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Differentiated Instruction. The philosophical underpinning of best practices Richard Cash, Ed.D. www.nrichconsulting.com. Differentiated Instruction. The proactive planning of curriculum and instruction so that each student learns effectively. NOT just a “gifted” thing

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differentiated instruction

Differentiated Instruction

The philosophical underpinning of best practices

Richard Cash, Ed.D.


differentiated instruction2
Differentiated Instruction
  • The proactive planning of curriculum and instruction so that each student learns effectively.
  • NOT just a “gifted” thing
  • Many current practices are “differentiation”- objective is to move forward.

R. Cash, Ed.D.

differentiated instruction allows students multiple options for
Differentiated instructionallows students multiple options for:
  • taking in information,
  • making sense of ideas, and
  • expressing what they learn.

R. Cash, Ed.D.

a differentiated classroom
A Differentiated Classroom

Learning contracts

focuses on being student centered andprovides different avenues to

  • acquiring content (what students learn),
  • processing (making sense of ideas), and
  • developing products that demonstrate real learning.

Interest groups

Group investigations

Learning centers

Independent Projects

Varying questions


Flexible grouping


R. Cash, Ed.D.

teachers who differentiate
Teachers who differentiate:
  • Provide students real choices in what they learn, how they learn and how they demonstrate learning (flexible and varied),
  • Offer real-worldchallenges that are directly connected to the students’ lives – i.e. home culture, language, background and experiences (rigorous and relevant),
  • Present the curriculum through interdisciplinary “big ideas” versus disconnected small facts (complex),
  • Utilize active, hands-on learning,
  • Make use of higher level thinking and questioning strategies,
  • Focus on students’ learning styles,
  • Incorporate creativity,
  • Emphasize brain-compatible instruction,
  • Use multi-media/technology,
  • Develop a sense of community,
  • Plan before, during and after instruction,
  • Create an environment of respect,
  • Have high expectations for ALL.

R. Cash, Ed.D.

examples or student centered instructional strategies
Learning centers

Interest groups

Group investigations


Learning contracts

Tiered activities/assignments/products


Alternative forms of assessment

Independent Projects

Flexible grouping

Varying questions

Mentorships/ apprenticeships

Study buddies

Use of varied text and resources

Multi-age classrooms or groups


Instruction production

Multiple intelligence instruction

Higher level thinking skills

Creative and critical thinking skills

Concept based instruction

Open ended questioning

Use of metacognition

Whole class anchoring activity

Content & activities balanced between student and teacher selected

Mixed ability groups

Homogeneous groups


R. Cash, Ed.D.

resources on differentiation
Teaching for Successful Intelligence

By Sternberg & Grigorenko

Differentiating Instruction in the Regular Classroom: How to Reach And Teach All Learners, Grades 3-12

By Diane Heacox

Brain-Based Learning &

Teaching with the Brain in Mind

By Eric Jensen

The Complete MI Book

By Kagan & Kagan

Eight Ways of Knowing &

Eight Ways of Teaching

By David Lazear

Developing the Gifted & Talents of All Students

By Joseph Renzulli

How to Differentiate Instruction

In Mixed-Ability Classrooms

By Carol Ann Tomlinson

Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular

Classroom: Strategies and Techniques

Every Teacher Can Use to Meet the

Academic Needs of the Gifted and Talented

By Susan Winebrenner

Brain Matters: Translating Research into Classroom Practice

By Patricia Wolfe

Resources on Differentiation:

R. Cash, Ed.D.