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ETAP 623 Design Project - Differentiated Instruction

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"Even though students may learn in many ways, the essential skills and content they learn can remain steady. That is, students can take different roads to the same destination." - Carol Ann Tomlinson.


Intent of Project - Differentiated Instruction

This mini course will explore the topic of differentiated instruction, its importance in education, and how Social Studies teachers can strive to differentiate their instruction to meet the needs of their learners. In order to understand the diverse needs of students, the mini course will also examine Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences and how this theory is connected to differentiated instruction.


Topics to be questioned and discussed

  • What is differentiated instruction? It has become a widely used term among educators, but how can we be sure we are doing it effectively in our classrooms?
  • Identify the fundamental components of differentiated instruction.
  • Why should teachers differentiate their instruction? Why is it helpful for students?


Needs Assessment

  • Instructional Problem - Differentiated Instruction is essential for the academic success of students. The term has become quite popular in educational pedagogy in recent years, but many teachers could benefit from more knowledge and training in this area.
  • Instructional Solution - Through this mini course, educators (grade 7 - 12) will learn what differentiated instruction means, how it can be used to meet the needs of their diverse learners, and effective strategies to implement differentiated instruction in their classrooms.


Performance Objectives

  • Verbal/Intellectual: Given resources (articles, readings, videos etc.) participants will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the key concepts of differentiated instruction through participating in class discussion.
  • Intellectual: Participants will be able to recall the various learning styles (multiple intelligences) and how to cater to their students through the use of differentiated instruction.
  • Intellectual: Participants will be able to discuss how differentiated instruction and Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences are related through participating in class discussion.
  • Cognitive: Participants will be able to demonstrate effective strategies for differentiating instruction through creating their own lesson plan.
  • Attitude: Participants will be able to identify the importance of differentiated instruction, how it applies to their teaching, and benefits their students.

Task Analysis

Course Purpose

Through this course, participants will learn how to meet the educational needs of their students through the use of differentiated instruction. Together, participants will explore what differentiated instruction means, how it can be used to aid student learning and various strategies to implement differentiated instruction in the classroom.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to -

  • Define what differentiated instruction is, and what it is not.
  • Identify the fundamental components of differentiated instruction.
  • Describe the benefit of differentiated instruction for students.
  • Learn strategies for how to differentiate instruction in the classroom.
  • Create a lesson plan based on differentiated instruction strategies that were suggested in the course.

Prerequisite Skills

Essential Prerequisites - In order to be successful in this course, participants should have the following skills; experience in an educational (classroom) setting, ability to read and understand a variety of texts, visual and auditory processing skills, prior experience creating and carrying out lesson plans.

Supporting Prerequisites - The following skills are suggested but not required of all participants; experience working with a variety of leaners from different grade levels, familiarity with Social Studies content, intrinsic motivation and the desire to learn about differentiated instruction, computer/technology skills.

Curriculum Map

Differentiated Instruction-copy.jpeg

References and Resources

Northey, Sheryn Spencer. Handbook on Differentiated Instruction for Middle and High Schools. Larchmont, 2005.

Smith, Mark K. "Howard Gardner and Multiple Intelligences"Encyclopedia of Informal Education, http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm.

Tomlinson, Carol Ann. Mapping a Route Toward Differentiated Instruction. Educational Leadership.

Tomlinson, Carol Ann. The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners. ASCD, 1999.

Veenema, Shirley, Lois Hetland and Karen Chalfen. Multiple Intelligences: The Research Perspective. Harvard Graduate School of Education, 1997.

Waterman, Sheryn Spencer. Assessing Middle and High School Social Studies and English; Differentiating Formative Assessment. Eye on Education, 2010.

Wilson, Wendy and Jack Papadonis. Differentiated Instruction for Social Studies; Instructions and Activities for the Diverse Classroom. Walch Publishing, 2006.