Differentiated Instruction Overview
Exit Tickets and Formative Assessment
Classroom Management Tips
Differentiated Instruction in Action
This section provides videos of teachers using Differentiated Instruction in their classrooms.
Classroom Instruction that Works - 9 Categories for Best Practice
Creating the Environment for Learning
- Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback
- Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition
- Cooperative Learning
Helping Students Develop Understanding
- Cues, Questions and Advance Organizers
- Nonlinquistic Representations
- Summarizing and Note taking
- Assigning Homework and Providing Practice
Helping Students Extend and Apply Knowledge
- Identifying Similarities and Differences
- Generating and Testing Hypothesis
Source: Classroom Instruction that Works McREL.org
Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback
Setting Objectives for a lesson, unit and/or course will provide students with a roadmap of what they will be expected to know and be able to do.
- Objectives help students connect previous and future learning.
- Having the objectives listed in student-friendly terms helps students see where they are in their learning and what their next steps need to be.
Providing Feedback to students on their learning:
- Provide feedback that addresses what is correct and elaborates on what students need to do next.
- Provides feedback appropriately in time to meet students’ needs.
- Provide feedback that is criterion referenced.
- Engage students in the feedback process.
Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition
- Teach students about the relationship between effort and achievement.
- Provide students with explicit guidance about what it means to expend effort.
- Ask students to keep track of their effort and achievement.
- Promote a mastery-goal orientation.
- Provide praise that is specific and aligned with expected performance and behaviors.
- Use concrete symbols of recognition.
- Include elements of positive interdependence and individual accountability.
- Organize groups of two to five students.
- Use cooperative learning consistently and systematically.
Cues, Questions and Advance Organizers
Cues and Questions
- Focus on what is important.
- Use explicit cues.
- Ask inferential questions.
- Ask analytic questions.
- Use expository advance organizers.
- Use narrative advance organizers.
- Use skimming as an advance organizer.
- Use graphic advance organizers.
- Use graphic organizers.
- Make physical models or manipulatives.
- Generate mental pictures.
- Create pictures, illustrations, and pictographs.
- Engage in kinesthetic activities.
Summarizing and Note takingSummarizing
- Teach students the rule-based summarizing strategy.
- Use summary frames.
- Engage students in reciprocal teaching.
- Give students teacher-prepared notes.
- Teach students a variety of note-taking formats.
- Provide opportunities for students to revise their notes and use them for review.
Identifying Similarities and Differences
- Teach students a variety of ways to identify similarities and differences.
- Guide students as they engage in the process of identifying similarities and differences.
- Provide supporting cues to help students identify similarities and differences.
Generating and Testing Hypotheses
- Engage students in a variety of structured tasks for generating and testing hypotheses.
- Ask students to explain their hypotheses and their conclusions.
Homework and Practice
- Develop and communicate a district or school homework policy.
- Design homework assignments that support academic learning and communicate their purpose.
- Provide feedback on assigned homework.
- Clearly identify and communicate the purpose of practice activities.
- Design practice sessions that are short, focused, and distributed over time.
- Provide feedback on practice sessions.
A 2008 meta-analysis of 41 studies found a strong link between giving students choices and their intrinsic motivation for doing a task, their overall performance on the task, and their willingness to accept challenging tasks (Patall, Cooper, & Robinson, 2008). However, the researchers also found diminishing returns when students had too many choices: Giving more than five options produced less benefit than offering just three to five. The researchers concluded that with student choice, "too much of a good thing may not be very good at all" (p. 298).