What is differentiated instruction?
Carol Tomlinson provides a concise explanation of what it means to differentiate instruction.
A rationale for differentiation in today's schools
Carol Tomlinson explains why it is imperative that we differentiate instruction in today's classrooms.
Two misconceptions about DI – that there is a disconnect with standards and that DI is only for certain students
Carol Tomlinson explains how learning standards and differentiation are aligned with one another and that DI is not a restrictive approach designed for certain types of students.
Carol Tomlinson addresses a common misconception about DI by clarifying that it is not an extra thing to do in the classroom.
Carol Tomlinson discusses a common misconception of teachers who lack a clear understanding of DI – they often believe they already differentiate.
Kristina Doubet discusses some misconceptions about DI, clarifying that whole-class instruction occurs in a differentiated classroom, that DI is not a case of high-level versus low-level students, that it is a proactive approach to meeting the varied learning needs of students, and addresses students' differing interests and learning preferences as well as readiness.
Suggestions on how to begin differentiating instruction
Carol Tomlinson offers insights to teachers for getting started with differentiating instruction in the classroom.
Next-step ideas on how to increase expertise with DI
Carol Tomlinson provides suggestions for teachers who are already on the journey and are looking for next steps to increase their expertise in differentiating instruction.
Engaging resource specialists in planning differentiated lessons
Kelly A. Hedrick explains the important role resource specialists can play in collaboratively planning differentiated lessons with classroom teachers.
Quality curriculum is focused around important ideas worth understanding
Jay McTighe describes the relationship of Understanding by Design, (a curriculum and assessment design model) and Differentiated Instruction, and explains how curricular units should be focused around important transferable ideas, or understandings.
Jay McTighe discusses essential questions and how they can be used to help students examine important ideas and develop understanding.
Building a supportive community of learners in a differentiated classroom
Carol Tomlinson describes the benefits of building a "sense of team" for both students and teachers in a differentiated classroom.
Kristina Doubet offers ideas for building a supportive learning community in the secondary classroom, including ways for teachers and students to get to know each other, to help students understand differentiation, and to establish routines.
Using multiple intelligence activities to differentiate on the basis of learning profile
Jessica Hockett offers tips for appropriately using activities based on Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences to differentiate instruction in response to students' varied learning preferences.
Marcia Imbeau offers some insights into using learning centers and ensuring that they are differentiated for students varied needs.
Effective instruction begins with pre-assessing the students
Catherine Brighton discusses the critical nature of pre-assessment when differentiating instruction and provides some guidelines for effectively pre-assessing students' knowledge, understanding, and skills.
Catherine Brighton describes two ways to assess student learning on a daily basis and stresses the importance of using the data to plan your next instructional steps.
Jay McTighe explains the need to align assessments within a curricular unit with the learning goals of the unit and describes what constitutes evidence of student understanding as a guide to determining if a student has achieved the expected level of understanding.
Jay McTighe provides an example of how assessment of student learning can be differentiated, while focused on the same learning goals.
Carol Tomlinson provides guidance on appropriate grading practices and supports the use of the 3-P grading system developed by assessment experts.
Using the homework checkers strategy
Marcia Imbeau explains homework checkers, a management technique that supports the use of differentiated homework.
Marcia Imbeau shares some tips for identifying which groups or tasks students are assigned to and considerations for organizing student paperwork.
An illustration of differentiated instruction in a primary classroom
Monica Harrold describes what a primary classroom can look like when students are working on differentiated activities.
Monica Harrold describes how to guide students in becoming responsible for their own learning by setting up classroom rules and routines including getting help in the classroom when the teacher is working with other students.
First steps for differentiating at the high school level
Kristina Doubet offers suggestions for first steps in differentiating instruction in a high school class, including a quick way to assess student learning and how to determine when it makes sense to differentiate.
Kristina Doubet offers ideas for designing tasks that challenge students at various readiness levels and for scaffolding learning for high school students.
Differentiating instruction in vocational and technology education classes
Kristina Doubet discusses effective techniques for differentiating in project-based classrooms and using anchor activities to extend the curriculum.
Cindy Strickland offers several practical ideas to foreign language teachers on ways to differentiate instruction for their students.
Cindy Strickland shares several ideas for music teachers on how to differentiate instruction in both instrumental and vocal classes.
A rationale for differentiating at the college level
Carol Tomlinson offers a rationale for differentiating instruction in today's universities and colleges as well as ideas for implementing DI in your classes.
Carol Tomlinson highlights the changes needed in our university teacher education programs that will prepare tomorrow's teachers to meet the diverse needs of the students they will encounter.
Kristina Doubet shares her thoughts on the need to differentiate instruction for college students and an example of how education majors often differ in their readiness for designing learning goals.
Create a vision and rationale to steer the change to differentiated classrooms
Kelly A. Hedrick emphasizes the need for school leaders to set goals for the initiative by creating a vision and rationale for differentiating instruction.
Kelly A. Hedrick addresses the key components of a comprehensive long-range plan that will guide and support the implementation of differentiated instruction.
Carol Tomlinson discusses critical elements of effective leadership and professional development for school-wide implementation of differentiated instruction.
Barriers that teachers may encounter when implementing DI
Catherine Brighton describes barriers that elementary and secondary teachers often encounter as they begin to differentiate instruction in their classes.
Kelly A. Hedrick discusses how administrators can build on existing strengths of the faculty and consider teachers' varied levels of expertise to provide appropriate support for implementing DI.
Leading the change to differentiation is a tender balance of pressure and support
Kelly A. Hedrick describes how school leaders must clearly communicate expectations while providing support to teachers in the process of changing to differentiated instruction.
Kelly A. Hedrick suggests ways administrators can carefully use limited resources and tools so they support teachers in their journey toward expertise in differentiation.
Monica Harrold provides a few tips for working with teachers to support their professional growth as they develop expertise with differentiating.
Tips for coaching teachers as they learn how to differentiate instruction
Kelly A. Hedrick provides tips for coaching elementary and secondary teachers as they learn to differentiate instruction.
Cindy Strickland suggests a way to differentiate a professional development activity on the basis of learning preference, using Sternberg's triarchic intelligences.
Cindy Strickland describes a way to differentiate professional development for teachers using tiered activities designed for different readiness levels.
Cindy Strickland shares an activity that she uses to differentiate professional development on the basis of teachers' varied interests.
Jessica Hockett describes how to use lesson study as a professional development tool to help teachers develop their understanding and skills in differentiating instruction in their classrooms.
These experts on differentiated instruction appear in our video clips.
Catherine Brighton - Associate Professor, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Marcia Imbeau - Associate Professor, Curriculum & Instruction, University of Arkansas
Kristina Doubet - Assistant Professor in Middle, Secondary, & Mathematics Education, James Madison University
Jay McTighe - Author and educational consultant
Monica Harrold - Principal, Northside Elementary School, Ann Arbor, MI
Cindy Strickland - Educational consultant and ASCD faculty member
Kelly A. Hedrick - Director of Gifted Education & Academy Programs, Virginia Beach City Public Schools, VA
Carol Tomlinson - William Clay Parrish Jr. Professor of Education, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Jessica Hockett - Educational consultant