I’ve been wanting for a while to differentiate my lessons. It sounds like a great idea, but I’ve hit a bunch of roadblocks… not enough time, not sure how exactly to do it! I’ll admit it. I browsed several books in the Education section at Barnes & Noble on the subject, but they never really explained, in concrete terms, how to begin. So I just read this article that reviewed an ISTE webinar on differentiating instruction with technology (whaddya know, I teach technology!) and it really clicked. Every book you read tells you to differentiate four things: content, process, product, and learning environment. However, this article suggests displaying a three by three grid on the board with student choice activities in each of the nine boxes. For example, the top row gives students three lower order thinking activities to choose from, such as listing facts you learned, creating a poem containing the main ideas, etc. The second row would be activities that encourage the students to apply the knowledge from the first row. Finally, the third row would have higher order thinking activities, ones that would place high on the Bloom’s taxonomy, such as creating something new using the knowledge. The students would then choose one activity from each row. See this page for a second grade example. You could also use a “menu” format which includes Main Dishes (must do), Side Dishes (choose 1 or 2), and Desserts (optional). For some reason this really makes sense to me. I think this is an easy way to make sure students are working with a purpose, but still gives them some choice in their learning.