Examples of ways to differentiate instruction
TeachersFirst's Thinking Teachers who write our resource reviews often have suggestions that have worked in their classrooms. Open the reviews to the "more" view to see ideas for using specific resources as tools to differentiate for a variety of learners. Alternatively, use the keyword search tool at the left of this page to search for a curriculum topic and the term "differentiate." For example, search fractions differentiate (with "all the words" selected for the search).
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomUse an interactive whiteboard to introduce your class to this site's activities. Then differentiate your math lessons by allowing students to work independently on the math skills they are currently acquiring. Even if you have only a single classroom computer, you can provide practice and challenge at all levels. This is also a wonderful site to share as a link from your teacher home page or in your classroom newsletter.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): resources (112)
In the ClassroomHow would you use this in your teaching? Create a set of RSS feeds for current events or a specific curriculum topic such as weather and make them available for an in-class activity, complete with directions. World language, world cultures, or geography teachers can profile a location on the globe, complete with local weather and news. Make separate tabs for separate activities. Students can access them by password or publicly from outside of class, as well. For primary grades, make simple instructions right on the desktop for a computer center activity. Use color coding of the instructions to differentiate for different children (Sam, I want you to do the yellow one). If your school permits students to set up accounts on web services, have groups make Protopages on an assigned topic, collecting and organizing resources, images, and information: "A Protopage Guide to Cells" or "Shakespeare's Times." Gifted and highly-able students will go crazy!
Skills needed: Join (free). Check out the Intro, Overview, and Quickstart to see how it works. Play to your heart's content, including making tabs. Learn about RSS feeds and other Widgets-- including sticky notes. Share the URL with those you wish to have use it. Note: this works on Internet Explorer 6 and higher and on Firefox. If your users are on older web browsers, the developers recommend upgrading. This may be a problem for some. Check with your end-user computers before you spend too much time making the perfect Protopage!
If you allow students to create their own Protopage, you will need to have very specific rules about content, since there are non-educational elements available.
Grades10 to 12
tag(s): journalism (46)
In the ClassroomTo take full advantage of this lesson, expand it into choosing photos off the web from news stories or from Flickr. (See the TeachersFirst Edge explanation of Flickr). You might even preview some sites and have pairs of students access them and categorize them by analysis. This would enable you to tailor the lesson to any literature you were working with from: Shakespeare to Hemingway to Grisham.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomTry an interactive whiteboard and treat your students to this challenging math activity. If you are able to use a lab or laptops, differentiate your instruction and allow the students to work on skills at their own levels. Each of the three "topic" sets has six lessons.
After you use it in class, include this site on your teacher web page for students to practice prior to your test or the "big one."
Grades1 to 5
In the ClassroomUse this site to help to differentiate instruction in math class! Allow students to practice individually on computers by taking turns on one of the classroom computers or using laptops. Another useful tip: students need to click on the answer blank each time before typing in their answer. The TeachersFirst editors did catch a typo or two in the text ("mutliplication"), but the game itself works well.
Grades1 to 4
tag(s): numbers (203)
In the ClassroomThis tool could be used to differentiate instruction (there are three levels of difficulty). Allow students to try it as a classroom center, on laptops, or even on a whiteboard.
GradesK to 5
tag(s): logic (237)
In the ClassroomTry an interactive whiteboard to introduce these drill and practice activities to challenge your class, then include the link on your teacher web page or as a shortcut on a classroom computer for students to access individually. Be sure to tell parents about it, too. Take the students to the computer lab or assign different tasks at a classroom center to differentiate the instruction and allow the students to work at their individual levels. Note: very Young students may need help reading the directions to access the correct game.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomTeachers could use the activities at this website to differentiate mathematical instruction. Teachers do not need to search the site for activities; the specific topics are already listed with each activity, so the site is extremely easy to use. Be sure to include this one on your teacher web page for students to use as a review tool.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomThere are activities at this site for all elementary math levels. This site would be great to differentiate instruction. Or the teacher can involve the entire class by using an interactive whiteboard. Keep this link on your teacher web page for students to use outside of class for review.
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomUse this tool to differentiate instruction and meet the educational needs of your students. If you see a blank screen, download the Flash plugin from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): teaching strategies (24)
In the ClassroomShare this one with your colleagues who also have ESL/ELL students.
Grades4 to 8
In the ClassroomUse this simplified news site to help students improve listening skills and vocabulary while learning about current events. This is an easy way to differentiate for students who process information more slowly as English language learners or for other reasons.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomBe sure to put a link for these online games and quizzes on your teacher web page for the summer and throughout the school year. Students can use them to practice for your geography quizzes or as extra challenges. The different levels of dificulty will allow you to differentiate your instruction easily.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis might be a viable option for formative assessment in your language arts classroom. Use the resources on this site to test student knowledge before beginning a grammar unit, then differentiate your instruction based on the results.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis is a safe, easy-to-understand resource for independent student research. Design a simple Web hunt to create a differentiated activity for multi-ability classes.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site as a learning center or station during a unit on myths & legends. This would be a great introductory activity, as a lot of the content is defining and providing examples that differentiate the two. This would be a great resource for a Language Arts teacher.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): courts (15)
In the ClassroomUse this site as a learning center or station during a unit on International Trials or the legal consequences of Genocide in a US government or history course. The site is a little text-heavy, and would work best with higher level high school classes. To assess student learning and differentiate between the trial events, have students create a timeline describing the events of all three events. We recommend using an online tool such as Who What When (reviewed here)
Grades7 to 9
In the ClassroomThs lesson plan include student handouts and technology options for students to share their projects several ways. Teachers can easily differentiate the challenge level of projects by specifying which tools to use.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomDuring a unit on WWII or Nuclear Technology, this site would be a great supplementary resource that teachers could use for classroom activities or to buff up on their background information. In regards to classroom activities, teachers could use this site for a cooperative learning activity. Have students read the articles on the site in groups, and have students use the information in some of the interactive activities provided. Teachers can differentiate for students, allowing them to reflect in a writing prompt, take the quiz or try and complete the calculations activity. There is also a study guide at the bottom that students can use to help them review and teachers can peruse to find more classroom ideas. A lot of information on this site - history teachers will enjoy this one.
Grades6 to 12
Although this resource was created based on the 2000 election, the background information and historical comparisons are valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history.