is characterized by the combination of whole group, small group,
and independent work. Learners' readiness, interests, and learning
profiles serve as the basis for groups. Student groups remain flexible
because they are responsive to changes in students' readiness,
interests, and learning profile.
FLEXIBLE GROUPING IS A HALLMARK OF THE DIFFERENTIATED CLASS. Teachers plan extended periods of
instruction so that all students work with a variety of peers over a period of
days. Sometimes students work with like-readiness peers, sometimes with
mixed-readiness groups, sometimes with students who have similar interests,
sometimes with students who have different interests, sometimes with peers who
learn as they do, sometimes randomly, and often with the class as a whole. In
addition, teachers can assign students to work groups, and sometimes students
will select their own work groups. Flexible grouping allows students to see
themselves in a variety of contexts and aids the teacher in "auditioning"
students in different settings and with different kinds of work (Tomlinson,