Differentiated Instruction

Research shows differentiated instruction is effective for high-ability students as well as students with mild to severe disabilities.

• When students are given more options on how they can learn material, they take on more responsibility for their own learning.

• Students appear to be more engaged in learning, and there are reportedly fewer discipline problems in classrooms where teachers provide differentiated lessons.

• Differentiated instruction requires more work during lesson planning, and many teachers struggle to find the extra time in their schedule.

• The learning curve can be steep and some schools lack professional development resources.

• Critics argue there isn’t enough research to support the benefits of differentiated instruction outweighing the added prep time.

There are 4 ways to differentiate instruction:

• Content- what are you teaching?

• Process- How will you teach it?

• Product- What will be the outcome?

• Learning Environment- whole group? Small group?


• Use Bloom’s Taxonomy (think lower-level to higher-order thinking).

• In Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy:

Remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, create. Use robust verbs in your lesson plans. What will the students do?


•A flexible classroom allows for independent, paired, and group work.

•“Wiggle chairs”, floor space, and a quiet area are essential.  

Wiggle chair
Study carrel

•Examples:

•Break some students into reading groups to discuss the assignment.

•Allow students to read individually if preferred.

•Create quiet spaces where there are no distractions.


Refer to Bloom’s Taxonomy when planning a lesson.

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