Q: I have a group of four or five pupils in my Year 8 geography group who have an aptitude for the subject and seem to be more able than most of the others. I'd like to differentiate the work I give them to keep them motivated and challenged as I'm worried they'll get bored with the level at which I have to teach the rest of the class. How can I do this without singling them out for special treatment?
A: Vary your approaches and use lots of group work - but be fluid about the composition of the groups so that your more able pupils can sometimes work together and at other times with different groups. In that way you can offer the kind of differentiation they need without drawing attention to anyone.
* Express high expectations for the whole class. There will be others beyond these four or five who will respond positively.
* Offer constructive oral and written feedback, and set differentiated targets for each pupil.
* Always offer extension work - not just more of the same, but activities that demand different skills or insights.
* Give the groups differentiated tasks to tackle together, and support the tasks with a wide range of resources.
* Give your able pupils a variety of specific roles within their groups - chair, summariser, presenter, researcher - so that they have to engage with all the content of a lesson.