Essential Questions:

  • How can we adapt our teaching practice to meet and affirm the diverse needs and strengths of our students?
  • How can diversified instruction improve success for all students?
  • How are 21st century literacies integral to diversified instruction?
  • What are the connections between Differentiated Instruction and RTI?

Major Understandings:

  • The teacher focuses on the essentials of the subject- content, principles and skills.
  • Assessment and instruction are inseparable.
  • The teacher modifies content, process and products.
  • All students participate in respectful tasks.
  • The teacher and students collaborate in learning, in the classroom and beyond.
  • The teacher balances group and individual needs.
  • The teacher affirms student differences.


  • provide tiered instruction
  • integrate visual thinking tools
  • provide opportunities for flexible grouping
  • vary questioning strategies to promote critical thinking skills
  • adapt instruction based on student interest, readiness and learning profile
  • create assessments that are differentiated by student interest, readiness and learning profile

Why Diversify Instruction?

Diversified Instruction is a philosophy of education that provides appropriate opportunities for growth and success. Educational research supports the notion that "one size does not fit all" when it comes to presenting lessons to our students and even when assessing our students. According to Carol Ann Tomlinson, professor at the University of Virginia and nation-wide proponent of Diversified Instruction, "Fair is when everyone doesn't necessarily get the same. Fair is when everyone gets what he or she needs!"

Differsified Instruction IS:
Diversified Instruction IS NOT:
  1. Having a vision of success for our students
  2. Providing a variety of assignments within units of instruction, realizing that students do not all learn in the same way.
  3. Recognizing the variance in learning styles of our students.
  4. Allowing students to choose, with teacher direction, the route to their learning.
  5. Providing opportunities for students to demonstrate proficiency in an area they already know and allowing them to move forward
  6. Offering tiered lessons, of varying degrees of difficulty, dealing with similar content.
  7. Qualitative
  1. Individualization. It is not a different lesson for each student each day.
  2. Giving all students the same work or even identical assessments all of the time.
  3. Assuming that all students learn by listening.
  4. Merely having centers in the classroom.
  5. Assigning more work to students who have demonstrated mastery in an area.
  6. Only for students who demonstrate a need for acceleration.
  7. Quantitative

Why DI from Ealy Elementary in West Bloomfield, MI

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