Differentiation is the practice of factoring students’ individual learning styles and levels of readiness before designing a lesson plan. Research on the effectiveness of differentiation shows this method benefits a wide range of students, from those with learning disabilities to those who are considered high ability.
Differentiation in Canvas
Differentiating in Canvas may mean teaching the same material to all students using a variety of instructional strategies, creating different variations of the same assignment to meet modifications, and/or a combination of both.
Teachers who practice differentiation in the classroom may:
- Design lessons based on students’ learning styles.
- Group students by shared interest, topic, or ability for assignments.
- Continually assess and adjust lesson content to meet students’ needs.
Examples of Differentiation in Canvas and the Classroom
- Create different variations of the same assignment to meet modifications (verbal response using Canvas video/Flipgrid, upload handwritten notes from a photo)
- Different due dates to meet accommodations
- Literacy in Math: create assignments with text boxes where students have to ‘explain their thinking’ to extend the learning for Gifted and Talented kids or early finishers.
- Create graphic organizers in pages (option: Google doc where kids have to make a copy in order to view/use)
- Assign groups in Canvas
- Differentiate lesson plans for explicit teaching (add a space in the plans as a constant reminder)
- Planned groups for breakout rooms, working independently, working with the teacher, collaboratively
- Students are accountable for their learning by asking questions, create a participation assignment such as a 3-2-1 exit ticket where students ask a question (make a copy to edit: 3-2-1 Exit Survey)
- Choice boards-specifically designed to be differentiated (create in Canva, ThingLink, Genially)
- Tic-Tac-Toe tasks (leveled/strategically placed on board)
- Create board games - can use slides mania, can use materials from home, random name generator, or number picker: https://www.online-stopwatch.com/random-name-pickers/
- The Claw (Make a copy): https://slidesmania.com/toy-claw-machine-interactive-free-template/
- Front-load vocabulary on a Canvas page - reference throughout the unit (expect students to APPLY relevant vocab)
- App for reading text to speech
- Scaffolding (active listening/response - offer opportunities for students to rephrase what another student said, provide sentence stems, Jamboard, Padlet)
- Think-Pair-Share approach to allow students to tease out some ideas before/during instruction
- Student Self-Reflection– have students evaluate their own understanding (simple smiley faces [PearDeck or Zoom emoji], scale of 1- 4, rubric check-list, etc.)
- Assign student roles to break down performance tasks - think Bloom’s Taxonomy
- Utilize discussion boards in Canvas
- Plan out learning targets for standards
- Virtual Parking Lot for questions in Jamboard or Padlet
- Provide examples, anchor charts, and reference materials for students to access throughout the unit.
- Use / Assign online digital manipulative tools: Toy Theater - Virtual Manipulatives, GeoGebra for Teaching and Learning Math, Brilliant - Fun and challenging STEM lessons and problems