top of page

The Busy Teacher - Differentiation for Every Classroom

Screen Shot 2021-04-09 at 4.14.26 PM.png

The Busy Teacher - Differentiation for Every Classroom

Michael McDowell (Author), Tom Hierck (Forward)

Let’s face it—as educators, we are time poor and exhausted. Often, we are looking for quick wisdom for the next passing period, a potential new look into helping that one student we just didn’t reach yesterday, and a few tools to freshen up our knowledge. We don’t have the time for teacher conferences, the frustration that comes the day after the subs, or the challenge of taking in massive amounts of information in two days. We need something digestible and teacher-friendly. Plus, we all get the feeling that the people that present new information have no clue or don’t remember the actual work of being a teacher. We need the five-hour energy drink of knowledge and skill. This book is written for you: the busy teacher.


This book explores the doable steps busy teachers can take in the bustling classroom or zoom room to make a difference, including creating routines that ensure students are: 


- Clear on expectations of learning 

- Giving, receiving, and using accurate feedback 

- Engaging in rigorous reading, writing and talking tasks 

- Taking ownership over their own learning

- Benefiting from strategies designed from teacher team discussions. 


Written from a practitioner’s perspective, this book offers clear and doable strategies, a breadth of activities for k-12 educators, and clear examples to make differentiation doable and a true reality for busy teachers everywhere.

About the Author

Michael mcdowell.jpg

Michael McDowell, EdD, serves as the superintendent of the Ross School District. During his tenure, the Ross School District has progressed to the top of California districts in relation to student connectedness and well-being as well as being in the top tier of districts in academic achievement and growth. Prior to serving as a superintendent, Dr. McDowell was an associate superintendent of instructional and personnel services and a high school principal of a Title I and California Distinguished School. Before entering administration, he was a leadership and instructional coach consulting with schools, districts, higher educational institutions, and state departments on educational leadership, teaching leadership, and instruction. Additionally, Dr. McDowell has several years of teaching experience in middle and high school science and mathematics.


Dr. McDowell serves as the chair of the Advisory Board for One Percent of Education, charged with facilitating leading experts in shaping a national narrative for advancing public education. Additionally, Dr. McDowell serves on the School of Environmental Leadership board tasked with scaling innovation in secondary school environments. He is the author of Rigorous PBL by Design: Three Key Shifts for Developing Confident and Competent Learners (2017); The Lead Learner: Increasing Clarity, Coherence and Capacity for All (2018); Developing Student Expertise: A Guide for Ensuring Students Excel to High Levels of Achievement and Beyond (2019); and Teaching for Transfer: A Guide for Designing Learning With Real-World Application (2020). 


Previously, Dr. McDowell was a National Faculty member for the Buck Institute of Education and an advisor to educational organizations focused on equity, excellence, and innovation. His practical expertise in schools and systems is complimented by his scholarly approach to leadership, learning, and instruction. He holds a BS, MA, and EdD and is currently completing course work at the Harvard Business School. He and his wife, Quinn, live in Northern California with their two children, Harper and Asher.


Teachers live in the present, and there is never enough time to do everything.  This is a big, hairy, audacious book, resplendent with practices to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of teachers.   Ground in modern research, touched with the realities of classrooms, and written with verve and wisdom.

--John Hattie, Laureate Professor, Melbourne Graduate School of Education

The Busy Teacher Resources

bottom of page