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 12
In the ClassroomBookmark 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.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomTake 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. Engage students use by using the free interactives and printables from ReadWriteThink, 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 enhance student learning 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.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse 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 (if your class is remote learning, show students the log in, etc. by using a video conference room such as Zoom, reviewed here, or Proficonf, reviewed here, and then include a link to the site on your class webpage for students to play at home. At the end of your unit, enhance learning and augment technology use by asking students to plan a multimedia presentation using a tool like SuperNotecard, reviewed here, where you can turn your notes into a storyboard! Extend learning and modify technology use by having students use the Storyboard to create a multimedia presentation with a tool like Sway, reviewed here, to share their learning. Have students include text, images, videos, and a link to oodlu learning games in the Sway.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomInstall 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.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce 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.
Grades6 to 9
tag(s): animals (258), critical thinking (101), descriptive writing (35), digital citizenship (72), OER (32), plants (134), scientists (61), social media (44), STEM (215), volcanoes (51), writing (282)
In the ClassroomJoin 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.
Grades6 to 8
tag(s): data (134), equations (127), exponents (37), factoring (27), factors (32), fractions (184), geometric shapes (139), measurement (141), OER (32), percent (61), probability (103), pythagorean theorem (24), ratios (53), transformations (13), volume (38)
In the ClassroomInclude 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.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Moonshot Learning activities across the curriculum and to differentiate instruction based on student interest. Many of these activities 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.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomView this chat to learn more about differentiation and tools to help you engage and differentiate for the various levels and interests in your class.
Grades3 to 5
In the ClassroomShare 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.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark OneHistory as a resource for primary sources when teaching American History and as an excellent tool for finding information featuring diversity throughout the years. Have students create a multimedia presentation using Slidestory, reviewed here. This site allows you to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then add music to their narration. Slidestory allows you to add narration to a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. Take advantage of the high interest, low readability level stories on the site to differentiate for the variety of reading levels in your classroom and to include informational (nonfiction) reading standards.
Grades6 to 8
In the ClassroomIntroduce these resources on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Share the resources on your class website for students to use for remediation or review. Share tools on your interactive whiteboard or in your BYOD classroom. Use these sites to differentiate for students in pre-algebra and algebra.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomShare these resources on your class website for students to use for remediation or review. Share tools on your interactive whiteboard or in your BYOD classroom. Use these sites to differentiate.
Grades3 to 5
In the ClassroomShare these resources on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these tools in your BYOD classroom to differentiate for math class. Share the resources with students for additional practice, remediation, enrichment, or advancement.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomIntroduce SMMRY to students working on research projects as a way to quickly determine content and viability of using websites. Use to differentiate instruction with students. Use with learning support students as a resource to make content easier to understand (and shorter to read). Use SMMRY 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.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomUse OpenStax textbooks to dig deeper into core subjects such as math, science, and social studies. Use materials to differentiate instruction based on student abilities and interests. If your current textbooks are older, find newer books on OpenStax and adopt them for your curriculum. Take advantage of the search feature of online books to find supplemental material for your current instruction. Find teaching materials for gifted students using OpenStax textbooks.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomWith 90% of the million resources free, you're sure to find something you need to supplement current curriculum materials. Replace pen and paper and ask questions and have students respond directly on any video you used choose. Use VideoAnt, reviewed here, for this purpose, and then use the video at a learning center or station during any unit or for review. Use activities from this site to differentiate learning within your classroom. Try flipping class and assign videos, slides or lessons to be completed at home and have a discussion (or question and answer session) about them the next day in class. Include this site on the class website for parents to find at-home math, language arts, science projects, and materials for review. Be sure to share with other teachers on campus.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomAchieve two goals with this very people-friendly site: provide quality non-fiction reading materials and the latest in current events. Use this site to differentiate reading materials by student interest. Encourage students to explore the site on their own. Be sure to include a link on classroom computers and your class website for students to access at any time. Flip your class and assign the reading to do at home. Then, have students create a simple infographic sharing findings from The Lowdown with their classmates using Infogram, reviewed here. Have cooperative learning groups create weekly podcasts with news from around the world. Use a site such as podOmatic, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomShare these tools on your class website or blog for students to use both in and out of the classroom. Use these tools to differentiate and reach all students at the various levels. Challenge your students to create their own games for review of content or acceleration options.
Grades5 to 9
tag(s): animation (60), coding (75), computational thinking (31), critical thinking (101), digital storytelling (129), gamification (79), musical notation (32), problem solving (226), social media (44), sports (81), stories and storytelling (27)