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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Edueto - Radka Breitzetelova and Tomas Burda

Grades
K to 12
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Create and share online exercises and quizzes for free. Choose from Edueto's different options such as multiple choice, picture tagging, writing, and more to create activities. Browse...more
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Create and share online exercises and quizzes for free. Choose from Edueto's different options such as multiple choice, picture tagging, writing, and more to create activities. Browse through already created activities sorted by grade, type of activity, keyword, or subject. To use any of the exercises, click on the "Use for my students" link. Choose from Quick Use or Full Use options. Quick Use provides an instant link for use without any signup. Full Use, with account creation, offers additional options such as managing students, viewing results, and the ability to create your own exercises. The intro video resides on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): quiz (71), quizzes (81), test prep (89), writing (335)

In the Classroom

Edueto is a must-have for creating and using online exercises in any classroom. Create an account to find and save ready-made exercises, and then create your own activities to suit your individual needs. Upload videos and files to include with exercises if desired. Differentiate student learning by setting up activities for all different levels of student abilities. Have students create their own exercises to share with classmates for practice sessions, during a review, or at the end of a presentation.

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Choosito! - Eleni Miltsakaki

Grades
K to 12
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Choosito! is a search engine providing safe access to the worldwide web through filtering of reading levels and subject areas for education. Create an account to add class information...more
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Choosito! is a search engine providing safe access to the worldwide web through filtering of reading levels and subject areas for education. Create an account to add class information and add your collections. Search Choosito! using filters for reading level and subject. Limit searches to Choosito's Library, your collections, or Choosito! Web. Easily share searches using social networking links or save to your library. Be sure to check out the Choosito! Start Guides for a quick overview to getting started with this search engine.

tag(s): bookmarks (58), search engines (64), search strategies (26)

In the Classroom

Create a classroom account and provide a link on classroom computers for student searches at any time. Differentiate in your class by assigning reading by reading level. ESL/ELL and resource teachers will find this especially helpful when looking for reading material at your students' level for topics assigned in core classes. Be sure to introduce Choosito! on an interactive whiteboard or projector for students to understand how to use this search engine. Share Choosito! with parents for use at home.

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Versal - Gregor Freund

Grades
K to 12
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Versal allows you to share your expertise with others by creating interactive courses. Knowing how to code is not required. Versal does it all. It is a versatile publishing platform...more
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Versal allows you to share your expertise with others by creating interactive courses. Knowing how to code is not required. Versal does it all. It is a versatile publishing platform where you can develop your lessons around text, quizzes, surveys, videos, images, and interactive learning gadgets. The gadgets set Versal apart from the other classroom management/publishing tools. The promise of interactive JavaScript graphics and simulations makes Versal a very powerful tool. Once your course, demonstration, lesson, or tutorial is finished, you can direct your participants to use it on Versal via email invitations. You can also embed it on your website or blog. Signup is simple with your name, email, and password. Once registration is completed, you will be directed to your dashboard. There is no waiting for a response email. Authoring your course is only available on desktops/laptops computers (web browsers). Participants can use a desktop/laptop computer or any mobile device.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): assessment (79), classroom management (101), DAT device agnostic tool (128), multimedia (41)

In the Classroom

Before you get started, view the extensive Help Center and the Using Versal section. Learn anything you need to know. Create a course about gadgets and how to use them (all were free to use at the time of this review), publishing, and much more. Watch videos for how to embed Versal courses on Edmodo, Blackboard, Blogger, Wordpress, and many other tools. The embed code is free. Become familiar with this program, and have students present projects using it. Since Versal is web-based, you can create easy, simple activities or elaborate units. Start building Common Core aligned and differentiated activities such as reading, filling out concept maps, writing paragraphs, drawing, answering questions, taking quizzes, and more. Add links to read and hear multimedia content such as videos and slideshows. For longer videos, you may want to put a tag or comment in certain areas. Use a program like The Mad Video, reviewed here, to accomplish this. Tags can be as simple as "answer question 4 now." Since Versal is an interactive and collaborative program, have literature circles complete write ups, discussions, and final presentations about the book they read using Versal. Lab partners can present their findings, and math students can demonstrate how they solved a problem.

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SolveMe Puzzles - The Transition to Algebra (TTA) project

Grades
4 to 12
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SolveMe Puzzles is an excellent collection of Algebra-related puzzles. At the time of this review mobile puzzles (mobiles to hang and balance) are the only option; however, Who Am I?...more
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SolveMe Puzzles is an excellent collection of Algebra-related puzzles. At the time of this review mobile puzzles (mobiles to hang and balance) are the only option; however, Who Am I? and Mystery Grids are coming soon. Mobile puzzles come in categories from easy to more mathematically complex. Create your own mobile puzzles using the Build option. Use the many tools provided to annotate your work, learn how to use the puzzles, share, and save your work. Login is not required but is an excellent option for saving progress through the different puzzle options.

tag(s): logic (214), problem solving (219), puzzles (193)

In the Classroom

SolveMe Puzzles are perfect for use on interactive whiteboards (or a projector) as part of your Algebra lessons. Create a link to the puzzles on classroom computers for student use as part of your differentiated learning options. Be sure to share a link on your class website for use at home. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here, to explain solutions to puzzles.

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Qlovi - Harlyn Pacheco

Grades
K to 12
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Qlovi has scads of interactive digital books and stories to read for free. Search for the books by genre, theme, grade level, difficulty level, language of the book, and standards....more
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Qlovi has scads of interactive digital books and stories to read for free. Search for the books by genre, theme, grade level, difficulty level, language of the book, and standards. In addition, as you read, highlighted passages will have questions aligned to Common Core Standards. Qlovi then generates a report for comprehension levels of the text and the understanding of each standard present in the selection. Once you have seen the results of the assessment, you can add certain types of questions to future assignments for readers to work on areas where they need to improve. There is also a writing instruction section, free lesson plans, rubrics, and an option to message your readers/students. There are ebooks that are not free, but all public domain texts and ReadWorks texts are free, as well as the lessons. A quick email registration is required. Once you have your account look for the Need Help? button in the lower left for a tutorial.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): classroom management (101), folktales (63), literature (222), myths and legends (24), reading comprehension (100)

In the Classroom

Once you have set up your account and classes, you will need to set up the lesson. There are different elements you can include in a lesson for Qlovi reading selections: warm up, reading, quiz, essay, and exit ticket. Include a learning objective with the title of the lesson. Use this site to differentiate reading levels for your students. Set up a learning center for use during your L.A. block. In a learning support or remedial reading class, especially at upper levels where "reading" is no longer a regular subject, this tool will allow students some autonomy in improving their skills. It will also let them see progress. Discuss with individual students the questions they answered, where the answer was in the reading, etc. Be certain to save this site in your class favorites and list it on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom. Encourage your weak readers to read stories on their own for "practice" and to become better readers more quickly. You may want to send a newsletter home to tell parents about Qlovi and encourage them to have their students read from this program during vacations, summer break, and snow days so as not to lose any skills. Encourage your world language classes to select reading from this program for the language they are learning.

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Catch the Spelling - Charles Kelly

Grades
K to 12
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Practice spelling and review vocabulary sorted by categories. Originally created for ESL/ELL students, this site offers practice for anyone learning English. Choose from the easiest...more
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Practice spelling and review vocabulary sorted by categories. Originally created for ESL/ELL students, this site offers practice for anyone learning English. Choose from the easiest games with days of the week and beginning Dolch words through high school and university. Be sure to click on help when starting to learn how to play each game.

tag(s): spelling (170), vocabulary (317)

In the Classroom

Create a link on classroom computers for students to practice spelling and vocabulary at their individual levels. Use this site to differentiate spelling instruction and weekly spelling lists. Be sure to share with your school's ESL/ELL teacher for use with English language learners. Share a link on your class web page for students to use at home.
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Kentucky Numeracy Project - Kentucky Center for Mathematics

Grades
K to 5
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The Kentucky Center for Mathematics offers this excellent math intervention website with Math Recovery lessons and printables. Free registration provides access to their database of...more
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The Kentucky Center for Mathematics offers this excellent math intervention website with Math Recovery lessons and printables. Free registration provides access to their database of proven numeracy-developed activities searchable by standard, grade level, fluency benchmark, task group or setting. Registration requires approval before accessing the site but is free using your email and school information. Approval was received within minutes of submitting registration.

tag(s): commoncore (74), number sense (92), numbers (196)

In the Classroom

Register for access to this site then bookmark for use throughout the year. Take advantage of these free resources to find lessons, assessments, and interventions for math instruction. Find resources to differentiate instruction based on student needs. Share this site with other teachers in your building.
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Cubing and Think Dots Strategy - Eulouise Williams

Grades
3 to 12
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This PDF explains the teaching strategies of Cubing and Think Dots. Cubing is an instructional strategy that asks students to consider a concept from different perspectives. Use ideas...more
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This PDF explains the teaching strategies of Cubing and Think Dots. Cubing is an instructional strategy that asks students to consider a concept from different perspectives. Use ideas from the site to understand how to use cubes to differentiate teaching for various groups of students. Similar to cubes, Think Dots incorporates the idea of students constructing the meaning of concepts through the use of activity cards correlated to the roll of a dice. The PDF starts with an overview of Bloom's Taxonomy and its revision.

tag(s): blooms taxonomy (9), differentiation (34), learning styles (14), professional development (93)

In the Classroom

Use ideas from this PDF to differentiate and offer a variety of learning opportunities to students. Share this site and the strategies with peers during professional development sessions. Have students create cubes or think dots of their own for use when reviewing material for tests and quizzes.
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A Journey to a New Land - Simon Fraser University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

Grades
1 to 12
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Venture over 12,000 years into the past to look at the first people to live in the Canadian regions of North America. This site from a B.C. museum offers different ...more
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Venture over 12,000 years into the past to look at the first people to live in the Canadian regions of North America. This site from a B.C. museum offers different levels of information, videos, and interactive media about the first peoples and their migration across the land bridge from Europe. The site is available in both English and French language. Instructor materials support use from primary to post-secondary levels. Watch native video greetings in several languages, learn about settlements, the geography and change of the actual water and land masses, the archaeology and dating of artifacts, and much more. The Site Map offers a good way to see the scope of the offerings.

tag(s): archeology (27), native americans (70)

In the Classroom

Include this resource as you teach about Native Americans. These peoples did not divide themselves as "Canadian" or "American," so much of the information here is applicable in a U.S. classroom as well! Differentiate for high or low students easily using the different levels of the site. The primary level requires far less reading so offers a good introduction for weaker readers or ESL/ELL students. Have students write a script and create a video or simply compose a blog post about daily life as one of the people migrating into North America (but be sure to talk about the fact that they probably did not actually know how to write). Use a visual blogging tool such as Check This (reviewed here) - no registration required!
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Story Share - Louise Baigelman and Gary Herman

Grades
6 to 12
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Story Share is the perfect solution for finding relevant and readable content for older students unable to read above the elementary level. Digital content provides interesting material...more
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Story Share is the perfect solution for finding relevant and readable content for older students unable to read above the elementary level. Digital content provides interesting material that doesn't condescend teen readers. Browse through titles or choose from the different genres to find available material. Login isn't required to read books. However, it allows you to add books to a reading list and to bookmark the stopping point while reading books.

tag(s): differentiation (34), digital storytelling (104), ebooks (40)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site to your reluctant or struggling readers on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups to find interesting reading material. Be sure to provide a link to Story Share on your class website or blog for students to explore at home. Use this site to differentiate for students of all levels and for use with special education or ESL/ELL students. Have students write their own comprehension questions and answers based on the podcast to check their own comprehension and to exchange with classmates.

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Manga High - Manga High

Grades
2 to 12
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Manga High is a game-based learning site for mathematics all aligned to Common Core standards. Enroll in the site to set up your class account and add members. Once your ...more
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Manga High is a game-based learning site for mathematics all aligned to Common Core standards. Enroll in the site to set up your class account and add members. Once your class is set up, use the dashboard to assign activities, monitor student progress, or assign challenges. Students can play games without having been assigned a class. However, they cannot save performance history or compete in challenges.

tag(s): addition (233), critical thinking (74), DAT device agnostic tool (128), data (146), decimals (130), division (160), equations (142), fractions (231), geometric shapes (142), multiplication (212), problem solving (219), subtraction (193)

In the Classroom

Create your class account on Manga High and assign activities for your entire class or differentiate based on student performance levels. Use the search tool to assign tutorials based on grade level or Common Core standard. Add your class to public leaderboards and challenge students to improve their standing versus other classes. Be sure to provide a link to Manga High on your class website or blog for students to access from home.
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Edcite - 2014 Edcite Inc.

Grades
1 to 8
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Give your students practice and instruction in standardized test style format. Find an easy way to create Common Core assignments using PARCC and Smarter Balanced question types. Passages...more
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Give your students practice and instruction in standardized test style format. Find an easy way to create Common Core assignments using PARCC and Smarter Balanced question types. Passages allow for highlighting, graphs, image labeling, and video sections for background knowledge. Questions include a section for written response to improve evidence-based answers as well as multiple choice. Teachers can share their assignments or use other teacher created assignments. Students receive immediately graded feedback. With a free teacher account, save questions to your library.

tag(s): assessment (79), test prep (89)

In the Classroom

Use technology to motivate and engage your students. Give these quality text passages personalized to your class needs. Use as a teaching tool on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Continue to use individually or as small group instruction. Pair a weak reader with a strong reader for independent pair work. You can easily differentiate by creating tiered assignments to meet each students' needs. Share at your next staff meeting to provide collaboration between teachers. Use in a flipped classroom and have students complete the work at home. They will still receive immediate feedback! Use at parent gatherings to provide an example of the grade level expectations. Put on your classroom website as a way to practice at home. Before assigning questions to individual students you might want to check the readability of the questions or supplied readings. Use a tool such as The Readability Test Tool, reviewed here. This reviewer found the articles in some grade levels to be about two years higher in reading level than the grade listed for the question.
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National Geographic Education - National Geographic

Grades
K to 12
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National Geographic offers a rich and extensive site for educators through its Education homepage. Scroll through the toolbar near the top of the page to find resources, reference materials,...more
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National Geographic offers a rich and extensive site for educators through its Education homepage. Scroll through the toolbar near the top of the page to find resources, reference materials, maps, media, collections, and much more. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find what is most popular. For specific content searches use the search bar to find and filter results by grades, subjects, resource type, and audience. A download is also available for iBooks (Apple only). This site is frequently updated. Check back often!

tag(s): animals (256), climate change (58), commoncore (74), earth day (110), ecology (137), energy (182), food chains (20), map skills (80), maps (269), migration (56), multimedia (41), oceans (135), STEM (86), weather (182)

In the Classroom

Be sure to bookmark (or favorite) this site for use throughout the year to find real-world resources for classroom use. Don't forget to look for materials on National Geographic for use with Earth Day and Arbor Day activities! Differentiate easily using the multiple levels of materials found within National Geographic. Some text portions are challenging, so you should pair weaker readers with a partner as they research on this site. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here, or Venngage, reviewed here. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here, or WordItOut, reviewed here. If you use Apple products in your classroom, be sure to download the interactive iBooks for use in classroom centers or independent reading.
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Change Gamer - Mike Farley

Grades
6 to 12
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Find interactives to cover many environmental and science topics as well as economics and history. Explore and learn about environmental and political issues through a gaming process....more
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Find interactives to cover many environmental and science topics as well as economics and history. Explore and learn about environmental and political issues through a gaming process. Before dismissing the thought of games in education, check out the About Us section of this site. The activities here are vetted by educators as part of an educational grant. These (mostly) free, browser-based interactives also include answer keys and have been field tested in middle and high school classes. Hover over the Games and Activities tab to choose from the subjects in the drop down menu. Each subject page outlines the activity and includes an informational paragraph and links to the documents. Some interactives require a download to your computer.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (256), earth (221), ecology (137), energy (182), environment (307), financial literacy (69), fish (24), human body (104), map skills (80), migration (56), natural disasters (19), planets (112), plants (134), politics (91), problem solving (219), stars (57)

In the Classroom

Use these interactives to review concepts learned during a unit of study. Consider using the interactives at the start of a unit to teach concepts as the material is being learned. Be sure to download the student activity document. Use the pre-questions to identify misconceptions and activate prior knowledge. Directions in the document alert you to the basics of using the interactive. Provide the post-questions to the students as they play the interactive to be aware of what they will be learning. Students can answer the questions individually, as groups, or as a class to review the concepts learned during the interactive and connect it to class. As a class, discuss how the scenario presented in the interactive is or is not like actual environmental issues of today. This would be an excellent activity for gifted students or for those who are ahead in their work in a differentiated classroom.

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OK2Ask'®: Be the Best - Professional Resources from TeachersFirst - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from March 2015, opens in Adobe Connect. Discover the vast professional resources available at TeachersFirst. Explore...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from March 2015, opens in Adobe Connect. Discover the vast professional resources available at TeachersFirst. Explore the timesaving (and easy to use) tools for differentiating, reading resources, rubrics, timesavers, and more. Browse through "must-know" professional topics such as cyber bullying and copyright. Navigate the treasure-filled professional section of TeachersFirst. This session is for teachers at ALL technology comfort levels.

As a result of this session and through individual follow-up, teachers will: Explore the various online professional tools and articles available at TeachersFirst; Find ways to save time using TeachersFirst for planning lessons; and Explore to find materials relevant to your own classroom needs. As follow-up, participants will plan and implement a student-centered, curriculum-related use of the resource(s) of choice as part of an upcoming teaching unit. Or plan how to use a professional tool (or article) to improve learning in your own classroom. Applicable NETS-T standards (2008)*: 1b, 2a and b, 3d ISTE's standards page.

In the Classroom

Looking for professional resources to spice up your knowledge and experiences? View this webinar archive to find information to help differentiate for all of your students. Learn about wikis, blogs, and rubrics for your classroom. Take a look at the resource page full of excellent resources to explore! Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
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Mathematics Interactives and Lessons - SAS Curriculum Pathways

Grades
1 to 12
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SAS Curriculum Pathways offers over 300 interactives and web lessons for math. Topics range from Numbers and Operations to Trigonometry. Browse resources by category, type, required...more
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SAS Curriculum Pathways offers over 300 interactives and web lessons for math. Topics range from Numbers and Operations to Trigonometry. Browse resources by category, type, required plug-ins, or level. Each resource includes a short description, estimated time to complete, and appropriate age levels. All activities correlate to state and Common Core Standards. Click the Standards link in each lesson to view corresponding standards for each activity. Create an account to save items to favorites and connect to your school. Generate an account code for your students to create student accounts. Be sure to disable your browser's pop up blocker for this site to allow interactives to load.

tag(s): angles (84), charts and graphs (190), data (146), decimals (130), equations (142), factors (41), fractions (231), geometric shapes (142), mixed numbers (14), operations (106), order of operations (31), polynomials (29), probability (121), quadratics (30)

In the Classroom

Use interactives and lessons from this site to supplement classroom instruction. Demonstrate how to use this tool on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Allow students to explore the site independently on classroom computers. Be sure to include a link to activities on your classroom webpage. Use this site to differentiate for different student levels.
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Linguistadores - Bob Rafferty

Grades
6 to 12
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Linguistadores offers language learning through articles, music, and videos. Select your language and reading content level for genuine news based on level and interest. Double click...more
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Linguistadores offers language learning through articles, music, and videos. Select your language and reading content level for genuine news based on level and interest. Double click on any word to translate into a language of your choice. Listen to songs in your target language while viewing the lyrics on the screen. Save unknown words to your account with a click then practice with flash card style games. Free accounts offer up to 10 articles and 20 saved words per day.
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tag(s): guided reading (47), independent reading (113), reading comprehension (100), vocabulary development (116)

In the Classroom

Use Linguistadores with ESL/ELL or special education students as an interesting way to deliver appropriate leveled informational texts. Have students create individual accounts and use as a computer lab or classroom center activity to build vocabulary and reading skills. Use this site to differentiate for students of all levels. Share this site with your teaching colleagues to help differentiate for learning support (or gifted or ESL/ELL) students. Select informational texts to use for close reading (a la Common Core) together as a class on a projector or interactive whiteboard.

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Matific - Shmulik London and Raz Kupferman

Grades
K to 6
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Matific uses hands-on and interactive mini-games, called episodes, to teach K-6 math. Choose activities by grade level, curriculum, or textbook. Try the activities on a web browser,...more
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Matific uses hands-on and interactive mini-games, called episodes, to teach K-6 math. Choose activities by grade level, curriculum, or textbook. Try the activities on a web browser, iOS app, or Android app. Most activities include a teacher's guide providing background information, other activities, and discussion questions. There are both interactive and worksheets. Activities are aligned with Common Core and Texas - TEKS. Free teacher sign up allows you to add classes and receive progress reports. Parent accounts are NOT free.
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tag(s): addition (233), DAT device agnostic tool (128), decimals (130), division (160), fractions (231), geometric shapes (142), mean (26), median (24), mode (16), multiplication (212), number sense (92), place value (56), subtraction (193)

In the Classroom

Create a class account and assign activities for students based on your curriculum. If you teach using EnVision Math or Everyday Math use Matific's correlation to your textbook to find activities for your class. Create a link to activities on classroom computers for student use as a classroom center. This is an excellent site to differentiate for all levels in your classroom. Challenge your gifted students to try activities at a higher grade level. Share Matific with parents as an excellent resource for supplemental practice at home. This is definitely a site to share for summer practice, using your teacher account!
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Texas Performance Standards Project - Texas Performance Standards Project

Grades
K to 12
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The Texas Performance Standards Project (TPSP) is a resource for providing differentiated instruction to gifted/talented (G/T) students. It is also a resource for providing enrichment...more
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The Texas Performance Standards Project (TPSP) is a resource for providing differentiated instruction to gifted/talented (G/T) students. It is also a resource for providing enrichment for any and all students. The site includes materials for grade levels K-12 sorted by grade bands. Each band through 10th grade provides two or more interdisciplinary units including guided instruction as well as opportunity for independent research. The high school (or exit level) band provides for independent study under the guidance of a mentor who is an expert in the student's area of study. All materials are aligned to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards.

tag(s): differentiation (34), gifted (84)

In the Classroom

Use this site to meet the needs of your gifted students. Use guides and materials to differentiate instruction in your classroom. Share with other teachers as a resource for collaboration with students across classrooms.
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Engineering Games - engineering-games.net

Grades
3 to 12
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Encourage an interest in the fields of engineering, construction, and critical thinking through the many interactives available at Engineering Games. Choose from several categories...more
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Encourage an interest in the fields of engineering, construction, and critical thinking through the many interactives available at Engineering Games. Choose from several categories such as Robots, Logic Games, or Electricity. Also explore popular and new games using the categories provided. Each activity includes a short description and information on how to play. Some more complex challenges encourage you to view and follow in-game tutorials before attempting to play.
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tag(s): circuits (16), electricity (79), energy (182), engineering (96), logic (214), machines (30), problem solving (219), robotics (20), rockets (12), simple machines (32), STEM (86)

In the Classroom

Share these excellent STEM activities with your students. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups to find activities of interest. Use Engineering Games to differentiate learning experiences for students based on the difficulty of games. Challenge gifted students with more difficult activities. Provide a link to games on your class web page for students to play at home.
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