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).

 

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Harbour Measurements - BBC

Grades
2 to 4
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Use the metric system to measure the height and weight of boxes being placed on a large ship. You are told the specific height and weight to locate. Then you ...more
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Use the metric system to measure the height and weight of boxes being placed on a large ship. You are told the specific height and weight to locate. Then you are presented with three packages to weigh and measure. You click and drag the items onto an interactive scale that measures the height and weight. There are three levels of difficulty. You can play several times at each level. The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects, and animations. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): measurement (159)

In the Classroom

Come to this website to practice the metric system. Share this website with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector and show the students HOW to use the program. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. Play a game of "Around the World" using this activity. Or divide your class into teams and have some healthy competition.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Igloo Shopping - BBC

Grades
1 to 5
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It is time to go shopping at the Igloo with Molly. Your challenge is to choose the correct coins to pay Pablo. Since this site was created by the BBC, ...more
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It is time to go shopping at the Igloo with Molly. Your challenge is to choose the correct coins to pay Pablo. Since this site was created by the BBC, the MONEY is UK pounds not American dollars. There are three levels of difficulty. You can play several times at each level. The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (which can be turned off), and animations. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): currency (20), money (193)

In the Classroom

Use this site to practice counting money (pounds). With older students, practice higher-level thinking skills by introducing them to a different form of money than they may be accustomed to using. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate the activity for your students. Share this website with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector and show the students HOW to use the program. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Safari Units - BBC

Grades
1 to 3
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Come to the safari and choose your difficulty level. This balancing challenge has students add numbers together (weights) to balance out the "Safari" animal or object on the other side...more
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Come to the safari and choose your difficulty level. This balancing challenge has students add numbers together (weights) to balance out the "Safari" animal or object on the other side of scale. The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects, and animations. Be aware, this site was created by the BBC, so you may notice some simple spelling differences than in American English. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): addition (251)

In the Classroom

Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate "weight and balance" practice for your students. Share this website with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector and show the students HOW to use the program. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Play a game of "Around the World" using this activity. Or divide your class into teams and have some healthy competition. You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice their math skills at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Adventure Sequences - BBC

Grades
1 to 3
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Help Molly swing across the jungle by figuring out the correct sequence and clicking on the next number in the sequence. There are three levels of difficulty. You can play ...more
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Help Molly swing across the jungle by figuring out the correct sequence and clicking on the next number in the sequence. There are three levels of difficulty. You can play several times at each level. The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (which can be turned off), and animations. Be aware, this site was created by the BBC, so you may notice some simple spelling differences than in American English. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): multiples (35), multiplication (227), sequencing (31)

In the Classroom

If you are trying to teach your class about sequencing, take advantage of this "quick and easy" web activity. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate the program for your students. Share this website with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector and show the students HOW to use the program. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual computers. Play a game of "Around the World" using this activity. List this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice their math skills at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Forest Ordering - BBC

Grades
K to 2
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Max needs help in the forest! He needs YOU to put the numbers in the correct order - can you help? This simple game only takes a few minutes and ...more
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Max needs help in the forest! He needs YOU to put the numbers in the correct order - can you help? This simple game only takes a few minutes and offers some terrific sound effects and animation (which can be turned off). There are three levels of difficulty. Some levels ask you to put the numbers from least to greatest, while other levels challenge you to go from greatest to least. The website also features a "full screen" option and printable worksheets. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): counting (120), numbers (204), place value (56)

In the Classroom

Share this website with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector and show the students HOW to use the program. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. Be sure to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice their math skills at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Division Mine - BBC

Grades
3 to 5
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Help Max and Molly, both miners, choose the correct number of wagons necessary for each set of stones by using your division skills. This website doesn't just show the answer, ...more
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Help Max and Molly, both miners, choose the correct number of wagons necessary for each set of stones by using your division skills. This website doesn't just show the answer, but also demonstrates how division works. There are three levels of difficulty. The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (that can be turned off), and animations. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): division (172), vision (87)

In the Classroom

Share this website with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector and show the students HOW to use the program. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual computers. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate for your students. Play a game of "Around the World" using this activity. Or divide your class into teams and have some healthy competition. You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice their math skills at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Number Pyramid - BBC

Grades
1 to 3
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Help Molly free herself from a pyramid by answering additional and subtraction questions. There are three levels of difficulty. The website also features a "full screen" option, printable...more
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Help Molly free herself from a pyramid by answering additional and subtraction questions. There are three levels of difficulty. The website also features a "full screen" option, printable worksheets, engaging sound effects (that can be turned off), and animations. Be aware, this site was created by the BBC, so you may notice some beautiful accents and spelling differences than in American English. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): addition (251), subtraction (208)

In the Classroom

Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate addition and subtraction practice for your students. Share this website with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector and show the students HOW to use the program. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Play a game of "Around the World" using this activity. Or divide your class into teams and have some healthy competition. You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice their math skills at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Camel Times Tables - BBC

Grades
1 to 3
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This website, created by the BBC, presents Molly and her camel. The goal of the activity is to put fruit in the camel's basket. You must use basic multiplication and ...more
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This website, created by the BBC, presents Molly and her camel. The goal of the activity is to put fruit in the camel's basket. You must use basic multiplication and addition skills to solve the math problem. The website also offers the options of printable worksheets, full screen display, and engaging audio (which can be turned off), and animation. Enjoy the beautiful British English accent at this site that requires Adobe Acrobat and Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): addition (251), multiples (35), multiplication (227)

In the Classroom

Share this website with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector and show the students HOW to use the program. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate multiplication practice for your students. You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice their math skills at home.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Kids Numbers - kidsknowitnetwork

Grades
K to 5
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This site provides math foundation activities for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. After students learn the basics, there are a number of review activities for them...more
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This site provides math foundation activities for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. After students learn the basics, there are a number of review activities for them to try in each operation area. In addition, there are practice activities with flashcards, telling time, money, fractions, algebra, and geometry. All of the activities are educational, but some seem to focus more on entertainment than education.

This site includes a worksheet generator so teachers can prepare their own review work. There is a calculator one click away for those who need it. There are some minor advertisements at this website. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): addition (251), division (172), fractions (239), money (193), multiplication (227), subtraction (208), time (144), vision (87)

In the Classroom

Display this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector to create an anticipatory set for a new concept in your elementary math class. Once students are familiar with the activities, allow them to explore this website if they finish early or for extra practice. Put this site in your classroom newsletter or on your class website so students can explore and learn at home.

ESL students will enjoy this site since it will help them learn the vocabulary for math operations in English, and it will also allow them to succeed at something in school. This site can also be used to differentiate for your learning support and/or gifted students based on their current level of math instruction.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Sprat's Adventures - BBC

Grades
4 to 7
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Sprat's Adventures offers age-appropriate exciting activities in math, language arts, science, music, and more. The language arts activities all center around a group of kids being...more
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Sprat's Adventures offers age-appropriate exciting activities in math, language arts, science, music, and more. The language arts activities all center around a group of kids being on a vacation (called a holiday, at this BBC site). While at a museum a statue is stolen. Students complete three interactive challenges to find the missing statue. In the math section, Sprat and his friends visit a circus to go quad biking and they get stuck in a strange tent. Students must complete various math activities to help them get out of the tent. The science link takes students on a rocky adventure into outer space. In addition to the numerous interactive activities, there are also printable pages, comics, songs, e-cards, and more. Attention Teachers - there is a link with lesson plans, printable pages, lesson ideas, and more available if you click on Home and then Teachers . Be aware, since this site was created by the BBC, you may notice some slight spelling and language differences. Nearly all of these activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), grammar (216), probability (130), solar system (119), sound (101)

In the Classroom

This website is geared towards ages 9 to 11; however there are links to similar activities for ages 7 to 9 on the left side of the site. Use this feature to differentiate for your special education, ESL, or ELL students.

Be sure to visit the Teachers Link for some excellent ideas. All of the activities are perfect for learning stations, individual computers, or on an interactive whiteboard or projection screen. The offerings available are so diverse, that this website could be used throughout several language arts, math, science, art, and music lessons. Feature this website in your class newsletter or on your website so students can practice these educational activities at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Flick's Adventure - BBC

Grades
2 to 5
1 Favorites 0  Comments
   
This highly engaging and diverse website offers interactive activities in the areas of language arts, math, and science. The site was created by the BBC, especially for ages 7-9. For...more
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This highly engaging and diverse website offers interactive activities in the areas of language arts, math, and science. The site was created by the BBC, especially for ages 7-9. For differentiation purposes, there are links to activities for ages 5 to 7 or 9 to 11 on the left-side of the website. Attention Teachers - there is a link with lesson plans, printable pages, lesson ideas and more available if you click on Home and then Teachers .

This interactive website features topics such as friction, what dissolves, newspaper headlines, poetry, coordinates, time, and several others. Some of the motivational interactive activities include Looping the Loop, Escape Route, & On the Trail . There are also links to create comics, music mixers, planning a party, and skating. Be aware, since this site was created by the BBC, Americans may notice some slight spelling and language differences. Nearly all of these activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): coordinates (32), friction (12), motion (59), news (261), poetry (228), time (144)

In the Classroom

Wow - there are so many possible uses for this website in an elementary classroom. The lesson plans (at the Teachers link) offer standards and ready-to-go ideas. Check these for the direct connections to your curriculum. The interactive activities are perfect for computer lab time, cooperative learning, or class challenges using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to list this site on your class website so students can access these wonderful and enriching activities at home. If you are looking to differentiate instruction, allow your more advanced students to explore the activities listed for ages 9 to 11.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Around The World in 80-Seconds - Scholastic

Grades
1 to 5
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This interdisciplinary math/ geography practice activity challenges students to answer several math questions in 80-seconds. Each correct answer flies Maggie and her helicopter to a...more
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This interdisciplinary math/ geography practice activity challenges students to answer several math questions in 80-seconds. Each correct answer flies Maggie and her helicopter to a new destination in the world. Students can choose a difficulty level of easy or hard. They can also choose to play the game using addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or a mix of all four. This activity is also available in Spanish here . This math journey requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): addition (251), division (172), maps (287), multiplication (227), subtraction (208), vision (87)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to make this "flight" a class challenge. Assign a few students to be "recorders." Have them record the names of the cities, countries, and/or continents that you visit. Make this into a thorough geography lesson by having students complete research the locations that Maggie visits during her journey.

This website is also ideal for individual computers. This allows students to practice the particular math operation that they need most help with AND differentiates so that students can work at an easy or difficult math level. Provide a link to this site in your class newsletter or on your class web page, so students can practice their math and geography skills at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Math Baseball - Funbrain

Grades
1 to 6
1 Favorites 0  Comments
This is an on-line game in which students advance runners and score runs by completing math problems of varying difficulties. Students can select easy or difficult problems, either...more
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This is an on-line game in which students advance runners and score runs by completing math problems of varying difficulties. Students can select easy or difficult problems, either non-algebraic or algebraic, and operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or a combination).

tag(s): addition (251), baseball (36), division (172), multiplication (227), subtraction (208), vision (87)

In the Classroom

Have you students work on individual computers and "take a swing" at this math activity. It offers a highly motivating review activity on various difficulty levels, enabling the teacher to differentiate the instruction based on the math levels of the individual students.

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ESL Gold Picture Dictionary - ESL Gold

Grades
1 to 6
6 Favorites 0  Comments
 
ESL Gold's "Words and Phrases" page is a listing of vocabulary, grouped in categories ideal for learning a new language. The categories are divided by levels from Low Beginning to ...more
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ESL Gold's "Words and Phrases" page is a listing of vocabulary, grouped in categories ideal for learning a new language. The categories are divided by levels from Low Beginning to Advanced. Many of the categories provide a picture dictionary of all items. Some of the more advanced levels do not include pictures. All levels have audio pronunciation. The higher levels contain vocabulary in context, word phrases, and other vocabulary development activities without definitions. This site requires Windows Media Player or Quicktime to play the audio. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): vocabulary (324), vocabulary development (126)

In the Classroom

Use this site to share vocabulary by category, using pictures, audio, and written words with your ESL/ELL students, primary students, special ed students, or speech/language students. Include this link in a newsletter that goes home with ESL/ELL students. Mark it as a Favorite on your classroom computer. Demonstrate how to use this website on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students work alone (or with a partner) at their current speaking level. This website could also be used in a regular education class with emerging readers. The five difficulty levels allow teachers the flexibility to differentiate the instruction. Note: small type fonts and some advertising may make this site difficult for some younger students to use. Preview and decide what your class can handle.

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The Art of Teaching the Arts - Annenberg Media

Grades
9 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This is a wonderful site for high school educators who are interested in teaching the arts through theatre, music, art, or any of the humanities. It is a professional workshop ...more
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This is a wonderful site for high school educators who are interested in teaching the arts through theatre, music, art, or any of the humanities. It is a professional workshop site that offers 8 one-hour practical video seminars on how to teach the arts and on the passion of those who already do. The videos are free for streaming, but you can also purchase them as DVDs or VHS. You do have to register--for free. The self-described goal is a workshop to help teachers improve their teaching through seven different foci, including the diverse needs of students, instructional approaches, creating the appropriate learning environment to making the most of community resources, and encouraging students to be independent thinkers and creative problem solvers. This site requires Windows Media Player. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): creativity (109)

In the Classroom

This is a professional site rich in ideas for any teacher looking for new ideas or a jump-start to teach the arts. Make this course your personal goal for summer break or a collaborative professional development group.

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Save the Apples - PlayKidsGames

Grades
1 to 5
0 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This math practice game is sure to excite your students. The challenge is to help a monkey swing on a vine across the water (and keep the apples from the ...more
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This math practice game is sure to excite your students. The challenge is to help a monkey swing on a vine across the water (and keep the apples from the crocodile). The best aspect of this game (besides the entertainment of the monkey), is that you can choose addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. You can also choose the difficulty level (easy, medium, or hard) to differentiate student practice levels. This website requires FLASH. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): addition (251), division (172), multiplication (227), subtraction (208), vision (87)

In the Classroom

What a wonderful tool to use to differentiate your lessons to meet the needs of your struggling students and your gifted students. Why not have the students work on individual computers and use the operation that they are currently learning (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division). And then have them work at their own individual difficulty level. If this isn't practical in your classroom, using this as a learning center on your class computer would also be beneficial. You WILL want to turn off the annoying sound!
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Mrs. Cassidy's Web Page - Numbers - Mrs. Cassidy

Grades
K to 3
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This educational website was created by a Canadian primary teacher. It offers links to numerous practical activities on the topic of "numbers." Most are interactive and all have educational...more
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This educational website was created by a Canadian primary teacher. It offers links to numerous practical activities on the topic of "numbers." Most are interactive and all have educational value. Specific number topics include foundations, counting, addition, subtraction, fractions, and place value. Many of these activities require FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.. Don't miss out on this rare find.

tag(s): addition (251), counting (120), fractions (239), numbers (204), place value (56), subtraction (208)

In the Classroom

What excellent choices to use as a learning center. This program allows the teacher to differentiate instruction (based on the current levels of your students). Each activity has several levels of difficulties. Mrs. Cassidy has also included a color-coded guide to help teachers determine which activities are easy, medium, hard, and very hard.
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Animal Lost and Found - PBS

Grades
K to 1
5 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This age-appropriate math activity challenges young students to identify various pets based on a set of criteria. The list of criteria requires students to count eyes, ears, mouths,...more
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This age-appropriate math activity challenges young students to identify various pets based on a set of criteria. The list of criteria requires students to count eyes, ears, mouths, and other body parts. There are two difficulty levels, which allows teachers to differentiate the instruction for less or more advanced students in a primary class. This website requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): classification (25), counting (120), preK (281)

In the Classroom

One concern: non-readers will not be able to READ the criteria. The game is intended for sharing with at least one reader (child or adult). This website could be incorporated in many ways: First, use an interactive whiteboard and include the entire class, asking them to raise their hands or use clickers to vote on whether you have "found" the pet as someone reads the criteria aloud. Second, you could use this website as a learning center for cooperative groups (including a reader)to investigate together. Third, you could differentiate the instruction by having students work on their own laptops (or in the computer lab). Turn off the irritating sound with the little speaker icon.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Search for Monsters of Mystery - National Geographic Kids

Grades
3 to 8
10 Favorites 0  Comments
Terrifically "scary," this website thrills students with information about various monsters. Students learn the geographic location and numerous facts about several famous "monsters"....more
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Terrifically "scary," this website thrills students with information about various monsters. Students learn the geographic location and numerous facts about several famous "monsters". The fascinating study includes Bigfoot, Nessie, Storsie, Yeti, Champ, and Mokele-Mbembe. Note: Some of the information on the monsters comes up in pop-ups. Turn off any pop-up blockers (this would include those that work as part of the Google or Yahoo toolbar).

tag(s): halloween (40), holidays (147)

In the Classroom

Use this website as a starting point for researching the history of famous monsters. This is a great way to teach about fact vs fiction and the information literacy skill of evaluating web site reliability, using a topic that students will love. After they collect facts, have a monster "trial" in your classroom "courthouse" where two teams try to prove that each monster is FACT or FICTION, using "evidence" from this site and further research. Differentiate the tasks by assigning some of your brighter students to conduct the questioning (and perhaps challenge the web sources). Then have a the class-member "jury" reach a verdict: Fact or Fiction?

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Fractions - BGFL

Grades
1 to 5
8 Favorites 0  Comments
This is a fabulous website for all levels of fraction instruction (there are five difficulty levels). The website offers both interactive challenges and printable worksheets. Students...more
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This is a fabulous website for all levels of fraction instruction (there are five difficulty levels). The website offers both interactive challenges and printable worksheets. Students will love the pizza fun and other graphics used at this website - check it out. Level 2 is a TERRIFIC way to help students read fraction markings on a ruler, always a challenge for some. Some of the activities require Flash, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): fractions (239)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard to introduce this activity. Then differentiate the instruction and allow students to work on their own computers at their own levels. For more instructions on how to use this website, visit the "support materials" link.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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