Using Differentiation Techniques to Make Learning Accessible

Focus Area: Students with Disabilities


Phase: Targeted Support

Available Now


Inclusive classrooms are spaces that practice differentiated instruction so that all learners can experience academic success. The goal of differentiated instruction is to provide an ideal learning environment that maximizes the capacity of each student. Differentiated instruction gives teachers guidance about how to address differences in student readiness, interest, and learning style. This workshop focuses on diverse approaches to differentiated instruction that support students with disabilities because they’re in general education classrooms for 80% of their learning experience and are general education students, too. Educators will explore the four shelves of differentiation (content, process, product, learning environment) as well as strategies that can be integrated into their classroom routines to ensure equity while being responsive to student learning needs.


This virtual workshop experience is designed for educators that work exclusively with students with disabilities and educators that work with students that have disabilities integrated into the general education classroom. This virtual workshop reminds participants that all educators are special needs teachers, a core BL principle to working with students with disabilities.


I differentiate instruction to meet the needs of students with disabilities.

Learning Experience


To start, participants will define differentiation by reviewing the different ways to differentiate. They’ll review why differentiation is important, how it helps bridge a gap between general education students and students with disabilities, and some of the challenges that educators face when attempting to differentiate.


Next, participants will explore different approaches to differentiating instruction for students with disabilities in breakout rooms. Each group will become experts and teach others, in a jigsaw activity, about their approach. Strategies will be offered to compliment each approach discussed. Participants will then use these different approaches to engage in scenario work to suggest a learning approach for the student/teacher in the scenario, based on their learning from the jigsaw activity.

  • Content – what the student needs to learn or how the student will get access to the information;
  • Process – activities in which the student engages in order to make sense of or master the content;
  • Products – culminating projects that ask the student to rehearse, apply, and extend what he or she has learned in a unit; and
  • Learning environment – the way the classroom works and feels.


To close, participants will think of a student with disabilities that they’ve interacted with and come up with a plan to support them. A template and resources will be provided for participants to bring their strategy to life in their reality before breaking up into groups to share and receive feedback from peers.