Sometimes Differentiation isn’t the right word for what is going on in an innovative classroom:
Whenever I do a sessions on “Personalization”, I tend to ask folks what the difference between Personalizing FOR students and Personalizing BY students. I believe that this is the heart of why Genius Hour is construct that matters. It is Personalized (and not just differentiated) BY the students.
While I would agree that Genius Hour should look different in different grade levels and different schools (depending on the needs of the students and their readiness to take the reigns), I think that is as far as differentiation can go. Differentiation is still about the teacher orchestrating the environment and the resources so that students can learn. Personalization, to me at least, is about the students having the ownership and the ability to make instructional choices that benefit their learning in ways that the teacher would never be able to anticipate.