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“I CAN” Differentiate… (Like a Boss). Practical Differentiation Strategies to Try Tomorrow! (Or maybe the next day…). Hey Girl I don’t understand why you keep having to have Professional Development. YOU LOOK PERFECTLY DEVELOPED TO ME. . Today’s Objectives.

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i can differentiate like a boss

“I CAN” Differentiate…(Like a Boss)

Practical Differentiation Strategies to Try Tomorrow!

(Or maybe the next day…)


Hey Girl

I don’t understand why you keep having to have Professional Development.



Today’s Objectives

“I Can” explain how differentiation should look in an elementary classroom. {Comprehension}

“I Can” use my MAP data to determine what topics should be differentiated. {Application}

“I Can” examine practical organization methods for timing of small groups to determine how it will drive instruction in my classroom. {Analysis}

“I Can” create FIVE quick differentiation methods to use in my classroom immediately. {Synthesis}

differentiation what is it
Differentiation – WHAT is it?

Ateaching concept in which the classroom teacher plans for the diverse needs of students.

  • learning styles, skill levels, and rates
  • language proficiency
  • background experiences and knowledge
  • motivation
  • ability to attend
  • social and emotional development
  • levels of abstraction
  • physical needs
what it s not
What it’s NOT:
  • Individualized instruction
  • In-Class Tracking
  • The opposite of whole class teaching
  • Trying to be all things to all students
  • The flavor of the month.
  • Going Away.
curriculum common core and your classroom
Curriculum, Common Core and Your Classroom

A clear set of shared goals and expectations for the knowledge and skills students need in English language arts and mathematics at each grade level to ultimately be prepared to graduate college and career ready.

Common Core

Expected Grade Level Skills


MAPs – a measurement of how the student meets the skills determined by the Common Core.

The Plan…


Hooray for Common Language!!!

“Gezzinta Numbers”



Big Idea

Main Idea


Life Lesson


The Common Core establishes a common academic language that all teachers should be using. MAPs also measure their ability to recognize and use this academic language. Do NOT water it down! Use it often!!

differentiation when should i do this
Differentiation – WHEN should I do this?
  • When you want to maximize student learning
  • When it is important that EVERY student learn the skills or knowledge being taught.
  • Easiest Place to Start: Math and ELA
okay i m ready how do i differentiate
Okay, I’m Ready. How Do I Differentiate?
  • Taking into Consideration:
  • Student Readiness
  • Student Interest
  • Using Learning Styles

You can and should use all three types!

  • Differentiate the:
  • Task (what they’re doing)
  • Support (how much you help)
  • Outcome (the product)
step one have a game plan what in the world am i teaching today
Step One: Have a Game Plan!(What in the world am I teaching today??)
  • Ideas:
  • Have centers or student activities designed for specific skills that are generic and can be applied to any “theme”.
  • Create small manipulatives that students can use at their desk while they are waiting for the teacher – but make them tied to an area that they need to practice.
  • For ELA focus on foundation skills for centers.

Whole Group Instruction

Use this time to Introduce a New Skill or Concept

Small Group Instruction

Create small flexible groups to address skills or reinforce concepts covered.

step two establish procedure but i can t it s just too chaotic
Step Two: Establish Procedure: (But I can’t. It’s just too chaotic.)
  • Establish routines. (Access that procedural memory!!!)
  • Make sure students know where to:
  • Find the activity
  • Find their materials.
  • Go when they’re done.

Materials located HERE!

classroom organization helps
Classroom Organization Helps
  • Don’t waste time looking for materials – have them all available at your teacher stations.
  • Move to the students, it saves time.
  • Have specific areas for group work and independent work.
  • Have determined areas for materials and activities for quick finishers.
step three know your students
Step Three: Know Your Students

( “How do I know who belongs in which group??”)

Plan Purposefully – Know which skill you want to address with each lesson, make sure it relates to the Common Core.

Keep a record of student MAP scores (try a checklist!).

Identify where their RIT score falls in relation to the skill you are covering.

here s an idea
Here’s an idea….
  • Look at student MAP print out – focus on middle column.
  • Develop activities and instruction based on this column.
  • Make it easy on yourself – focus on skills that many students have in common.

Let’s Take a Look…


Make Generic Task Cards with a Corresponding RIT Score.

Choose books based on that week’s Theme.

  • Possible Ideas for this student (and others with similar RIT scores):
  • Use a picture book of choice or one provided by the teacher:
  • read and make a list of 10 words that have the long a sound
  • Make a chart of words you find that have one, two, three and four syllables.
  • Choose ten words from the story, divide the word into syllables and write in “chunks”.
  • Choose five words from the story that you don’t know, find them in the dictionary. Write the definition.

Now You Try…

Using the MIDDLE column from your sample student:

Brainstorm THREE simple activities you could have the student do where they can independently practice a skill from that column.

step four determine the groups
Step Four: Determine the Groups

Should be flexible and based on that day’s skill or lesson.

Use your MAP checklist to determine where each student is.

Ideas for

“Pre Made” Groups

step six some ideas to try i totally get this now i need to make it my own
Step Six: Some Ideas to Try(I totally get this, now I need to make it my own…)

Follow me on Pinterest: Michelle Tucci (meadowfire76)

Organize activities based on theme.

Have generic activities that are Common Core based that can be applied to all themes.


Or by month…

more ideas
More Ideas…

Don’t forget that you can also modify the outcome – let the task be open ended and everyone can respond to their own level…

more ideas1
More Ideas!

Use student MAP information to provide activities for specific skills, put in folders or bins as a student’s “go to” activities!

In folders

In bins

more ideas2
More Ideas…

Have a folder with each standard, put games, activities and notes into each.

more ideas3
More Ideas!

Flexible Groups for Math based on that day’s skill.

Color coded student Names.

Corresponding dot to show where each group should be.

Can be used with any subject – easy to recognize and follow.

more ideas4
More Ideas!

Post Assessment

Check for Understanding

Try with student names on popsicle sticks or index cards. Can help determine small groups for working the following day.

Consider Red/Yellow/Green for younger grades

more ideas5
More Ideas…

Color Code questions or tasks according to difficulty

Make Goals Visible!

some helpful websites
Some helpful websites:




words of wisdom
Words of Wisdom
  • Successful differentiation doesn’t happen overnight.
  • Be confident in your knowledge of the skills required for your grade level and trust your instincts.
  • NOT ALL subjects and activities need to be differentiated. BABY STEPS!
  • Trust the children. Allow them time to commit the new system to their procedural memory.