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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Teaching World War I With The New York Times - New York Times/ Michael Gonchar

Grades
8 to 12
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Teaching World War I With The New York Times is a resource for teaching about World War I using historical articles and social media. The site offers topics paired with ...more
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Teaching World War I With The New York Times is a resource for teaching about World War I using historical articles and social media. The site offers topics paired with New York Times articles and slide shows for use in exploring the causes and effects of the war. Click on highlighted links to get access to all resources included on the site including Common Core Standards.

tag(s): europe (71), middle east (44), world war 1 (54)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plan for use in your World War I unit. Use this site to differentiate activities for students. Be sure to "mine" the links within the site for additional resources to add to your current lesson plans. Have students create online posters individually or together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here, or PicLits, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a president, soldier, or family member during the time of World War I.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Thrively - Thrively

Grades
1 to 12
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Thrively is a free tool that gives strengths and interests assessments in an engaging and entertaining way. Based on 23 factors and developed for children, you receive a profile that...more
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Thrively is a free tool that gives strengths and interests assessments in an engaging and entertaining way. Based on 23 factors and developed for children, you receive a profile that is personal, positive, and celebrates each child's core strengths and unique talents. Children, teachers, and parents all have a dashboard displaying activities and videos selected specifically for the child's strengths and interests. Explore a comprehensive activity index with over 120,000 activities and hundreds of videos designed to inspire. The videos feature interesting ideas, leaders, and a range of insights into careers and opportunities that are a good fit for the child's unique strengths. The Activity Boards are a way to discover and research the activities and collect them all in one place. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable; be sure to look at alternatives for sharing the videos on classroom computers.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): back to school (59), differentiation (51), multiple intelligences (8), social and emotional learning (38), Special Needs (40), Teacher Utilities (100)

In the Classroom

Begin your school year with a more personal touch, by knowing what your students' interests are. On the teacher dashboard, examine each student and match interest to activities to differentiate instruction. Students can explore careers, apps, and activities matching their profile. With interest and strengths targeted, you can sail smoothly into a highly engaged class of individualized learning. During career explorations, open up worlds of possibilities for students and families to begin planning a successful path. Add a link to this tool to your class website for possible enrichment activities for families. Offer suggestions to parents for enriching after school activities found around your area.

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Quizalize - Zzish

Grades
4 to 12
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Track learning in real-time with Quizalize. Student answers are color-coded on the teacher dashboard for ease in identifying who needs more help. Create scrambled word or multiple choice...more
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Track learning in real-time with Quizalize. Student answers are color-coded on the teacher dashboard for ease in identifying who needs more help. Create scrambled word or multiple choice questions, and each question can have a custom timer. View reports for each student's progress and learning gaps. Create a quiz or select one from Quizalize's growing library. Quizzes can be "gamified" by showing the teacher dashboard as a leaderboard to see progress against other users. Quizalize works on any device with a browser and Internet connection. Sign up with an email and password. Create a quiz, assign it to classes, get a code, give it to students, and let the fun begin!

tag(s): differentiation (51), game based learning (160), gamification (77), polls and surveys (46), quizzes (82)

In the Classroom

Make a class challenge! Create practice quizzes to review the material just learned in class. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector for students to view the "leaderboard" (teacher dashboard) as in a game. Students score more points by answering questions quickly. As with other tools with a leaderboard, it is helpful to have a collaborative environment where competition is not the goal, instead working together and improving is important. Use Quizalize as a formative assessment and to differentiate to see what material needs more review with classes (or individual students). Use this tool often to obtain a snapshot of each student's understanding of content (subtopic/standards); quickly see who understands a concept and who needs some individualized practice. Share with students as a resource for creating quizzes for studying at home. When students are using surveys and polls for reports, introduce them to Quizalize since it works on any device. Share quizzes with your fellow teachers.

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Easy Tweets - easytweets.net

Grades
8 to 12
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Practice reading with real Tweets sorted by difficulty level with Easy Tweets. Choose easy, medium, or difficult and add a topic to receive a list of Tweets. Sorted using Cambridge...more
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Practice reading with real Tweets sorted by difficulty level with Easy Tweets. Choose easy, medium, or difficult and add a topic to receive a list of Tweets. Sorted using Cambridge University's English Vocabulary Profile Project, Tweets correspond to reading levels. Please note - Tweets are real Tweets and have not been monitored for content so you may want to preview results before sharing with students.

tag(s): chat (40), microblogging (27), twitter (39)

In the Classroom

Use Easy Tweets with ESL/ELL students as an authentic way to practice reading skills. Use to differentiate with different abilities of readers as you follow certain current events to learn more. Use Easy Tweets to model writing skills. Have students compare the differences between Tweets at different levels. Consider using this tool for finding Twitter information about possible people of interest (i.e. scientists, politicians, singers, actors), to follow. Looking for more ways to use Twitter in the classroom? Read more about Twitter at TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

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Learn to Play the Piano - Hoffman Academy

Grades
2 to 12
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Learn to play the piano through a series of video tutorials offered by Hoffman Academy. Participate in over 100 lessons sequenced to build ability and understanding. Each lesson includes...more
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Learn to play the piano through a series of video tutorials offered by Hoffman Academy. Participate in over 100 lessons sequenced to build ability and understanding. Each lesson includes instructions and opportunities for self-paced practice. The videos are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable; be sure to look at alternatives for sharing the videos on classroom computers.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): music theory (40), musical instruments (46), musical notation (37)

In the Classroom

If you don't have access to a piano, don't worry, you can still learn how to play! Take advantage of the online virtual piano, reviewed here, to practice just like you would on a real piano. Share with your school's music teacher as an excellent resource for teaching students notes and piano keys. The self-paced videos offer a great opportunity to differentiate for different ability levels while achieving success for all. Share a link to this site on your class website for parents to use at home.

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Kiddom - Kiddom

Grades
K to 12
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Kiddom is an online tool for managing and evaluating classroom assignments while working with Common Core Standards. Create and share your assignments with a Common Core tag. Use the...more
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Kiddom is an online tool for managing and evaluating classroom assignments while working with Common Core Standards. Create and share your assignments with a Common Core tag. Use the rubric creator to grade based on standards or traditional grading. Students submit work to Kiddom to receive instant feedback when assignments are evaluated. The teacher dashboard shows several different indicators of individual and class performance based on Common Core Standards. Add as many classes as you wish and switch easily between classes through your dashboard. Kiddom also includes several free math apps for K-2 students available for download through the iTunes store. Be careful, most are free; however, one is not. This program works using Gmail and Google Drive. There is a thorough FAQ section and several tutorial videos to help you get started. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.

tag(s): assessment (116), classroom management (143), commoncore (86), data (144), Learning Management Systems (24), rubrics (29), Teacher Utilities (100)

In the Classroom

Use Kiddom to collect data and differentiate student instruction in any classroom. Add each class or group of students to document. Follow learning goals and mastery of standards. Share Kiddom information with parents as part of your ongoing communication process. Use Kiddom to collect and gather information for IEP and other intervention and data collection meetings. If you are lucky enough to have access to Apple devices in your classroom, download the free math apps.

Comments

A fun to use app with very helpful support staff. Also, they have standards available for 7-12, not just K-6. Jordan, , Grades: 0 - 12

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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 (212), problem solving (262), sudoku (14), worksheets (63)

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 - 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 (58), energy (182), environment (274), gifted (71), molecules (48), motion (56), newton (24), photosynthesis (31), simple machines (26), 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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Black History Month Resources - PBS

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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 (78), civil rights (142), martin luther king (32), racism (57), video (249)

In the Classroom

Explore this site for many different lessons and resources to use during Black History Month and with lessons on racism and bias 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 (202), area (63), charts and graphs (184), decimals (117), division (144), estimation (42), fractions (217), geometric shapes (160), gifted (71), measurement (159), money (158), multiplication (183), number sense (85), percent (74), perimeter (25), subtraction (171), tangrams (11), timelines (47), volcanoes (57)

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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Choosito! - Eleni Miltsakaki

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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 (54), learning disability (19), Learning Management Systems (24), search engines (56), search strategies (24), Special Needs (40), Teacher Utilities (100)

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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CommonLit - CommonLit

Grades
4 to 12
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Access commonly taught themes for classic literature and discussion questions for that theme. Plus there are Text Sets perfect for social studies teachers! Choose a Lexile''''®...more
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Access commonly taught themes for classic literature and discussion questions for that theme. Plus there are Text Sets perfect for social studies teachers! Choose a Lexile''''® grade level for reading and download the text in PDF format or read online. Each text has a menu across the top offering Paired Texts, Related Media, a Teachers Guide, and a Parent Guide. Accompanying the text are critical thinking questions, an Assessment, and some have Guided Reading Mode. Choose the size of the font, listen to the Read Aloud (and pause it), translate to Spanish, and Highlight. Track student progress. You can search by Book, Genre, Grade Level, Literary Device, Text Set, Theme, and Spanish Texts. 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. Take a look at their blog, too! You'll find lots of suggestions and thoughtful reflections for using nonfiction texts with your students.

tag(s): critical thinking (110), differentiation (51), literature (223), spanish (103), Teacher Utilities (100), themes (10)

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 replacing paper and pencil and using a tool like Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers, reviewed here. You could take this to another level and have two groups read different selections on the same theme, use a graphic organizer to make comparisons for how the theme was presented, and then enhance learning by challenging the groups to present their findings to the class via video. Use a simple video creator like Biteable, 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
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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?...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 (212), problem solving (262), puzzles (174)

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 (113), vocabulary (249)

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 (86), number sense (85), numbers (170)

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.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (5), differentiation (51), learning styles (18), professional development (217)

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.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (23), native americans (80)

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). Extend learning by using a visual blogging tool such as Telegra.ph, reviewed here, for students to share their learning and understanding. With Telegra.ph you just click on an icon to upload images from your computer, add a YouTube or Vimeo, or Twitter links. This blog creator requires no registration.

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Story Shares - Louise Baigelman and Gary Herman

Grades
6 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
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 to 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): book lists (120), differentiation (51), digital storytelling (132), ebooks (34), reading comprehension (123)

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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Edcite - 2014 Edcite Inc.

Grades
1 to 8
2 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Give your students practice and instruction in standardized test style format. Find an easy way to create Common Core assignments using PARCC and Smarter Balanced question types. Passages...more
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Give your students practice and instruction in standardized test style format. Find an easy way to create Common Core assignments using PARCC and Smarter Balanced question types. Passages allow for highlighting, graphs, image labeling, and video sections for background knowledge. Questions include a section for written response to improve evidence-based answers as well as multiple choice. Teachers can share their assignments or use other teacher created assignments. Students receive immediately graded feedback. With a free teacher account, save questions to your library.

tag(s): assessment (116), test prep (80)

In the Classroom

Use technology to motivate and engage your students. Give these quality text passages personalized to your class needs. Use as a teaching tool on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Continue to use individually or as small group instruction. Pair a weak reader with a strong reader for independent pair work. You can easily differentiate by creating tiered assignments to meet each students' needs. Share at your next staff meeting to provide collaboration between teachers. Use in a flipped classroom and have students complete the work at home. They will still receive immediate feedback! Use at parent gatherings to provide an example of the grade level expectations. Put on your classroom website as a way to practice at home. Before assigning questions to individual students you might want to check the readability of the questions or supplied readings. Use a tool such as The Readability Test Tool, reviewed here. This reviewer found the articles in some grade levels to be about two years higher in reading level than the grade listed for the question.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Stampsy - Roman Mazurenko

Grades
5 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Stampsy is a web-based community platform for sharing stories and experiences. Construct units of content with a variety of images, text, video, and audio. Tell your own story. Use...more
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Stampsy is a web-based community platform for sharing stories and experiences. Construct units of content with a variety of images, text, video, and audio. Tell your own story. Use the Collect feature to save, repost, or merge images from any other user alongside your own content to spin new stories. Quickly sign up to create an account using email. You can also link through popular social networking sites.

tag(s): blogs (70), organizational skills (97), portfolios (20), social networking (86)

In the Classroom

Use Stampsy to create collections of images, videos, and more for any teaching unit. Share examples of different types of geography, collections of plants or animals, examples of literature - the possibilities are endless! As you gather lesson ideas and create your unit, use Symbaloo Learning Paths, reviewed here, to create differentiated lesson activities for your students. Have students create a Stampsy collection as an alternative to traditional types of presentations. Create a class account and have students add materials to a Stampsy to use with any unit. Share with students to use as an online portfolio for college applications.

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