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Differentiated Instruction in the Classroom

This course is designed to provide educators with the necessary resources to create a learning environment that will maximize the potential for student success by using the strategies associated with differentiated instruction. Practical applications of how to differentiate with the content, process, and product will be explored while planning differentiated lessons.

Participants will understand what defines differentiation and recognize their role and responsibilities in a differentiated learning community. Participants will learn how to provide motivating, challenging, and meaningful experiences for students by differentiating instruction while managing instructional time in a way that meets the standards. Upon completion of this course, participants will possess a repertoire of strategies for differentiating instruction that will allow them to respond to the diverse needs of the students in their classroom.


Carlow University ED 639 • Madonna University EDU 5830.12 •

Mercy University EDUT 517


The required text for this course is Differentiating Instruction in the Regular Classroom: How to Reach & Teach All Learners, Updated Anniversary Edition by Diane Heacox. ISBN 978-1575-42416-3.

Graduate participants earn 3 semester hours of graduate credit and will receive a transcript from one of our partner institutions below. Professional development participants will receive a certificate of completion for 45 hours of professional developments credit for face-to-face classes and 60 hours of professional development credit for online classes.

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Course Schedule

  • 1/9/24 - 4/9/24
  • 3/12/24 -6/11/24
  • 5/14/24 - 8/13/24
  • 7/9/24 - 10/8/24
  • 9/10/24 - 12/10/24
  • 11/12/24 - 2/11/25

Course Schedule



Session 1: Understanding Differentiated Instruction


  • Introductions
  • Establishing class/group expectations and norms
  • Course overview
  • Establishing individual course expectations and goals
  • Course requirements
  • Course registration
  • What is differentiated instruction?
  • You may be differentiating already
  • The goals of differentiated instruction
  • What do we differentiate?
  • Six essential principles of differentiation

Session 2: The Role, Responsibility and Tasks of the Teacher in a Differentiated Classroom


  • The teacher as a facilitator and collaborator
  • Qualities of a supportive classroom environment for differentiation
  • The flexible learning environment
  • Managing Differentiation
  • The importance of knowing your students
  • Academic history
  • Student Learning Profile
  • Student interest
  • Interest Inventory
  • Understanding multiple intelligences
  • Multiple Intelligence Checklist

Session 3: Essential Questions


  • Identify the concepts or ideas that are most important to the understanding of the curriculum
  • Writing essential questions
  • Using the essential questions as a teaching tool
  • Designing unit-level questions
  • Writing unit questions
  • Using unit questions as a teaching tool
  • Using essential and unit questions to differentiate instruction
  • Developing a unit with essential and unit questions

Session 4: Curriculum Compacting and Curriculum Mapping


  • Understanding the purpose of Curriculum Mapping
  • How to use and develop a Curriculum Map
  • Developing a Curriculum Map
  • Understanding the purposes of Curriculum Compacting
  • The Curriculum Compacting process
  • Develop a Curriculum Compact for a particular area of the curriculum

Session 5: The Challenge and Variety of Differentiated Instruction


  • Understanding Bloom's Taxonomy
  • Using Bloom's Taxonomy to differentiate instruction
  • Identifying Gardner's eight ways of thinking and learning
  • Integrating Bloom's and Gardner's multiple intelligences
  • Developing an Integration Matrix

Session 6: Flexible Grouping and Tiered Assignments


  • Compare and contrast three kinds of groups associated with differentiated instruction
  • Personalizing learning with flexible grouping
  • The when, where, and how of flexible grouping
  • Managing flexible grouping
  • Planning for flexible grouping
  • The purpose of tiered assignments
  • Six ways to structure tiered assignments
  • Deciding when and how to tier assignments
  • Guideline for tiered assignments
  • How to organize groups and give directions using tiered assignments
  • Develop a tiered assignment

Session 7: Differentiating Content, Process and Products


  • Differentiating content in response to a student’s readiness level, interest, or learning profile
  • Strategies for differentiating content: Concept-based teaching, varied text and resource materials, learning contracts, mini lessons, and varied support systems
  • Differentiating opportunities for students to process the ideas or concepts
  • Flexible and responsive strategies which support differentiated instruction
  • Assessing student knowledge by creating high-quality products
  • Steps to developing a product assignment
  • Guidelines for product assignments
  • Differentiating products at various grade levels and ability levels
  • Develop a differentiated lesson with content, process, and products

Session 8: How to Differentiate for Special Populations


  • Differentiating Instruction for special needs students
  • Learning Disabled
  • Behavior Disorders
  • Physical Disabilities
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Guidelines to create a differentiated profile for special needs students
  • Differentiated strategies for special needs students
  • Differentiated instruction for gifted and talented students
  • Characteristics of gifted students
  • High achievers vs. gifted learners
  • Examine curriculum with SCAMPER
  • Curriculum compacting for the gifted student
  • Individual learning plan
  • Mentors

Session 9: Assessment


  • Establishing quality criteria for differentiated instruction
  • Grades
  • Assessing their own work and peer evaluation
  • Rigor
  • Record keeping
  • Developing rubrics

Session 10: Planning a Differentiated Unit of Study


  • Questions to guide the planning of a differentiated unit of study
  • The CCPP Toolkit
  • Developing a unit of study
  • Final exam
  • Lesson presentations
  • Evaluations
  • Create a classroom climate where all learners succeed to support differentiated instruction.
  • Analyze the rationale, goals, and principles of a differentiated classroom.
  • Report the elements of a classroom that teachers need to modify to ensure maximum learning for all students.
  • Analyze current instructional strategies and classroom practices for principles of differentiation.
  • Illustrate the role and responsibilities of the teacher in an effective differentiated learning community.
  • Address the importance of student readiness, interest, preferences for learning, and emotions associated with effective and efficient learning in a differentiated classroom.
  • Select appropriate tools to gather information about students.
  • Examine and recognize student’s learning styles and multiple intelligences to determine how students access, process, and express information.
  • Analyze the purpose and types of assessments in the differentiated learning environment.
  • Determine the appropriate assessments to use with students as feedback before, during, and after learning.
  • Modify, adapt, and design new approaches to instruction in response to students’ needs, interests, and learning preferences.
  • Differentiate and develop activities for content, process, and products.
  • Develop instructional activities based on essential topics and concepts, significant processes and skills, and multiple ways to display learning.
  • Formulate essential and unit questions to focus instructional planning.
  • Examine the needs of your classroom by utilizing a Curriculum Map to identify content, skills, and products for units of study and address required curricular standards.
  • Justify the purpose of Curriculum Compacting and how to use it to determine the readiness of students.
  • Select, modify, and adjust, instructional strategies and resources to support a differentiated classroom to meet the diverse needs of the students.
  • Analyze Bloom’s Levels of Thinking and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences to develop varied instructional strategies and relevant learning activities.
  • Design tiered assignments to meet students’ need based on challenge, complexity, resources, outcome, process, and product.
  • Structure flexible grouping to support tiered assignments.
  • Identify special populations and examine the basics of differentiation for these students.
  • Establish quality criteria for assessing differentiated instruction.
  • Effectively manage a differentiated classroom.
  • Develop a differentiated unit of study.
Partner Universities

Our Partners are well-established regionally and nationally accredited colleges and universities, recognized for academic excellence and their commitment to teachers.

Important Information

Online 3-graduate credit courses are 13 weeks in length.

On-site weekend courses are held Friday evening from 6:00pm-9:00pm and Saturday/Sunday, 8:30am-5:30pm.

Weekday courses are Monday-Friday from 8:00am- 6:00pm.

It is the responsibility of the student to check with their state, county, district, or school to ensure that all requirements are being met by the course you're taking.  

Check the Partner Universities page for specific university information as well as course numbers which are specific to the university partner. 

Students are required to purchase their own textbook, the information for which can be found here. If no book is required it will be specified on the list. We have copies of many of the textbooks should you wish to purchase directly from TEI. 

Professional development (PD) participants receive a certificate of completion from TEI for 45 hours of PD credit for face to face classes and 60 hours of PD credit for online classes. These certificates are mailed within one week of the end of the class and reflect the course title, dates of attendance, and credit hour information. 

Student Academic Integrity
Participants guarantee that all academic class work is original. Any academic dishonesty or plagiarism (to take ideas, writings, etc. from another and offer them as one's own), is a violation of student academic behavior standards as outlined by our partnering colleges and universities and is subject to academic disciplinary action.