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).
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomShare these resources on your class website for students to use for remediation or review. Share tools on your interactive whiteboard or in your BYOD classroom. Use these sites to differentiate.
Grades3 to 5
In the ClassroomShare these resources on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these tools in your BYOD classroom to differentiate for math class. Share the resources with students for additional practice, remediation, enrichment, or advancement.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce SMMRY to students working on research projects as a way to quickly determine content and viability of using websites. Use to differentiate instruction with students. Use with learning support students as a resource to make content easier to understand (and shorter to read). Use SMMRY 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.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomUse OpenStax textbooks to dig deeper into core subjects such as math, science, and social studies. Use materials to differentiate instruction based on student abilities and interests. If your current textbooks are older, find newer books on OpenStax and adopt them for your curriculum. Take advantage of the search feature of online books to find supplemental material for your current instruction. Find teaching materials for gifted students using OpenStax textbooks.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomWith 90% of the million resources free, you're sure to find something you need to supplement current curriculum materials. Replace pen and paper and ask questions and have students respond directly on any video you used choose. Use VideoAnt, reviewed here, for this purpose, and then use the video at a learning center or station during any unit or for review. Use activities from this site to differentiate learning within your classroom. Try flipping class and assign videos, slides or lessons to be completed at home and have a discussion (or question and answer session) about them the next day in class. Include this site on the class website for parents to find at-home math, language arts, science projects, and materials for review. Be sure to share with other teachers on campus.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomAchieve two goals with this very people-friendly site: provide quality non-fiction reading materials and the latest in current events. Use this site to differentiate reading materials by student interest. Encourage students to explore the site on their own. Be sure to include a link on classroom computers and your class website for students to access at any time. Flip your class and assign the reading to do at home. Then, have students create a simple infographic sharing findings from The Lowdown with their classmates using Infogram, reviewed here. Have cooperative learning groups create weekly podcasts with news from around the world. Use a site such as podOmatic, reviewed here.
GradesK to 3
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In the ClassroomUse Reading Friend to find and differentiate literacy activities for students. Share links to books and activities on classroom computers for student use as centers. Include a link to activities on your class web page for use at home. Many of the stories and poems will help resource and ELL/ESL students who need to hear word families, phonetics, and such.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomShare these tools on your class website or blog for students to use both in and out of the classroom. Use these tools to differentiate and reach all students at the various levels. Challenge your students to create their own games for review of content or acceleration options.
Grades5 to 9
tag(s): animation (60), coding (76), computational thinking (33), critical thinking (116), digital storytelling (139), gamification (81), musical notation (37), problem solving (292), social media (36), sports (101), stories and storytelling (33)
In the ClassroomCreate a club in your classroom as part of your STEM activities, as a lunch/recess club, or an at-home activity for students. Use the flyers and presentation materials provided to create interest in the club. Differentiate clubs by student interests and abilities. Share Google CS First with your school's media or tech leader as an excellent resource for teaching coding. This site is perfect for those who want to learn more about coding, but have some hesitancy since all materials from creating a group through the lessons are free. If you still have some doubts, enlist the services of a tech-savvy high school student to help with activities as part of their volunteering requirements.
In the ClassroomYou will want to use Symbaloo Learning Paths for many different types of classroom instruction! Create lesson plans to differentiate learning and assign based on student needs and interests. Embed a lesson on your class website for students to complete at home. Using this site allows you to create a clear and concise learning path for any lesson. Share it on an interactive whiteboard with students as you follow through any learning path. Be sure also to include a link to the lesson on your class website for students to use throughout the unit and as a review. Use Symbaloo Lesson Plans as enrichment for independent learning for advanced students, or for remediation with students needing additional help. This site is perfect for use with ESL/ELL students - include links and activities to resources in their native language or add tools for practicing English. There are too many uses for Symbaloo Lesson Plans to include here, be sure to take the time to learn how to create and use this wonderful tool with your students!
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomCreate your class account, share your class code with parents, and ask them to register their child for your class. Assign lessons and activities to individual students or groups to differentiate instruction. Include a link on classroom computers for center use. Take advantage of the opportunity to upload your own lessons to supplement the learning materials available at StoryBots.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse GooseChase in your classroom as part of your project based learning activities. Assign a series of activities to groups for completion. Differentiate projects based on student interest and ability. Use one of the many educational games already in the library to see great examples of how to use GooseChase for any subject area. GooseChase would be an excellent addition to staff meetings. Have participants locate information on websites, textbooks, or throughout your school as part of professional development. Create a GooseChase for students as part of a nature walk outside of your school, ask younger students to find different geometric shapes, or have students draw pictures of main characters in books as part of a GooseChase mission.
Includes an education-only area for teachers and students
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Premium version (not free) includes additional features or storage
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
Requires download/installation of software
Grades3 to 8
tag(s): addition (224), animals (319), climate (97), decimals (125), differentiation (53), division (157), ecosystems (90), energy (212), estimation (47), forces (47), fractions (231), game based learning (146), human body (131), landforms (47), light (57), matter (63), measurement (179), minerals (17), multiplication (210), number lines (33), percent (79), place value (55), plants (173), probability (136), problem solving (292), rocks (51), solar system (119), sound (105), subtraction (186), weather (210)
In the ClassroomExcite your students with the Jams! Share the Jam videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students sing along and learn more about science and math. Especially younger students will enjoy this feature. Create a link to the site on your classroom website or blog for students to use for review and practice at home. Use the many topics available to differentiate for all students in your classroom. Create learning centers using this site or use it in on individual laptops. Print out the quizzes for students to take as an assessment.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark this excellent resource to use when looking for new ideas for your classroom. Choose from ideas such as "Hands up if you DON'T know" or "Sock puppets in the secondary classroom" to inspire and motivate your students. Look to this blog to differentiate for students of all levels. Divide students into cooperative learning groups using different ideas found on Tarr's Toolbox.
Grades7 to 12
tag(s): 20th century (51), architecture (84), authors (120), business (55), differentiation (53), endangered species (40), equations (155), financial literacy (108), greeks (33), human body (131), inventors and inventions (83), logic (249), medicine (64), mental math (27), numbers (191), photography (144), poetry (223), psychology (63), short stories (24), surrealism (2), weather (210), women (101)
In the ClassroomHighbrow is perfect for differentiated learning. Allow students to choose their own topic and sign up for a course. When complete, choose another topic and start a new course. Modify classroom technology by having students create commercials for finished courses using Powtoon, reviewed here, and share them using a tool such as TeacherTube, reviewed here. Challenge students to create a course after a unit of study as a final assessment. Be sure to include this site on your class webpage for students to access both in and outside of class for personal use.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomVocabulist is perfect for differentiated learning. Create individual student vocabulary and spelling lists based on student needs. Create lists for difficult vocabulary from any text or for any subject. Be sure to share a link on your class website for students to use at home to create study guides throughout the year.
Grades4 to 12
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In the ClassroomStudents will need to click Sign Up and "I'm a Student." Students will enter their first name and last name so be sure you have parent permission. They will also need an email address. There is a work-a-round for the names and email address. For the first and last name you could have them enter a code, for example, the first two letters of their last name and first three letters of their first name. If students cannot have their own email accounts, ThinkCerca has a suggestion or consider using a "class set" of Gmail subaccounts, explained here; this tells how to set up Gmail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. Once your students have worked through the eight lessons here, you may want to look at 301 Prompts for Argumentative/Persuasive Writing, reviewed here, to help you differentiate future writing lessons.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the free lesson plan for use in your World War I unit. Use this site to differentiate activities for students. Be sure to "mine" the links within the site for additional resources to add to your current lesson plans. Have students create online posters individually or together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here, or PicLits, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a president, soldier, or family member during the time of World War I.
Grades1 to 12
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In the ClassroomBegin your school year with a more personal touch, by knowing what your students' interests are. On the teacher dashboard, examine each student and match interest to activities to differentiate instruction. Students can explore careers, apps, and activities matching their profile. With interest and strengths targeted, you can sail smoothly into a highly engaged class of individualized learning. During career explorations, open up worlds of possibilities for students and families to begin planning a successful path. Add a link to this tool to your class website for possible enrichment activities for families. Offer suggestions to parents for enriching after school activities found around your area.
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): american revolution (88), civil rights (124), civil war (145), cold war (30), great depression (27), lincoln (84), martin luther king (37), native americans (80), roosevelt (14), rosa parks (6), vietnam (34), washington (31), world war 1 (56), world war 2 (142)