How do teachers differentiate instruction?

Page 6: Differentiate Process

processWhen teachers differentiate process, they teach the same concept or skill to each student; however, the manner in which each student makes sense of the topic or skill can vary. Therefore, teachers should vary the activities students use to master the concepts or skills. They can decide how best to do this by taking into account their students’ readiness levels, interests, or learning profiles. Teachers can break the students into groups or pairs to work on different activities or might assign individual tasks. The table below suggests several strategies for differentiating process. Click on each link for detailed information about implementing these strategies.

Strategy Readiness Interest Learning Profile
Tiered Activities readiness bullet    
Learning Centers readiness bullet interest bullet learning profile bullet
Interactive Journals readiness bullet interest bullet  
Graphic Organizers readiness bullet   learning profile bullet
Jigsaw Activities readiness bullet interest bullet  
Manipulatives readiness bullet   learning profile bullet


Another way to differentiate process is to vary the length of time students have to complete a task. This allows struggling students more time to grasp the concept and permits advanced students more time to delve deeper into a topic.

Watch the video below to learn how one teacher differentiates process in her classroom. In particular, she discusses the use of manipulatives and learning centers (time: 4:21).

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