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Differentiating Instruction: Product

Differentiating Instruction: Product

Author: Katie Hou

In this lesson, you will learn about differentiating the learning products for diverse learners.

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Differentiating Instruction:Product

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Hello, and thank you for joining me for Differentiating Instruction with a focus on the product. By the end of today's tutorial, we will be able to answer the following essential questions. In what ways can products be differentiated? And what are some examples of product differentiation?

Let's begin with a quick review of what differentiated instruction is. Differentiated instruction is essentially a framework that teachers can use to differentiate instruction for their students. This includes making changes to the content taught, or what we're teaching our students, making changes to the process, which is how we're teaching our students the content that is taught, making changes to the products, which is what the students produce to show mastery-- and that's our focus of today's tutorial-- and making changes to the environment, which means the physical learning area as well as this classroom mentality.

An important part of differentiated instruction includes student profiles. Student profiles are made up of a variety of different things which include interests, which is what the student is interested in outside of school, learning styles, which is how the student learns-- and that isn't something that you can tell by just looking at a student. You're going to have to do a little bit of digging to find that out. The student's dominant multiple intelligences-- again, you're going to have to do some digging. And there are lots of online quizzes that you can give your students to reveal their different multiple intelligences. Students usually really find this interesting and enjoy doing them.

The student's gender-- because this isn't necessarily profiling a student. It's basing it on sound research that shows that girls and boys learn differently. The students culture, which is what sort of cultural influences are going to impact their learning-- and other factors, such as the student's socioeconomic situation, whether or not the student has any learning disabilities, and so on.

This might sound like we're tracking students. And that's not at all the case. Student profiles are a useful thing because they're multi-dimensional.

With that in mind, let's talk about differentiating the product. I think we should start out by talking about, what is the product? Essentially, the product is the major summative assessment or the thing that the student uses to show that they've mastered the content. And this is going to happen at the end of a lesson. It could be a performance. It could be a project. The options are limitless.

So the product is a really important piece of the differentiated instruction framework because it's how we assess our students. So we want to make sure that the products that the students choose or the variety of products that we choose that the students get to pick from are aligned with the established learning goals and standards, which are typically going to be those common core state standards.

So why is it important to differentiate the product? Essentially, when we differentiate the product of a learning experience we're giving students a variety of ways to show what they know. And these are going to be based on their learning preferences, on what they're interested in, and what their strengths Are. Anderson really made this idea popular in 2007.

So one way that I've differentiated the product aspect in my classroom is for a book report. There's a great list out there. It's "The 99 Ways to Respond to Literature." And essentially, the students are all going to do a presentation. But the presentation is going to be based on different things. One student might bake a food that is a favorite food of the main character and present that to the class as a way to talk about her novel that she'd read. And maybe this student enjoys baking. So it's perfect for them.

Another student might do a soap carving. Yet another student might create a found poem. The options are limitless. And the students are actually really excited when there is choice involved, which leads us to different ways to differentiate the product. This is, again, the fun point.

So one way that we can do it besides just having different projects for students to choose from is that we can create varying timelines for completion. And the timelines are based on the students. And this is important because we want to have one-on-one meetings with our students during the unit. By doing these little check-ins, we can create the timeline, and the student can base it on his or her strengths. If he or she knows that they procrastinate, then they might have more due dates on their timeline than a student who knows that they are going to be good with managing time.

You might also have check-in points where you're checking in individually with each student. You're going to have enrichment cluster grouping. And enrichment is just when the students already get the information, how can we take it to the next level. So you're going to create groups for those. You're going to have graduated rubrics. And you're going to make these available to the students at the beginning of the unit and before they're even assessed so they know exactly what you're looking for.

Maybe based on these different groups that you have, one group has a different rubric or proficiency skillset you're looking for than another group. And that doesn't mean one group is higher performing or doing better than any other. It just means that they're different.

And you can also have tiered assignments. And this doesn't mean that we're taking away. This doesn't mean that the students are learning different things. It means that they're learning the same end goal but at different levels.

And then you also want to offer choice. And that's really my biggest thing, is let the students play a part in what they're doing. So give them a choice of questions on tests or quizzes. One thing I do is I will give my students maybe five essay prompts that they might have on a final. And they can prepare outlines for those ahead of time as a way to study. Then when we get to the actual final, there's two options on there. They get to choose one of those two options, and hopefully they've already created their outline.

You can also let them have choice in terms of how they present their mastery. And then make sure that you stay true to assessing the content standard with the rubric. So it shouldn't matter how the students show mastery of the standard. It's just that they do show it in some way.

So some questions that you can ask yourself when you're trying to differentiate the product are, what are some ways that I can offer students choice in how they show what they know? How can I chunk parts of the assignments so that students can have check-in points? How might I group students so that they can demonstrate their learning most effectively? And how can technology help the students and me reach the above goals?

And remember, we live in this 21st-century world. So we want to use technology. Are we having students create videos and post them on-- so let's reflect. Do you differentiate your products at all? If not, what strategies listed here interest you the most?

OK, to review-- today we talked about what ways products can be differentiated and what some examples of product differentiation are. As you reflect on how this new information can be applied, you may want to explore the additional resources section that accompanies this video presentation. This is where you'll find links to resources chosen to help you deepen your learning and explore ways to apply your newly acquired skillset. Thank you for joining me, and happy teaching.

Notes on “Differentiating Instruction: Product”


(00:00-00:16) Introduction

(00:17-00:51) Differentiating Instruction Review

(00:52-01:53) Student Profiles

(01:54-03:35) Differentiating the Product

(03:36-05:54) Ways to Differentiate the Product

(05:55-06:30) Questions

(06:32-06:42) Reflection

(06:43-07:09) Conclusion

Additional Resources

Not available at this time.