Differentiating Instruction


The graphic above demonstrates the “Interdependence of Key Classroom Elements” when executing Differentiated Instruction.

Whether you need motivation to implement differentiated instruction in the classroom or simply need reassurance that it’s working, you’ll find inspiration in these words of wisdom from Tomlinson:

  1. Every child is entitled to the promise of a teacher’s optimism, enthusiasm, time, and energy.
  2. Educators should be champions of every student who enters the schoolhouse doors.
  3. Teachers in the most exciting and effective differentiated classrooms don’t have all the answers. What they do have is optimism and determination.
  4. It is a human birthright to be a learner. There is little we do that is more important.
  5. Like students, teachers grow best when they are moderately challenged. Waiting until conditions are ideal or until you are sure of yourself yields lethargy, not growth.
  6. Teachers change either because they see the light or because they feel the heat.
  7. A great coach never achieves greatness for himself or his team by working to make all his players alike.
  8. Becoming an expert at differentiation is a career-long goal. One step at a time, you will get there.
  9. Don’t feel compelled to grade everything. There’s a time for students to figure things out and a time for judging whether they did, but the two shouldn’t always be the same.
  10. If curriculum and instruction are the heart and limbs of sound teaching, then classroom management is the central nervous system. Without the heart, there is no life, but without the nervous system, there is no function. Source

The below graph helps to further describe what the  specific aim of Differentiated Instruction.




How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms, 2nd Edition by Carol Ann Tomlinson

Differentiating Instruction: Making It Happen in Classrooms By Dr. Vicki Gibson

Differentiated Instruction: A Primer

Differentiated Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities

Great PowerPoint on Using Assessment to Drive Instruction

Using Assessment to Drive Instruction PDF of a PPT

Assessments to help with the process of Differentiating Instruction

Differentiated Instruction Self-Assessment

LINK- The Bender Classroom Structure Questionnaire (a self-evaluation of your classroom)

Scoring the BCSQ

Scoring the BCSQ may be done either formally or informally. Because these techniques generally represent “best practices,” a higher score on the BCSQ is more desirable and indicates that a teacher is employing the instructional techniques that should facilitate successful inclusion. To get a general score, one may merely total the circled score for each indicator, resulting in a score that ranges from 40 (the lowest possible score) to 200. Bender (1992) reported that a group of 127 general education teachers in Georgia (from Grades 1 through 8) generated a total score of 143 (SD = 19) on this questionnaire. A group of 50 teachers from New Jersey (Grades 3 through 12) generated a score of 139 (SD = 19) on this scale. These general scores may provide some indication of how you provide varied instruction for students with learning disabilities in your class.



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