7 Bright Ideas for Differentiation

You can differentiate many parts of your teaching. You can differentiate what you teach by varying the the way the content and how it is delivered,  the processes you use to teach it, and you can differentiate the outcome or the product that you require the students to produce.
 Today I want to focus on differentiating how the content is accessed. How can we vary  access to meet the needs of our students with many different learning styles?
Varying the content can mean modifying how the student(s) will gain access to the subject matter.

 Vary the Modality of presentation   

Will you teach the material auditorily or will the presentation of the materials be primarily visual?  Everyone has a different learning style; whether its visual, auditory or kinesthetic/tactile.

7  bright  ideas to differentiate content and how it is accessed.

  1. Vary the presentation
    Some students best gain information when it's presented auditorily. Use a language master (tutorette), tape recorder, iPad, iPhone, CD player, to record the information you want presented. This way students can listen to the materials multiple times. In this picture the card is inverted so the the audio tape can be seen. This is the portion normally put through the slot of the machine.
  2. Chunk-it! Present vocabulary/spelling words on the readability of the student. Vary the number of words the student has to master. Give the student only a portion of the words. Then when those are mastered, proceed with the next chunk or the remainder of the words. For example: if your lists are normally comprised of 10 words, try giving 5 then the remaining 5. Work out the combination that works best for the group you are working with.

  3. Interactive Presentations
     Include computers and interactive white boards such as Smartboards or Promethean Boards in your presentations.

  4. Hands-on Activities
    Use hands-on activities for students to master the content. Have them draw, build a model, or do an experiment. Have them show you what they know.Use clay to practice vocabulary/spelling words. Have them trace the words with their fingers.

    Clay spelling words
  5. Reading Buddies
    Using reading buddies Have the students read the content to each other and then report to the group, to you or to the entire class what they have read.

  6. Flexible Small Groups
    Meeting with small groups to re-teach an idea or skill for struggling learners, or to extend the thinking or skills of advanced learners. Don't leave your groups the same, always be looking for groups in which student will learn best. Different concepts, different learning levels, different groups. Multiplication and addition groups won't necessarily be the same.

  7. Task Cards
    Use task cards geared at different levels. Task cards are a great way to differentiate among your students. I often color code my task cards or give them a code to indicate the group they belong to. This makes it easy to clean up and easy to dispense to groups. Card 1 has a zigzag border to indicate the group it belongs to.
    Task Card #2 has a polka-dot border to indicate its group.
Task Card Picture #1 -  Lower Case to Upper Case Card

Task Card Picture #2 - Upper Case to Lower Case Card
 These are just a few ways to differentiate the presentation of content. These are just a couple of the ones that I love and utilize on a daily basis in my classroom.

What are some of your favorite ways YOU DIFFERENTIATE  how you present materials? Leave a comment and share what YOU DO!!!



Superteach's Special Ed Spot would like to congratulate Dr. Christine Reeve at Autism Classroom News and Dr. Susan Kabot. 

Their book "Building Independence: How to Create and Use Structured Work Systems" received honorable mention in the self-help category of The Eric Hoffer Award 2013.

The Eric Hoffer Award honors the memory of American philosopher, Eric Hoffer. The self help category is given to titles for traditional and new self-help topics. Superteach's Special Ed Spot congratulates them on this award. 

Please check the award results out in the link located at The Eric Hoffer Award results. Be sure to check their book out also. Its a easy to use book on setting up independent work systems in the classroom. 

Take a look at their book! Its an easy to use book on setting up independent work systems.



As I have become overwhelmed working on IEPs differentiating work for my students, getting prepared for a new student tomorrow, OPEN HOUSE on Thursday and many other things, I am sure all of you are going through as well.
So today I am repeating a post from this summer that bears repeating as it is such a vital piece of what we do.
 Happy Marvelous Monday everyone!

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.B.4 Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.B.4a When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.B.4b Understand that the last number name said tells the number of objects counted. The number of objects is the same regardless of their arrangement or the order in which they were counted.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.B.4c Understand that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger.
While this is a kindergarten Common Core skill, those of us in special education know we are often working on this skill  beyond kindergarten age and grade level, so it's important to have many types of materials so kids won't get bored  over time, doing the same activity. My students needing to master this skill are a mixture of grade levels; some kindergarteners and some older.

How can I differentiate this concept?  One way I can do this is to vary the product (outcome) I expect from the students in order to demonstrate their learning. I may need to have multiple ways to differentiate this within my group of students, also. So I need lots of options.
Many of my kids groan anytime I show them a worksheet to do, but will volunteer to work on something if the activity looks like a game they can play. For one of my activities, I made a set of counting task cards.  My kiddos love these!
Now, I can look at differentiating this one activity's outcome. How can I differentiate the learning in order to make more gains in learning?
Here are some starter ideas:
  1. I can differentiate by having them write down the answers on an answer sheet.
  2. Use them as task cards and attach clothespins to the correct answers. 
  3. Place them  in a learning center area or independent work area where I assign certain students to complete the cards. Following completion of the cards, I can check the student's work before they leave the work area.
  4. Assign certain sets of of the task cards (e.g. counting 1-5, counting 6-10) to specific kids so the materials meet their individual learning needs.   
  5. I could also make them into a game such as the card game, War.
    If you didn't played this during your childhood as I did,check out the rules at http://www.bicyclecards.com/card-games/rule/war
  6.  With multiple sets of the task cards, you could teach a group of kids to play the card game, Go Fish. See game rules: http://www.bicyclecards.com/card-games/rule/go-fish.
For our Marvelous Monday Freebie please enjoy a sample of my counting task cards. 
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Its Marvelous Monday  and here is your Freebie for today!


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday