This article is excerpted from 130 FAQs and Practical Answers from Scholastic's Teacher Helpline
by Ruth Manna
  • Differentiated homework: One way to differentiate is to provide homework on a variety of levels. This works especially well for math and reading. It takes a little additional planning time but it’s workable and meets individual needs.
  • Elephant Words spelling: Elephant Words is an easy way to differentiate spelling. Students who do well on Monday’s grade-level spelling pretests may substitute words of their choice for Friday’s post-test. Encourage students to select words in categories like states, countries, sports, animals, fruits and vegetables, etc. Students take more ownership when they select their own words. I test all students on Friday. Although this takes a few minutes of class time, those with Elephant Words inspire other students to study.
  • After-school program: An after-school enrichment program in science, math, or chess is one way to differentiate.
  • All-school unit: An all-school program in the arts with a school-wide performance or exhibit as a culminating activity appeals to many students’ strengths.
  • Teach to individuals and small groups: Meeting with small groups for reading and math instruction and for literature circles is another way to differentiate.