Please Contribute:
Add here your tips and strategies for using technology to differentiate Content in the classroom.
Content Strategies include Learning Centers/Stations, Learning Contracts, Tiered Assignments, Curriculum Compacting, Concept-based Teaching, Essential Questions, Independent Study, Interest Centers, Group Investigations, Problem Based Learning, R.A.F.T.S., Extension Menus, and Complex Instruction.
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Carnival Project for Algebra Classroom
After teaching writing linear equations, solving equations and graphing equations of lines, give students the task of creating a Carnival for the school. Details follow. To Differentiate - keep the form of presentation of the carnival variable. Let the students choose how they are going to "sell" their ideas (for the lower achieving students, strongly suggest less complex forms of display). This Carnival is student created...yet the plan is teacher directed. More "needy" students could even get a laid out document, with steps for completing the project laid out (checklist).
Sarah Kinzel and Katie Leach

Math Centers

After working on several different math concepts in whole group, the teacher breaks the students up into differentiated groups to work on problems and concepts that they were having difficulty with. Small groups rotate throughout the classroom with a variety of laptops, hands on games, and paper pencil tasks. Concepts are reinforced through the use of websites, games, and cooperative groups. This also allows the teacher to work with students individually.
Janie Partridge and Kim Horvath

Supplemental Reading for Romeo and Juliet

Using the Web allows tiered groups to access differentiated texts to enhance their study of Romeo and Juliet. Students who are struggling with the play might work together in groups to read articles about current teen marriage rates in the US. They might use these articles to present the data in charts using InspireData. Articles of interest can be found at,0,4232483.story and,0,7736474.story. Students who are on-track might study a collection of quotations about marriage from the Folger website ( They might choose to categorize the data they collected in an Inspiration bubble map or through InspireData. Finally, students who need an extra challenge might work with a reproduction of a primary source ( These students might also use an Inspiration program to represent the information they learned.

Man of the Decade:
After my students read and discussed Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, a novel professing Crane's realistic and naturalistic philosophies, I wanted my students to understand naturalism, the concept that our lives are determined by forces beyond our control. To accomplish this I divided my class into collaborative groups. Each group was to produce an issue of Time Magazine for the year 1889. They were also to select a Man of the Decade. There were parameters: The magazine had to have a news section, a feature section, a sports section, and advertising. This enabled a wide range of talents, from cartooning, to writing, to editing, to researching to be utilized. Today I would include a video or some other visual form of presentation. --Ralph Maltese

Tiered Participation

The and chart used with the Feb. 12 (PETE&C) and May 16 (CFF Webinar) sessions in 2007 listed on the Notes and Presentations page are examples of tiered assignments for professional development applied in a lecture-type situation. In this case, I simply created the assignment or response guide in a table in Word using the anticipated range of roles of participants and their relative experience with DI as a suggested way to differentiate their response to the presentation. Since I was using this with adults, I kept the distinctions fairly broad and offered them as suggested guides rather than a forced choice.
--Bill Dolton

Digital Images in Microscope Labs

Digital photography is now taken for granted in commercial and personal use, but it is only slowly creeping into the classroom environment. A specific example is in Biology lab, students will be handed a microscope and a tissue specimen on a slide and told to find the cells, sketch what they see and label important structures. Now we have access to digital cameras that fit onto microscopes. Students have used these to capture images and create powerpoint documents showing the important differences between tissues and cell types.
--Sue O'Bannon, LMHS

Guided Reading Centers

I use Guided Reading Centers on lap tops during my Guided Reading every morning. The children use head sets and go to my eBoard to the Language Arts Guided Reading tabs. Here the children can go on to any website and practice everything from phonics to reading fluency in a fun way. This allows me to have a successful reading group while the other children are engaged in activities that reinforce first grade skills in a fun way.

Things Fall Apart--And Sometimes Come Back Together.

In the novel things fall apart, ritual is an important aspect of daily life. Students in collaborative groups choose one high school ritual and demonstrate it through pantomime accompanied by non-lyrical music. A slide presentation without text could also accompany the pantomime. Issues to explore: what do modern American high school rituals say about American culture? How is the language of pantomime, of body language, different from verbal language? Ralph Maltese

Using Contracts as an Anchor Activity

Are you looking for a way to differentiate instruction and meet the needs of your early finishers?
A contract consists of a grid of activity choices based upon the regular curriculum. The links below show a template, based on Bloom's Taxonomy, can help you create your own contracts for students based on your content area. (It is also a good resource for lesson planning based on Bloom's Taxonomy). There is also an example of a contract for a 3rd grade math class.

My students are expected to complete 9-12 points on each weekly contract, and they try complete at least one activity in every column. Students work on their contracts after finishing regular class activities as well as at home. In my classroom, students earn a class dollar for each point they complete.
Dyan S. Branstetter

Using Voicethread with Computer Architecture

Using as a starting point for their information, students will investigate a topic on computer architecture. They will then create a short presentation using voicethread that they will present to the class in lieu of a traditional teaching.

L.Lyons - MTHS

Tic-Tac-Toe Book Report

Using the Tic-Tac-Toe model, students are given choices on how to present their book report. This can be adapted to any grade level. The same TTT format is used for each book report but the students must pick a different style of activity each report. Some examples of activities included: Dioramas, mobiles, acting out a scene from the book, changing the ending, comic strips, story mapping on cubes, cereal boxes or paper sandwiches. For older students options could include i-Movies, comic life, Inspiration/ Kidspiration. The TTT model should include several options for each style of learner.


A Trip to Africa- A PBL for Exploring a Vast Region of the World

Use the URL to access “A Trip to Africa.”This PBL opportunity gives students an opportunity to work collaboratively to learn about the uniqueness of AFRICA. Groups of 3 students perform assigned roles to learn about a specific country. Each step can be accessed through my eboard with specific links that are appropriate for the task. Students gather data, and they later synthesize it into one snapshot of that particular country. The students proceed to the culminating project and create an I-movie using the content they have researched previously. Susan N. is a great website that incorporates technology into creating poetry through motivating and interactive exercises. This is mostly for elementary students.

Intro to Geometry Webquest

I started off the year with this webquest, which enabled students to read over the terms and take self quizzes and grade themselves. It was neat to see that everyone could work at their own level. Some wrote down all of the definitions, some read through them.
Natalie DiTullio

Using Questions to Elaborate in Writing for Elementary Students
Elementary teachers can use this form to teach students how to elaborate in their writing using questioning strategies. Students can practice each question word separately or as a group. Story titles can be from a shared book that was read aloud by the teacher; or can be the title of the student’s own story.

Louis Tibbs
Literacy/Social Studies Instructional Coach K-6
Puyallup School District

Using SMART Math Flash Cards

SMART Notebook 10 has lots of interactive activities. Here’s one that you can use with your whole class, with a small group of students, or with individuals. As one student is solving the equations on the SMART Board, other students can solve them at their desks. This is an activity that students can do without help from the teacher, so it lends itself well to small group work.

In the SMART Notebook 10 gallery, type “flash cards” in the search box. Drag the flash card interactive into the work area. Resize if necessary. Choose difficulty level, type of equation, and number of questions. Have fun solving equations!

Nina Williams, Instructional Technology Facilitator
Puyallup School District, Puyallup, WA

Math - using United Streaming's Maths Mansions to supplement math lessons in the elementary grades

In United Streaming there are a series of 9 minute videos called Maths Mansion. Each video highlights one math concept that ties in directly with the concepts taught. These videos can be used as an introduction or review of the concepts. The students find these video engaging and fun. They are an excellent way to explain otherwise boring math concepts.

Keith Jones, LMSD

Ancient Egypt Choice Menu
In this activity, students demonstrate their knowledge of Ancient Egypt through a variety of choice options. It is differentiated based on readiness, product, and multiple intelligences. It was created for a middle school social studies classroom.

Heidi Williams - STRETCh instructor

Teaching Macromolecules to ELL students using Popplet

Popplet can be used on the computer, on the iPad as well as an individual assignment, group assignment or summative assessment
This is a tiered assignment meant to help ELL students gain knowledge of the four macromolecules while taking into consideration their english proficiency level.

Level 1 students will use a pre-filled template and word bank to complete the macromolecules concept map.
Level 1 Sample:

Level 2 students will use the same pre filled template and will have to complete the concept map without the use of a word bank.
Level 3-4 student will have to fill in a blank concept map according to a provided rubric.

Yara DePalma & Amanda Gonzalez
Springfield Public Schools; Springfield, Massachusetts

I-Search -- Scientists and Their Discoveries

Attached, you will find a fifth-grade I-Search on scientists, their discoveries, and the impact those discoveries have on the world today.

With this lesson, students will create a pamphlet summarizing a scientist (perhaps famous, perhaps lesser-known) that has had a great impact on the world. These pamphlets can be utilized within the classroom, or perhaps even as a display in the school library.

In addition to the plan, there is a separate file containing the rubric for this lesson (formatting prohibited it from being added to the same document).


Kevin R. Sickle
Heights-Murray Elementary School
Wilkes-Barre Area School District
Wilkes-Barre, PA

Tiered Lesson -- Rock Cycle

Attached, you will find a tiered lesson plan on the rock cycle, suitable for use in fourth-sixth grade, depending upon when it is taught within your district (in mine, we really address quite a bit during fifth grade).


Kevin R. Sickle
Heights-Murray Elementary School
Wilkes-Barre Area School District
Wilkes-Barre, PA