1. What motivated you to write Rigor and Differentiation in the Classroom?

When I'm working with teachers and principals, one of their biggest challenges is how to provide rigorous instruction for all students at all levels, whether they are gifted, have special needs, or somewhere in between. This book was written to provide practical advice on how to tailor instruction for each student, without lessening the rigor.

2. From the book, what is your favorite strategy/piece of advice?
As teachers are implementing differentiation, they ask: How can I find the time to create lessons, find resources, and grade assignments or tests for students working at all these different levels?

I have seven suggestions:
1.Accept that you will never have as much time or resources as you would like.
2.Accept that the quest for perfectionism may be your enemy.
3.Work with other teachers.
4.Create a Personal Learning Network.
5.Work smarter, not harder.
6.Remember that small changes lead to bigger ones.
7. Keep balance in your life.

3. Tell us one of your favorite stories about a student you’ve worked with.

During one of my writing classes, I was asked to choose one student to write something weekly about the school for the local newspaper. I had Becky, who was introverted and lacked self-confidence, but had potential to be much more. 20 years later, a lady came up to me at a book signing and asked if I remembered her daughter Becky. Becky asked her to visit me and share a copy of a monthly magazine for parents. She had just published her first article, and said she would never have tried to write if I had not encouraged her. It reminded me that you never know when you are making a difference.

4. What or who inspired you to become an educator?

My dad was (and still is) my inspiration. As I grew up, I watched him connect with his graduate students who were teachers to support each one of them as they worked to improve their teaching. He always listened, and then positively guided them through possible options, without making them feel that they were ineffective. He also modeled lifelong learning, which he still does at age 85. One of the best moments of my career was co-authoring a book with him two years ago.

5. And finally, please tell us your favorite thing about being in Education in one word.