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How can I plan units and lessons that will maximize the success of all students?

There are probably students in your class who have difficulty completing assignments and are in need of additional intervention or assistance. How do you reach these learners as well as the rest of the class? The first step is to remember to keep the focus of your lesson on your original lesson objective. It is also important to keep your expectations high and look for ways to modify assignments or make accommodations that will allow diverse learners to interact with the exact same assignment as their peers. In class activities, heterogeneous grouping is a useful strategy

As you write your lessons, plan for multiple intelligences. Try to teach each main concept through several different modalities such as linguistic, mathematical-logical, kinesthetic and spatial.

Tools and resources


Identifying Big Ideas, central questions and themes

This tool gives examples of broad concepts with focused themes, questions, and issues and a chart to help you narrow your own broad concepts in this way.

Questions to ask for lesson planning These brief self-reflective questions will guide your thinking in unit and lesson design, helping you remember what is important.
Background on multiple intelligences and learning styles Here you can refresh your knowledge on multiple intelligences and learning styles. There are several links to sites offering information you can immediately use in your lesson implementation and design.
Extending unit plans to respond to multiple intelligences and learning styles This Weekly Overview Chart will help you examine your units and plan for better focusing on your students' varied intelligences.
Activities for multiple intelligences This chart lets you know at a glance which intelligences your lessons/units are supporting.

Lesson plan format to emphasize diverse learners

Use of this open-ended plan will ensure that the needs of all students are being met.

Making adaptations during unit planning This resource presents suggestions for minor and major adaptations in instruction depending on the needs of your students.

Suggested application tools for use with at-risk students

This list suggests materials to keep on hand and possible uses of them to keep all learners engaged and focused on their assignments.

Modifying plans based on student needs This chart presents several scenarios of students with special reading needs and then proposes various ways for a teacher to work with each of them.

Writing differentiated plans: An elementary writing example

Here is an example of how to write a differentiated lesson plan for a language arts lesson.

Tool: Differentiating instruction in elementary mathematics For teachers who find it difficult to differentiate math instruction for students with varying needs, this tool presents a series of suggestions and some probing questions

Designing activities for group work


This tool will help you determine if your lesson would benefit through group work. It will also help you to design appropriate group-work activities.