Module 4:

Differentiating the Content

Another important aspect of differentiation applies to the content. Content can be differentiated by adjusting the readability levels of reading materials across various subject areas. Text can also be read aloud through various technology tools to provide additional support. Spelling and vocabulary lists should be matched to the readiness levels of your learners, and concepts should be presented in a variety of ways, including visually and through auditory means.

Another idea is to utilize reading buddies for young learners or students reading below their grade level. Reading buddies are a great way to offer additional support while allowing students to feel that they are still an important part of the learning process and reaching their personal goals.

Consider placing students in flexible groups that are based on their interests, readiness, or learning profiles. Flexible grouping recognizes that students have unique strengths and weaknesses, and it aims to provide them with more customized and effective learning experiences. Teachers may use a variety of grouping strategies, such as interest-based grouping, ability grouping, or mixed-ability grouping.

Assessing student interests is an important part of effective differentiation, teaching, and education. Understanding what interests and motivates your students can help you tailor your approach to make learning more engaging and relevant for them, and it can help with groupings for lessons, projects, and learning activities.

Consider one or more of these possibilities to hone in on student interests. Create surveys or questionnaires to ask students about their hobbies, favorite subjects, extracurricular activities, and what they enjoy doing in their free time. Foster open discussions in the classroom where students can talk about what excites them. Encourage students to share their thoughts and experiences and actively listen to what they have to say. Schedule one-on-one conversations with students to get to know them better. Utilize interest inventory tools and assessments. These are often questionnaires or quizzes that help identify a student's areas of interest.

Learners' previous work can offer great clues also. Review the work and assignments that students produce. Pay attention to the topics and projects they choose when given the opportunity to select. Consider collaborating with parents or guardians to gather information about students' interests and strengths, and incorporate project-based learning into your curriculum by allowing students to choose topics and projects related to their interests.

Once you understand your students' interests well, you can apply this knowledge as you differentiate instruction in your classroom. Remember that students have diverse interests, so it is important to be inclusive and considerate of different passions and learning styles. This can help make learning a more enjoyable and meaningful experience for every student.

Flexible groups offer you a chance to meet with a few students at a time to reteach ideas or skills for those who may benefit from additional teaching and practice. This is also a good time to work with advanced students to help extend their learning.

Gooru (reviewed here) - Gooru is a free online classroom learning management system. Use their Learning Navigator system to assess and assign content based on student knowledge. The Learning Navigator provides information on student knowledge and then provides a course of learning. Content is continually adjusted and monitored to match student growth and engagement.

Flipboard (reviewed here) - Use Flipboard to collect, explore, and share information from many sources, all in a magazine-style format.

Google Read Along (reviewed here) – Google Read Along is an entertaining, interactive website designed to help young children learn to read, and can be a worthwhile tool to learn about student interests.

Bookopolis (reviewed here) – Bookopolis is an education portal to keep track of and review a reader's work. Use this to hone in on books your students enjoy as a way to gauge their interests in reading and their readiness levels.

TEDEd Clubs (reviewed here) – TEDEd Clubs provide a platform for students aged 8-18 across the world to explore ideas, share information, and participate in global conversations.

Newsela (reviewed here) – Newsela features current events stories tailor-made for classroom use and can be utilized to differentiate content.

Edpuzzle (reviewed here) – This tool is a great way to take videos and add your own voice or add questions within the video. It is another useful resource for differentiating content in the classroom.

Epic! For Educators (reviewed here) – Epic! For Educators offers thousands of high-quality free books for educators teaching grades K-7. Utilize this tool to find resources that match student interest and readiness levels and also as a way to differentiate content.

CommonLit (reviewed here) – CommonLit is an excellent resource for literature, speech, debate, and history teachers. Share the site with students on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and ask the class what themes they would like to investigate.

ReadWorks (reviewed here) – ReadWorks provides a free, research-based, and Common Core-aligned reading comprehension curriculum. Search through hundreds of lesson plans organized by grade level, topic, or titles as you adjust content and match student interests.

students using windmill and tablet