Differentiating Content

Learning to deliver lessons in a variety of ways

So how do I Differentiate Content in my class?

Content is comprised of the knowledge, concepts, and skills that students need to learn based on the curriculum. Differentiating content includes using various delivery formats such as video, readings, lectures, or audio. Content may be chunked, shared through graphic organizers, addressed through jigsaw groups, or used to provide different techniques for solving equations. Students may have opportunities to choose their content focus based on interests.

McCarty, John. "3 Ways to Plan for Diverse Learners: What Teachers Do."Edutopia. Edutopia, 23 July 2014. Web. 07 July 2016.

Methods for Delivering Differentiated Content

Content (what students learn) –

  • Includes curriculum topics, concepts, or themes –
  • Reflects state or national standards –
  • Presents essential facts and skills –
  • Differentiates by preassessing student skills and understandings, then matching learners with appropriate activities –
  • Provides students with choices in order to add depth to learning –
  • Provides students with additional resources that match their levels of understanding

K.U.D Method

Before beginning any unit, decide what you want students to Know (K), Understand (U), and Do (D). Keep in mind the following elements that differentiate each of these processes.
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Tiered Instruction

When teachers tier assignments, they make slight adjustments within the same lesson to meet the needs of students. All students learn the same fundamental skills and concepts but through varying modes and activities. The tiers appropriately challenge students at their ability levels. The teacher’s challenge is to make sure all tasks, regardless of the tier level, are interesting, engaging, and challenging. Activities and assignments can be adjusted in any of the following ways:

• Level of complexity

• Pacing of the assignment

• Amount of structure

• Number of steps required for completion

• Materials provided

• Form of expression (letter, essay, report, research

• Time allowed paper, short story, speech)

• Level of independence required

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A menu offers students a way to make decisions about what they will do in order to meet class requirements. A menu could be for a single lesson, a week-long lesson, or even a month-long period of study. Once the teacher has decided on what the essential understandings and/or skills are, she/he can begin to create a menu.
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Tic-Tac-Toe choice boards give students the opportunity to participate in multiple tasks that allow them to practice skills they’ve learned in class or to demonstrate and extend their understanding of concepts. From the board, students either choose or are assigned three adjacent or diagonal tasks to complete. Choice boards address student readiness, interest, or learning preferences. They are easily adapted to a subject area.
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Graphic Organizers

Teachers can use graphic organizers to help students visualize how ideas fit together, organize their thoughts, and communicate their ideas. Graphic organizers are also great for teachers to quickly identify a student's strengths and weaknesses.

Jigsaw Method

Tools for Differentiating Content

Check out our MGSD Cool Tool's Playground and our MGSD Digital Resources Page to explore tools and programs to assist with differentiating your content.

Resources Gathered From

Prezler, June. "How the Best Teachers Differentiate Instruction." (2010): n. pag. Web. 10 July 2016.