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Differentiating Instruction for Special Education ELL Students

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Two sheets of paper, a worksheet and a page with five pictures paired with a word or phrase

In this example, a Special Education teacher who built a unit around a museum field trip describes a combination of teaching strategies designed to meet the needs of English Learners and students with disabilities, providing examples of student work.

She describes "the opportunity to supplement my curriculum units with visualizations and hands-on experiences to facilitate their learning of weather and climate concepts and to make connections between content areas and Museum exhibits."

Strategies described and illustrated include:

  • Engagement through an authentic learning experience for students at a natural history museum
  • Differentiated materials for students with various reading levels
    • A "Picture-Word Box" sheet with key vocabulary words paired with an evocative/illustrative image
    • "Answer the Questions" work sheet versions with multiple choice/short answer version and student-supplied longer answer version
    • Graphic illustration of scientific process (water cycle) with only critical vocabulary on worksheet for students to describe their understanding of the topic
  • Presentation of student work in a poster fair

Teacher/Author: Flora Pedro. Source: American Museum of Natural History website: : Retrieved Nov. 22, 2019. 


Grade Level: 
Teaching Strategies