student with a wink.  A student struggling to hang up a backpack gets a hand from the teacher and a gentle point to remind him to read the morning message.  An energetic girl runs up to her, eyes lit with excitement.

“Guess what!” she exclaims. Continue reading

Higher Level Mentor Texts, 5th Grade from Molly Kirk

Molly Kirk teaches 5th grade at Foothill Elementary in Boulder. For her CWP 2 research project, she created a database of mentor texts to use with her students. In her research paper, Molly explained the resource she wanted:

I have been using mentor texts for writing for the past two years and love how quickly my students connect to them and how they return to them over and over again.  My teaching partner and I thought it might be most useful to use those mentor texts for two reasons – for guiding writing and for guiding souls.  What if every text we used was not just laced with amazing writing craft but also with great life advice?  What if we focused on CCSS AND helping our students find connection, compassion and character while they are learning?  I set out to create a resource that was tailored to meet both of those criteria.

You can find the database she built here.


Molly completed CWP 1 in June of 2013 and CWP 2 in June of 2015.