Differentiated Instruction

Differentiation allows you as a classroom teacher to acknowledge your students' various prior knowledge, readiness, interests, preferences to learning, language acquisition, and to assist your students various abilities and backgrounds. As a teacher, you want to maximize the success of each student without driving yourself crazy with the actual process. Below are links to information, resources, strategies, and more to assist you in your quest to engage your students fully into your classroom learning environment. For a good glossary of terms related to differentiation, click here.

Information about Differentiation

Research from CAST about Differentiation - This site provides a definition of differentiation and applications to general education classroom.

Finding Manageable Ways to Meet Individual Needs - This article details numerous instructional strategies that will help you differentiate instruction.  

Learning Styles - This site provides several links to materials on learning styles. Click here  for additional information.

How to Differentiate Instruction - At this site, you can find a planning tool geared toward those working in the elementary school setting.

Differentiation and the Curriculum - Information and additonal links to work with your gifted students.

Curriculum Approaches and Adjustable Assignments

Centers - A center is a collection of material designed for hands-on experience related to a particular learning goal. This site provide an overview of centers used in classrooms.

Cooperative or Collaborative Learning - A technique tutorial available through Thirteen Ed Online.

Curriculum Compacting - This strategy is designed to make the appropriate curriculum adjustment for all students. 

Inquiry Based Learning - A technique tutorial available through Thirteen Ed Online.

Multiple Intelligences - An online tutorial from theory to classroom application can be found at this site.  Click here for a multiple intelligences survey.

Problem Based Learning - This site provides an overview of problem based learning.

Project Based Learning - This site provides checklists for project work, ways to increase student motivation, and ways of using multiple intelligences with alternative assessment.


A Different Place- This site has differentiated activities in all content areas.

All Kinds of Minds - This site addresses challenges students face with easy to implement ideas. 

Anchor Activities - Ways to begin a lesson

Brain Research and its impacts on classroom environment

The North Star - A site that believes every learner is unique and provides stories, puppets, and more for you to use for differentiation. Free posters can be downloaded and printed from here.

Rubristar - Rubrics created online can be done at this site.

Science Examples of Differentiated Learning - This site offers some examples of differentiation for the elementary science classroom. Click here for a Powerpoint presentation illustrating using science standards with differentiation.

TeAch-nology - Another location for rubric examples and source to create your own rubrics.

West Ed - Click here to learn how to support diverse learners through technology.


4MAT - This strategy allows for instruction to be tailored to four types of students using a natural cycle of learning to introduce, reinforce, and reflect on the content presented. Another resource can be found here.

Jigsaw - This site will provide up-to-date information on this cooperative learning technique.

Layered Curriculum - Based on current brain-imaging information, Layered CurriculumTM is a student-centered teaching method using a 3 layer model to encourage complex thinking and hold students accountable for their learning.

Literature Circles - Several sites are located here giving more information and examples of using literature with small groups of students.  Good overview and materials can be found here. 

Math Stations - A strategy where students are working on various tasks simultaneously and the tasks are linked.


Think, Pair, Share

Tiered Lesson - An explanation of what a tiered lesson can be found at this site. Here is a good overview about tiered lessons. Grades K - 2 example (scroll down); Grade 3 - 5 example; Grade 6 - 8 example; Grade 9 - 12 example Slidehow on tiered instruction   More K - 12 Examples with rubric; Kindergarten example; example of Social Studies plan

Additional strategies for differentiation.  Click here for materials from Middleweb.

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