So, what is differentiated instruction anyway?
According to Carol Tomlinson:
Differentiation is making sure each student learns what he or she should learn by establishing clear goals, assessing persistently to see where each student is relative to the goals, and adjusting instruction based on assessment information—so that each student can learn as much as possible as efficiently as possible. Did you notice that Formative Assessment is a huge part of Differentiation? Click here for tons of resources for Formative Assessment.What roll can technology play in the differentiated classroom?
Terms Associated with Differentiation - get to know the lingo!
Tiered Activity Plan
Another Tiered Activity Plan
Deconstruct the Standard
Online DI template
Project Planning Guide
Activities: here are over 80 activities you can use to get started
The following documents have specific activities to get you started. Choose and modify the activities listed here as you use the strategies on the rest of this page.
Activity Ideas - 30 different activity types with criteria for completed activities
Fifteen Minute Activities - 14 different activities that can be done in 15 min. or less. Use to fill time so not a minute of instruction is wasted.
Lesson Ideas - 36 different activities based on learning style and subject matter
Strategies for Differentiation - 9 different strategies to try. It also has a description of how to use them in the Elementary Classroom.
Writing to learn using RAFT - Role, Audience, Format, Topic
The RAFT strategy (Santa, 1988) employs writing-to-learn activities to enhance understanding of informational text. Instead of writing a traditional essay explaining a concept, students demonstrate their understanding in a nontraditional format. This technique encourages creative thinking and motivates students to reflect in unusual ways about concepts they have read.
Click here for more info about RAFT
Click here for examples of RAFT assignments
Click here for a blank RAFT Template
RAFT Template 2
Graphic Organizers let children with low literacy skills, limited English fluency, and diverse learning styles process information more easily. The following graphic organizers are from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Scaffolding and Differentiation are two different things. Scaffolding is what you do first with kids, then for those students who are still struggling, you may need to differentiate by modifying an assignment and/or making accommodations for a student (for example, choose more accessible text and/or assign an alternative project).
Tic-Tac-Toe is an easy way to give students different ways to demonstrate key ideas and use key skills. Basically, the Tic-Tac-Toe template has 9 boxes in it, just like the game. You can adjust this as needed however.
- Place an X in one cell and have all students complete that activity, then let them choose from there.
- Shade in a column or row and have all students choose one activity from that area and choose the other two on their own.
Both of the first two bullet points let you control at least one type of assignment students choose.
- Assign student tasks based on readiness.
- Create different Tic-Tac-Toe boards based on readiness.
- Create Tic-Tac-Toe boards based on learning styles or learning preferences.
- Create Tic-Tac-Toe boards based on Multiple Intelligences.
- Allow students to complete any 3 tasks--even if the completed tasks don't make a Tic-Tac-Toe.
Tic-Tac-Toe Template 2
Tic-Tac-Toe Contract Template
Tic-Tac-Toe Example - Habitats
Tic-Tac-Toe Choice Board for Multiple Intelligences
Model Tic-Tac-Toe differentiated unit on Endangered Animals
31 posters listing criteria for different activities you could use with Tic-Tac-Toe
Cubing is a strategy, similar to Tic-Tac-Toe, which allows you to plan different activities for different students or groups of students based on student readiness, learning style, and/or interests. You create a cube, and on each of its six faces, you describe a different task related to the subject and/or concept being learned. Students roll the cube like dice and do whatever activity "comes up". Where the Tic-Tac-Toe strategy has nine activities to choose from, the Cube has six.
Cubing Fact Sheet
Cube Template 2
Cube - Filled in with ideas to make your own
Cube Tasks - Could also be used with Think Dots (See Next Section)
Cube Creator - this is a link to a website that lets you create a cube online and then print it and or save it. Very Cool!!!
Think dots is another strategy similar to Tic-Tac-Toe and Cubing which allows you to plan different activities for different students or groups of students based on student readiness, learning style, and/or interests. For Think Dots, decide on six activities. You can put them all on one card, or you can put each activity on an index card sized piece of paper, punch a hole in the corner of each card and hook six activity cards together with a key ring, or string etc…. Put one dot on the first activity, 2 dots on the second activity and so on. To use the Think Dots, students roll a die and whatever number comes up on the die that is the activity they complete. So if a student rolls a four, they do the activity that has 4 dots.
Think Dot Template
Think Dot Template 2
Model Think Dot Unit - Fractions
100 Project Ideas for Independent Learning
Creative Book Projects
More Independent Project Ideas
Independent Projects to Investigate