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Differentiation for High-Achievers


Not sure how to differentiate for your high-achievers who have already met the standard before you even teach it? Don’t have time to search for new resources or recreate the wheel for each and every lesson for each and every student? Have no fear! There are several things you can do to take what you are already teaching to the majority of your students, and create a way to enrich your high-achieving students.

Stick With the Same Standards

There’s no need to go searching for separate standards for your high-achieving students. Stick with the same standards the rest of your class is working on for each lesson. Just follow one of these steps:

  1. Look to the grade above to see what the standard looks like at that grade level. Tweak the small group instruction and assignments you are giving your high-achievers to match the standard for the grade level above.
  2. Use the grade level standard as is, and follow one the ideas listed below.

Incorporate Bloom’s Verbs

Incorporating higher-level Bloom’s Taxonomy verbs into your student’s tasks instantly raises the rigor. Many times, students are asked questions that consist of simple recall. We can easily increase the rigor for our high-achievers just by changing the questions that we ask.

No need to reinvent the wheel. Just take basic knowledge level questions and that are being asked such as:

  • recall
  • draw
  • label
  • write
  • list
  • name
  • select

and change the questions/tasks to include higher-level bloom’s verbs such as:

  • modify
  • produce
  • analyze
  • compose
  • invent
  • assess
  • critique

Before bumping up the tasks using higher-level Bloom’s verbs, you may want to consider spending some time giving some mini-lessons on what each of the Bloom’s verbs mean. Spending some time pre-teaching the verbs, or posting visuals like Bloom’s Taxonomy posters for students to reference will ensure success down the road for your students.

Make It Cross-Curricular

Combining curricular subject areas takes learning to the next level. It allows students to use both the right brain and left brain, all while honing their knowledge of the skills that are being addressed.

For example, if your students are learning about place value, you can have your students create an educational children’s book to teach their classmates about tens and ones. They can generate a page for each of the decades, including a clever title page and a story to match the illustrations about the tens and ones on each page. Once they are done they can read it to a classmate.

Math Cross-Curricular Enrichment

Now your students are taking a simple math concept and incorporating reading and writing to solidify their knowledge of the topic. Plus, they are teaching their peers what they know!

Another idea is to have students create games for their classmates. No matter if they are math games or reading games, students are using higher-level thinking skills to create the game, and then combining reading, writing and math to execute the task. The best part is that they can then play it with their classmates when it’s all said and done!

Make It Into a MultiStep Project

Taking a standard and making it into a project is similar to the idea above, but does not necessarily have to be cross-curricular. Students can take a reading skill such as rhyming words (standard RF.K.2.A or RF.1.2) and work on a multi-day project around this topic. If you can find a way to incorporate technology, that can be a big hit for a lot of students!

Rhyming Word Enrichment Project


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