You will find the presentation on Differentiated Instruction for Middle School Students (with their hyperlinks to great resources) below:

Differentiating Instruction in the Middle Grades (modifed ppt)

Reauthorization of IDEA (2004):  All students MUST be served in the least restrictive environment  (LRE) including students with (or suspected to have) a learning disability (LD).

Why should I differentiate lessons in classes in the first place?

Believe it or not, NOT all students get it in a traditional classroom setting!
No matter how good of a teacher you are, direct teacher led, large group instruction through lecture will NOT reach most students.
In fact, you are leaving out two categories, the gifted and talented (GT) or high students and the learning diables (LD0 or the low students if you continue to teach this way.


A quote from the expert:

   There simply is no single learning template for the general middle school class. If middle school students differ in readiness, interest, and learning profiles, and if a good middle school attempts to meet each student where he or she is and foster continual growth, a one-size-fits-all model of instruction makes little sense.

  Rather, differentiated instruction seems a better solution for meeting the academic diversity that typifies the middle school years.

~ Carol Ann Tomlinson

RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION (RTI):// (See the first 80 seconds of the  feature video by Jay McTighe to learn how RTI and Understanding by Design (UbD) are related.

 Why can’t these students just learn the way we did in school?

  • Readiness
  • Learning Style
  • Interest

How should I differentiate lessons in my middle school classes?

There’s too much planning to differentiate all of my lessons!

Start small, do NOT try to do it all at once…

Here are a few ways to start in the first few weeks of school:

  • Introduce student choices & task sequences                                                                                                                                Example:                    This is one of the simpliest ways to differentiate instruction (great for ALL levels).

  •  Independent student work technique (Cover-Copy-Compare)                                                                                          Example: http://                        Essentially, this is a way for students to work by themselves with the step by step problem worked out for them on the “hidden” side while you work on Tier 2 interventions in the classroom.

How do I get “buy-in” from the parents and students?


 •Explain how a DI classroom will look

•Reinforce the fact that their child will be challenged

•Risk & failure will be experienced in a positive setting to prepare for real-life experiences (talent development takes struggle)

•Ask for their reactions and suggestions to build partnerships


 •DI allows students to self-pace their work

•Opportunities to succeed and struggle, with the ultimate goal of success for all—at their own pace; failure is not an option

•Assignments will be varied and based on readiness

•Invite feedback, as well as student-created activities

Tomlinson's Flow Chart

Resources (Tomlinson’s UVA website) (Middle Grades Math Wiki), ADHD, behavior, step-by-step directions, guided notes maker) Guru, Professor & Author
 Activity Time




QUIZ-QUIZ-TRADE EXAMPLE:  This was the yellow card activity we briefly practiced…