My husband got a Groupon deal for CrossFit at the end of October. So, he had been going to CrossFit for about a month when he decided that we should go together. They have a place for older kids to entertain themselves, so we decided to go 3 times a week for the month of December. Monday was my first day and I walked away thinking about how CrossFit has tapped into differentiation.
Differentiation is a buzz word in education right now. Sometimes as I enter back into the professional realm of education (I don’t consider tutoring being in the professional realm) I’m not sure if the differences I’m experiencing is because of the different laws and state standards in Ohio and Utah or because I’ve missed some changes in the 7 years while I was at home with kiddos. I think it’s a little of both. However, I’m pretty sure differentiation came with Common Core.
So, what does CrossFit do that makes it so successful? It uses differentiation in large group training. I walked out of class Monday having experienced an incredibly difficult workout. My guess is so did the 200+ pound very strong men. How? Because while I used small weights and only 3 complete sets they had very heavy weights and completed more than 3 sets. While we did the same movements each individual could tap into what was best for them concerning weight and speed.
As we implement the Common Core we are being asked to differentiate education for all of our students. Our mission, whether we want to or not, is to figure out what level of mathematics each student is capable of and then having that student work through the current concepts, at that level. While this works well in the world of fitness, where a person can pick up an exercise with a brief explanation and no need to build upon concepts, I’m not 100% sure this will be what is best for our high school math students. The hurdle being not the capability of students, but that students don’t have their building blocks mastered.