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).
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): art history (75), body systems (42), business (50), chinese (43), drawing (58), environment (218), financial literacy (94), french (71), geology (62), japanese (46), latin (20), music theory (45), narrative (14), novels (26), nutrition (132), oceans (130), OER (35), photography (128), plagiarism (30), poetry (183), psychology (65), robotics (23), romeo & juliet (8), short stories (18), sociology (23), space (204), spanish (97), STEM (225), writers workshop (33)
In the ClassroomBookmark and save this site as a supplemental resource for your current lessons, as a resource for students to learn about subjects not covered in their current courses, and to differentiate learning for students. For example, provide remediation to high school students by sharing the 9th or 10th-grade literature and composition courses as a review activity or enhance your British Literature unit by assigning a module that focuses specifically on 17th, 18th, or 19th-century British literature. Consider assigning different activities to groups of students to present to their peers. Ask them to use an infographic creator such as the Canva Infographic Creator, reviewed here, as a tool for sharing important information. As a final learning extension, create a digital class book using Ourboox, reviewed here, to share understanding of the content learned. Include text, images, maps, and more in the student-created books.
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In the ClassroomFlashcard Factory is an excellent tool for both in-person and remote learning. Use this feature to create vocabulary lists for spelling, science terms, social studies events, etc. Differentiate learning by creating lists for different student abilities or interests. Because students are the creators, they are engaged and more motivated in the learning process. Extend learning by asking students to write short stories or create writing journals using the vocabulary words used in the flashcards. For example, search for vocabulary at Read Write Think, reviewed here, to find the lesson plan for My World of Lists: Building Vocabulary Lists. This lesson culminates with students creating a "My World of Words Journal."
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): charts and graphs (163), coordinates (13), data (132), decimals (88), division (98), equations (120), exponents (35), factoring (25), factors (28), fractions (164), functions (52), geometric shapes (132), inequalities (22), multiplication (119), negative numbers (12), number sense (70), place value (36), probability (94), quiz (63), quizzes (83), sequences (11), sequencing (16), Teacher Utilities (124)
In the ClassroomUse Edia to create, share, and differentiate math practice questions with students. Create practice sheets for students on the fly as you assess understanding of concepts or review previously learned material. If parents ask for additional support for their students, create individual practice on the necessary skills. Some of Edia's explanations may take a different approach than methods taught in your classroom, use this to your advantage and ask students to share different methods for approaching problems. Ask students to share their approaches using a screen recording tool such as Free Screen Recorder Online, reviewed here, or with FlipGrid, reviewed here, as a video response that includes use of the included whiteboard tool.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark #GoOpenVA to use as your first stop in lesson planning. Take advantage of the search filters to narrow down the content and grade-level information to suit your needs. This website is also an excellent resource for finding materials to differentiate instruction. Use higher-level activities to challenge gifted students and search for content for remediation. As you gather resources into a collection, or lesson plans, be sure to think about ways to incorporate technology in meaningful ways to enhance and extend learning.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark and save this brain teaser site to use throughout the school year. Share a problem of the week with your students to complete as homework or during a work center. Provide teasers of different levels of difficulty to differentiate and challenge your students. Enhance student learning by asking them to explain their success in solving challenges and sharing their process to find the correct solution. Use FlipGrid, reviewed here, to share your weekly teasers, then have students create and share a video response. Ask students to use the tools on Flipgrid such as the whiteboard, stickers, and text to explain their responses in detail. Extend learning further by creating a class book using Imagine Forest, reviewed here. Use Imagine Forest to make and share a digital book of brain teasers. Use the interactive elements to add links to audio suggestions for tackling problems or link to video solutions on the final pages of your book.
GradesK to 9
In the ClassroomEnrollment in Mensa isn't required to take advantage of the many resources found on this site for all students. Use the reading lists as a starting point for stocking your class library or a student reading list for the current school year. Encourage students to complete the reading list and return to Mensa for a free t-shirt. Incorporate the lesson plans into your existing curriculum, then differentiate learning as you adapt to student needs. For example, use the Book Review Writing lesson to help students understand the difference between reviews and reports. This lesson also includes specific information on what to have with book reports. Begin by teaching this lesson in small groups, then use Google Jamboard, reviewed here, to create a frame for each of the main topics. Enhance student learning by asking students to add sticky notes with their observations and thoughts. Have your group work together to share their book review using a simple to use blogging tool such as Telegraph, reviewed here. Extend learning further by creating a class podcast sharing book reviews created through the lesson process found on Mensa for Kids. Buzzsprout, reviewed here, is a free tool for creating and publishing podcasts that is appropriate for students of all ages. Use Buzzsprout to record and share book reviews throughout the school year.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomSave this site for use as an entire curriculum, or use the materials to supplement your current resources. Use the materials to differentiate learning activities for your students. Provide students additional support using content found at lower grade levels or challenge gifted students with materials from a higher grade level. Use Duck Soup, reviewed here, as an alternative to printed assignments and convert any page into an e-sheet gradable activity.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse Whiteboard.chat to collaborate with students to share and organize information instantly. This tool even allows educators to auto-correct all boards with a single click! Use the PDF document feature to differentiate instruction with groups of students or individuals. Use the breakout feature to conduct small group meetings or provide personalized instruction to individual students. Allow students to create collaborative drawings as responses to literature. They can map out the plot or themes, add labels, create character studies, and more. Have a group of students create a drawing so that another group can use it as a writing prompt. Use Whiteboard.com as a brainstorming or sketching space as groups (or the class) share ideas for a major project or for solving a real-world problem. Use this site in a computer lab (or on laptops) to draw the setting in a story as it is read aloud. As an assessment idea, have students draw out a simple cartoon with stick figures to explain a more complex process, such as how democracy works. If you are lucky enough to teach in a BYOD setting, have a blended classroom, or are distance teaching, use Whiteboard.chat to demonstrate and illustrate any concept while students use the chat and drawing tools to interact in real-time. If you are studying weather, have students diagram the layers of the atmosphere and what happens during a thunderstorm, for example. Introduce this tool to students who are working on group projects. Alternatively, have students use this to work as partners or as a small team within a breakout area to complete complex math problems or equations.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this site with students and provide time for them to explore on their own. Ask them to share their findings and observations using sticky notes posted to a collaborative Google Jamboard, reviewed here. Enhance student learning using Newsela, reviewed here, to assign texts and articles related to glaciers and climate change. Use Newsela's teaching tools to assign writing prompts and quizzes within any shared articles. Differentiate instruction with Newsela by choosing texts that match the different reading and comprehension levels of your students. Extend learning by asking individuals or groups of students to use Juxtapose, reviewed here, to create a before and after image to demonstrate changes of ice formations over time. Be sure to follow the tips and tricks found on Juxtapose as your students build their interactive images.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomTeacherMade is perfect for use in several teaching and learning situations, including blended learning, remote teaching, and differentiated instruction. Upload work assignments and create copies to differentiate activities and scoring options. Use this site to create interactive assignments for students to complete at home or during computer center activities. TeacherMade provides many options for helping and enhancing learning for individual students, use for homework, or as a temporary option for providing instruction to home-bound or remote learning students. Have students upload completed assignments of their choosing to an online portfolio creation tool like kudosWall, reviewed here. Use kudosWall to help students build their work resumes, including reflections on their creative process and personal growth.
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomDiscover and use Blooket's many engaging games as a resource for practicing and reviewing information within any area of content. Use the score results to provide feedback for guiding further lessons. Some games are more fast-paced than others; use this to your advantage by sharing different versions for different groups of students. Use Blooket to differentiate instruction by adjusting the difficulty of question sets based on student abilities. Introduce new content using Blooket as a pre-assessment before starting any new unit. Use Blooket as an ice-breaker or get-to-know-you activity at the start of the school year or at the beginning of a new semester to build comradery within your classroom.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomTake advantage of this free textbook to use for your American History curriculum or supplement your current teaching materials. Pick and choose text, source materials, or assessment information to enhance your curriculum. This text is a perfect addition for schools lacking up-to-date content or for use with distance learning. Use a curation tool such as Padlet, reviewed here, to organize and share materials with students. Use the shelf option to create categories and organize them by videos, articles, primary source documents, etc., to make information easily accessible by your students. Encourage students to share their understanding of the content by creating videos, flyers, graphic images, and more using the tools found at Canva Edu, reviewed here. Use the text to speech option to differentiate learning for students with disabilities and English Language Learners.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomTake advantage of the free lesson plan that accompanies the videos on this playlist as part of your American History and WWII lessons. Consider sharing a video at the start of a lesson to engage students in learning about discriminatory policies' personal toll during the war. Use a discussion tool such as Answer Garden, reviewed here to gather student responses and create word clouds to encourage classroom discussion. Add videos from the playlist to other activities within a teacher utility such as TES Teach Blendspace, reviewed here. Use Blendspace to add additional reading activities, quizzes, and more content to deliver lessons for distance learning or as a tool for self-paced learning. Easily differentiate learning by copying your original Blendspace learning then modifying activities based upon student needs. Extend learning by having students share their understanding of internment camps by presentations using Sway, reviewed here that includes student writing responses, images, videos, and more. Another option is to offer students the choice of building an interactive timeline using History in Motion, reviewed here that offers users the option to include maps, add events, include source materials, and more.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomUse Boddle to differentiate math instruction for your students. Include a link to Boddle on classroom computers for use during math centers, and provide a link on your classroom website for your blended classroom or for students to play at home. Share with parents to create individual accounts for use at home. Include Boddle with other online math programs using a bookmarking tool such as Symbaloo, reviewed here, for easy access by students.
Grades3 to 12
tag(s): agriculture (43), climate (77), climate change (77), design (85), forests (25), oceans (130), recycling (45), remote learning (47), solar energy (33), STEM (225), Teacher Utilities (124), water (96)
In the ClassroomBookmark this site as a resource for science and nature lessons to supplement current materials in your classroom. Because lessons were created for use in remote learning situations, they are perfect for including during elearning or digital learning days. Create an account and customize lessons to personalize activities to fit your curriculum and students. For example, customize lessons easily to change discussion questions to adapt to student abilities, then share the differentiated lessons to different groups of students. Extend learning by adding links to additional activities such as asking students to write a short blog post using Edublogs, reviewed here or create a cartoon based on the activity's content using ToonyTool, reviewed here. Extend learning for all students using Synth's audio podcasting tool reviewed here. Begin by creating a discussion question, then share the topic with students. Students record a response that is 256 seconds or less; responses are linked together to create a shareable audio podcast.
Grades1 to 5
In the ClassroomInclude Monsters vs. Fractions with your other games and resources when teaching fractions. Include it as part of your computer center time or assign it as homework for students to practice within the different games. Use a bookmarking tool such as Symbaloo, reviewed here, to share games and practice sites with students in one easy to locate place. Create an interactive lesson that includes Monsters vs. Fractions using Blendspace, reviewed here. Add videos that explain different ways to work with fractions and upload practice sheets differentiated to meet your students' varying needs. Make students the experts on fractions by asking them to create screen recordings using Free Screen Recorder Online, reviewed here, to demonstrate tips and tricks for working with fractions that help players get further within each game.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomBookmark Twinkl for use throughout the year to find teaching resources for holidays, content topics, and homework ideas. Take advantage of Twinkl Create to easily make and differentiate charts, banners, word mats, and other classroom use printables. When saving favorite materials found on the site, set the popup reminder to remind you to use it later in the year. For example, when you find the End of Year packet, save it to your account and set a reminder for late spring so that it can be included with other items to include when wrapping up the school year or sending home materials for practice over the summer. Twinkl includes free teaching packets by grade level; these packets include activities customized for different ability levels. Use items from teaching packets as part of your center activities or send them home for additional practice as needed. After downloading materials, make your lessons digital using Kami, reviewed here. Use the free version of Kami to upload documents and add highlights, text, comments, and shapes before sharing with students.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomInclude these free lessons in a variety of ways in your classroom. Use the content to help students understand social causes important to them and how to engage in their cause. This site offers various methods to create social issue campaigns, including music, film, and persuasive writing opportunities. Use this information to differentiate learning opportunities for students with activities that appeal to their interests. For students interested in coding, use Minecraft Education Edition, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse the Weill Music Institute's free resources to provide music education to students as part of your music education curriculum or within your role as a classroom teacher. For example, as part of social studies lessons about countries worldwide, be sure to see the activity for learning about countries through song. Many resources feature videos; engage and enhance instruction by adding questions and comments to videos using MoocNote, reviewed here. If your district blocks YouTube, flip your classroom and have students watch the MoocNote/Youtube videos at home. Include activities as part of a larger learning unit that includes online information, quizzes, and additional videos using a learning delivery platform such as Blendspace, reviewed here. Blendspace provides simple to use tools that make it easy to share a variety of resources with students and differentiate instruction.
GradesK to 5
tag(s): addition (125), division (98), fractions (164), geometric shapes (132), measurement (129), money (121), multiplication (119), number lines (33), numbers (119), patterns (61), place value (36), preK (238), subtraction (108)