Free (and awesome) Differentiation Resource

Ken Templeton | 01.13.2014

Differentiating instruction can be really hard. One of the more challenging aspects of differentiation is simply defining it. The Glossary for Education Reform offers this definition: “primary educational objectives…remain the same for every student, but teachers may use different instructional methods to help students meet those expectations.”

One of the best resources we have found to help teachers plan for differentiation is The Differentiator, a free resource from Ian Byrd. (You can learn more about Ian’s work here or by following him @ByrdSeedGifted)

In an easy, clickable format, the differentiator allows you to create different tasks, by changing the Bloom’s Taxonomy level, the content students study, the resources they use, the products they will create, and the grouping patterns (including individual work).

One caution: remember to think about the learning objectives. If the goal is for students to be able to analyze primary sources, we cannot then create a task that asks students to merely define terms. They won’t be able to successfully analyze sources after that learning activity. However, we could ask some students to create an infographic (free resources here and here), some to create an interactive portfolio, and others to develop a podcast commentary on the sources, all analyzing and synthesizing information. Different tasks, one objective.

It’s also important to distinguish between personalized learning and individualized instruction, which are often confused with differentiation. This chart, from Personalize Learning (@plearnchat) is a helpful way to distinguish between these three ways to help students learn more effectively.


What resources do you use to think about differentiation, personalization or individualized instruction?

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