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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Jellybean Scoop - Jellybean Scoop

Grades
1 to 10
4 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Use the news and improve reading scores. Jellybean Scoop offers different news articles, written daily, at four different Lexile reading levels. Levels for articles are Starter, Single,...more
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Use the news and improve reading scores. Jellybean Scoop offers different news articles, written daily, at four different Lexile reading levels. Levels for articles are Starter, Single, Double, and Triple. Find articles in categories of World News, Nature and Science, Odd News, Inspiration and Health, and Fun Facts. Each story has an audio recording and the ability to record yourself reading it. Find activities such as vocabulary, sentence scramble, and a quiz. See the many Demo Videos to really understand the powerful features on Jellybean Scoop. 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.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): audio books (32), DAT device agnostic tool (198), differentiation (47), news (261), reading comprehension (116), sound (101)

In the Classroom

Achieve three goals here: differentiate, help students improve their reading comprehension, and keep students current with what is happening in our nation and the world. When assigning articles, choose to have the class read at one reading level, or choose individuals and set the reading level for them. Set up different articles at different learning stations on the computers in your room. Since Jellybean Scoop is cloud based, even absent students can complete the missed work easily. Teachers of gifted students can use this site to accelerate or enrich reading for students. Teachers of Learning Support students and ESL/ELL students will love this alternate way for their students to meet current events requirements. Teachers with free accounts can have up to 25 students. If you have a larger class, there is a "work around" for this. If you have a Gmail account, you can add subaccounts (see directions to do this here). You could create another Jellybean account with this subaccount, but you would end up with two different accounts on Jellybean Scoop.

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Office Mix - Microsoft

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Take your standard PowerPoint to new interactive levels with this tool! Add video or audio, write on your slides as you present, and even insert quizzes and polls. Take the ...more
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Take your standard PowerPoint to new interactive levels with this tool! Add video or audio, write on your slides as you present, and even insert quizzes and polls. Take the limited PowerPoint presentation and "mix" it with the best parts of a live lecture in one tool. Each PowerPoint slide contains additional tabs for the added information. Since each slide is independent and contains the video, audio, or screencast, those slides can still be reordered by dragging them into the correct order. Insert information from Khan Academy or CK-12 as well. Easily control the number of attempts with quizzes, provide hints, add a timer, randomize the questions, or give feedback. Analytics are provided as well to see student interaction with the material. Each Mix lives online and can be accessed with any browser. Give the link to students for access. Mixes cannot be saved on your computer. Find ways to use with popular Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Moodle, Blackboard, Canvas, and more with these tutorials found here. Note: Mixes can only be created with a PC and PowerPoint 2013 (not free).

tag(s): images (266), quiz (84), quizzes (96), sound (101), video (254)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to create Flipped Lessons, moving some material like knowledge activities, as a pre-class activity. Office Mix is a valuable tool when you will be out of the classroom. Your plans are ready to go! Absent students can easily follow the content from the day. Differentiate for your classroom by creating a Mix that can be used for students to review as needed. Students who need it can review while others can focus on the material that they need. Use this tool wherever a PowerPoint with more detailed explanations are needed. Club advisors can use this tool to show 'how to' information for extracurriculars or field trips. Use this tool to show how to complete forms correctly, saving time and frustration! Students can create a Mix to share information researched for a class presentation.

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The Griddle - Handcrafted Logical Fun - David Millar

Grades
4 to 12
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The Griddle offers a small selection of math and logic puzzles. Choose from puzzles for younger students including Sudoku and Number Soup. For older students check out a Sudoku or ...more
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The Griddle offers a small selection of math and logic puzzles. Choose from puzzles for younger students including Sudoku and Number Soup. For older students check out a Sudoku or Conflict Graphing puzzle. Click the name of each puzzle to go to the link for the PDF download. Other downloads are multiplication charts in black and white or color with options for including numbers or using blank charts. The Arithmetic Worksheet Generator provides a large number for creating customized worksheets, be sure to read the instructions at the bottom of the page on how to change the type of problems and locations on the worksheet.

tag(s): logic (235), problem solving (272), sudoku (18), worksheets (60)

In the Classroom

Use the puzzles found on The Griddle as part of math centers, for homework, or as part of any logic and problem-solving unit. Create and differentiate worksheets using the Worksheet Generator.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project - Social Studies - Public Schools of North Carolina

Grades
K to 6
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The Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project (AIG~IRP) provides a large selection of instructional resources for Social Studies. Choose from grade level...more
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The Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project (AIG~IRP) provides a large selection of instructional resources for Social Studies. Choose from grade level bands to begin viewing available resources. Currently lessons are available for grades K, 2, 3, and 5. The project is continually adding lessons so it is worth checking occasionally for other grade levels. Download lessons and materials in Word format. Lessons include Common Core Standards and complete lesson plans including assessments.

tag(s): communities (35), constitution (79), cultures (105), gifted (96), supply and demand (5), timelines (62), women (101)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site as a resource for finding enrichment lessons and for working with gifted students. Share this project with your school's gifted teacher to use with students. Modify and use lessons from this site in your regular classroom, differentiate as needed for different student needs.

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Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project - Science - Public Schools of North Carolina

Grades
6 to 12
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The Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project (AIG~IRP) provides a large choice of instructional resources for Science. Choose from grade level bands...more
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The Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project (AIG~IRP) provides a large choice of instructional resources for Science. Choose from grade level bands to begin viewing available resources. Download lessons and materials in Word format. Lessons include Common Core Standards and complete lesson plans including assessments. At the time of this review lessons were only available in the 6-8 and High School level bands. However, the project is continually adding lessons so it is worth checking occasionally for other grade levels.

tag(s): dna (69), energy (198), environment (317), gifted (96), molecules (43), motion (59), newton (25), photosynthesis (33), simple machines (37), weather (188)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site as a resource for finding enrichment lessons and for working with gifted students. Share this project with your school's gifted teacher to use with students. Modify and use lessons from this site in your regular classroom, differentiate as needed for different student needs.

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Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project - ELA - Public Schools of North Carolina

Grades
1 to 12
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The Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project (AIG~IRP) provides a large selection of instructional resources for English Language Arts. Choose from...more
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The Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project (AIG~IRP) provides a large selection of instructional resources for English Language Arts. Choose from grade level bands to begin viewing available resources. Download lessons and materials in Word format. Lessons include Common Core Standards and complete lesson plans including assessments.

tag(s): gifted (96), narrative (24), novels (24), poetry (228), readers theater (17), shakespeare (131)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site as a resource for finding enrichment lessons and for working with gifted students. Share this project with your school's gifted teacher to use with students. Modify and use lessons from this site in your regular classroom, differentiate as needed for different student needs. Be sure to check back for additional lessons added to the site. Some of the seventh and eighth grade lessons are suitable for high school students, also.

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Word Sort - Houghton Mifflin Company

Grades
K to 6
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Word Sort offers practice with word patterns for grades 1 through 6. Choose a grade level to begin, and then a unit to start the activity. Even though this is ...more
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Word Sort offers practice with word patterns for grades 1 through 6. Choose a grade level to begin, and then a unit to start the activity. Even though this is a Houghton Mifflin site and the tool is aligned to their Spelling and Vocabulary materials, those materials are not necessary to complete activities. Drag and drop words into the categories provided, play activities with or without a timer. Upon completion, activities provide feedback on words sorted correctly on the first try and words that needed multiple attempts. With the Word Search, highlight words you find in the puzzle that match the list.

tag(s): spelling (168), word study (80)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate how to play on your interactive whiteboard or projector, then create a link on classroom computers for use as a center. Use Word Sort to differentiate for different student abilities. Have students complete a word sort and then find additional words that use the word pattern found in the activity.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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OK2Ask'®: Specialized for Special Needs - July 2015 - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from July 2015, opens in Adobe Connect. Learn how to adapt your teaching for your students' special needs using TeachersFirst...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from July 2015, opens in Adobe Connect. Learn how to adapt your teaching for your students' special needs using TeachersFirst resources. Participants will view and explore tools to help students needing emotional support, learning support, speech/language support, autistic support, ESL assistance, and more. Find resources that promote organization, focus, and differentiated learning. Use exploration time to discover and discuss how selected resources can be utilized in your classroom. This session is for teachers at ALL technology comfort levels.

As a result of this session and through individual follow-up, teachers will: Gather ideas by exploring at least 10 specialized resources on TeachersFirst; Explore and practice with selected resources; Investigate and discuss lesson ideas offered in reviews and by other participants; List and discuss other curriculum related projects or activities that could be done using the resources in the teacher's own teaching situation; (Follow-up) Implement one of the provided resources into an upcoming teaching unit or lesson. Applicable ISTE-T standards (2008)*: 1a, b, c; 2a, b, c, d; 3b, c, d; 4c ISTE's standards page.

tag(s): adhd (28), autism (22)

In the Classroom

Help ALL of your special needs students with the ideas in this session. Learn ways to differentiate to reach them all. Take a look at the resource page full of excellent resources to explore! Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Black History Month Resources - PBS

Grades
K to 12
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Commemorate Black History Month with 20 lesson plans and resources covering a variety of topics including racial discrimination, civil rights, and discussions about race in current...more
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Commemorate Black History Month with 20 lesson plans and resources covering a variety of topics including racial discrimination, civil rights, and discussions about race in current events. Scroll through the page to view topics and grade level suggestions. Content ranges from a history of discrimination through current events such as debating race through the Trayvon Martin shooting. Some lessons also contain Common Core correlations.

tag(s): black history (59), civil rights (117), martin luther king (37), racism (18), video (254)

In the Classroom

Explore this site for many different lessons and resources to use during Black History Month and throughout the year. Use lessons found here to differentiate for students of different levels. Be sure to check out the Discrimination - fair or unfair? lesson plan that is designed specifically for students who have difficulty with verbal and written expression.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project - Mathematics - Public Schools of North Carolina

Grades
K to 8
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The Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project (AIG~IRP) provides a large selection of instructional resources for Mathematics. Choose from grade level...more
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The Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project (AIG~IRP) provides a large selection of instructional resources for Mathematics. Choose from grade level bands to begin viewing available resources. Download lessons and materials in Word format. Lessons include Common Core Standards and complete lesson plans including assessments.

tag(s): addition (250), area (66), charts and graphs (195), decimals (133), division (172), estimation (46), fractions (239), geometric shapes (163), gifted (96), measurement (157), money (192), multiplication (227), number sense (96), percent (82), perimeter (31), subtraction (207), tangrams (14), timelines (62), volcanoes (61)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site as a resource for finding enrichment lessons and for working with gifted students. Share this project with your school's gifted teacher to use with students. Modify and use lessons from this site in your regular classroom, differentiate as needed for different student needs.

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Edueto - Radka Breitzetelova and Tomas Burda

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 1  Comments
  
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 (84), quizzes (96), test prep (95), writing (359)

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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Jessica, , Grades: 0 - 5

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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 (60), search engines (65), search strategies (30)

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 (100), classroom management (135), DAT device agnostic tool (198), gamification (65), multimedia (56)

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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CommonLit - CommonLit

Grades
4 to 12
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Access twenty commonly taught themes for classic literature and discussion questions around that theme. Choose a Lexile grade level for reading and download the text in PDF format....more
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Access twenty commonly taught themes for classic literature and discussion questions around that theme. Choose a Lexile grade level for reading and download the text in PDF format. Each text has critical thinking questions created by CommonLit. All of this for free! What else could one want? Well, you can also request a text, and they will negotiate with the copyright holders to have that text on their site.

tag(s): critical thinking (108), literature (275), themes (12)

In the Classroom

CommonLit is an excellent resource for literature teachers, speech and debate teachers, and history teachers. Share the site with students on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and ask the class what themes they would like to investigate. Under each theme are two questions. Divide the class into small groups with each group investigating one of the questions for one of the themes and reading the accompanying text. Differentiate for students by having students read on the same theme, but at their reading level. Challenge individuals, pairs, or small groups to create a graphic organizer for the story they read using a tool like Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers, reviewed here. This site would also work when you have to make substitute plans unexpectedly. Just put the link in your plans and tell the sub what theme you want students to read about, or better yet, let the sub choose!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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SolveMe Puzzles - The Transition to Algebra (TTA) project

Grades
4 to 12
2 Favorites 1  Comments
 
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 (235), problem solving (272), puzzles (208)

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.

Comments

It is good to motivate learners to study mathematics subject while playing. Elesio Catalla, , Grades: 0 - 12

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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 (168), vocabulary (323)

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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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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 (94), number sense (96), numbers (203)

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 (47), learning styles (19), professional development (123)

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 (32), native americans (78)

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 Shares - 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 (47), digital storytelling (144), ebooks (42)

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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