Differentiation just means meeting kids where their needs are.  A gifted child doesn't need to be left to learn with no direction just like a star athletic would not be left without a coach.  If you are a teacher with gifted students in your room, those students have different needs.  This page will gather ideas to help you differentiate. You may give these to a student to show concept mastery or as enrichment if they have finished early.


     General ideas:

           Develop a concept map for a given topic.  When done, explain to teacher or class why you choose to relate the topics as you did.

          Complete a journal entry:  If you were a _________ where would you settle?  Explain the benefits and drawbacks of at least two areas and why your area was superior.  If the area settled was not ideal, explain why the people chose to settle there anyway.

          Describe what a typical day would be like for a ______ living in ________.  Include expectations that the culture would have on you, consequences of not fulfilling those cultures, and how this differs from your current live.  

          Develop a concurrent time line.  This will show the culture/time being studied and a second time line of the same time period from a different country/culture.  Write a summary explaining why the cultures are similar or different. 

          Complete a journal entry describing what inspired (the current culture being studied) to improve their culture such as migrating, crop growing, burial customs, artwork, etc. Evaluate how this inspiration and striving altered the course of that culture.

          If you had to teach the children of a given culture, what would you consider the most important aspects of the culture to pass to the next generation.  Give reasons why your choices were needed to ensure the culture would continue to future generations.

          Choose a topic for your culture being studied (expanding, conquering neighbors, death rituals, form of government, etc) and have it approved by your teacher.  Write an argument for this specific cultural element to continue or cease.  Your argument must have evidence to support your choice.

          Explain how your culture being studied promoted conflict or promoted compromise with-in themselves and others they came in contact with.  Cite evidence from your studies. Evaluate your evidence and make a decision as to whether you agree with your culture or not.


Assign students a novel that correlates with your content.  Give them a time from to finish (2 to 3 weeks depending on length); students list major and minor characters; draw a plot line; write an essay on how the events in this story fit in with what was happening in the world at the time of the novel's setting or plot events; write an essay on how the novel relates to their life; and/or write a monologue as if they were one of the characters and present.

Let students have input on what they read.  Explain to students what they need to learn from the next reading assignment, then ask them to design something to demonstrate that.

Don't discount the classics- expecially to gifted, older kids. Please, let them read unabridged versions such as:  Tom Sawyer, Jungle Book, Tarzan, etc.  Students can demonstrate comprehension by reports, book talks with teachers or older students, or posters.  Students can demonstrate vocabulary by keeping a notebook where they list new words, how they were used in the book, and synonyms/antonyms for them.  You can also include other works by authors of same time period and have students compare styles; topics; etc.

Look up lists of 100 or 1000 great books. Many times these are on homeschool websites.  Let students pick from this list.  Books such as:  The Hobbit, Summer of the Monkeys, Where the Red Fern Grows, Across Five Aprils, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, or Johnny Tremain. Peotry is also good.


When doing an experiment, before you tell the students what the objective is, let the students deduct what they could do with the tools infront of them.  Share as a class and make them defend their guess.  Then, explain the objective you plan for them to learn with those materials.  At the end of the experiment, have students create another experiment with the same tools that expands on the objective just learned.

You want students to create connections between learned skills and knowledge.  Guide students to make those connections and apply in real world.