Bring Learning Alive from All:
A Dozen Different Ways

Explore a dozen different ways to adapt your learning environment to meet individual needs. You can also explore the resource examples for Single Shard.

If you'd like more information about differentiated classrooms, check out What is Differentiated Material.

| focus | tool | material | combination | technique | method | | resource | expression | approach | experience | perspective | intelligence |

Focus... novel, video, map, experience, audio, photo, object, activity

Try different focal points such as a novel, video, map, experience, audio, photo, object, activity rather than the textbook or lecture. Consider starting with a poem, video clips, or other resource.

Tool... keyboard, camera, software, PDA

Try different tools such as a keyboard, camera, software, PDA. Most computers are used for word processing and email. Consider other tools that might address individual differences. For example, students who have difficulty writing with a paper and pencil might have more success using an Alphasmart or other type of electronic keyboard. Students who have trouble seeing the "big picture" in a project, might find a concept mapping tool such as Inspiration useful. For example, students might use the story map template instead of writing a book report. Students might tell the story in chronological order using the Timeliner software. Rather than logging a science project or writing the steps in an art process using paper and a pencil, try a PDA and a digital camera.

Material... animations, experiences, reading levels

Try different materials such as animations, experiences, and reading levels. Students get bored with traditional "chalk talk" activities. Consider adding video, audio, animation, and other active visual and auditory materials. If students lack empathy for a character in a book or figure from history, provide an experience such as an online interview to provide them with experiences. When students lack reading skills, be sure to provide a variety of reading levels for a given assignment. For example, Naturescapes provides three reading levels and a webquest for each topic.

Combination... mnemonics, charts, organizers

Try different combinations such as mnemonics, charts, or organizers. Some students need information presented in different combinations. For example, rather than providing a text review of a text assignment, try adding an auditory or visual element. For example, rather than text mnemonic, try a song or a visual glossary. How about a chart of science terms or a concept map? Consider visual connections for each chapter of a book including photos of a book's setting.

Technique... real-world examples, authentic communications, and real audiences

Try different techniques such as real-world examples, authentic communications, and real audiences. Consider providing students with "real-world" problems to solve. For example, use real-world data in student math activities, ask students to share their understanding with a real-audience through an email activity, or write for a real-audience. A webquest provides an inquiry-based learning environment. Most webquests strive to provide this real-world context.

Method... global discussions, multi-class challenges, active questioning

Try different methods such as global discussions, multi-class challenges, active questioning. Try different, technology-rich methods to address a particular standard. For example, rather than a face-to-face discussion, try an online global discussion using a threaded discussion tool such as Nicenet. Some shy students excel in this type of discussion format. Rather than using math problem sets developed by the teacher, ask students to develop problems and solutions that can be shared on the web with other classes. Finally, try active questioning techniques using tools such as PowerPoint. Rather than using PowerPoint to provide information, use it to present questions and examples.

Resource... literature circles, multiple articles to compare, multiple assessments

Try different resources such as literature circles, multiple articles to compare, multiple assessments. Rather than focusing on a single resource for class activities, consider multiple resources. For example, you might try literature circles. This approach involves having small groups of students read different books and hold discussions. Students can read paper books or online books. Rather than developing all the materials from scratch, use the Internet to locate good materials to use with these books. For example, you might find a 42eXplore project that will go with a number of books written at different reading levels or different topic areas. The same approach can be used with current events and articles. For example, ask students to select an article from a region or subject area in Headline Spot. This article could become the focus of the discussion.

Expression... oral descriptions, written defense, audio narration

Try different expressions such as oral descriptions, written defense, and audio narration. Consider different ways that students can express themselves. Many traditional activities ask students to simply "copy and paste". Design activities that ask student to "think." For example, rather than just making a poster. Ask them to provide an oral description. This could be done on the computer by creating the poster in Word and adding an audio element. Or, rather than writing a paper, ask students to read a paper created by someone else and critique it. Finally, ask students to record their voice narrating a presentation or map.

Approach... specific topics, writing about process, focusing on meaningful topics

Try different approaches such as specific topics, writing about process, and focusing on meaningful topics. Try a different approach to a topic. For example, rather than focusing on all the Civil War battles, ask students to explore different battles. In addition to learning about the science of a topic, learn about the people who made the discoveries. Create real math problems from the world around you. The 42eXplore project provides lots of great resources to get you started thinking differently about your topic. You might locate a different perspective, meaningful example, or interesting activity or lesson.

Experience... simulations, virtual visitors and trips

Try different experiences such as simulations, virtual visitors and trips. Consider that types of experiences students need to address a particular standard. A frog dissection simulation and an computer-simulated pottery class are two examples of providing a "virtual" experience. Consider different ways to provide students with the experiences they need such as virtual field trips and museums. Consider ways to turn a website into a learning experience. In other words, rather than simply clicking on the website pages how could you help students with the experience by setting up the "field trip" with a bulletin board, tickets, or other props? Could you provide leading questions, maps, handouts, or other materials to make them feel a part of the experience?

Perspective... debate, interviews, stories

Try different perspectives such as debate, interviews, and stories. Get students involved with high-level thinking by providing forums to discuss multiple perspectives. Encourage students to look at ideas from different points of view through Venn diagrams, charts, debates, and use of different technologies. For example, rather than a traditional a PowerPoint presentation, ask students to work in pairs to create a PowerPoint debate on a topic such as whaling or cloning. Or, collect information about different perspectives by conducting interviews with online professionals and experts. Learn more about different cultures through reading online stories from other folktales from around the world.

  • Teacher Tap: Electronic Books and Online Reading
  • Bartleby's Online Texts
  • Teacher Tap: Ask an Expert
  • Teacher Tap: Travel Buddy
  • Travel Buddy - Asia
  • Intelligence... written directions, threaded discussions, audio books

    Try different intelligences such as written directions, threaded discussions, and audio books. Many educators teach the way they were taught or the way they like to learn. It's important to consider the individual learning preferences of your students. For example, you might provide video instructions in addition to written directions. How about a threaded discussion in addition to your oral discussion? Rather than requiring students to read the book, consider using a book on tape.

    | focus | tool | material | combination | technique | method |

    | resource | expression | approach | experience | perspective | intelligence |

    Created by Annette Lamb, 12/02. Updated 2/03.