Differentiation for Writing

 

Writing instruction can be differentiated to allow students varying amounts of time to complete assignments, to give students different writing product options, and to teach skills related to the writing process. The chart below offers a variety of strategies that can be used.

 

Strategy

Focus of Differentiation

Example

Tiered assignments

Readiness

Students with moderate writing skills are asked to write a four-paragraph persuasive essay in which they provide a thesis statement and use their own ideas to support it. Students with more advanced skills are asked to research the topic in more depth and use substantive arguments from their research to support their thesis.

Compacting

Readiness

Rather than receiving additional direct instruction on writing a five-sentence paragraph, a student who already has that skill is asked to apply it to a variety of topics and is given instruction on writing a five-paragraph essay.

Interest Centers or Interest Groups

Readiness

Interest

Interest Centers - Centers can focus on specific writing skills, such as steps in the writing process, and provide examples and activities that center on a theme of interest, such as sports or movies.

 

Interest Groups – When writing persuasive essays, students can work in pairs on topics of interest.

Flexible Grouping*

Readiness

Interest

Learning Profile

The teacher may assign groups based on readiness for direct instruction on the writing process, and allow students to choose their own groups and methods for acquiring background information on a writing topic (i.e., watching a video or reading an article).

Learning Contracts

Readiness

Learning Profile

A student indicates an interest in writing a newspaper article. The student, with support from the teacher, specifies the process by which he or she will research newspaper writing and decides how to present the final product. For example, the article could be published in the school newspaper or shared during a writer’s workshop.

 

Choice Boards

Readiness

Interest

Learning Profile

Students in an elementary school class are given a choice board that contains a list of possible poetry writing activities based on the following learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile. Examples of activities include, cutting out magazine letters to create poems, using a word processor, or dictating a poem into a tape recorder and transcribing it. Students must complete two activities from the board and must choose these activities from two different learning styles.

 

 

 

 

References and Resources

Differentiated Instruction for Writing. The Access Center - Improving Outcomes for All Students K - 8. Retrieved November 9, 2005 from: http://www.k8accesscenter.org/training_resources/mathdifferentiation.asp