Differentiated Classroom Guidelines

What Does the Differentiated Classroom Look Like?

  1. Teachers are continually assessing students both formally and informally to know their abilities, needs and interests. Assessments are used to plan lessons, center activities and assignments for students.
  2. There is a combination of whole group and small group instruction. All students are exposed to grade level material in a whole group.  All students receive quality small group instruction according to their literacy or math needs.
  3. There are a wide variety of differentiated center activities to keep students productively and independently engaged while the teacher works with small groups.

How to Differentiate Learning Centers

  1. Choice Activities  It is important to have a wide variety of learning center choices. You can control choices by placing several activities in a tub or shelf labeled for each group. I have color groups in my classroom, so the tubs are labeled with a color. When students are at center time, they choose an activity from their color of tub. I change out one or two activities each week. This way the students are practicing the skills I know they need to practice while still getting to choose the activity.
  2. Open-Ended Activities  An open-ended activity is one where students all do the same activity, and the end result will be different according to the student’s level. Writing a word problem or a literature response are good examples of open-ended activities.
  3. Leveled Activities  You can have students doing the same activity, but the materials are leveled according to what the students need to practice. For example: Each group can play a board game, but the cards they play with will be created just for them with skills they needed to practice. Click here for a free Snowman Game you can level for each math or reading group.


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