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Differentiating Instruction for Young Learners. Lori Elliott SDE [email protected] How are teachers and hamsters similar?. Children’s behavior and needs don’t suddenly change on their birthdays. Developmental age does not always match chronological age.

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How are teachers and hamsters similar
How are teachers and hamsters similar?

Child development

Children’s behavior and needs don’t suddenly change on their birthdays.

Developmental age does not always match chronological age.

Individual development is uneven.

Child Development

Yardsticks by chip wood

2 their birthdays.nd Edition

Available August 9

Yardsticks by Chip Wood

Birthday cluster
Birthday Cluster their birthdays.

  • Get to know your students by listing them youngest to oldest.

  • Look for clusters.

  • Do you have a developmentally young or old class?

  • Anticipate the changes over the year and as you approach testing time.

What is differentiated instruction
What is Differentiated Instruction? their birthdays.

It’s consistently and proactively creating different pathways to help all your students to be successful.

~Betty Hollas

Differentiated instruction
Differentiated Instruction their birthdays.

Based on Student Differences

Teach a concept at multiple levels

Assessment is Ongoing

Flexible Grouping

Tier your lessons
Tier Your Lessons? their birthdays.

Multiple Pathways

We can tier by
We Can Tier By: their birthdays.

Developing a tiered assignment
Developing a Tiered Assignment their birthdays.

  • Know:

  • Understand:

  • Be Able to Do:

When differentiating you must know

Hollas, B. (2005) their birthdays.

When Differentiating You Must Know . . .

  • each child’s readiness level.

    • early readiness

    • readiness

    • advanced readiness

  • each child’s interests. (p. 138)

  • how each child learns best. (p. 139)

  • how the child feels about the classroom, him/herself, and learning.


Did you know
Did You Know? their birthdays.

  • 46% of people are visual learners

  • 19% of people are auditory learners

  • 35% of people are kinesthetic learners


Morning meeting
Morning Meeting their birthdays.

  • Class meets in a circle daily for 15-30 minutes.

  • Greeting

  • Sharing

  • Group Activity

  • News and Announcements

Greeting their birthdays.

  • Set Morning Meeting Guidelines.

  • Teach eye contact and proper speaking techniques.

  • Discuss, model and practice greetings in a friendly way.

  • Sets a positive tone for the day.

  • Provides a sense of recognition and belonging.

Www originsonline org
www.originsonline.org their birthdays.

Group activity
Group Activity their birthdays.

  • Songs

  • Games

  • Chants

  • Poems

The wishy washy washerwoman
The Wishy-Washy Washerwoman their birthdays.

In the deep dark jungle where nobody goes

There’s a wishy-washy washerwoman washing her clothes

She goes “Ooh, ahh, ooh, ahh,

Ooh ahh ahh and a ringy-ding-ding!”

Black socks
Black Socks their birthdays.

Black socks, they never get dirty,

The longer I wear them, the stronger they get!

Sometimes I think I should wash them,

But something inside me keeps saying , “Not yet! Not yet! Not Yet!


Whole group: Each person shares one thing about a specific topic.

Interactive: One person briefly shares and invites questions.

Focused: Interactive, but speaker addresses a specific topic.

Partner: 2 people share about a topic. One partner summarizes for the group.


News and announcements
News and Announcements topic.

Morning Message

  • K-2 Use a regular and predictable format.

  • Include a place for students to interact with the message.

Ways we can differentiate
Ways We Can Differentiate topic.





Environment topic.

  • Equipment

  • Grouping of Students

  • Location

Website differentiation
Website Differentiation topic.

  • Introduce a Concept

  • Practice a Skill

  • Extend a Concept

  • Review a Concept

Bookmark sites
Bookmark Sites topic.

  • I Keep Bookmarks

  • Google Bookmarks

  • Delicious

  • Portaportal

Office topic.

  • Word for Writing

  • Publisher for Advertisements/Shorter Pieces

  • Newspapers

  • Brochures

  • Excel: Higher Levels

  • Digital Portfolio

PowerPoint topic.

  • Lessons

  • Alternative to Reports

  • Use the Narration Feature

  • Bigger Audience: Share with Community Leader

  • Post Online

Movies topic.

Assessment? topic.

Movement topic.

  • Movement involves more of a student’s brain than does seatwork since movement accesses multiple memory systems. (Jensen, 2001)

  • Having students stand up, walk, jump, and clap as they review, understand, or master material will strengthen their procedural memories. (Sprenger, 1999)

The Liberty Bell . . . topic.

Here’s a story

Of the Liberty Bell

It cracked the first time it was rung.

They tried to fix it; it cracked again;

It weighed at least a ton!

Then one day while the bell was in Pennsylvania,

People saw it and thought how they were free

The crack . . . . was just like America

We struggled for liberty

The Liberty Bell! . . .ding!

The Liberty Bell! . . .ding!

That’s the way . . . . . it became the Liberty Bell!

Ding da ding ding!

Snowball fight

Hollas, B. (2005) topic.

Snowball Fight

Vocabulary in motion
Vocabulary in Motion topic.

Hollas, B. (2005)

Give me five five critical questions to ask while reading

Hollas, B. (2005) topic.

Give Me Five!Five Critical Questions to Ask While Reading

  • What mental pictures do I see? (Visualization)

  • What does this remind me of? (Connection)

  • What do I know, even though I wasn’t told this information in the text? (Inference)

  • What might happen next? (Prediction)

  • What was this mostly about? (Summarization)

Thinking takes time. topic.

WAIT – Pair/Share – Hands

Differentiated Wait Time

I have who has

Hollas, B. (2005) topic.

I Have . . . Who Has???


I m done what do i do now

Hollas, B. (2005) topic.

I’m done . . .What do I do now??

What are anchor activities?

  • specified ongoing activities on which students work independently

  • ongoing assignments that students can work on throughout a unit

    Why use anchor activities?

  • provide a strategy for teachers to deal with “ragged time” when students complete work at different times

  • they allow the teacher to work with individual students or groups

  • provides ongoing activities that relate to the content of the unit

  • allow the teacher to develop independent group work strategies in order to incorporate a mini lab of computers in classroom

Think tac toe
Think- topic.Tac-Toe

R a f t
R.A.F.T. topic.


Love letter

Friendly letter

Business letter













Explain Relationship

Book Talk

Causes/effects of the current economic situation



Hollas, B. (2005) topic.


  • Pre-assessment: Determine students’ prior understanding and readiness for the content.

  • Formative Assessment: Tracking students’ progress throughout the learning process as well as giving them the opportunity to track their own growth.

  • Summative Assessment: Making sure they’ve reached the goals that have been set.

Fisher, D., Frey, N.(2007) Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom. Alexandria, VA. ASCD

Fisher, D., Frey, N.(2007) Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom. Alexandria, VA. ASCD

Fisher, D., Frey, N.(2007) Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom. Alexandria, VA. ASCD

It is the assessment which helps us distinguish between teaching and learning.

Model for Differentiating Instruction Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom. Alexandria, VA. ASCD

What do I differentiate?




What criteria do I use to select sources, processes and products?



Learning Style

What principles guide my planning?

Meaningful tasks



Ongoing Assessment and Adjustment

Pre-assess Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom. Alexandria, VA. ASCD






The Teaching Wheel

Summative Assessment

Data Analysis

Learning logs and response journals

Hollas, B. (2005) Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom. Alexandria, VA. ASCD

Learning Logs and Response Journals