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).
Grades1 to 3
In the ClassroomUse the three difficulty levels to differentiate addition and subtraction practice for your students. Share this website with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector and show the students HOW to use the program. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Play a game of "Around the World" using this activity. Or divide your class into teams and have some healthy competition. You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice their math skills at home.
Grades1 to 3
In the ClassroomShare this website with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector and show the students HOW to use the program. Then, create a learning center for students to use this website, or provide individual laptops or computers. Use the three difficulty levels to differentiate multiplication practice for your students. You may want to list this website in your class newsletter and on your class website so students can practice their math skills at home.
GradesK to 5
This site includes a worksheet generator so teachers can prepare their own review work. There is a calculator one click away for those who need it. There are some minor advertisements at this website. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomDisplay this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector to create an anticipatory set for a new concept in your elementary math class. Once students are familiar with the activities, allow them to explore this website if they finish early or for extra practice. Put this site in your classroom newsletter or on your class website so students can explore and learn at home.
ESL students will enjoy this site since it will help them learn the vocabulary for math operations in English, and it will also allow them to succeed at something in school. This site can also be used to differentiate for your learning support and/or gifted students based on their current level of math instruction.
Grades4 to 7
In the ClassroomThis website is geared towards ages 9 to 11; however there are links to similar activities for ages 7 to 9 on the left side of the site. Use this feature to differentiate for your special education, ESL, or ELL students.
Be sure to visit the Teachers Link for some excellent ideas. All of the activities are perfect for learning stations, individual computers, or on an interactive whiteboard or projection screen. The offerings available are so diverse, that this website could be used throughout several language arts, math, science, art, and music lessons. Feature this website in your class newsletter or on your website so students can practice these educational activities at home.
Grades2 to 5
This interactive website features topics such as friction, what dissolves, newspaper headlines, poetry, coordinates, time, and several others. Some of the motivational interactive activities include Looping the Loop, Escape Route, & On the Trail . There are also links to create comics, music mixers, planning a party, and skating. Be aware, since this site was created by the BBC, Americans may notice some slight spelling and language differences. Nearly all of these activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..
In the ClassroomWow - there are so many possible uses for this website in an elementary classroom. The lesson plans (at the Teachers link) offer standards and ready-to-go ideas. Check these for the direct connections to your curriculum. The interactive activities are perfect for computer lab time, cooperative learning, or class challenges using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to list this site on your class website so students can access these wonderful and enriching activities at home. If you are looking to differentiate instruction, allow your more advanced students to explore the activities listed for ages 9 to 11.
Grades1 to 5
In the ClassroomUse your interactive whiteboard or projector to make this "flight" a class challenge. Assign a few students to be "recorders." Have them record the names of the cities, countries, and/or continents that you visit. Make this into a thorough geography lesson by having students complete research the locations that Maggie visits during her journey.
This website is also ideal for individual computers. This allows students to practice the particular math operation that they need most help with AND differentiates so that students can work at an easy or difficult math level. Provide a link to this site in your class newsletter or on your class web page, so students can practice their math and geography skills at home.
Grades1 to 6
In the ClassroomHave you students work on individual computers and "take a swing" at this math activity. It offers a highly motivating review activity on various difficulty levels, enabling the teacher to differentiate the instruction based on the math levels of the individual students.
Grades1 to 6
In the ClassroomUse this site to share vocabulary by category, using pictures, audio, and written words with your ESL/ELL students, primary students, special ed students, or speech/language students. Include this link in a newsletter that goes home with ESL/ELL students. Mark it as a Favorite on your classroom computer. Demonstrate how to use this website on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students work alone (or with a partner) at their current speaking level. This website could also be used in a regular education class with emerging readers. The five difficulty levels allow teachers the flexibility to differentiate the instruction. Note: small type fonts and some advertising may make this site difficult for some younger students to use. Preview and decide what your class can handle.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): creativity (120)
In the ClassroomThis is a professional site rich in ideas for any teacher looking for new ideas or a jump-start to teach the arts. Make this course your personal goal for summer break or a collaborative professional development group.
Grades1 to 5
In the ClassroomWhat a wonderful tool to use to differentiate your lessons to meet the needs of your struggling students and your gifted students. Why not have the students work on individual computers and use the operation that they are currently learning (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division). And then have them work at their own individual difficulty level. If this isn't practical in your classroom, using this as a learning center on your class computer would also be beneficial. You WILL want to turn off the annoying sound!
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomWhat excellent choices to use as a learning center. This program allows the teacher to differentiate instruction (based on the current levels of your students). Each activity has several levels of difficulties. Mrs. Cassidy has also included a color-coded guide to help teachers determine which activities are easy, medium, hard, and very hard.
GradesK to 1
In the ClassroomOne concern: non-readers will not be able to READ the criteria. The game is intended for sharing with at least one reader (child or adult). This website could be incorporated in many ways: First, use an interactive whiteboard and include the entire class, asking them to raise their hands or use clickers to vote on whether you have "found" the pet as someone reads the criteria aloud. Second, you could use this website as a learning center for cooperative groups (including a reader)to investigate together. Third, you could differentiate the instruction by having students work on their own laptops (or in the computer lab). Turn off the irritating sound with the little speaker icon.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomUse this website as a starting point for researching the history of famous monsters. This is a great way to teach about fact vs fiction and the information literacy skill of evaluating web site reliability, using a topic that students will love. After they collect facts, have a monster "trial" in your classroom "courthouse" where two teams try to prove that each monster is FACT or FICTION, using "evidence" from this site and further research. Differentiate the tasks by assigning some of your brighter students to conduct the questioning (and perhaps challenge the web sources). Then have a the class-member "jury" reach a verdict: Fact or Fiction?
Grades1 to 5
tag(s): fractions (229)
In the ClassroomUse an interactive whiteboard to introduce this activity. Then differentiate the instruction and allow students to work on their own computers at their own levels. For more instructions on how to use this website, visit the "support materials" link.
Grades1 to 4
In the ClassroomThis website would work perfectly as an individual activity (differentiate the activities to the various levels of your students). If you prefer a group activity, get out the interactive whiteboard and treat your students to this engaging activity. Each challenge is only a few questions and could easily be incorporated into your daily math lessons. Add this as a warm-up or as part of your closure for a skill lesson.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomUse an interactive whiteboard to introduce your class to this site's activities. Then differentiate your math lessons by allowing students to work independently on the math skills they are currently acquiring. Even if you have only a single classroom computer, you can provide practice and challenge at all levels. This is also a wonderful site to share as a link from your teacher home page or in your classroom newsletter.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): resources (105)
In the ClassroomHow would you use this in your teaching? Create a set of RSS feeds for current events or a specific curriculum topic such as weather and make them available for an in-class activity, complete with directions. World language, world cultures, or geography teachers can profile a location on the globe, complete with local weather and news. Make separate tabs for separate activities. Students can access them by password or publicly from outside of class, as well. For primary grades, make simple instructions right on the desktop for a computer center activity. Use color coding of the instructions to differentiate for different children (Sam, I want you to do the yellow one). If your school permits students to set up accounts on web services, have groups make Protopages on an assigned topic, collecting and organizing resources, images, and information: "A Protopage Guide to Cells" or "Shakespeare's Times." Gifted and highly-able students will go crazy!
Skills needed: Join (free). Check out the Intro, Overview, and Quickstart to see how it works. Play to your heart's content, including making tabs. Learn about RSS feeds and other Widgets-- including sticky notes. Share the URL with those you wish to have use it. Note: this works on Internet Explorer 6 and higher and on Firefox. If your users are on older web browsers, the developers recommend upgrading. This may be a problem for some. Check with your end-user computers before you spend too much time making the perfect Protopage!
If you allow students to create their own Protopage, you will need to have very specific rules about content, since there are non-educational elements available.
Grades10 to 12
tag(s): journalism (57)
In the ClassroomTo take full advantage of this lesson, expand it into choosing photos off the web from news stories or from Flickr. (See the TeachersFirst Edge explanation of Flickr). You might even preview some sites and have pairs of students access them and categorize them by analysis. This would enable you to tailor the lesson to any literature you were working with from: Shakespeare to Hemingway to Grisham.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomTry an interactive whiteboard and treat your students to this challenging math activity. If you are able to use a lab or laptops, differentiate your instruction and allow the students to work on skills at their own levels. Each of the three "topic" sets has six lessons.
After you use it in class, include this site on your teacher web page for students to practice prior to your test or the "big one."