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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FluentKey - Fluentkey, LLC

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K to 12
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FluentKey turns videos into interactive learning activities to teach foreign language learners (including American Sign Language). This site's videos engage learners through the addition...more
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FluentKey turns videos into interactive learning activities to teach foreign language learners (including American Sign Language). This site's videos engage learners through the addition of captions, quizzes, and games embedded into videos. Take advantage of the large library of videos found on the site, or upload your own videos from YouTube, Facebook, or your computer. After creating your account, add class information and student lists, then assign videos and add quizzes and other interactive content. Students access your assignment using the code created; as students complete each assignment, view responses and class averages to each question on your classroom dashboard. In addition to assigning content to individual students, FluentKey Live is an interactive game for classrooms. Share a video from the site on your interactive whiteboard and ask students to participate on their own devices.

tag(s): chinese (49), DAT device agnostic tool (171), french (85), german (61), sign language (9), spanish (106), Teacher Utilities (86)

In the Classroom

Use FluentKey to easily differentiate world language lessons for students and allow them to progress at their own speed. Help ESL/ELL students master English using videos and quizzes based on their knowledge level. This is also an excellent tool to provide language learning experiences based on student interests. Even if the language isn't included with the videos on the site, find and upload videos for student use and add quizzes along with additional content. As students become proficient in a new language, encourage them to share their knowledge using a variety of multimedia tools. Annotate images using ThingLink, reviewed here, create an audio recording of conversations, or use PhotoCollage, reviewed here, to create a collage. As students become more proficient in their new language, ask them to record short podcasts with a podcast creation tool like Podcast Generator, reviewed here, and share tips and advice with their fellow students.

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Classkick - Andrew Rowland and Peter Do

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K to 12
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Classkick is a classroom learning management system that offers several tools for guiding instruction from lesson planning through assessment. Create or customize lessons using your...more
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Classkick is a classroom learning management system that offers several tools for guiding instruction from lesson planning through assessment. Create or customize lessons using your own resources or combine with content available on the site's library. Deliver lessons to students for use on any device and monitor progress in real-time. Classkick includes a private chat for students to ask for help privately and also contains options for peer to peer feedback. This site also includes a number of video tutorials and resources for implementing the tool in classrooms and a variety of ideas on how to use it.

tag(s): Learning Management Systems (22), Teacher Utilities (86)

In the Classroom

Use Classkick to differentiate instruction based on students' current performance. Many students are motivated to learn at their own pace using online tools, and Classkick is an option providing lessons in a different format than currently available. If not using Classkick whole -class, it 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 students. As students learn through this type of management system, ask them to use a portfolio tool such as PorfolioVillage, reviewed here, to document and reflect upon their learning process.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Construct3 - Construct.net

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K to 1
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Design and create games with Construct3. Choose from many different formats including puzzles, role-play, and storybooks along with a choice of beginner and intermediate level coding...more
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Design and create games with Construct3. Choose from many different formats including puzzles, role-play, and storybooks along with a choice of beginner and intermediate level coding ability options. Take advantage of the beginner's guide and tutorials to learn and practice the available features. All of the game options include drag and drop coding features. Free accounts offer you up to 25 events per game, two layers per layout, two effects per game, and one font choice. To share, publish your finished game to the site's arcade or download to your server.

tag(s): coding (76), game based learning (150), gamification (82), STEM (209)

In the Classroom

Include Construct3 with your other options for teaching coding to students. Take advantage of the included levels to differentiate learning based on knowledge of coding. If you are uncomfortable with coding, enlist students to become technology coaches in your classroom to teach and share their knowledge with others. Use and share Google Forms to create how-to guides for students to get started including images with tips and suggestions. Ask "in-the-know" students to enhance their learning and create one-page websites using Jimdo, reviewed here, sharing advice for individual games included in Construct3. As students become familiar with coding, have them use FlexClip, reviewed here to extend their learning by creating simple explainer videos detailing how to build and share personalized games.

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Gooru - Prasad Ram, PhD

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2 to 12
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Gooru is a free, online learning management system for classrooms. Use their Learning Navigator system to assess and assign content based on student knowledge. The Learning Navigator...more
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Gooru is a free, online learning management system for classrooms. Use their Learning Navigator system to assess and assign content based on student knowledge. The Learning Navigator provides information on student knowledge then provides a course of learning. Content is continually adjusted and monitored to match student growth and engagement. Use your teacher dashboard to assign and customize learning using Gooru's content. Content is provided for math levels from preK through calculus, English/Language Arts from preK through 10th grade, and middle and high school science and social studies. Students engage with assigned materials using the code generated when adding content.

tag(s): differentiation (51), homework (38), Learning Management Systems (22), Teacher Utilities (86), tutorials (48)

In the Classroom

Use Gooru to differentiate instruction based on students' current performance. Many students are motivated to learn at their own pace using online tools, and Gooru is an option providing lessons in a different format than currently available. If not using Gooru whole -class, it 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 students. Enhance classsroom technology and provide additional support to student learning by asking them to use Dropr, reviewed here, to build a digital portfolio of their learning process. Include images, videos, and written work within the portfolio.

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Write and Improve - Cambridge English

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5 to 12
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Write and Improve provides practice and instant feedback on writing responses to prompts. Choose from one of the many provided topics to begin. Narrow down options based on writing...more
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Write and Improve provides practice and instant feedback on writing responses to prompts. Choose from one of the many provided topics to begin. Narrow down options based on writing levels from beginner to advanced. Writing choices range from postcard responses to longer articles. After writing your response, select the link to receive feedback. Feedback includes a graph of your writing level and tracks revisions. Create a free account to save your work and access all material on the site. This site was created in England so some spellings and pronunciations may be different from the American usages.

tag(s): creative writing (162), descriptive writing (42), differentiation (51), letter writing (18), persuasive writing (55), process writing (43), writers workshop (36), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Feedback on this site is based on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) scale, learn more about it here. Include this site with your other resources for practicing and teaching writing as you challenge students to improve feedback scores. Take advantage of the different levels to differentiate practice for all students. Ask students to analyze their writing before hitting the feedback button as a self-reflection tool. As students improve writing, use a digital portfolio tool like Seesaw, reviewed here, and upload all revisions. Also, use Seesaw for students to share their thoughts on their writing and individual progress.

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Periodic Videos - Periodic Videos and The University of Nottingham

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7 to 12
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Periodic Videos provides videos and lessons teaching about each element on the periodic table. Choose any element to view a short video (most are less than 10 minutes) demonstrating...more
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Periodic Videos provides videos and lessons teaching about each element on the periodic table. Choose any element to view a short video (most are less than 10 minutes) demonstrating the properties and providing background information on the element offered by university scientists. Each video also provides a link to a complete TED-ED lesson including questions for discussion and further exploration. Use the filters on this site to sort the elements displayed into different categories including halogens, non-metals, and more. If your district blocks YouTube, videos may not be viewable. This site suggests that you contact whoever administers your school's IT systems to see if you can whitelist videos that are embedded on ed.ted.com.

tag(s): chemicals (51), elements (38)

In the Classroom

Include this resource with your other materials for teaching about the periodic table and chemical elements. Customize any of the lessons within TED-ED to meet your lesson objectives. Register for a free account, then follow the steps to duplicate and edit the lesson to meet your needs and share with students. Be sure to share this site with students to use as part of their review and learning activities. Share all of your bookmarked sites with students using a bookmarking tool like SearchTeam, reviewed here. SearchTeam includes tools for collaborating and sharing online resources and provides the ability for you or your students to add notes and comments to shared resources. Include this site and others to provide differentiated learning activities for your students using Symbaloo Learning Paths, reviewed here. In addition to web resources like Periodic Videos, Symbaloo Learning Paths provides options for including quizzes, uploading documents, and more to create an entire unit in one place. Instead of a final assessment using a paper and pencil quiz, ask students to modify their learning by creating explainer videos about elements using My Simpleshow, reviewed here. If you are unsure about how to assess multimedia projects, find many ideas for implementing rubrics for assessment along with examples and online tools at TeachersFirst Rubrics to the Rescue reviewed here.

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History Tech - Glenn Wiebe

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7 to 12
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History Tech is an outstanding blog for history and social studies teachers created by curriculum and technology integration consultant Glenn Wiebe. Wiebe shares resources and lesson...more
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History Tech is an outstanding blog for history and social studies teachers created by curriculum and technology integration consultant Glenn Wiebe. Wiebe shares resources and lesson ideas with a focus on game-based learning and technology integration. Browse through the blog's feed to view the latest posts, use the search box to search by keyword, or click on commonly used tagged words. To find specific topic content scroll down to the bottom of the home page and use the drop box featuring History Tech Topics. Be sure to sign up with your email address to receive the most recent posts directly to your inbox and follow the site on Twitter @glennw98.

tag(s): back to school (61), branches of government (60), digital storytelling (147), maps (297), politics (106), primary sources (100), social media (35), teaching strategies (33)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site to reference throughout the school year. Use the keyword search option to find ideas for specific units or technology tools to use. Use a bookmarking tool like Wakelet, reviewed here, to collect and share information from this blog along with your other resources. As you gather lesson ideas and create your unit, use Symbaloo Learning Paths, reviewed here, to create differentiated lesson activities for your students.

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CanFigureIt Geometry - CanFigureIt LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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CanFigureIt is an interactive tool and workspace for exploring and learning about geometric proofs. This tool, developed to help promote problem-solving skills and logical thinking,...more
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CanFigureIt is an interactive tool and workspace for exploring and learning about geometric proofs. This tool, developed to help promote problem-solving skills and logical thinking, provides immediate feedback to student responses. Start as a guest user, or apply for the Proof Ninja Educator Program to receive student reports. Choose from over 450 different topics, then follow prompts to justify claims and make proofs. Take advantage of the included tutorial videos to understand how to use all of the features of the program. Although optimized for Chromebooks, this site works on PC's and Macs but is not optimized for use on mobile devices.

tag(s): angles (88), geometric shapes (172)

In the Classroom

Include this site with your other tools for teaching and practicing geography concepts. Be sure to share with students on your webpage or blog for easy access at any time. Apply for the Proof Ninja Educator Program to take advantage of the additional features for monitoring student work. Introduce this site to your students on your interactive whiteboard as you work together to learn geometry concepts. Ask students to show proofs and justifications using the program and take a screenshot of their work. Ask students to include their screenshot within a Google document and share their problem-solving process. This site is an excellent way to differentiate learning for different levels of student understanding. Encourage students to create explainer videos using My Simpleshow, reviewed here, to modify their learning and to share their understanding with their fellow students. Include those videos on your website for all students to review and access.

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Open Middle - N Johnson, R Kaplinsky, B Anderson, D Luevanos, and Z Miller

Grades
K to 12
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Open Middle is a terrific resource to find challenging math problems for all grade levels. The problems on this site offer multiple options for finding the solution. Many initially...more
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Open Middle is a terrific resource to find challenging math problems for all grade levels. The problems on this site offer multiple options for finding the solution. Many initially appear to be easy; however, they become more complex as they are solved. Use links at the top of the page to find problems by grade level and concept or use filters to browse by Common Core Standards. Each question includes a hint when necessary and answers.

tag(s): logic (252), problem solving (293), statistics (132)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site to find math problems correlating to your teaching standards or content. This site is perfect for finding materials to differentiate instruction with different student ability levels. Have students share their results and discuss their problem-solving process on your interactive whiteboard. Take screenshots of the different solutions and include on your class website. Another option is to take a picture of student's written solutions, then use ThingLink, reviewed here, to extend student learning by having them add an audio recording describing their mathematical thinking. Share their ThingLink images on your website, or add to your student's digital portfolio on Seesaw, reviewed here, or another portfolio creation site. As students become more proficient in sharing their mathematical thinking and problem-solving activities, consider using their math talks as part of an ongoing podcast using Buzzsprout, reviewed here, as a way to extend student learning and promote math conversations and help students understand that there may be many different ways to arrive at the right answer to a problem. Buzzsprout features free and easy to use tools including the ability to create and schedule podcasts to be released on any date and time you desire.

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ReadingIQ - Age of Learning

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K to 6
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Reading IQ contains an expansive reading library including quality fiction and non-fiction literature including award-winning books. Free enrollment for teachers provides free access...more
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Reading IQ contains an expansive reading library including quality fiction and non-fiction literature including award-winning books. Free enrollment for teachers provides free access to students on any device. After enrolling, set up your classroom to access student monitoring tools that include assigning reading levels and monitoring time spent reading. ReadingIQ allows teachers to assign books then provides detailed reports of class and individual progress in reading levels.

tag(s): book lists (128), classroom management (145), literacy (105), preK (281), reading comprehension (131), spanish (106)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this free reading program to differentiate reading materials for your students both by ability and interests. Set up your program then share learning goals with your students and parents. Enhance classroom technology use by using the free interactives and printables from Read Write Think, reviewed here, and have students create story maps, book covers, and much more as part of their retelling and summarizing activities. Create shared class activities using a video response tool like FlipGrid, reviewed here, to modify classroom technology use by asking students to share short book talks about their favorite books read on the site. Take learning even further by creating ongoing podcasts discussing favorite books and characters using Buzzsprout, reviewed here. Buzzsprout makes it easy to create and share podcasts by offering scheduling options to meet your needs.

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oodlu - Wayne Holmes and Douglas Lapsley

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2 to 12
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Create learning games for use on any device using oodlu. Create an account to begin creating question sets. Take advantage of many different question formats including sequencing, multiple...more
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Create learning games for use on any device using oodlu. Create an account to begin creating question sets. Take advantage of many different question formats including sequencing, multiple choice, and fill in the blank. Optional features provide the ability to add different forms of feedback to guide students when making incorrect choices. When finished, share the code with students to access the learning games. Students sign in using their username, password, and the code provided. As students complete activities, they earn award badges. Use the teacher dashboard to review and monitor student achievements. Free accounts an include an unlimited number of students and questions.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (171), flash cards (39), game based learning (150), gamification (82)

In the Classroom

Use oodlu to differentiate learning in your classroom. Assign questions sets to different groups of learners according to their specific needs. Be sure to show students how to log in and access questions, then include a link to the site on your class webpage for students to play at home. At the end of your learning unit, augment the lessons by asking students to plan a multimedia presentation using a tool like SuperNotecard, reviewed here, where you can turn your notes into a storyboard! Include modification by using the Storyboard to create a multimedia presentation tool like Sway, reviewed here, to share their learning using. Have students include text, images, videos, and a link to oodlu learning games in the Sway.

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InsertLearning - Ben Pedersen and Karin Hogen

Grades
6 to 12
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InsertLearning is an extension for Chrome Browsers that allows you to turn any website into an interactive lesson. Install the extension on Chrome, then click on the icon to use ...more
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InsertLearning is an extension for Chrome Browsers that allows you to turn any website into an interactive lesson. Install the extension on Chrome, then click on the icon to use on any webpage. InsertLearning's pop-up offers features to add questions, highlights, comments, and even add a sticky note with an embedded video into selected portions of the webpage. Add a discussion for students to share their perspectives and respond to conversation prompts. When finished, share with students using Google Classroom. The free pricing option offers five lessons with an unlimited number of students.

tag(s): brainstorming (21), flips (8), note taking (42), reading comprehension (131), reading strategies (58), vocabulary (301)

In the Classroom

Install InsertLearning for use with online newspapers, magazines, and primary sources. Create quizzes to share with students through Google Classroom. Differentiate learning by using this browser extension to create different prompts for groups of students. Use InsertLearning to help ESL/ELL and special education students understand difficult material by highlighting and defining vocabulary found in websites. Take advantage of the instant feedback received from student responses to provide interventions on the spot. Use InsertLearning in a blended classroom as a flipped learning experience or as an introduction to any new unit.

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SummarizeThis - Iris Reading

Grades
5 to 12
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Do you need a tool to quickly summarize long chunks of text? SummarizeThis is the answer. Just copy any section of text from online, PDFs, word documents, or where ever ...more
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Do you need a tool to quickly summarize long chunks of text? SummarizeThis is the answer. Just copy any section of text from online, PDFs, word documents, or where ever and paste it into SummarizeThis. Click the link to summarize, and the result appears immediately.

tag(s): learning disability (18), Special Needs (41), summarizing (17)

In the Classroom

Introduce SummarizeThis to students working on research projects as a way to quickly determine the content and viability of using websites. Use to differentiate instruction with students. Use with learning support students as a resource to make content more accessible. Use the summaries when teaching how to summarize in an ELA class. Compare the summary you create as a class or in small groups with the "automated" one. Are there subtleties or important distinctions that this tool misses? As a challenge for your more critical thinkers, have them try to figure out what signals the tool uses to create its summary.
 

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MySciLife - TeachersFirst

Grades
6 to 9
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MySciLife is a free social learning platform for middle school classes. Join a MySciLife cohort after participation in a one-month online training cycle. Students participate in monthly...more
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MySciLife is a free social learning platform for middle school classes. Join a MySciLife cohort after participation in a one-month online training cycle. Students participate in monthly exchanges with a global community through research and sharing science connections through writing activities. This platform works with any curriculum and includes a complete set of resource materials aligned to Next Generation Science Standards. MySciLife requires parental permission for student participation; all students post anonymously using their science "identity" names.

tag(s): animals (324), critical thinking (121), descriptive writing (42), digital citizenship (75), OER (26), plants (174), scientists (71), social media (35), STEM (209), volcanoes (65), writing (364)

In the Classroom

Join MySciLife to bring excitement and energy to your science classroom. As you complete activities in the platform, use a concept mapping site like MindMup, reviewed here, to replace paper/pencil version of a concept map. Alter students' learning by asking them to create and share infographics based on their research and sharing of ideas. Canva, reviewed here, is an easy to use site for creating infographics using pre-made templates or from scratch. Take student learning to a whole new level by redefining it and having them create a game-based learning activity for their peers using Symbaloo Learning Paths, reviewed here. Symbaloo Learning Paths offers many options for creating differentiated learning using video, quizzes, and more.
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Exam Elf - ZumFun Inc.

Grades
4 to 8
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Exam Elf offers a teacher's dashboard and math resources for preparing for standardized math tests. Although specifically built for STAAR/PARCC testing, this tools is useful for preparing...more
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Exam Elf offers a teacher's dashboard and math resources for preparing for standardized math tests. Although specifically built for STAAR/PARCC testing, this tools is useful for preparing all students in 12 essential skills all aligned to Common Core Math Standards. The teacher dashboard includes summaries of all students' progress including individual strengths and weaknesses. After enrolling students, students download the iPad or iPhone app and enter the teacher code to get started.

tag(s): commoncore (88), test prep (87)

In the Classroom

Use Exam Elf to reinforce and practice math concepts to prepare for standardized testing. Create an account to differentiate math practice to meet varying student needs. Use the data provided in the teacher dashboard to guide math instruction.

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Open Up Resources Math Curriculum - Open Up Resources

Grades
6 to 8
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Access the Illustrated Mathematics Grades 6-8 curriculum for free through the Open Up Resources site. Register on the site to view and gain access to course materials. Select the grade...more
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Access the Illustrated Mathematics Grades 6-8 curriculum for free through the Open Up Resources site. Register on the site to view and gain access to course materials. Select the grade level and choose teacher, parent, or student materials. Content is divided into units and lessons and includes all materials except assessments. Provide additional information related to your school affiliation to gain access to assessments. Additional options include downloading resources as a print file or import into a Microsoft OneNote Class Notebook.

tag(s): data (156), equations (154), exponents (44), factoring (32), factors (40), fractions (232), geometric shapes (172), measurement (179), OER (26), percent (79), probability (135), pythagorean theorem (34), ratios (66), transformations (19), volume (52)

In the Classroom

Include this site to supplement your current grade 6-8 math curriculum. Use the resources to differentiate instruction for gifted students in lower grades or as remediation for struggling students in older grades. Be sure to take advantage of the family materials providing explanations of math content and strategies for problem-solving. Use the student materials for differentiating instruction or as homework. Have students share their math explanations and strategies with video explanations using a tool like FlipGrid, reviewed here. FlipGrid provides a tool for video responses to a question along with comments from peers. Take student learning a step further and ask them to create and share their own math problems along with suggestions for learning. Use a tool like Sway, reviewed here. Sway is a presentation tool that offers multimedia options including text, video, and images.
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Moonshot Learning - Moonshot Learning

Grades
9 to 12
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Moonshot Learning provides free case studies to explore the real-life applications of emergent technologies, many of the studies correlate to Common Core Standards. Choose the Case...more
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Moonshot Learning provides free case studies to explore the real-life applications of emergent technologies, many of the studies correlate to Common Core Standards. Choose the Case Studies link to view all material offered, sort the list by subject, technology, assignment, or activity. The topics contained within the case studies appeal to student interests including sports, cars, and current events. Registration isn't required; however, it allows you to access all materials including teacher's guides. Lessons include videos, articles, and guiding questions.

tag(s): commoncore (88), computers (105), ethics (20), financial literacy (109), genetics (90)

In the Classroom

Use Moonshot Learning case studies across the curriculum and to differentiate instruction based on student interest. Many of these case studies are perfect for extension activities and for use with Gifted students. After completing activities found on this site have students create a multimedia presentation using Genial.ly, reviewed here. Genial.ly allows you to add polls, audio, videos, embeds, web links, PowerPoint, PDfs, and more.

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Twitter Chat: Differentiating Instruction: Practical Ideas for Teachers - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This archived Twitter chat is from December 2017. Browse the tips and tools offered by the chat moderators and participants. Through this chat participants: shared specific strategies...more
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This archived Twitter chat is from December 2017. Browse the tips and tools offered by the chat moderators and participants. Through this chat participants: shared specific strategies that can be used to accommodate students' learning needs, discussed ed tech tools available to assist in differentiating instruction, and discussed ways in which to make content accessible to all students.

tag(s): differentiation (51), twitterchatarchive (51)

In the Classroom

View this chat to learn more about differentiation and tools to help you engage and differentiate for the various levels and interests in your class.

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Data Analysis and Probability Resources - Grades 3-5 - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 5
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Explore this curated list of resources ideal for grades 3-5. Use these resources to meet the NCTM standards in the area of Probability and Data Analysis. Many of these tools ...more
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Explore this curated list of resources ideal for grades 3-5. Use these resources to meet the NCTM standards in the area of Probability and Data Analysis. Many of these tools would be useful on your interactive whiteboard or in your BYOD classroom. Topics include line plots, graphs, surveys, numerical data, and more.

tag(s): charts and graphs (205), data (156), probability (135)

In the Classroom

Share the resources with students for additional practice, remediation, enrichment, or advancement. Display resources on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these tools in your BYOD classroom to differentiate for math class.

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Answerables - Nexed

Grades
K to 8
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Answerables is a game-based virtual learning world and learning management system. Download and log in as an educator to begin. Within Answerables, users create PODS to enroll students,...more
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Answerables is a game-based virtual learning world and learning management system. Download and log in as an educator to begin. Within Answerables, users create PODS to enroll students, create events and assignments, and provide feedback. This site features the use of a token system representing web URLs used by students. Be sure to check out the explanatory video demonstrating all features available within Answerables. Free accounts provide access for single users. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.

tag(s): classroom management (145), game based learning (150)

In the Classroom

All subject area teachers can benefit from making Answerables your digital library available from anywhere and anytime for you and your students. Store and organize links to websites, videos, and more for your students. Use PODS on this site to differentiate learning for students. Share student's digital work in this secure environment with parents and peers.

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