Differentiated Instruction is a way of teaching that facilitates all types of learners. Throughout this Wiki, you will find a toolbox of Differentiated Instructional strategies and ideas which could be used for a variety of subject areas and grade levels from Kindergarten and on. The hope is this Wiki will help make the planning of a Differentiated Class more effective. The links below will take you to a toolbox of differentiated ideas.

Before implementing Differentiation Strategies, however, one must first understand what is Differentiated Instruction or DI. There is a misconception that DI involves planning separate lessons or activities for each student in the class. This, however, is not a Differentiated class. A DI class, rather, involves the teacher meeting the students at their current ability levels and promoting educational growth based their readiness, interests (Tomlinson, 2001), and learnig styles (Chapman & King, 2012).

Differentiated Instruction can be facilitated through content, process, and product (Tomlinson, 2001). Differentiated instruction based on content is when the teacher varies the material presented to the class. The teacher may also vary the process of the learning meaning the teacher instructs the students using a variety of different tools or strategies. Lastly, the product of a differentiated class can change in that not every student is required to do the exact same work at each and every moment.

To manage a Differentiated class, a teacher may use different groups or TAPS; total group, alone, partners, or small groups. (Gregory, 2005). These groups are fluid in that they can change depending on the needs of the class, the desired outcomes of the teacher, or the learning progression of the students. Teachers may wish to use heterogenous groups where all the students have different skill levels, interests, or learning styles or the groups could be homogenous where the students have more similar skill levels, interests, or learning styles.

Differentiated Instruction is supported by Best Practice methods (Gregory, 2005). These methods are research based and prove to positively affect students’ performances. Differentiation can also be supported by assisting the students in using their entire brain in their thinking and promoting further use of the right hemisphere of the brain (Gregory, 2005). Next, DI can be used to help students with strategies to strengthen their memory which can assist in the learning of new concepts and skills (Chapman & King, 2012). Much of the above mentioned are supported by the use of graphic organizers.

In addition, it is often beneficial for many students to view their tasks and activities as authentic to give more of a sense of purpose. These may come in the form of demonstrations, presentations, or role-playing for example (Chapman & Gregory, 2007). Finally, grading is important in every class and therefore it is essential that differentiation takes place during assessment (Chapman & King, 2012).

Although Differentiated Instruction may take some time and organization to fully implement, there are many low prep activities and high prep activities which support the DI teacher and class (Tomlinson, 2001).

adapted from Tomlinson (1999)

Retrieved from http://www.diffcentral.com/resources.html

Retrieved from http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/supo/Forms_Resources/Lesson_Plan_Templates/index.html

Retrieved from http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/supo/Forms_Resources/Lesson_Plan_Templates/index.html


Chapman, C. & Gregory, G.H. (2007). Differentiated instructional stategies: One size doesn't fit all, second edition. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Chapman, C. & King, R., (2012). Differentiated assessment strategies: One tool doesn’t fit all, second edition. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Gregory, G. H., (2005). Differentiating instruction with style; Maximum achievement. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press.

Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms. Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Tomlinson, C.A. (1999). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.