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).
GradesK to 6
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In the ClassroomBookmark this math page to find and share engaging games for practicing math facts. Share a link to selected games on classroom computers for student use during math centers. Share this math page with parents as an at-home practice and review site. Due to the variety of activities, this site is an excellent choice for providing differentiated learning opportunities to meet the needs of all students. Extend learning even further by asking students to share tips with their peers on some of the more challenging activities. Use a video response tool like FlipGrid, reviewed here, and ask students to share their suggestions for learning math facts or how they apply problem-solving skills when faced with difficult math problems.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the many resources shared on this site to supplement your current classroom instructional materials. Use these materials to find and differentiate learning for students, especially when working with gifted students as you look for content and resources to meet their educational needs that aren't available within your current curriculum. Offer students a variety of options using those found on this site. Share available student choices using Padlet, reviewed here. Enhance learning by encouraging students to collaborate in the learning process using Notejoy, reviewed here. Notejoy offers tools for collaborative note-taking and sharing of ideas through chats, shared images, and more. Ask students to demonstrate their understanding of topics learned by asking them to create a multimedia project sharing their knowledge. Suggestions for multimedia tools include Sway, reviewed here, Wakelet, reviewed here, or Adobe Spark, reviewed here. These multimedia tools present the opportunity to enhance or extend student learning depending on teacher requirements for the project or even student ability; most allow for adding narration, videos, text, and links to help explain what certain parts of the content are about.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark OER Commons to use as your first stop in lesson planning. Take advantage of the search filters to narrow down the content and grade-level information to suit your needs. This website is also an excellent resource for finding materials to differentiate instruction. Use higher-level activities to challenge gifted students, and search for content to use for remediation. As you gather resources into a collection or lesson plans, be sure to think about ways to incorporate technology in meaningful ways to enhance and extend learning.
Grades10 to 12
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In the ClassroomLibreTexts is a bonanza for AP and teachers of gifted students. Take advantage of the free texts, course outlines, and homework resources to differentiate instruction and provide lessons for advanced students. Choose resources from LibreTexts for use in any classroom to supplement current materials. As part of career-planning activities, ask students to browse through topics that interest them. Encourage students to collaborate with others with similar career interests, both in the classroom and globally. Extend learning by suggesting that students participate in Ted-Ed Clubs, reviewed here. These Clubs allow participants to share in global meetings with peers that have a common interest. As students learn more about their chosen field, encourage them to interact with members of your community to ask questions and perhaps job shadow as a way to understand the career through personal experience. If using course materials and textbooks found on LibreTexts, this is the perfect opportunity for students to ask clarifying questions from their mentor. Enhance learning by making students the experts. Ask them to present their career findings using a multimedia tool like Sway, reviewed here, to share the information learned with peers.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse FluentKey to easily differentiate world language lessons for students and allow them to progress at their own speed. Help ESL/ELL students master English using videos and quizzes based on their knowledge level. This is also an excellent tool to provide language learning experiences based on student interests. Even if the language isn't included with the videos on the site, find and upload videos for student use and add quizzes along with additional content. As students become proficient in a new language, encourage them to share their knowledge using a variety of multimedia tools. Annotate images using ThingLink, reviewed here, create an audio recording of conversations, or use PhotoCollage, reviewed here, to create a collage. As students become more proficient in their new language, ask them to record short podcasts with a podcast creation tool like Podcast Generator, reviewed here, and share tips and advice with their fellow students.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Classkick to differentiate instruction based on students' current performance. Many students are motivated to learn at their own pace using online tools, and Classkick is an option providing lessons in a different format than currently available. If not using Classkick whole -class, it provides many options for helping and enhancing learning for individual students, use for homework, or as a temporary option for providing instruction to home-bound students. As students learn through this type of management system, ask them to use a portfolio tool such as PorfolioVillage, reviewed here, to document and reflect upon their learning process.
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomInclude Construct3 with your other options for teaching coding to students. Take advantage of the included levels to differentiate learning based on knowledge of coding. If you are uncomfortable with coding, enlist students to become technology coaches in your classroom to teach and share their knowledge with others. Use and share Google Forms to create how-to guides for students to get started including images with tips and suggestions. Ask "in-the-know" students to enhance their learning and create one-page websites using Jimdo, reviewed here, sharing advice for individual games included in Construct3. As students become familiar with coding, have them use FlexClip, reviewed here to extend their learning by creating simple explainer videos detailing how to build and share personalized games.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Gooru to differentiate instruction based on students' current performance. Many students are motivated to learn at their own pace using online tools, and Gooru is an option providing lessons in a different format than currently available. If not using Gooru whole -class, it provides many options for helping and enhancing learning for individual students, use for homework, or as a temporary option for providing instruction to home-bound students. Enhance classsroom technology and provide additional support to student learning by asking them to use Pathbrite, reviewed here, to build a digital portfolio of their learning process. Include images, videos, and written work within the portfolio.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomFeedback on this site is based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) scale, learn more about it here. Include this site with your other resources for practicing and teaching writing as you challenge students to improve feedback scores. Take advantage of the different levels to differentiate practice for all students. Ask students to analyze their writing before hitting the feedback button as a self-reflection tool. As students improve writing, use a digital portfolio tool like Seesaw, reviewed here, and upload all revisions. Also, use Seesaw for students to share their thoughts on their writing and individual progress.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude this resource with your other materials for teaching about the periodic table and chemical elements. Customize any of the lessons within TED-ED to meet your lesson objectives. Register for a free account, then follow the steps to duplicate and edit the lesson to meet your needs and share with students. Be sure to share this site with students to use as part of their review and learning activities. Share all of your bookmarked sites with students using a bookmarking tool like SearchTeam, reviewed here. SearchTeam includes tools for collaborating and sharing online resources and provides the ability for you or your students to add notes and comments to shared resources. Include this site and others to provide differentiated learning activities for your students using Symbaloo Learning Paths, reviewed here. In addition to web resources like Periodic Videos, Symbaloo Learning Paths provides options for including quizzes, uploading documents, and more to create an entire unit in one place. Instead of a final assessment using a paper and pencil quiz, ask students to modify their learning by creating explainer videos about elements using My Simpleshow, reviewed here. If you are unsure about how to assess multimedia projects, find many ideas for implementing rubrics for assessment along with examples and online tools at TeachersFirst Rubrics to the Rescue reviewed here.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark this site to reference throughout the school year. Use the keyword search option to find ideas for specific units or technology tools to use. Use a bookmarking tool like Wakelet, reviewed here, to collect and share information from this blog along with your other resources. As you gather lesson ideas and create your unit, use Symbaloo Learning Paths, reviewed here, to create differentiated lesson activities for your students.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude this site with your other tools for teaching and practicing geography concepts. Be sure to share with students on your webpage or blog for easy access at any time. Apply for the Proof Ninja Educator Program to take advantage of the additional features for monitoring student work. Introduce this site to your students on your interactive whiteboard as you work together to learn geometry concepts. Ask students to show proofs and justifications using the program and take a screenshot of their work. Ask students to include their screenshot within a Google document and share their problem-solving process. This site is an excellent way to differentiate learning for different levels of student understanding. Encourage students to create explainer videos using My Simpleshow, reviewed here, to modify their learning and to share their understanding with their fellow students. Include those videos on your website for all students to review and access.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark this site to find math problems correlating to your teaching standards or content. This site is perfect for finding materials to differentiate instruction with different student ability levels. Have students share their results and discuss their problem-solving process on your interactive whiteboard. Take screenshots of the different solutions and include on your class website. Another option is to take a picture of student's written solutions, then use ThingLink, reviewed here, to extend student learning by having them add an audio recording describing their mathematical thinking. Share their ThingLink images on your website, or add to your student's digital portfolio on Seesaw, reviewed here, or another portfolio creation site. As students become more proficient in sharing their mathematical thinking and problem-solving activities, consider using their math talks as part of an ongoing podcast using Buzzsprout, reviewed here, as a way to extend student learning and promote math conversations and help students understand that there may be many different ways to arrive at the right answer to a problem. Buzzsprout features free and easy to use tools including the ability to create and schedule podcasts to be released on any date and time you desire.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomTake advantage of this free reading program to differentiate reading materials for your students both by ability and interests. Set up your program then share learning goals with your students and parents. Engage students use by using the free interactives and printables from Read Write Think, reviewed here, and have students create story maps, book covers, and much more as part of their retelling and summarizing activities. Create shared class activities using a video response tool like FlipGrid, reviewed here, to enhance student learning by asking students to share short book talks about their favorite books read on the site. Take learning even further by creating ongoing podcasts discussing favorite books and characters using Buzzsprout, reviewed here. Buzzsprout makes it easy to create and share podcasts by offering scheduling options to meet your needs.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse oodlu to differentiate learning in your classroom. Assign questions sets to different groups of learners according to their specific needs. Be sure to show students how to log in and access questions, then include a link to the site on your class webpage for students to play at home. At the end of your learning unit, augment the lessons by asking students to plan a multimedia presentation using a tool like SuperNotecard, reviewed here, where you can turn your notes into a storyboard! Include modification by using the Storyboard to create a multimedia presentation tool like Sway, reviewed here, to share their learning using. Have students include text, images, videos, and a link to oodlu learning games in the Sway.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomInstall InsertLearning for use with online newspapers, magazines, and primary sources. Create quizzes to share with students through Google Classroom. Differentiate learning by using this browser extension to create different prompts for groups of students. Use InsertLearning to help ESL/ELL and special education students understand difficult material by highlighting and defining vocabulary found in websites. Take advantage of the instant feedback received from student responses to provide interventions on the spot. Use InsertLearning in a blended classroom as a flipped learning experience or as an introduction to any new unit.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce SummarizeThis to students working on research projects as a way to quickly determine the content and viability of using websites. Use to differentiate instruction with students. Use with learning support students as a resource to make content more accessible. Use the summaries when teaching how to summarize in an ELA class. Compare the summary you create as a class or in small groups with the "automated" one. Are there subtleties or important distinctions that this tool misses? As a challenge for your more critical thinkers, have them try to figure out what signals the tool uses to create its summary.
Grades6 to 9
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In the ClassroomJoin MySciLife to bring excitement and energy to your science classroom. As you complete activities in the platform, use a concept mapping site like MindMup, reviewed here, to replace paper/pencil version of a concept map. Alter students' learning by asking them to create and share infographics based on their research and sharing of ideas. Canva, reviewed here, is an easy to use site for creating infographics using pre-made templates or from scratch. Take student learning to a whole new level by redefining it and having them create a game-based learning activity for their peers using Symbaloo Learning Paths, reviewed here. Symbaloo Learning Paths offers many options for creating differentiated learning using video, quizzes, and more.
Grades4 to 8
In the ClassroomUse Exam Elf to reinforce and practice math concepts to prepare for standardized testing. Create an account to differentiate math practice to meet varying student needs. Use the data provided in the teacher dashboard to guide math instruction.
Grades6 to 8
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