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Differentiating Content
"Content is the 'input' of teaching and learning. It's what we teach or what we want students to learn."
Tomlinson, How to Differentiate Learning in a Mixed Ability Classroom

Content can be adjusted by adapting WHAT we teach (example: varied spelling lists for students based on pre-test or teaching fractions to some and division to others) and by HOW WE GIVE STUDENTS ACCESS to what they learn (example: independent vs. peer/teacher support reading of same text). We can adjust what we want students to know, understand and be able to do. In addition, Content can be differentiated in response to student’s readiness level, interest, or learning profile.

Planning for Differentiation
CONTENT
READINESS
INTEREST
LEARNING PROFILE
What we want students
to know, understand and be able to do
Prerequisites
Objectives
Equalizer
(foundational –
transformational,
concrete-abstract,
single facet –
multi facet, small leap – great leap,
structured – open,
slow-quick, less-more independence)
Choice on topic, content, and/or objectives
Provide multiple
options for input
(verbal/oral, written,
pictures, graphic
organizers,
part-whole, whole-part,
real life, deductive – inductive)

Listed below are some of the ways content can be differentiated. Many are described in detail on our wiki.

  • curriculum compacting
  • varied texts and resources
  • learning contracts
  • mini-lessons
  • peer teaching/reading
  • note-taking/graphic organizers
  • scaffolding
To learn more about any of the bulleted topics, click on our Strategies link from this wiki.

Links to Learn MORE
ASB Wiki Differentiating Content
Differentiation Central




Learn More about SCAFFOLDING
Scaffolding Article
Scaffolding Instruction with Math
Interacting with Complex Text: Scaffolding Reading Video


Learn More about CURRICULUM COMPACTING
Curriculum Compacting
Curriculum Compacting (shorter article)

Click on the red tool box at the top of this page to return to the Differentiation home page of this wiki.