**Curriculum Ladders**
Alternative Assessments:
(Low or High Prep)
 Wide variety of possibilities,
including use of different rubrics or assessments/tests for different
students.
 Low Prep Version:
Include as part of the assessment several questions of varying
complexity or focused on different aspects of the concept, allowing
students to make some choices about which ones they answer. (Example:
Students are required to answer question 1 but can choose from questions
24 for their second response.)
Anchor Activities (or Sponge Activities):
(High Prep)  Beneficial for classroom management as
well as instruction
 Designed for students to work on
either immediately at the beginning of class time or after their class
work has been completed, so that their instructional time is maximized
 Intended to extend or deepen understanding
of a concept or skill, not just to be busy work
 Resources, Examples and More Information
Centers (or Stations):
(High Prep)  Centers can be used to arrange various
activities and assignments by level of difficulty or complexity or by
interest.
Set up Centers:  By Readiness: Set up 34
experiments that deal with the same concept, but that vary in
complexity. Lowerlevel students may work on the experiment with fewer
steps while higherlevel students work on a more complicated task.
 By Learning Style:
Set up stations focused on the same concept but designed for different
modalities. Auditory learners may listen to a recording of text while
visual learners examine maps and posters and kinesthetic learners use
manipulatives.
 By Interest: Set up
stations focusing that provide additional information about and
enrichment of specific components of the concepts being studied. Allow
students to choose which component they spend their time working on.
Cubing: (Low or High Prep)  Six commands or questions, written on the
sides of a cube. Students roll the cube and respond. Cubes may be used
to differentiate by readiness or interest.
 Idea: Each side of the cube may
represent a level of Bloom’s Taxonomy
 Low Prep Version: Write
the six commands/questions on the board, numbered 16. Have the
students roll a dice to determine which one to respond to.
 Materials/Resources:
Cube Template (pdf)
Curriculum Compacting: (High Prep)
 Used for individual or small groups of
students with advanced knowledge of the concepts or skills to be
studied
 Identify the skills or aspects of the
concepts with which the students are already proficient. Spend less
time on those parts of the curriculum, allowing the students to focus on
what the really need to learn and understand.
 Worksheet to determine if student is ready for curriculum compacting.
Homework Options: (Low or High Prep)
 Assign homework based on a student’s
level of readiness. All students may be working on the same concept or
skill, but are assigned homework of varying level of difficulty. Or
students may be given assignments focusing on different skills, based on
their individual needs.
 Materials/Resources: The Curriculum Ladders may be helpful in
identifying what skills each student or group of students
Jigsaw: (Low Prep)  Works well with small groups needing
to cover large amounts of material
 Divide the material to be covered in
35 parts. Put the same number of students in each small group. One
student is each group is assigned to cover one of the parts of the
materials. The student’s job is to become the “expert” on their portion
of the material so that they can then share what they’ve learned with
the rest of their group.
 Students read their assigned material
independently
 Students meet with those from other
groups that read the same material to discuss what was most important
and what needs to be taught to their groups. (optional)
 Students meet with their small groups
and to share what they’ve learned with each other. Follow with whole group discussion of the most important
points.
KWL Charts: (Low Prep)  Columns: "What I Know," "What I Want to
Know," and "What I Learned"
 Can be used at the beginning of a unit to
assess students' background knowledge and interest in the topic, or it
can be used at various points throughout the unit to assess student
progress
 Materials/Resources:
KWL Chart (Word) or
KWL Chart (pdf)
Learning Contracts:
(High Prep)  Works well with individual students
 Detailed list of directions and
assignments for the student to complete within a set period of time.
Teacher and student work together to establish contract requirements and
due dates. Can be effectively used to develop goalsetting.
 Materials/Resources:
General Learning Contract
Literature Circles:
(Average Prep)  Small groups of students, arranged by
readiness level or interest, reading a novel together
 Idea: The whole class may be reading
novels by the same author or that have similar themes, but each
literature group has a novel that is specifically appropriate for them.
This allows for whole group discussion as well as small group work.
 Materials/Resources: The Lexile
Framework is a great resource for identifying appropriate
novels for each group. The MAP test scores have Lexile scores listed on the report.
Menus (or Agendas): (Low Prep)
 List of assignments, activities, or
projects a student will work on during a set amount of time (ie. one
class period, one week, one unit). Students may choose the order which
they complete the work.
Menu Format:  “Main Course” Items – those
assignments that the student is required to complete
 “Side Dish” Items – Students choose
23 assignments from a list of options
 “Dessert” Items – Optional items that
students may choose to do for additional enrichment or practice
Question Choices: (Low Prep)
Reading Buddies: (Low Prep)  Pair each student with another of a
different reading level (low with medium, medium with high) for partner
reading and discussion
 Also, pairing upper grade students with
lower grade students, such as having a fourth grade class buddy up with a
first grade class, provides reading practice for all students and can
be motivating for both groups.
ThinkPairShare: (Low Prep)
 Great for providing opportunities for
all students to respond during whole group discussion
 Ask a question or propose a problem
 Students first think of an answer or
idea on their own (23 minutes)
 Next, students share, and possibly
revise, their responses by sharing with a partner.
 Then open discussion to the whole
group to share and compare answers and ideas.
Tiered Activities: (Low or High Prep)
 34 different activities of different
levels of complexity and difficulty, but with a common goal or end
result. For example, different groups of students may be working on
science experiments of different levels of difficulty, but all with the
intention of learning about electric circuits.
 1st  Begin by planning the
midlevel activity, what you might normally plan for your whole class.
 2nd  Then add a level of
difficulty or complexity to make the same lesson more challenging for
higherlevel students.
 3rd  Simplify or add
resources to the original acitivity to better meet the needs and fill in
any learning gaps for lowerlevel students.
 Tiered activities can lead to
effective whole group discussion and comparison of results.
Tiered Rubrics: (High Prep)
 23 rubrics are developed for one
project, and given to students based on readiness. This provides all
students with appropriate skills to focus on and a chance to be
successful.
Varied Organizers: (High Prep)
 Provide 23 organizers of differing
complexity.
 For example, students needing more
guidance may be given an organizer with blanks for them to fill in.
Students ready for more independence may be given an incomplete
organizer that requires them to fill in blanks as well as adding
detail. More advanced students may be given only a basic framework for
the organizer which they complete on their own.

