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Differentiated Instruction: One Size Does Not Fit All (K-6)

Are you struggling with how to meet the needs of the varied ability levels of your students? This online course helps teachers to analyze the learning styles and readiness of their students so they can effectively develop a differentiated curriculum to meet the needs of a diverse population. Teachers will gain a clear understanding of the needs of multilingual, special education, and academically diverse classrooms and will learn how to adjust their lessons to accommodate the different needs and learning styles of their students. Different strategies and resources such as tiered instruction, multiple intelligences, and universal design for learning (UDL) will be presented so that teachers can better embrace and implement the principles of differentiated instruction into their classrooms. Finally, teachers will understand the impact of social-emotional issues on the learning process. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"This course was packed with relevant information, links, and resources that will be valuable to any teacher! I am excited to try out what I have learned this new school year!" - Alison Gardocki


Enrollment Options

Register] Course Registration Only $199

Register]Course Plus Credit from UC San Diego Extension Only $429


Required Resource Book: This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

How to Differentiate Instruction in Academically Diverse Classrooms” by Carol Ann Tomlinson

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List


Topical Outline / Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

PDI Course Number: 88AXX

UCSD Course Number: EDUC41487

Unit One

  • What is differentiated instruction?
  • Knowing the Learning Styles of Your Students
  • Diagnosing the Difference in Readiness
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography/Write an article reflection

Unit Two

  • Differentiating Instruction for Reading
  • Differentiating Instruction for Math
  • Differentiating Instruction for Social Studies and Science
  • Digital Differentiation
  • Assignment #2: Take a learning styles quiz

Unit Three

  • Special Needs Students in Mainstream Classrooms
  • Gifted and Talented Students
  • The Multilingual Classroom
  • Assignment #3: Select modifications for a special needs student

Unit Four

  • Creating an Environment for Learning
  • Managing the Differentiated Classroom
  • Adjusting and Grouping Instruction
  • Assignment #4: Develop a learning center

Unit Five

  • Guidelines for Tiered Lessons
  • Multiple Intelligences
  • Universal Design for Learning
  • Assignment #5: Develop a learning contract

Unit Six

  • Assessment Techniques
  • Social-Emotional Learning Factors
  • Resources for Implementing Differentiated Instruction
  • Assignment #6: Create a three-tiered lesson plan
  • Assignment #7: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)