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
In the ClassroomBookmark Twinkl for use throughout the year to find teaching resources for holidays, content topics, and homework ideas. Take advantage of Twinkl Create to easily make and differentiate charts, banners, word mats, and other classroom use printables. When saving favorite materials found on the site, set the popup reminder to remind you to use it later in the year. For example, when you find the End of Year packet, save it to your account and set a reminder for late spring so that it can be included with other items to include when wrapping up the school year or sending home materials for practice over the summer. Twinkl includes free teaching packets by grade level; these packets include activities customized for different ability levels. Use items from teaching packets as part of your center activities or send them home for additional practice as needed. After downloading materials, make your lessons digital using Kami, reviewed here. Use the free version of Kami to upload documents and add highlights, text, comments, and shapes before sharing with students.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude these free lessons in a variety of ways in your classroom. Use the content to help students understand social causes important to them and how to engage in their cause. This site offers various methods to create social issue campaigns, including music, film, and persuasive writing opportunities. Use this information to differentiate learning opportunities for students with activities that appeal to their interests. For students interested in coding, use Minecraft Education Edition, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse the Weill Music Institute's free resources to provide music education to students as part of your music education curriculum or within your role as a classroom teacher. For example, as part of social studies lessons about countries worldwide, be sure to see the activity for learning about countries through song. Many resources feature videos; engage and enhance instruction by adding questions and comments to videos using MoocNote, reviewed here. If your district blocks YouTube, flip your classroom and have students watch the MoocNote/Youtube videos at home. Include activities as part of a larger learning unit that includes online information, quizzes, and additional videos using a learning delivery platform such as Blendspace, reviewed here. Blendspace provides simple to use tools that make it easy to share a variety of resources with students and differentiate instruction.
GradesK to 5
tag(s): addition (128), division (101), fractions (164), geometric shapes (133), measurement (129), money (122), multiplication (123), number lines (33), numbers (120), patterns (62), place value (36), preK (246), subtraction (111)
In the ClassroomEven if you don't use the Bridges in Mathematics curriculum, this site provides many supports for any math curriculum. Include the math apps as part of a math center or include them in your shared resources for math practice. Use a bookmarking tool like Symbaloo, reviewed here, to share all of your math practice sites with students on your classroom computers and devices. Take advantage of the daily math activities to share open-ended math problems with students using Flip, reviewed here. Display the problem on Flip, and ask students to create a video sharing their response and problem-solving technique. Use the math activities to differentiate students' activities, use ideas from upper grades to challenge students, or help struggling students reinforce previous concepts by choosing ideas from lower grade levels.
Grades9 to 12
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In the ClassroomShare TestFellow with students to help them prepare for upcoming classroom assessments and standardized tests. Use the questions found in TestFellow along with your current content to create your quizzes using Quizalize, reviewed here. Quizalize engages students through its competitive game format and offers instant feedback and follow-up resources to enhance learning. As you assess student learning, create differentiated learning opportunities using a learning management system such as Crio, reviewed here. Crio includes easy to use tools to build interactive lessons that include various media, content, and assessment options.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Canvas to deliver remote instruction or as a supplemental tool for in-school instruction. Create courses to differentiate learning opportunities for students. Provide advanced courses for gifted learners, or add additional resources for students that need additional instruction in any content area. As students become familiar with using Canvas, encourage them to use the ePortfolio feature to share their educational accomplishments and reflect upon the learning process.
GradesK to 8
tag(s): data (133), decimals (89), differentiation (69), exponents (36), factoring (25), fractions (164), guided reading (35), measurement (129), OER (41), remote learning (53), transformations (12), writing (294)
In the ClassroomInclude this site to supplement your current ELA and math curriculum. Use the resources to differentiate instruction for gifted students in lower grades or as remediation for struggling students in older grades. Be sure to take advantage of the family materials providing explanations of math content and strategies for problem-solving. Use the student materials for differentiating instruction, as homework, or in remote learning situations. Have students share their math explanations, reading strategies and more with video explanations using a tool like Flip, reviewed here. Flip provides a tool for video responses to a question along with comments from peers. Extend learning by asking students to create and share their own math problems, along with suggestions for learning. Use a tool like Sway, reviewed here. Sway is a presentation tool that offers multimedia options, including text, video, and images.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomUse these free materials as the starting point for any lessons on the Holocaust. Go on a virtual field trip of the museum to engage students' interest in the causes and outcomes of the Holocaust. Be sure to help students understand the personal toll of the Holocaust by visiting the "Who Were the Victims?" portion of the site. Organize your lessons using ActivelyLearn, reviewed here. Add articles, videos, and documents into an ActivelyLearn lesson to guide students through the learning process. Easily differentiate materials based on student interests and abilities within your ActivelyLearn unit. As a culminating project, and to enhance student learning, ask students to share what they learned using Odyssey, reviewed here. Ask students to create a story map for individuals involved with the Holocaust, or to tell the story of events leading up to the Holocaust.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUtilize the free curriculums offered on this site to teach students (and yourself) about the proper use of copyright. If you are unable to download the videos, this site recommends viewing the videos using View Pure, reviewed here, to remove all of the annoying "extras" included with YouTube videos. As you teach lessons and ask students to brainstorm ideas or compare and contrast information, use a graphic organizer tool such as Popplet, reviewed here, to create and save visual displays of students' ideas that include both text and images. Ask students to include a link to their Popplet organizer on Seesaw, reviewed here, along with original drawings, recordings, or other materials created during your unit. As a final project, extend learning by asking students to create a tutorial about copyright based upon their knowledge. Provide a variety of resources for creating the tutorial as a way to differentiate learning. Examples of some tools to include are Book Creator, reviewed here, or Adobe Creative Cloud Express Video Maker, reviewed here, or create an infographic using Canva Infographic Maker, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse eduflow's features to deliver blended learning opportunities to students in a variety of teaching settings. Differentiate learning by ability or student interest. Offer remote learning opportunities for students who are away from school for an extended time. Offer additional support and collaboration opportunities for students using Padlet, reviewed here. Create a Padlet that includes links to online resources used during your course or as a collaboration tool for students to share ideas and resources. Instead of written reports, extend learning and ask students to create explainer videos using Binumi, reviewed here, and have them share a link to their video as part of their response within eduflow.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Microsoft Whiteboard to collaborate with students to share and organize information instantly. Use the whiteboard through Microsoft's Teams to differentiate instruction with groups of students. Allow students to create collaborative drawings as responses to literature. They can map out the plot or themes, add labels, create character studies, and more. Share the finished products on an interactive whiteboard, projector, or your class website. Have a group of students create a drawing so that another group can use it as a writing prompt. Use the whiteboard as a brainstorming or sketching space as groups (or the class) share ideas for a major project or for solving a real-world problem. Use this site in a computer lab (or on laptops) to create a drawing of the setting in a story as it is read aloud. As an assessment idea, have students draw out a simple cartoon with stick figures to explain a more complex process such as how democracy works. If you are lucky enough to teach in a BYOD setting, have a blended classroom, or are distance teaching, use Microsoft Whiteboard to demonstrate and illustrate any concept while students use the chat and drawing tools to interact in real-time. If you are studying weather, have students diagram the layers of the atmosphere and what happens during a thunderstorm, for example. Introduce this tool to students who are working on group projects. Alternatively, have students use this to work as partners or as a small team to complete complex math problems or equations. Give students a question by typing it on their whiteboard.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the free activities shared in this math collection to practice and reinforce math facts through physical activity. Consider sharing lessons with your school's physical education teacher as a way to incorporate math instruction as a cross-curricular approach. Incorporate lessons from the site into your current math activities. Use a tool such as TES Teach Blendspace, reviewed here, to deliver blended math lessons that include ideas from this site along with videos, quizzes, and additional materials. Differentiate tasks easily within Blendspace by creating activities for different levels of learners. After completing lessons from the collection, ask students to create their own math learning games. Share instructions for student-created games using Rawshorts, reviewed here.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude this video along with your other lessons on the Dewey Decimal system using ActivelyLearn, reviewed here. Differentiate instruction easily using AcitivelyLearn to create assignments based on student interests and abilities. Challenge students to create their own presentations to teach the Dewey Decimal systems using Binumi, reviewed here, and share on TeacherTube, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomUse Dreamscape to differentiate reading instruction for your students. Dreamscape is also an excellent option to share with ENL/ESL students to provide practice and support in English language instruction. Include a link to Dreamscape on classroom computers for use during reading centers, and provide a link on your classroom website for students to play at home, or for use in remote or blended learning. Include Dreamscape with other online reading programs using a bookmarking tool such as Symbaloo, reviewed here, for easy access for student use.
GradesK to 5
tag(s): addition (128), decimals (89), division (101), equations (121), fractions (164), game based learning (158), geometric shapes (133), Learning Management Systems (25), measurement (129), multiplication (123), number sense (70), place value (36), subtraction (111)
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the free games to provide practice and support with your math curriculum. Differentiate learning based on student ability and confidence. Assign content based on students' learning goals. Share this site with parents to provide practice and support of math concepts at home. Use SplashLearn's reports and assessment results to guide your math lesson planning. Share this site along with other math practice activities using a bookmarking tool such as Symbaloo, reviewed here. Share your Symbaloo link with parents and on classroom computers for easy access to all learning tools shared. Use activities found in SplashLearn as part of a blended learning experience using Blendspace, reviewed here. Include a link to games found on the site along with videos and other learning activities found both online or uploaded from your computer.
Grades3 to 5
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the tools included in this collection to differentiate instruction both in-class and during remote learning. Use Freckle, reviewed here to create a class account and assign lessons based on student interest and ability across subject areas. Use Voki, reviewed here, as recommended in this collection, to have students create animated characters. Have students create a Voki to discuss a book they read, share a solution to a math problem, or to discuss a science concept.
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomUse the Scholastic Listen and Read activities, reviewed here, to provide a variety of reading options to your students. Differentiate instruction based on ability levels and types of activities. Use Voki, reviewed here, to have students role-play a community member found in the reading activities. Share student Vokis on your class website for all to see.
Grades4 to 8
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the many suggested classroom uses for this resource found on the Instructional Guide (PDF). Consider using the historical information and primary sources from the book to have students create timelines of the important events during the Great Depression. Class Tools, reviewed here has an easy to use timeline creator or choose from other timeline creation tools located here. Use TES Teach Blendspace, reviewed here to share additional information and activities related to the Great Depression. Include videos, links to primary source documents, and websites appropriate for your students' grade level. Differentiate learning by customizing Blendspace activities to match your students' interests and ability levels.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomMolly of Denali is perfect for including with any lessons or units on Alaska or Native Americans. Listen to podcasts together as a class pausing throughout the episode as needed to identify important information such as different modes of transportation used in Alaska, weather and climate indicators, and geographic locations referenced. Before beginning your unit, engage students by asking them to brainstorm what they know about Alaska or Native Americans using Padlet, reviewed here, where you can add columns for wildlife, transportation, weather, etc. Build upon students' knowledge and address misconceptions based on your brainstorming activities. Consider creating activities within a learning management system such as Actively Learn, reviewed here. Add videos and articles based on your students' ability levels and comprehension. Enhance learning further using Symbaloo, reviewed here, to share bookmarks for further learning and additional activities. To differentiate learning, create two or more Symbaloo's based upon student interest and/or ability levels. Extend learning by participating in a virtual field trip. Choose from several different options found at Giz.la, reviewed here, and then ask students to to choose and create their own podcasts featuring any destination using Molly of Denali as a model. Anchor, reviewed here, is one of several free podcasting services suitable for classroom use.
GradesK to 6
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