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Course Information

Differentiating Instruction**
Course Description

Course participants will explore creative teaching strategies and assessments that support differentiated instruction.  Participants will investigate and explore the principals of DI (Differentiated Instruction) and become familiar with strategies for managing a DI classroom.  Participants will have the opportunity to implement some of the strategies within the classrooms and discuss pros and cons with other learners. 

* Participants must employed full-time in a school setting as they will implement course strategies with students.

Course Syllabus

This workshop is designed to assist K – 12 teachers in effectively adapting lessons to meet the needs of a diverse group of learners. Participants will explore creative teaching strategies and assessments that support differentiated instruction and become familiar with strategies for managing a DI classroom. Teachers are encouraged to try some of the strategies in their classroom and discuss pros and cons with other learners in weekly discussions. As a final project participants will complete one of the following: 1) a technology rich lesson plan for differentiating instruction for two specific students, 2) a detailed reflective journal around three student learners using differentiated instruction, or 3) a documentary of the implementation of differentiated instruction using digital pictures and/ or video accompanied with detailed explanations of the process.

By the end of this course, participants will understand:

1.    principals of differentiated instruction,

2.    factors of understanding your students,

3.    strategies for managing a differentiated classroom,

4.    strategies that support differentiated instruction,

5.    how to develop assessments supporting differentiated instruction, and

6.    how to develop final products that incorporate differentiated instructional strategies to meet the needs of specific learners.



Regular computer access, using email, browsing the Internet, and saving documents to your computer are required for success in this course.

Format and Requirements

This workshop is divided into six one-week sessions plus an Orientation Session each of which includes readings, activities, and an online discussion among workshop participants. The time necessary to complete each session is estimated to be 6.5 to 7 hours.

The outline for the workshop is as follows:

Session One

Elements of Differentiated Instruction

Session Two

Getting to Know Your Students

Session Three

Management Strategies for the Differentiated Classroom

Session Four

Instructional Strategies that Support Differentiated Instruction

Session Five

Varying Assessment in the Differentiated Classroom

Session Six

Differentiated Instruction in Action: Final Project

  • Orientation: In this session participants will complete the pre-course survey, introduce themselves to the group, and respond to 2 other learners in the discussion board.
  • Session One: Elements of Differentiated Instruction: During this session, you will investigate learning theories, learning styles and learning profiles. Differentiating instruction begins with getting to know your students. Learning style and interest inventories are an often overlooked method of truly learning who your students are as learners. These inventories can help you provide the best learning opportunities for your students, as well as learn what motivates and inhibits their learning. Observation and conversations with students can also add to the process of discovering the unique learning needs of your students. 
  • Session Two: Getting to Know Your Students: In Session Two participants will investigate learning theories, learning styles and learner profiles. This session offers ideas on meeting the needs of a variety of learners.
  • Session Three: Classroom Management Strategies for the Differentiated Classroom. During the session, you will explore best practices for managing a differentiated classroom and complete readings and activities to help you understand key components for managing a differentiated classroom. This will include identifying your own classroom management style. 
  • Session Four: Instructional Strategies to Support Differentiated Instruction: During this session, you will be introduced to strategies supporting differentiated instruction. The session readings and activities will lead to the evaluation of the benefits and challenges associated with the implementation of differentiated instruction.  
  • Session Five: Varying Assessment in the Differentiated Classroom. During this session, you will review a wide variety of assessment options to develop strategies to meet the needs of a variety of learners. Assessment is used to inform instruction and since learners acquire information in different ways, assessments must be presented in multiple formats to provide opportunities for all students to show what they know and are able to do. In the words of Tomlinson and McTighe in their book, Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design, “Grading and assessment are not synonymous terms. Assessment focuses on gathering information about student achievement that can be used to make instructional decisions. Grading is an end-point judgment about student achievement.” Ongoing observation and assessment in the differentiated classroom are essential as teachers become “students of their students”. 
  • Session Six: Differentiated Instruction in Action. During this session, you will be introduced to the methods by which others initiated differentiated instruction. You will respond to selected scenarios with respect to the level and/or quality of differentiation that is present.


Orientation Quiz: Participants will complete and Orientation Quiz during the Orientation Session. The quiz may be taken as many times as necessary to obtain the expected 90% accuracy. 

Readings and Activities: Participants are expected to complete the required course readings and activities as posted in each of the session assignment pages. Optional readings may also be completed, but are not mandatory. 

Discussion Participation: 
Participants will be evaluated weekly on the frequency and quality of their participation in the discussion forum.  Participants are required to post a minimum of one substantial original posting each session in response to the discussion prompt for that session by Sunday evening. Participants are to respond thoughtfully to a minimum of two colleagues' original postings each session by Monday evening. They are to read all original messages by course participants and enough additional responses to make a total of 50% of the messages posted for that session by Tuesday evening. Postings will be evaluated on their relevance, demonstrated understanding of course concepts, examples cited and overall quality

Final Product:
Participants will use the DI Lesson Plan Template to plan a lesson incorporating differentiated instruction into their classrooms. The final project will be assessed using the course project rubric. The project template will be placed into the course dropbox during Sessions Six for facilitator review and feedback. 

Copyright: Copyright guidelines are to be observed throughout the course project and all course activities. All work associated with the course project is to be the original work of the course participant. Fair Use does not apply to the course project.

Grades: All grades in the course gradebook must be a "C" for successful course completion. A grade of "C" indicates that all work has been completed and the work meets the expectations for that assignment.

Pre and Post Workshop Surveys: Participants are expected to complete both surveys. The Orientation Survey is to be completed by Sunday during the Orientation Session and the Final Survey is to be completed by Sunday during Session Six.

Certificate Of Completion

Upon successful completion of this course, Differentiating Instruction, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion documenting successful completion of the course requirements. Certificates are distributed to each qualifying participant by attachment to the Session Six Dropbox shortly after the completion of the course.

Graduate Credit Information

Participants in this course are eligible to receive non-degree graduate credits from either West Virginia University, Marshall University, Concord University or West Virginia State University. Credits will be awarded at the end of the semester in which the course occurs. Additional information is available on the course News/Welcome Page.

Content And Technology Standards

This workshop, Differentiating Instruction, will help participants meet the ISTE Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for All Teachers (http://edtechleaders.org/documents/NETSAdminTeachers.pdf), especially Standards II, III, IV, and V. For more information about Technology Integration visit: http://www.iste.org

In addition, participants will identify specific WV Next Generation Standards -NxG (http://wveis.k12.wv.us/Teach21/public/ng_cso/NG_CSO.cfm) or WV Content Standards and Objectives -CSOs (http://wvde.state.wv.us/csos/) as they engage in course content.

About This Course

This workshop was developed by the Mississippi Department of Education and modified by the West Virginia Department of Education (http://wvde.state.wv.us) under the guidance of the EdTech Leaders Online (http://edtechleaders.org) at Education Development Center. EdTech Leaders Online provides capacity building, training, and online courses for school districts, state departments of education, and colleges and universities.

Original design (before format modifications) by EdTech Leaders Online (http://www.edtechleaders.org), a project of Education Development Center, Inc, © 2007.  All rights reserved.