Instructional strategies which are based on the interests of the students (Tomlinson, 2001).

Sidebar Studies
An independent research project that is in conjunction with the unit of study. This is usually based on student interest. Students could develop planning calendars, goals for their work, and establish criteria for quality.

Interest Centers or Interest Groups
Interest centers allow the learners to find out more about what interests them. This could be based on a theme or a unit that is common for all.

Specialty Teams
A team works on a specific concept or skill and then presents their findings to the class in a discussion format.

Real Life Application of Skills
Linking what the students are learning to real life situations.

Students are the inquirer on a topic of personal interest. The students find sources to answer their questions.

The students raise questions of interest, answer their questions, and then create a plan to share their answers with their classmates.

The students decide on what to work; they make a goal, set a time line, work towards their goal and assess their own progress. This can be an early step to prepare students for longer independent studies.

Group Investigation
The students work in a group on a topic of interest. They must work collaboratively and present their findings.

This is a teacher designed Internet lesson. The teacher has specific learning goals in mind and creates links to support these goals. A product can be created through research and problem solving to support a predetermined question or quest.

In this strategy, students work with their peers on one area of study and become “experts” on this topic. The students then return to their home base which consists of members from each of the expert groups. The experts report to the rest of their group their findings from their expert groups.

Literature Circles
Students participate in readings of personal interest from a selection. They then partake in student lead discussions based on their readings with others who have read the same material. Not everyone in the class is required to read the same material.

Negotiated Criteria
The teacher provides some whole-class requirements but the students also contribute some elements of personal interest.



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