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Finding different pathways to get to the same place. Differentiated Instruction. Differentiated Instruction. Differentiated Learning. Brain Learning. Instructional Strategies. Objectives. Experience research-based theories and instructional strategies.

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Differentiated Instruction

Differentiated Learning

Brain Learning

Instructional Strategies


Experience research-based theories and instructional strategies.

Provide opportunities to process, discuss, and apply new learnings.

Have fun!

brain learning
Brain Learning

Brain learning theory is based on the structure and function of the brain.

  • 30% to 60% of our brain’s initial wiring is based on heredity.
  • 40% to 70% of our brain’s initial wiring is based on the learning environment.

Heredity can’t be changed, but a positive learning environment can increase functioning of the brain.

principles of brain based learning
Principles of Brain-Based Learning
  • The brain can perform several activities at once. (parallel processing)
  • The brain searches for meaning through patterning.
  • The brain processes wholes and parts simultaneously.
  • Learning involves conscious and unconscious processes.
  • Learning involves focused attention and peripheral perception.
  • Learning involves the whole physiology.
  • Memory is either rote or spatial.
  • Facts are understood best when embedded in natural, spatial memory.
  • Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat.
  • Each brain is unique.
brain compatible classroom
Brain Compatible Classroom

Absence of threat

Respects the uniqueness of all learners

Engages emotions

Understands the brain’s attention span

Active, relevant learning

Complex real-life learning

Specific immediate feedback

Utilizes patterns in learning

Learning is meaningful


The best way to learn is not through lecture, but by participation in realistic settings.

Value the process of learning as much as the result of learning.

brain learning and attention
Brain Learning and Attention

The brain needs time to process and time to rest. It is not designed for continuous attention.

Optimum instruction time for focused attention

K-2 5-7 minutes

3-7 8-12 minutes

8-12 12-15 minutes

Increase learning productivity with mental breaks and movement.

Provide a strong contrast from what you were doing to what you want to do to grab attention.

brain learning and motivation
Brain Learning and Motivation
  • Eliminate threat and create a positive learning environment.
  • Set goals that are relevant to the student in order to provide a focused attitude.
  • Build self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Manage emotions with varying instructional styles and differentiated instruction.
  • Provide immediate feedback.
brain learning and emotion
Brain Learning and Emotion

Emotions, thinking, and learning are linked.

Emotions: joy, fear, surprise, disgust, anger, sadness

Feelings: worry, anticipation, frustration, pessimism, optimism

“When emotions are engaged right after a learning experience, the memories are much more likely to be recalled and accuracy goes up.”

- Eric Jensen

brain learning and movement
Brain Learning and Movement

The part of the brain that processes movement is the same part that processes learning. Movement and learning are constantly interacting in the brain.

Exercise increases oxygen to the brain and strengthens key areas in the brain.

brain learning and meaning
Brain Learning and Meaning

Meaning is developed by creating links and associations.

Give meaning to learning by discussing information, organizing information, and reflecting.

brain learning and memory
Brain Learning and Memory

If we teach in bits and pieces, memory will fail.

If our instruction is vague and limited, memory will fail.

If no connections are made, memory will be short term.

If we teach in unique and meaningful ways, connect to prior experiences, and use the information often throughout instruction, memory will become long term.

nourish the brain
Nourish the Brain

The brain consumes 20% of the body’s energy. Good nutrition is essential to proper brain functioning.

The brain is approximately 80% water. Mild dehydration causes restless, scattered attention. Severe dehydration causes lethargic responses.

Sleep is critical for the brain to process learning. Puberty affects the sleep cycle.

Good quality air is linked to improved mental functioning. Keep plants in the room. Temperature controlled at 68-72 degrees.

Fluorescent lights cause eyestrain and anxiety. Use natural light and full spectrum lights.

Drugs and alcohol kill brain cells.

enrich the classroom
Enrich the Classroom

NoveltyKeep learning and the classroom fresh and new.

ChallengeProvide challenging learning tasks and content.

MeaningAvoid isolated facts. Make learning meaningful.

RedundantRevisit the content repeatedly in fresh and interesting ways.

FeedbackProvide frequent and immediate feedback.

stimulate the senses
Stimulate the Senses


Blue Studying, thinking, concentration Purple Tranquilizing, good for appetite control Pink Restful, calming Red Creative thinking, short-term energy boosts GreenProductivity, long-term energyPastels Minimum disruption across all moods Yellow,Orange Physical work, exercising, positive moods White Disruptive


Lavender Reduces stress Lemon Induces positive mood Peppermint Refreshes and invigorates Apple Relaxes brain waves Vanilla Relaxes and soothes


How are we smart?

Cooperative Learning, Spencer Kagan

lesson plan matrix
Lesson Plan Matrix

The Multiple Intelligence Classroom: Practical Implementation of the Theory

- David G. Lazear

perception and processing
Perception and Processing

Sensing is a function that employs the five senses to gather information.

Intuition is a function that helps the mind understand and find meaning behind facts and details.

Thinking employs logic, reason, and evidence to analyze information and make logical connections.

Feeling is subjective as it develops a personal perspective to analyze information and make human connections.

sensing thinking mastery learners
Sensing – ThinkingMastery Learners

Sensing-Thinkers are efficient, prefer action to words, and involvement to theory. They are realistic, practical, and logical.

Sensing-Thinkers need a structured environment. They prefer questions with right/wrong answers.

Sensing-Thinkers are workers but have a need for immediate feedback.

Sensing-Thinkers like competition. They work to master skills and content.

What? How?

intuitive thinking understanding learners
Intuitive – ThinkingUnderstanding Learners

Intuitive-Thinkers are curious about ideas and can deal with theory. They prefer to be challenged and like to think things through on their own.

Intuitive-Thinkers are planners and like to organize ideas and work. They do not like time limits.

Intuitive-Thinkers can break problems down into parts. They dig into ideas to thoroughly understand them.

Intuitive –Thinkers are avid readers, writers, and debaters.


intuitive feeling self expressive learners
Intuitive – FeelingSelf-Expressive Learners

Intuitive-Feelers are imaginative, committed to values, and open to alternatives.

Intuitive-Feelers prefer open-ended questions and do not like rote assignments. They are motivated by their own interests.

Intuitive-Feelers are independent. They do not like step-by-step procedures. They are flexible and are not bothered by change.

Intuitive-Feelers look for creative ways to express themselves.

What would happen if…?

sensing feeling interpersonal learners
Sensing – FeelingInterpersonal Learners

Sensing-feelers approach learning personally. They need to be recognized for their effort.

Sensing-feelers like cooperative learning activities. They are sociable and need to enjoy themselves while learning.

Sensing-feelers learn best with real-life problems.

Of what value is this to me?


Teachers have too much to cover in too little time. It is easy to enter a classroom with a single lesson delivered to all students at a single pace in a single instructional method.

Brain based research suggests that the single approach is ineffective for most students and even harmful to some.

  • Learning environments must feel emotionally safe for learning to take place.
  • To learn, students must experience appropriate levels of challenge.
  • Each brain needs to make its own meaning of ideas and skills.

Student Differences

  • Skill levels
  • Motivation
  • Multiple Intelligences
  • Learning styles
  • Language proficiency
  • Background experiences and knowledge
  • Social and emotional development
  • Levels of abstraction
  • Ability to attend
  • Physical needs

An effective teacher understands that students come with different needs.


The Aim of

Differentiated Learning

Maximize each student’s growth by meeting each student where he is and helping him to progress.


Key Principles of a Differentiated Classroom

  • The teacher is clear about what matters in subject matter.
  • The teacher understands, appreciates, and builds upon student differences.
  • Assessment and instruction are inseparable.
  • The teacher adjusts content, process, and product in response to student readiness, interests, and learning profile.
  • All students participate in respectful work.
  • Students and teachers are collaborators in learning.
  • Goals of a differentiated classroom are maximum growth and individual success.
  • Flexibility is the hallmark of a differentiated classroom.
characteristics of an effective differentiated classroom
Characteristics of an Effective Differentiated Classroom

Instruction is concept focused and principle driven.

On-going assessment of student readiness and growth are built into the curriculum.

Flexible grouping is consistently used.

Students are active explorers.


What can you differentiate?

the content students learn

the assessment tools being used

the performance tasks selected

the instructional strategies used



what is to be learned and the materials through which it is accomplished


activities designed to use skills to make sense of ideas and information


vehicles which demonstrate and extend what has been learned



the entry point of learning relative to a particular understanding or skill


curiosity or passion

Learning Profile

how we learn – shaped by intelligence preference, gender, culture, learning style


Differentiate by Readiness

Varied texts and/or supplemental materials

Varied scaffolding in reading, writing, research, technology

Tiered tasks and/or products

Flexible time use

Small group instruction

Homework options

Tiered or scaffolded assessment


Varied organizers


Differentiate by Interest

Exploratory studies

Entry points

Open student choice

Teacher-structured choice

Independent study


Group investigation

Interest groups and/or centers


Differentiate by Learning Profile

Vary teacher presentation

Vary student mode of expression



Complex instruction

Flexible environment

Multiple modes of assessment

a differentiated classroom
A Differentiated Classroom

Uses a variety of ways for students to explore curriculum content.

Uses a variety of sense-making activities and processes through which students can come to understand and own information and ideas.

Uses a variety of options through which students can demonstrate or exhibit what they have learned.


The more you differentiate, the more you see the needs. The more you want to meet the needs, the more you differentiate.

Put it all together.

building a toolkit of instructional strategies
Building a Toolkit of Instructional Strategies

Summarizing and Notetaking

Nonlinguistic Representations

Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback

Similarities and Differences

Cooperative Learning

Homework and Practice

Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers

Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition

Generating and Testing Hypotheses

effective teaching involves
Effective Teaching Involves:
  • The instructional strategies used by the teacher.
  • The management techniques used by the teacher.
  • The curriculum designed by the teacher.

An effective teacher is the by product of a thoughtful individual, skilled in the art and science of teaching, making decisions about the best practices for her students at all times.

- Marzano

questions not answered
Questions Not Answered

Are some instructional strategies more effective in certain subject areas?

Are some instructional strategies more effective at certain grade levels?

Are some instructional strategies more effective with students from different backgrounds?

Are some instructional strategies more effective with students of different aptitude?

what is the research
What Is The Research?

Teaching is no longer an art. Researchers began looking at the effects of instruction on student learning 30 years ago. Teaching is now a science.

Specific instructional strategies used by teachers in K-12 classrooms have proven to be successful for increasing student achievement.

Individual teachers influence student learning.


“The results of this study will document that the most important factor affecting student learning is the teacher. In addition, the results show wide variation in effectiveness among teachers. The immediate and clear implication of this finding is that seemingly more can be done to improve education by improving the effectiveness of teachers than by any other single factor. Effective teachers appear to be effective with students of all achievement levels, regardless of the level of heterogeneity in their classrooms.”

Wright et al., 1997

identifying similarities and differences
Identifying Similarities and Differences

Similarities and differences can be identified by comparing, classifying, using metaphors and analogies.

Understanding similarities/differences allows students to analyze complex problems in a simple way.

summarizing and notetaking
Summarizing and Notetaking

Summarizing and notetaking promote comprehension as students analyze a subject, choose what is essential, and put it all in their own words.

reinforcing effort and providing recognition
Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition

Showing a connection between effort and achievement addresses student attitudes and beliefs.

homework and practice
Homework and Practice

Homework is an opportunity to extend learning outside the classroom.

Practice is an opportunity to adapt skills while learning them.

nonlinguistic representations
Nonlinguistic Representations

Knowledge is stored in the brain both linguistically and visually. Use both forms of learning to achieve.

Visual tools are nonlinguistic representations and include graphic organizers and mind mapping.

cooperative learning
Cooperative Learning

Before new learning can occur, students need an opportunity to:

Express themselves;

Connect with people;

Connect with content.

Cooperative learning is a set of strategies which include student-student interaction within subject matter.

setting objectives and providing feedback
Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback

Objectives provide a direction for learning.

Feedback should be timely, specific, and corrective.

generating and testing hypotheses
Generating and Testing Hypotheses

Generating and testing hypotheses can be accomplished through deductive activities (using a rule to make a prediction about a future event) or inductive activities (drawing conclusions based on information given).

cues questions and advance organizers
Cues, Questions, And Advance Organizers

This strategy helps students use what they already know about a topic to promote further learning.

Cues, questions, and advance organizers are most effective when used before presenting the learning.

you are the key to success
You Are The Key To Success

As we learn about each individual strategy during the next few Fridays:

Examine your use of instructional strategies in the classroom;

Test the effectiveness of your current practices;

Consider and try new practices.