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Differentiating Instruction in Your Classroom

Course Description

Course Description:

Student populations in schools today are very diverse. Students differ in their readiness to learn, the ways in which they prefer to learn, and the areas of interest that motivate their learning. Differentiated instruction is based on the belief that classrooms where students are active learners, active inquirers, and active problem solvers are more effective than those where students passively receive a “one-size-fits-all” curriculum.

This course introduces teachers to instructional strategies and methodologies that will enable them to create powerful learning experiences to meet the wide range of different student needs in their classrooms.

School improvement plans in virtually every school, regardless of grade level configuration, underscore the importance of helping all students achieve academic success and meet educational standards. It is clear from the research that the intentional use of differentiated instruction strategies is highly effective in meeting diverse learner needs and positively impacting student achievement.

This course focuses on best practices in differentiation and provides teachers with the knowledge and skills they need to implement these methods in their own classrooms. Through learning activities, and the practice and application of skills, participants gain new levels of expertise which will enable them to create instructional experiences in an engaging classroom atmosphere to help all of their students reach their full potential.

Course Objectives:

  • Understand the principles of differentiated instruction
  • Learn the components of learning style and their applications in the classroom
  • Understand how enduring understanding, student engagement, student outcomes, and teacher behaviors that cause learning to happen are critical elements of differentiated instruction
  • Practice designing multiple paths to reach a specific learning objective
  • Create lessons that differentiate content, process, and product
  • Learn how to differentiate instruction to meet diverse student learning styles, readiness levels, and interests
  • Understand how brain-compatible learning corresponds with differentiated instruction methodologies
  • Design learning activities that increase student engagement by enhancing semantic, episodic, procedural, automatic, and emotional memories
  • Plan lessons that differentiate instruction across four continuums
  • Practice using tiered instruction and anchor activities with flexible groups
  • Design and use essential questions and effective questioning strategies
  • Understand how scaffolding and coaching can assist struggling learners
  • Explore practical ideas for increasing active student participation and using graphic organizers in a whole-class setting
  • Understand how to use assessment as an integral part of instruction in a differentiated classroom
  • Design performance tasks to use as assessment tools
  • Plan and teach lessons based upon enduring understanding that differentiate content, process, and product to meet individual student needs

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. It was formerly known as Decoration Day and commemorates all men and women who have died in military service for the United States. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day, and it is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season. To celebrate the beginning of summer, many take to the outdoors, have picnics and barbeques with friends and family. We are choosing to offer the following courses at a discount from May 23rd – June 4th, 2017:

Discount: $299.99 (save $50). Use promo code MemorialDay17 at checkout.

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Why Choose CE Credits Online

CE Credits Online has been providing continuing education credits to K-12 educators since 2002. Our courses are offered nationwide, serving the professional learning needs of thousands of K-12 educators. Our courses are:

  • Standards-based
  • High-quality online professional learning courses designed to improve teaching and student achievement.
  • 100% online - no commuting, no missed classes, and no dress code.
  • Self-paced courses, offering participants the flexibility to work anytime, anywhere, 24/7.
  • Facilitated by highly trained moderators, experienced in education 
  • User-friendly and engaging with numerous videos that model new strategies & skills 
  • All CE Credit Online courses are eligible for University Credits (for an additional fee) through our university affiliates. Please visit our University Affiliation page for more information.

Our courses cover a variety of instructional areas and meet the needs of many educator groups, including;

  • Reading / Language Arts
  • Instructional Strategies
  • English Language Learners (ELL)
  • Transforming Instruction with Technology
  • Classroom and Behavior Management
  • Creating Effective Learning Environments
  • Beginning Teachers
  • Special Education
  • Counseling
  • Support Staff
  • This course provides educators with a foundation to impact the greatest number of students in a most effective and focused manner. Most every class is comprised of various levels of readiness, ability and achievement. All of these classes can benefit from the use of differentiation and will see real results in the form of student's increased learning. The key learnings of this course for me included, instructional strategies, differentiated assessment models, anchor activities, tiered instruction applications, use of differentiation through: content, process, and product. It also provided guidance in the use of learning modalities, in differentiation. All of these practices will be utilized in my classroom. I also found the, "Asking Powerful Questions," to be particularly informative and useful. The incorporation of strategies to increase active student participation, will also be reflected in my classroom. "Scaffolding performance tasks," was very helpful in supporting differentiation during the assessment phase, as were the many suggestion for assessing. I learned a great deal from this course and plan to incorporate as many, if not most of the practices. I plan to increase the use of these strategies, as I become more experienced in using them and as I see their effectiveness. I was particularly grateful for the overall viewpoint and approach the course had and the obvious sensitivity to the needs of all children. I believe that the course was reflective of the understanding that all children are equally valuable and have the potential to make important contribution to society, in many different ways and forms. It conveyed to educators that we are a vital and critical force in determining the path to success for our students. It also conveyed, that we must take responsibility if we prepare students in a manner that is not equitable. We can expect all students to reach their full potential if we are the vehicle which supports their individual learning needs and design our instruction around that belief. Every child has much to offer, but need us to believe in their potential and give each of them equal, individual support, for this to be realized. I appreciate the overall philosophy that every child has the right to and must have a quality education, in order to be able to become a productive member of society.

    What a participant from California said about Differentiating Instruction in Your Classroom
  • The lessons and course information was extremely useful and informative. I enjoyed gaining the new information and am looking forward to implement the vast majority of it in my classroom. The ideology of the coursework was also enlightening and enhanced my understanding of the course material.                                

    What a participant from California said about Differentiating Instruction in Your Classroom
  • I found this class enlightening and encouraging. Due to working with students with severe needs I found that I already implement some of the tactics in my teaching such as scaffolding and utilizing different learning styles such as tactile and audio. I found it interesting that I tend to have the students produce the same end product when I know that the students differ in their learning styles. Reflecting on this I realized that I use what is comfortable to complete and what I feel is easiest to grade. I don't have it all figured out and there is much more that I can implement in my class. I was a little worried that differentiating instruction was going to mean that I had to individualize to each student but through working the chapters I realized that it is giving students opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and receive knowledge through different modalities. I am aware through this class that I need to break my lesson into three pieces the content, process and product. Even though they are different I learned that all three parts blend and compliment each other.The tools I learned are the basics and foundations of good teaching. Implementing them in my classroom will not allow students to be successful but will enhance my teaching and breath new life into my lessons.

    What a participant from California said about Differentiating Instruction in Your Classroom
  • I am surprised at the amount of material I’ve learned. Now I know the names and techniques of things I actually do within my classroom. One key component I have learned is that differentiation doesn't mean a different learning plan for each student, but using various modus operandi will address the needs of all learners in my classroom. If only just using different content, process and products doesn't reach all students then I can tier and scaffold lessons so that high, middle, and low struggling learners can reach the criteria and benchmarks that they need to meet. Students who are advanced or need extra encounters can work on anchor activities. I already have many ideas that I want to use this school year in my class, especially an "anchor wall" or an “on-going work folder” where students can come in contact with material or ideas to keep going and further their knowledge, understanding and awareness of a subject or academic focus. I do many of the things suggested in this course already, but I can do them more deliberately and with more diligence with the end in mind.

    What a participant from California said about Differentiating Instruction in Your Classroom
  • Taking this course online was the best and really the only option for me. I teach full time then leave school to babysit my twin grandbabies until my daughter gets home from work after 6 pm each weekday.           

    What a participant from Georgia said about Differentiating Instruction in Your Classroom
  • I had a good experience taking the course! I will be able to utilize the material immediately. I find all of the examples offered in the class valuable and they have allowed me to visualize how the strategies can work when put into practice. I have never fully considered the perceptual frames and think these are important considerations in my planning. Science learning often involves analytic thinking but taking into account global learners and including a big picture or overview as students begin units of study is also important. I am planning on incorporating ideas for tiered instruction and anchor activities. I feel these will be beneficial to teachers. I also observe in science classrooms and I have seen many opportunities when these strategies would have helped teachers assist students that needed more guidance while others students stay focused on learning opportunities. After working with the course materials and reflecting on these in the notebook, I am much better prepared to offer useful differentiation strategies to the pre-service science teachers I observe and I have specific examples I can suggest and resources that I can pass on so they can continue to develop these skills. Thank you for such a valuable experience in this class.

    What a participant from Kansas said about Differentiating Instruction in Your Classroom
  • This was my first online course and if I can do it, anyone can do it! I got a lot out of this course and am anxious to perfect this skill of providing differentiating instruction in the classroom. I have learned so much by taking this course! I have always heard other teachers using this term: differentiated instruction, and thought I knew what it was, but by taking this course, it turns out there is a lot more to it than I thought. There are so many intricate nuances that go into planning and carrying out curriculum that meets the wide variety of needs, interests and styles of students in a regular classroom. Having a good handle on this information can help you tremendously when deciding on what and how to present your content, what the process will be and what form of a product you should expect. I have learned more about my style of learning and how that can affect my style of teaching. It is important to consider how culture can relate to how children learn. I think it is genius to keep the end in mind when planning curriculum (backwards design). I tend to be more focused on the process and planning lessons on how fun and engaging they are instead of on what clear learning objective I hope to achieve. I have enjoyed viewing all the videos and reading the extra articles that have been excellent examples of seeking enduring knowledge. I found defining the underlying principles for differentiation to be very helpful for my global understanding of the goal. You have provided me with an explanation of a real three tired approach and with the process through the forum assignments; I have learned to adapt these strategies to meet the needs of students in my class. I was glad to know that our “work board” time of the day is actually called “anchor activities”. It was encouraging to learn that this is a form of differentiation and that we are doing well at providing that. Providing a list of criteria to consider as guidelines for performance assessments was helpful. I can see this list of questions being a resource I can look back to when developing my tasks. Through taking this course, it has forced me to change my way of thinking and has made it clear, by providing many examples throughout, that differentiation can be done and should be done. I am excited to now have the enduring knowledge to perfect these strategies in the classroom.

    What a participant from Massachusetts said about Differentiating Instruction in Your Classroom
  • This course has provided a plethora of opportunities for me to differentiate more in my classroom! Understanding that a differentiated classroom does not mean creating new lessons for every student, but to provide different opportunities was helpful - sometimes it can feel overwhelming when you teach upwards of 150 students per day. Although learning styles and multiple intelligences were well known to me, reading articles about cultural learning styles was very beneficial - understanding that students from different cultures learn and interact in different ways will help me connect more deeply with my students and provide a more comfortable classroom environment for them. The understanding that we are not teaching individual facts, but enduring knowledge, opens my classroom to a variety of tasks. What is important is that I decide at the beginning what important information/skills the students should have at the end and differentiate the way they receive, process, and demonstrate the knowledge to best suit individual learning styles. There is no ONE WAY to teach - there are multitudes! I really love the idea that students can create their own rubrics to guide their own instruction. Understanding brain-compatible learning, that students will learn best when they feel comfortable and supported is something that I will spend more time on next year. I will take time to get to know my students more at the beginning, keep a relaxed and supportive class environment, and will make sure to include something in every lesson that helps the students connect the information to their daily lives - whether it be with current events (NPR), a story, or letting them share. I really liked the discussion on "memory lanes," which will help me when presenting information. Understanding that I need to stop once every ten minutes at least, to help them connect their learning to store it into memory is a key focus for me next year. I have utilized many of the differentiated strategies in the past - tiered instruction, graphic organizers, and scaffolding, but I intend to focus on using more anchor activities. Each day, I plan to start every class with an anchor activity so I can connect to individual students and groups in a meaningful way every day. This course has served to reinforce, reinvigorate, and revitalize my commitment to differentiated instruction! Thank you!

    What a participant from Michigan said about Differentiating Instruction in Your Classroom
  • I wasn't so sure I was going to learn much and thought I was taking this course simply as a hoop to jump through in order to work towards recertification. Instead, I found the course to be extremely valuable and as a veteran teacher with well over 25 years in the classroom, I discovered there was still much to be learned in regards to differentiation. I gained so much from the course that I feel like I can implement right away to make me a better teacher - one that will continue to strive towards meeting the needs of every student in my classroom.                                

    What a participant from Minnesota said about Differentiating Instruction in Your Classroom
  • Wow! I really enjoyed this course. The availablity for me to work at my own pace over the summer was just what I needed. I really enjoyed the format that was used in the lessons that were presented. The refresher course on the history of education and the impact that leaders have had on our educational system was very intersting to me. There is so much that you forget after you have graduated from college and moved out into the working environment. It was a trip going down memory lane to go back and think through the theories of great minds such as those of Piaget, Maslow, Erickson, Vygotsky, Gardner and Kohlberg. I still struggle with the No Child Left Behind law. I live and teach in Alaska. Our geographics is much different from that of other states. There are many communities (villages) and teachers within these communities that struggle to meet the requirements for this law. I do appreciate this being a topic that was touched upon at the end of this course. Thank you.

    What a participant from Alaska said about Today's Classroom: Foundations of and Current Trends in Education