Classroom Differentiation Ideas

  1. Pretests– if a student knows the information and can show it on a pretest, let him/her work on Genius Hour (explained below) or something else during the lessons he/she tested out of.
  2. Curriculum Compacting– only have the student do a few problems instead of the entire worksheet. This will hopefully help him to slow down and concentrate on these few problems instead of always wanting to rush through the easy problems. Most Difficult First– depending on the assignment, choose about five problems that represent the most difficult section of the entire task. Students can attempt these problems and if completed correctly, do not have to complete the easier problems.
  3. Accelerate instructional pace or let him start working before the rest of the class. Even if a student does not know the information, he may catch on very quickly after an example or two.
  4. Let her complete problems in her head if she can show she can get them correct. Use this on concepts she has mastered, which may be earlier than same-age peers.
  5. Use larger numbers in problems.
  6. Create problems himself instead of being given problems. Also create problems to stump others.
  7. Allow student to work with intellectual peers.
  8. Prompt student investigation of issues related to the current topics and let the student take learning as far as her abilities will let her go.
  9. Create a RAN Chart with the class. After studying the topic, have the student research something that he is still wondering about.
  10. More creativity! For example, instead of writing sentences for spelling words, incorporate the spelling words into a comic or other choice. Also give the child opportunities to simply create and build things.
  11. Have student self-assess learning behaviors, effort, and results. Also have students make SMART goals for the year.
  12. Websites that promote more abstract thinking (please review before letting students use)
  1. Challenging activities like math puzzles, Sudoku, etc.
  2. Read a book (every once in a while, but not every day).
  3. Occasionally allow student to use video curriculum like Khan Academy to work on advanced units.
  4. Games from ThinkFun, Mindware, and Prufrock Press.
  5. Allow student to work on a Genius Hour project where student chooses what she would like to learn and she researches it (all resources at
  6. Allow student to choose replacement tasks (with some guidance). Give student a tic-tac-toe board of rigorous choices.