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Differentiated Instruction. South O’Brien January 14, 2008. So, how did it go?. Small Group Sharing. In your small groups . . . . Share one lesson that you remodeled and then implemented in the classroom. Make sure to share the learning goal(s) of the lesson and how it was differentiated.

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differentiated instruction

Differentiated Instruction

South O’Brien

January 14, 2008

so how did it go

So, how did it go?

Small Group Sharing

in your small groups
In your small groups . . .
  • Share one lesson that you remodeled and then implemented in the classroom.
  • Make sure to share the learning goal(s) of the lesson and how it was differentiated.
  • How did the students respond?
  • What were your perceptions of the lesson?
  • Use the concept map to help with your explanation.


Is a teacher’s response to learner’s needs

Guided by general principles of differentiation

Respectful Tasks

Quality Curriculum

Flexible Grouping

Assessment for Instruction

Building Community

Teachers can differentiate through






According to students’



Learning Profile

Through a variety of instructional strategies such as:

Graphic Organizers . . . Physical Models . . . Mental Pictures . . . Pictures/Pictographs . . . Kinesthetic Activity . . . RAFT . . . Curriculum Compacting . . . Learning Contracts . . . Tiered Instruction . . . Learning/Interest Centers . . . Web Quests . . . Assignment Menus . . . Etc.

readiness levels
Readiness Levels
  • Pre-assessment of content
  • Pre-requisite skills or knowledge
  • Reading level
assessing student readiness activity
Assessing Student Readiness Activity
  • Remediate the skill
  • Work with the current skill level
  • Work around the current skill level


Please watch the time on the screen so that we may reconvene in 15 minutes.

a differentiated lesson on life cycles
A Differentiated Lesson on “Life Cycles”
  • Read pages 6-16 of your selected animal book. As you read, complete the top row of the “Share Learning” grid.
  • Meet with others who have read about the same animal as you (your expert group). Add to your notes as needed.
  • Meet with your base team (4 members, with each animal represented). In turn, present your notes to each other, so that all team members can complete the grid.
  • As a team, answer the questions on the back of the grid.

A major goal of this lesson was to focus all students on the same essential knowledge, while providing readings on different topics (content).

this lesson was tiered
This lesson was “tiered.”

By keeping the focus of the

activity the same, but

providing routes of learning,

the teacher maximizes the

likelihood that:

1) each student comes away with

the same essential skills &

understandings, and

2) each student is appropriately

challenged at their level.

Tiered assignments are differentiated tasks and projects that you develop based on your diagnosis of students’ needs.

creating multiple paths for learning
Creating Multiple Paths For Learning

Key Concept



Advanced readiness level

Limited readiness level

Expected readiness level


Reaching Back

Reaching Ahead

so what made it tiered
So what made it “tiered?”
  • Describe what you would consider the essential understandings of this lesson. Would all students have opportunity to learn these concepts?
  • How many versions of today’s task were made available? Which version would be the “standard” version?
  • In a classroom setting, what would provide the basis for assigning students to each group?
  • Describe how students could be fairly assessed relative to this lesson.
making tiering invisible
Making tiering “invisible”
  • Make flexible grouping the “norm” in your classroom.
  • Introduce all tiered activities in an equally enthusiastic manner and alternate which activity is introduced first.
  • Strive for different work, not simply more or less work.
  • Strive for tasks that are equally active, equally interesting and engaging.
  • Strive for tasks that are fair in terms of work load.
developing workcards for a tiered lesson
Developing workcards for a “tiered” lesson
  • Begin with a classroom task that you have used in the classroom. Select a task that most students have found to be engaging and appropriately challenging. Record this task on a work card.
  • Develop enough versions of the original task to challenge the range of learners. You may need to create one, two, or three additional versions.
  • Consider how you will make this tiering “invisible” to your students.


Please watch the time on the screen so that we may reconvene in 40 minutes.


Gatekeeper SkillsGatekeeper Skill #1: Become a student of your students.Gatekeeper Skill #2: Developing clarity about your student learning goals…Gatekeeper Skill #3: Develop a repertoire of instructional strategiesGatekeeper Skill #4: Manage for flexibility

introducing a di lesson planning template
Introducing a DI lesson planning template…

…that integrates all four gatekeeper skills:

  • Being very clear about a unit’s learning goals
  • Becoming a student of your students
  • Selecting appropriate differentiated strategies, deciding whether to differentiate content, process, or product.
  • Keeping flexible classroom management in mind
planner part 1 establish a very clear curriculum
Planner - Part 1Establish a very clear curriculum

Start with Good Curriculum:

Planning a focused curriculum means clarity about what students should KNOW, UNDERSTAND and BE ABLE TO DO

planner part 2 studying your students
Planner- Part 2Studying Your Students
  • Consider student interests as they relate to the unit topic. (see separate planning guide)
  • Consider student readiness as it relates to this unit. (see separate planning guide)
  • Consider student learning profiles, and how they can be addressed in this unit (see separate planning guide)
planner part 3
Planner - Part 3
  • One lesson that has the potential for remodeling
  • Description of original format
  • What would I typically do?
planner part 4 develop a repertoire of instructional strategies
Planner - Part 4Develop a repertoire of instructional strategies
  • What options do I have when sharing new information with students?
  • In what ways can I honor students’ varied preferences for learning?
  • What instructional approaches best serve the goals of this particular unit?
  • What choices for learning might I offer students?
  • What options can I provide students for demonstrating their learning?
planner part 5 managing for flexibility
Planner- Part 5Managing for flexibility
  • How will I give directions?
  • What will I do if students finish early?
  • Will the differentiation be by student choice or teacher choice?
  • How am I encouraging student responsibility?
  • If the work is “tiered,” how can I make it as “invisible” as possible?
  • Do rubrics need to be developed?
  • What problems might arise?
differentiated instruction and ubd


Understandings Essential Questions







Assessment Evidence




Other Evidence:















Differentiated Instruction and UbD

Should not be differentiated

What are the big ideas?

Evidence of learning may be differentiated, but not key assessment criteria

What’s the evidence?

Should be differentiated

How will we get there?


Using UbD to Plan Tiered Assignments

•Clarify your essential learnings, and how they will be assessed.

•Create the on-level task first.Then adjust up and down as needed.







“Adjusting the


see you next time february 15

See you next time!February 15

Bring one Tiered lesson. Be prepared to share your classroom experience with this lesson.