Richland School District
Jarred Burke, District Administrator
1996 Hwy 14 West
Richland Center, WI 53581
Phone: 608-647-6106
Fax: 608-647-8454

Gifted and Talented  

RSD Home

for Teachers

Adjusting Questions

Anchor Activities


Bloom's Taxonomy

Choice Tic-Tac-Toe Menus



Flexible Grouping

Graphic Organizers

Independent Projects

Interest and Learning Centers

Interest Surveys

Learning Contracts

Learning Styles



Recommended Reading



Socratic Questions

The Three "R"s

Thematic vs Topical Instruction


Three Areas of Differentiation

Tiered Instruction

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© Richland School District 2005


Strategies for Teachers

Achieving the goal of differentiating instruction involves the use of a multitude of tools and strategies. The links on the left are intended to assist teachers as they apply the philosophy of DI into their classrooms.

Each lesson:

  • is based on existing academic and professional standards and is adjusted to be in line with updated versions of those standards as they are written
  • has a definite aim for all students
  • includes a variety of teacher strategies aimed at reaching students at all levels
  • considers student learning styles in the presentation of a lesson
  • involves all students in the lesson through the use of questioning aimed at different levels of thinking (Bloom's Taxonomy)
  • allows that some students will require adjusted expectations
  • provides choice in the method students will use to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts
  • accepts that different methods are of equal value
  • evaluates students based on their individual differences

Differentiated instruction:

  • encourages inclusion of all students
  • provides instruction across all levels of student achievement and ability
  • addresses different learning styles
  • allows teachers to reach all of the students some of the time
  • allows for diversity among students
  • fosters relationships and self-worth
  • meets social, emotional, and academic needs
  • increases self-efficacy

Principles of a Differentiated Classroom:

  • Learning Experiences are based on diagnosis of student readiness, interest, and/or learning profile
  • Content, Activities (Process), and Products are developed in response to varying needs of varied learners
  • Teaching and Learning are focused on key concepts, understandings, and skills
  • All students participate in work that is engaging and "respectful" (appropriate to student readiness, interest, and/or learning profile)
  • Teacher and students work together to ensure continual engagement and challenge for each learner
  • The teacher coordinates use of time, space, and activities
  • Flexible grouping ensures consistently fluid working arrangements including whole class learning, pairs, triads and quads, student-selected groups, teacher-selected groups, and random groups
  • Time use is flexible in response to student needs
  • A variety of management strategies (such as learning centers, interest centers, compacting, contracts, independent study, tiered assignments, learning buddies, etc.) is used to help target instruction to student needs
  • Clearly established individual and group criteria provide guidance toward success
  • Students are assessed in a variety of appropriate ways to demonstrate their own thought and growth
  • Incorporates thematic and topical instruction (they are not the same)

This graphic organizer of the Elements of Differentiated Instruction shows the relationships among and purposes of the teaching strategies on this site.

This table lists both high and low prep activities for you to offer your students.

Suggestions from McGraw Hill on how to initiate differentiated instruction in your classroom.

Recommended reading for detailed information on differentiated instruction

Share the wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson with your students:

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.”