Differentiated Instruction

To differentiate instruction is to match lessons, activities, and assignments to different students' learning needs, levels, rates, interests and styles.  It involves tailoring the content, process and/or products of teaching and learning to enhance each student's learning experiences and outcomes.  Differentiated instruction is the opposite of "one size ifts all";  it reflects the teacher's commitment to serve diverse learners with equally diverse instructional approaches.

13 Principals of Best Practice Learning (Zemelman, Daniels, Hyde, 1988):

1.  Student centered
2.  Experiential
3.  Holistic (if you only do "part" work you never see the big picture)
4.  Authentic
5.  Expressive
6.  Reflective
7.  Social
8.  Collaborative
9.  Democratic
10.  Cognitive
11.  Developmental
12.  Constructivist
13.  Challenging

Reading Rockets - practical information for elementary teachers

Edutopia - 18 teacher tested strategies on differentiated instruction


Teachhub - Top ways to implement differentiated instructional strategies


Reteach and Enrich - unique way to create differentiated groups based upon assessment

  • Tools & Templates
  • Links
  • Teachers Sharing with Teachers
  • Library Resources
  • Printable Flash Card Maker
    Sherryl Bailey - Add as many flashcards as you want, change the number per page, add borders, etc.  If you don't want info on the back of the card (designed to fold over to have two sided cards) you can just type in the "back" field to save that half of the paper from being blank.  You can save your card set as a PDF file on your computer for future use.  This is probably the simplest thing I have found that also allows you to save your cards for future use.
  • Cubing Activity Link

The following resources are available through the district professional learning library.  You can check them out through the Professional Library link to the left.

  • Differentiating Instruction with Technology in the Middle Schools; Grace E. Smith, Stephanie Throne; 2009
  • Differentiation in Practice: A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum, Grades K-5; Carol Ann Tomlinson, Caroline Cunningham Eidson; 2003
  • Differentiation in Practice: A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum, Grades 5-9; Carol Ann Tomlinson, Caroline Cunningham Eidson; 2003
  • At Work in the Differentiated Classroom, Facilitator's Guide, Programs 1,2, and 3 CD; ASCD; 2001
  • The Common Sense of Differentiation: Meeting Specific Learner Needs in the Regular Classroom Guide and CD; ASCD; 2005
  • Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom: Strategies and Tools for Responsive Teaching; Carol Ann Tomlinson; 2003
  • How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms; Carol Ann Tomlinson; 2001
  • Leading and Managing:  Differentiated Classroom; Carol Ann Tomlinson, Marica B. Imbeau; 2010
  • Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design; Carol Ann Tomlinson, Jay McTighe; 2006