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 3
In the ClassroomWhat excellent choices to use as a learning center. This program allows the teacher to differentiate instruction (based on the current levels of your students). Each activity has several levels of difficulties. Mrs. Cassidy has also included a color-coded guide to help teachers determine which activities are easy, medium, hard, and very hard.
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomOne concern: non-readers will not be able to READ the criteria. The game is intended for sharing with at least one reader (child or adult). This website could be incorporated in many ways: First, use an interactive whiteboard and include the entire class, asking them to raise their hands or use clickers to vote on whether you have "found" the pet as someone reads the criteria aloud. Second, you could use this website as a learning center for cooperative groups (including a reader)to investigate together. Third, you could differentiate the instruction by having students work on their own laptops (or in the computer lab). Turn off the irritating sound with the little speaker icon.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomUse this website as a starting point for researching the history of famous monsters. This is a great way to teach about fact vs fiction and the information literacy skill of evaluating web site reliability, using a topic that students will love. After they collect facts, have a monster "trial" in your classroom "courthouse" where two teams try to prove that each monster is FACT or FICTION, using "evidence" from this site and further research. Differentiate the tasks by assigning some of your brighter students to conduct the questioning (and perhaps challenge the web sources). Then have a the class-member "jury" reach a verdict: Fact or Fiction?
Grades1 to 5
tag(s): fractions (235)
In the ClassroomUse an interactive whiteboard to introduce this activity. Then differentiate the instruction and allow students to work on their own computers at their own levels. For more instructions on how to use this website, visit the "support materials" link.
Grades1 to 4
In the ClassroomThis website would work perfectly as an individual activity (differentiate the activities to the various levels of your students). If you prefer a group activity, get out the interactive whiteboard and treat your students to this engaging activity. Each challenge is only a few questions and could easily be incorporated into your daily math lessons. Add this as a warm-up or as part of your closure for a skill lesson.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomUse an interactive whiteboard to introduce your class to this site's activities. Then differentiate your math lessons by allowing students to work independently on the math skills they are currently acquiring. Even if you have only a single classroom computer, you can provide practice and challenge at all levels. This is also a wonderful site to share as a link from your teacher home page or in your classroom newsletter.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): resources (112)
In the ClassroomHow would you use this in your teaching? Create a set of RSS feeds for current events or a specific curriculum topic such as weather and make them available for an in-class activity, complete with directions. World language, world cultures, or geography teachers can profile a location on the globe, complete with local weather and news. Make separate tabs for separate activities. Students can access them by password or publicly from outside of class, as well. For primary grades, make simple instructions right on the desktop for a computer center activity. Use color coding of the instructions to differentiate for different children (Sam, I want you to do the yellow one). If your school permits students to set up accounts on web services, have groups make Protopages on an assigned topic, collecting and organizing resources, images, and information: "A Protopage Guide to Cells" or "Shakespeare's Times." Gifted and highly-able students will go crazy!
Skills needed: Join (free). Check out the Intro, Overview, and Quickstart to see how it works. Play to your heart's content, including making tabs. Learn about RSS feeds and other Widgets-- including sticky notes. Share the URL with those you wish to have use it. Note: this works on Internet Explorer 6 and higher and on Firefox. If your users are on older web browsers, the developers recommend upgrading. This may be a problem for some. Check with your end-user computers before you spend too much time making the perfect Protopage!
If you allow students to create their own Protopage, you will need to have very specific rules about content, since there are non-educational elements available.
Grades10 to 12
tag(s): journalism (55)
In the ClassroomTo take full advantage of this lesson, expand it into choosing photos off the web from news stories or from Flickr. (See the TeachersFirst Edge explanation of Flickr). You might even preview some sites and have pairs of students access them and categorize them by analysis. This would enable you to tailor the lesson to any literature you were working with from: Shakespeare to Hemingway to Grisham.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomTry an interactive whiteboard and treat your students to this challenging math activity. If you are able to use a lab or laptops, differentiate your instruction and allow the students to work on skills at their own levels. Each of the three "topic" sets has six lessons.
After you use it in class, include this site on your teacher web page for students to practice prior to your test or the "big one."
Grades1 to 5
In the ClassroomUse this site to help to differentiate instruction in math class! Allow students to practice individually on computers by taking turns on one of the classroom computers or using laptops. Another useful tip: students need to click on the answer blank each time before typing in their answer. The TeachersFirst editors did catch a typo or two in the text ("mutliplication"), but the game itself works well.
Grades1 to 4
tag(s): numbers (199)
In the ClassroomThis tool could be used to differentiate instruction (there are three levels of difficulty). Allow students to try it as a classroom center, on laptops, or even on a whiteboard.
GradesK to 5
tag(s): logic (239)
In the ClassroomTry an interactive whiteboard to introduce these drill and practice activities to challenge your class, then include the link on your teacher web page or as a shortcut on a classroom computer for students to access individually. Be sure to tell parents about it, too. Take the students to the computer lab or assign different tasks at a classroom center to differentiate the instruction and allow the students to work at their individual levels. Note: very Young students may need help reading the directions to access the correct game.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomTeachers could use the activities at this website to differentiate mathematical instruction. Teachers do not need to search the site for activities; the specific topics are already listed with each activity, so the site is extremely easy to use. Be sure to include this one on your teacher web page for students to use as a review tool.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomThere are activities at this site for all elementary math levels. This site would be great to differentiate instruction. Or the teacher can involve the entire class by using an interactive whiteboard. Keep this link on your teacher web page for students to use outside of class for review.
GradesK to 2
In the ClassroomUse this tool to differentiate instruction and meet the educational needs of your students. If you see a blank screen, download the Flash plugin from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): teaching strategies (25)