Planning is your process to determine what and how individual students will learn and demonstrate their understanding.

Levels of Consideration:

Identify an appropriate subject and unit of study to begin using differentiation.

    • Do consider standards, district curriculum maps, previous teaching experience, resources/tools you already know
    • Do not start by trying to differentiate every topic with every group in every content area every day

Know your students

    • Do use your prior knowledge of them, what they share with you about how they learn, the information gained from a learning style inventory
    • Do not allow any one of these types of knowledge to overshadow the other.

Develop appropriate goal statements

    • Do determine these by groups of students or tiers of activities - and remember the importance of choice here too!

    • Do not try to differentiate by creating an individual goal, activity, assessment and product for each student

      • Groups: similar/different readiness, choice in groups, varied groups, optional groups, different sizes of groups, varied roles in groups

Plan assessments

    • Do communicate to students at the beginning how you will be assessing them, especially if you are using multiple assessments as a form of differentiation
    • Do not feel you have to create every assessment from scratch when so many samples and online tools will help you create them

Prepare for instruction

    • Do use a variety of instructional strategies: direct instruction, inquiry based learning, independent learning, small and large group work, flipped learning, etc.
    • Do not forget what you've learned about your students.


    • Do remember to embrace differences, be flexible, stay open to new ideas, encourage to all students as they enter a different classroom experience.

Essential Questions for Teachers to Ask Themselves When Planning Differentiated Instruction

  • Do students have any choice in what they are learning, or in how they go about learning it, or in how they show what they know?
  • Where would choices be appropriate?
  • What is nonnegotiable in the learning process?
  • How am I addressing the different needs, learning styles, and abilities of my students?
  • If learning isn't happening for some students, how can I go about teaching them in an alternate way?
  • How am I addressing the needs of students who are ready to advance?
  • Are there technology solutions or enhancements to what is being taught?
From: Differentiated Instruction Using Technology A Guided for Middle and High School Teachers Aby Amy Benjamin