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WEEK ONE (Oct 3-Oct 9)--Intro to Differentiated Instruction

1  Introduction to Differentiating Instruction

This week you will explore the concept of differentiated instruction and begin thinking about how to plan for and accommodate students' individual learning differences in your classroom. You will read two articles on differentiated instruction and view a video. You will also begin to brainstorm ideas for a final project.  In the discussion, you will engage with your colleagues and reflect on your current classroom practices.

reading  Readings

Making a Difference, Anthony Rebora
In this interview, Carol Ann Tomlinson discusses the theory of differentiated instruction, and why it is important for schools.

Differentiating Instruction: Meeting Students Where They Are, Jennipher Willoughby
This article provides some concrete examples and strategies for differentiating instruction in the classroom.

activity  Activities

  1. Watch
    In this video, titled “Differentiated instruction: scaffolding model,” a high school English teacher describes the importance of differentiation, and how it has positively impacted the performance of students in her classroom.
  2. Final Project
    Throughout this course you will be working on a final project that utilizes differentiated instruction techniques and strategies. This week, you will begin planning for this project.

    OPTION 1:  Lesson Plan

Download the Differentiating Instruction: Lesson Plan Template and save a copy to your computer (or to your GoogleDocs account if you choose to work there). You will return to this template throughout the workshop as you develop your lesson plan. Take moment to review the template components.

  • Think about a lesson you have recently taught, observed, or read about. Were any of the strategies you read about in the reading selections used in that lesson? What strategies did you or the teacher use that clearly differentiated the lesson for students?
  • Begin thinking about the lesson plan you wish to develop during this workshop. Consider how specific ideas in the reading selections will help you develop your plan.
  • Make a list of at least three strategies you learned about in the readings for this session that you can incorporate in your classroom. These strategies will be more fully developed in Section Seven of the template. For the time being, you can simply jot down your preliminary ideas and then add to or revise this list later.


OPTION 2:  Design Your Own Project

If you have an alternative idea for a final project or product that may be more useful to you, help you plan for your future work, and demonstrate what you have learned, you are encouraged to pursue that.  Please let your facilitator know during week one if you plan to go in this direction.

Some possible alternatives might be:

  • A presentation (of what you have learned or to supplement a classroom lesson) using PowerPoint, Google Presentation, or Prezi.
  • A video tutorial for classroom use using Jing or another screencasting tool.
  • An interactive poster of a plan for your differentiated classroom using Glogster.


Learn more about these tools in the videos below:

Google Presentation





Based on what you have read and viewed in this session, reflect on your own students and teaching practices. Share one idea from the readings or video that will be useful in planning for your own teaching. How does this idea connect with your current teaching style? How will it help you improve your current methods?

Please use our Google Group page for this discussion

Be sure to return frequently during the session to read and respond to comments posted by other participants.

Icons by Axialis Team

Task Discussion