Differentiating for students can be a challenge for all teachers, especially considering the learning goals are, overall, very similar! Unless you have students with special accommodations and extra assistance, it can be extremely difficult to not only find the time to reach all students, but the instructional materials as well. Student-focused learning can be addressed in many ways, such as:
- This can be accomplished in whole group, small group, partner, and individual tasks based on content and student needs
- Students need to be able to move often between grouping types to ensure maximum success
- Differentiate the activities by group to make them more engaging for learners of all skill levels
- This can be accomplished by mixing students based on level, ability, speed, or even learning style
- Provide a variety of tools and manipulatives for students so that they have a choice in selecting the item that works best for them
- When working on a specific topic, offer a wide assortment of reading materials including articles, books, and even web pages
- When teaching a specific topic, offer diverse delivery methods to the students such as books, videos, field trips, etc.
- When working on a specific topic, offer different tasks. For example, offer the students six tasks and have them complete five of their choice
- Set up tasks that address multiple intelligences
Show What They Know, the Way They Know How
- Not all students learn in the same fashion, therefore they can present what they do learn in a variety of ways
- Think outside the box and offer a choice of presentation types such as posters, mobiles, or dioramas
12 Tools for Differentiation
Here at Really Good Stuff, our teacher product developers focus on creating products that address these and other such needs in the classroom. Here are some products that we recommend for differentiation:
1. Solving Problems Two-Sided Dry Erase Boards Set: these dry erase boards offer scaffolding to help students that are visual or need more guidance when working through basic math problems.
2. Really Good Shape-Construction Sticks: this shape activity offers a different way to construct shapes. The hands-on feature helps the learning stick!
3. Ready-To-Decorate® Math Facts About me Jumbo Lift-A-Flap: these Ready-to-Decorate® Posters offer students a way to tell about themselves through math. It gives them the freedom to select the type of math equation they want to answer the questions.
4. Open-Ended Responses Math Journals: offering students problems with a variety of correct answers makes learning more meaningful because students feel a sense of accomplishment when they can explain the way that they came to the answer, even if it is different from others in the class.
5. Marked Measurement Rulers: the guiding colors and large, clear print make these rulers easy to use for all students.
6. Essential Picture Sorts Book: this product offers meaningful learning without a lot of words. This is great for students who struggle with reading, as well as those who need a picture challenge when sorting words.
7. Reading Comprehension Flip Chart: this flip chart is chock full of graphic organizers that offer students multiple resources for response after reading.
8. Dry Erase Comprehension Graphic Organizer Mats: this is another great resource for allowing students to choose how to respond after reading.
9. I Have…Who Has?… Small Group Beginning Sounds: this product is great for playing in small groups, up to 6 players.
10. Closed Reading Clips: Text Features: these clips allow students to track text features for later discussions.
11. Desktop Buddies With Sleeves – Grades 2-3 Complete Kit: offering an easy-to-access reference can be vital for students who need a quick reminder.
12. Differentiated Instruction Cubes: a great way to ask questions to kinesthetic learners.
What types of tools or strategies do you have to make differentiation more manageable?