Creating a Fair is Not Same Classroom

Creating a Fair is Not Same Classroom

Co-authored by: Michelle Leip and Kathleen Kryza

Fairness is a concept that students take very seriously. When one student receives something that is perceived as a privilege, the other students want and expect the same treatment. While justice and equity are extraordinarily important in our classrooms and in our world, these words are not synonymous with equality. Fair doesn’t mean equal. 

As teachers, we know that we must differentiate for the needs and strengths of our students. We know that one student might benefit from having a text read aloud to them; whereas another will learn more by delving into a higher-level text. Some students will need to be pulled from the classroom to receive services; whereas others may benefit from having support staff in the
classroom with them.  In order to serve our students’ needs, we know that we need to treat them all differently. But do our students understand this concept? 

If they don’t understand that we will be differentiating instruction, we will get the “fair” whine from them on a regular basis.  (That’s Not Fair!)

In order to clarify this idea, it’s helpful to be transparent with our students about Fairness vs. Sameness. We need to let them know that we will not treat them all the same, but we will give them all what they need to be successful. We at Infinite Horizons have created a lesson plan and slideshow to teach students the difference between equity and equality.  (The lesson was designed for middle school students– but it can easily be adapted for your grade level.)

We used this lesson to help students try on varied perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of what equity truly means. We have included the lesson in this month’s newsletter for you to use with your students. If you can think of any ways to add to it or improve the lesson, let us know! Together we make each other stronger! 

Hope your school year is getting off to a great start! 

Resources and Activities to support you in inspiring instruction.

Some meaningful, related web content.














  • Kryza, K., Brittingham, M., & Duncan, A. (n.d.). Transformative teaching: Changing today's classrooms culturally, academically, & emotionally.