Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated instructions

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A Special Note…

Differentiated instruction is a very popular, not to mentionbroad, topic in today’s educational arena. It should be notedthat this presentation is only intended to be a brief overviewof this encompassing topic. There is an enormous amount ofinformation about differentiated instruction and the relatedconcepts that are intertwined with differentiated instruction,which could not be included within this format. To learnmore about differentiated instruction, please refer to the“Websites” and “Resources” slides at the end of this powerpoint, or contact your Florida Inclusion Network facilitator at:www.FloridaInclusionNetwork.com

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Participants will…

Learner Objectives:

• Become familiar with vocabulary related todifferentiated instruction.

• Understand basic principles of differentiatingcontent, process, and product in anacademically diverse classroom.

• Be able to implement one or moreinstructional strategies that supportdifferentiation.

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Personal Personal ExperiencesExperiences




As you know, students come to our classroomswith a variety of:

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The biggest mistake of past centuries inteaching has been to treat all children as ifthey were variants of the same individualand thus to feel justified in teaching them

all the same subjects in the same way.-Howard Gardner

Unfortunately, some classroom structuresdo not address this student diversity. Infact…

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Let’s take a look at the instructionalstrategies we typically use in ourclassrooms and see how they effect ourstudents’ memory retention rates.

You might want to get a piece of paper and apencil to see if you can guess the correct answers.

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Effective Instructional Strategies


Most Effective

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Effective Instructional Strategies

How’d you do?

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The Million Dollar Question:So now you have a classroom of diverselearners… and you know that some ofour past teaching strategies are notgoing to be effective with them…So,the million dollar question is…

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Differentiated Instruction is…

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Differentiation is…


As well as…

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• All students participate in respectful work.• Teacher and students work together to ensure

continual engagement & challenge for eachlearner.

• The teacher coordinates use of time, space, andactivities.

• Flexible grouping, which includes whole classlearning, pairs, student-selected groups, teacher-selected groups, and random groups.

Principles of a DifferentiatedClassroom

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• Time use is flexible in response to student needs.• A variety of management strategies, such as

learning centers, interest centers, learningbuddies, etc. is used to help target instruction tostudent needs.

• Clearly established individual and groupcriteria provide guidance toward success.

• Students are assessed in a variety of ways todemonstrate their own thought and growth.

Principles of a DifferentiatedClassroom

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Traditional Classroom vs. Differentiated Classroom

• Differences are acted uponwhen problematic.

• Assessment is most commonat the end of learning to see“who got it”

• A relatively narrow sense ofintelligence prevails

• Coverage of curriculumguides drives instruction

• Whole class instructiondominates

• A single text prevails

• Differences are studied as a basisfor planning.

• Assessment is on-going anddiagnostic to to make instructionmore responsive to learner needs

• Focus on multiple forms ofintelligences is evident

• Student readiness, interest, andlearning profile shape instruction

• Many instructional arrangementsare used

• Multiple materials are provided


Adapted from “The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners,” byCarol Ann Tomlinson, 1999, p.16

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is a teacher’s response to learners’ needs

guided by general principles of differentiationsuch as:

respectful tasks flexible grouping ongoing assessmentand adjustment

ways to differentiate:

Content Process Product

according to students’

Readiness Interests Learning Profile

Differentiation of Instruction

“The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners,” byCarol Ann Tomlinson, 1999, p. 15

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Ways to Differentiate:




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Learning Profile & Need-

According to students’

Interests and Attitudes-

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Tiered Lessons

Flexible Grouping


Multiple IntelligenceOptions

Graphic Organizers

Response/Exit Cards

Multiple Texts

Reading & Study Buddies

Anchor Activities


Choices of books

Interest Surveys

Multiple Levels ofQuestioning

Higher Prep Strategies Lower Prep Strategies

Strategies for DifferentiationConfused? Let’s break it down. Differentiation can includecomplex strategies, like writing tiered lesson plans, or it cantake a more simplistic form, such as using reading buddies orthink-pair-share strategies. Here is a condensed list of thecontinuum of differentiated strategies.

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A Closer Look

Within the next few slides, you will be introducedto a few differentiated instructional strategies suchas tiered lessons, exit cards, flexible grouping,anchor activities, response cards, think-tac-toeboards, cubing, graphic organizers, and mind maps.Remember, these are just some of the manyexamples of differentiated instructionalstrategies. As you progress through yourFOR-PD modules, you will also encounterclassroom friendly examples of these andother differentiated strategies that you maywant to implement in your classroom.

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Tiered InstructionProvides teachers with a means of assigning

different tasks within the same lesson or unit.

The tasks will vary according to the students’:

Readiness Interest

Learning Profile

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What can be Tiered?

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Step 2.

Planning Tiered ActivitiesA Four Step Method

Step 1.

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Step 3.




“Adjusting the Task”

Step 4.

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• Initially use whole group for instruction

• Divide group for practice or enrichment

• Not used as a permanent arrangement

• Use groups for one activity, a day, a week, etc.

Flexible Grouping

Flexible grouping is the cornerstone of successful differentiatedinstruction – Carol Ann Tomlinson

Flexible grouping is an opportunity for students towork with a variety of students, through whole groupor in many different forms of small groups. The keyto flexible grouping is in the name…FLEXIBLE.Students have an opportunity to be in differentgroups depending on the activity.

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• Gives students and teachers a voice inwork arrangements.

• Allows students to work with a variety ofpeers.

• Keeps students from being “pegged” asadvanced or struggling.

How does flexible grouping benefit students?

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Can be determined by:

Group Membership

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Anchor Activities

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Some Anchor Activities

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The Purpose of an Anchor Activity

Provide meaningful work for students whenthey finish an assignment or project, whenthey first enter the class, or when they are“stumped.”

Provide ongoing tasks that tie to the contentand instruction

Free up the classroom teacher to work withother groups of students or individuals

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Exit Cards (AKA “Tickets Out The Door”) are usedto gather information on student readiness levels,interests, and/or learning profiles. They can be used asquick assessments to see if the students are “getting it.”

The teacher hands out index cards to students at theend of an instructional sequence or class period. Theteacher asks the students to respond to a pre-determined prompt on their index cards and then turnthem in as they leave the classroom or transition toanother subject.

The teacher reviews the student responses andseparates the cards into instructional groups based onpreset criteria.

Exit Cards

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Group 1Group 2

Group 3

Readiness Groups

Exit Cards Groupings

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Exit Card Samples

Notice how these exit cards have been differentiated by readiness.Each student is still expected to know about similes and metaphors,but their individual questions are based on their skill level and theirdegree of knowledge.

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After reading over my rough draft…

Exit Card 3 – 2 – 1 Summarizer

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Response Cards

Increase participation level of all students

Increase on-task behavior

Provide immediate feedback

Are highly motivating and fun!

JUST THINK…If response cards were used instead of hand raisingfor just 30 minutes per day, each student wouldmake more than 3,700 additional academicresponses during the school year.

Response cards are another form of quick assessment. Eachstudent has a card and indicates their understanding of a topicby holding up the appropriate response. Response cards:

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Types of Response Cards…

Preprinted Student made Write-on boards






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Make a gameboard about yourstory. Include key


(in order)

Write a newbeginning or

ending to the story.

Use a sequencechart or timeline todescribe at least 7


Make up alimerick or

cinquain poemabout the setting

of your story

Draw a picturedescribing at least

3 settings fromthe story.

Build a miniaturestage setting for

your story.

Name & draw aperson who is like

one of thecharacters from

the book.

Complete acharacter report

card .

Complete a

character analysisfor the main

character of yourstory.

Think-Tac-ToeThink-Tac-Toe boards give students a choice in how theydemonstrate their understanding of a given topic.

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• Designed to helpstudents think about atopic from differentangles

• Game-like—motivateschildren

• Recognizes largereservoir of knowledgeand skills of somelearners

• Satisfies hunger todo somethingdifferent

• Eliminates boredomand lethargyresulting fromunnecessary drilland practice.

• Often used toreinforce, extend ordemonstratelearning


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• Aides comprehension, conceptdevelopment and learning

• Highlights key vocabulary• Provides an organized, visual display of

knowledge• Focuses attention on key elements• Helps integrate prior knowledge with new


Graphic Organizers

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Venn Diagram

Planning Organizer


Graphic Organizers

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Mind Mapping








Teachers Students







Central Image

Main Ideas

Add Details





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What else can I do?Here are some more specific strategies you can do as a teacherthat will help meet the needs of ALL the students in your class.

Use cassette recorders as a means for students to receiveinformation or as a means for students to demonstrate knowledge

Use graphic organizers such as flowcharts, Venn diagrams,semantic mapping, mind mapping, etc.

Have students underline or highlight key words or phrases

Use texts that are tailored to the students’ reading levels

Use questions that are tailored to the students’ comprehensionlevel (Bloom)

Collect topic related supplementary materials such as comicbooks, newspaper articles, magazines, etc.

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Provide word walls for students to reference while reading/writing

Encourage different forms of expressing learning such asdrawing, acting, poetry, etc.

Use flexible grouping, peer tutoring, learning buddies, etc.

Use ongoing assessment of students progress so that interventioncan occur quickly (exit cards, response cards…)

Use student diaries, learning logs, journals, prediction logs

Shorten or lengthen assignments while still maintaining theobjective of the lesson

Rewrite problems using less/more complex language

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• Examine Your Philosophy About IndividualStudent Needs• Start Small• Grow Slowly - But Grow• Envision How an Activity Will Look• Step Back and Reflect• Talk with Students Early and Often• Continue to Empower Students• Continue to be Analytical

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In My Differentiated Classroom…

Everyone will feel welcomed

Mutual respect will be nonnegotiable

Students will feel physical, mental & emotional safety

There will be a pervasive expectation of growth

I will teach for success

A new sort of fairness will be evident and accepted

We will collaborate for mutual growth and success

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We are for difference,for respecting difference,

for valuing difference,

until difference no longermakes a difference.

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• www.FloridaInclusionNetwork.com

• ideanet.doe.state.in.us/exceptional/gt/tiered_curriculum/welcome.html

• www.mcps.k12.md.us/departments/eii/eiimanagepracticespage.html

• www.Help4teachers.com

• www.teachervision.com

• www.ascd.org


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• www.quasar.ualberta.calddc/inc/difinst.htm

• http://pirate/shu.edu/~collinjo/edsites/difflearn.htm

• http://www.ascd.org/pdi/demo/diffinstr/tomlinson2.html

• www.KaganOnline.com

• www.weac.org/kids/1998-99/march99/differ.htm

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How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-AbilityClassrooms 2nd Edition By Carol Ann Tomlinson University ofVirginia

The Differentiated Classroom Responding to the Needs ofAll Learners By Carol Ann Tomlinson


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Differentiated Instructional Strategies: One Size Doesn’tFit All By Gayle H. Gregory and Carolyn Chapman

Differentiating Instruction for Students with LearningDisabilities By William Bender