[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Mary Ann Johnson



This course provides an intriguing and unique look at the subject of differentiation.  Part I of our text includes three completely fresh techniques for helping students understand why they will not all be doing the same things at the same time.  You’ll get information for dealing with the realities of leading students, parents and colleagues onto a path of support for differentiated instruction.
Part II has practical information on routines that will make things run smoothly such as how to start and end the class, giving directions, and managing noise and time.  It addresses some of the substantive issues, like providing for the highly capable as well as struggling students, handling assessment options and finally, addressing some for the biggest sticking points about differentiation.  This course will have more examples to offer elementary teachers, but the sticking points will be more useful for secondary teachers.
You will want to find a film about teaching which shows either examples or non-examples of differentiated instruction if you choose Option 10B for the 500 level credit


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

1.  Practical strategies to create the class awareness that students will be working on a variety of challenges.
2.  Routines to facilitate student movement, manage time, noise, and classroom spaces. 
3.  Strategies for explaining differentiated instruction to parents and other educators.
4.  Ways to handle assessment options and realities.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Leading and Managing A Differentiated Classroom, ASCD, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4166-1074-8

  • Leading and Managing a Differentiated Classroom (Professional Development)
    ISBN# 141661074X
    by Tomlinson, Carol Ann, Imbeau, Marcia B.

    Buy from Amazon


Text cost is approximately $5.88 used from Amazon.



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Introduction.

Please introduce yourself. 
What has been your experience with differentiating instruction? 
What do you hope to learn in this course? 

Assignment #2: Read the Preface.

Read the ”Preface” and “Leading a DI Classroom.”
Summarize key ideas in 1-2 pages.  

Assignment #3: Read Chapters 1 & 7.

Read Chapters 1 & 7 about misunderstandings and “Yes Buts” about DI. 
Were these chapters needed, and if so, why?   

Assignment #4: Read Chapter 2.

Read Chapter 2 concerning teacher beliefs and messages needed for students. 
What did this contribute to your own thinking? 

Assignment #5: Read Chapter 3.

Read Chapter 3 and rate the activities to deal with the “fairness” issue.  Useful? 
Could you use and/or adapt any of these ideas?  Or explain your own approaches. 

Assignment #6: Read Chapter 4.

Read Chapter 4 and describe how you purposefully create an essential learning environment for differentiating. 
What are some of the best, new ideas you collected? 

Assignment #7: COURSE FORUM.

Read Chapters 5 & 6 and comment on most useful suggestions.  
Given all that you have read, is there any part of the shift to differentiated instruction that you find problematic?
If others have already shared comments, please respond to one(s) that caught your interest.



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #8: Lesson Development.

Assignment #8:   (Required for 400 and 500 Level)
Assignment #8-A:
  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course.
  • Implement your lesson with students.
  • Write a 250-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback on your lesson.
  • Share what you’ve learned with other teachers taking our courses by adding your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • For a sample lesson plan template click here.
  • Submit your modified lesson to your instructor via the online response box or file upload.
Assignment #8-B:
  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • Share your learning with other teachers by contributing your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library
  • For a sample lesson plan template click here.
  • Write a 500+ word article about a noteworthy teaching success you’ve had with one or more students.
  • Please refer to the guidelines on our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best prior to writing your article.
  • When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Renee Leon THI blog curator and media specialist.
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website. 
  • Submit your lesson to your instructor via the response box or file upload.

Assignment #9: Exceptions.

Tell about a time a teacher made an exception for you or didn’t and should have. 
What exceptions would you have made under similar circumstances, or not have made? 

Assignment #10: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete one (1) of the following assignment options:
Option A) Create a Power Point introducing this book in a staff meeting.
Option B) Select and view a film in which the teacher demonstrated an example or non-example of differentiated instruction. 
Relate back to Chapters 1 and 7, if non-examples.  Analyze the teacher’s effectiveness. 


Assignment #11: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Mary Ann Johnson, M.Ed Adm. has worked with students of all levels, from alternative high school to gifted classes. She has also been a junior high vice principal and is now working with teachers for continuing education in classes, distance learning and building leadership groups. She is a teacher emeritus who has led seminars for educators which focus on developing a quality learner environment for students and for teachers. Her courses are research-based and resonate with user-friendly and energizing content.



HEACOX, Diane, Differentiation Instruction in the Regular Classroom: How to Reach and Teach All Learners, Grades 3-12, 2012, pb. 176 pages, Free Spirit Publishing.  If I could have only one book about differentiating instruction, this would be it.  It has more background to make differentiating instruction appealing and realistic.  It includes many tips on helping both your gifted students and the ELL or slower learners in your same classroom.  You’ll rarely find more useful forms, prompts, and student reflective handouts in any other resource.  The Updated edition for the 10th Anniversary of this book has added connections to Common Core standards, a Power Point for Staff Development, and many downloadable forms that will provide hours of valuable materials for direct use.
HIMMELE, PERSIDA & HIMMELE, WILLIAM, Total Participation Techniques:  Making Every Student an Active Learner, ASCD, 2011, paperback, 133 pages.
ISBN: 978-1-4166-1294-0.  This book is a highly-recommended companion to the text for this course.  It begins with a chapter “The High Cost of Disengagement,” and makes an enthusiastic case for banishing boring education.  The Total Participation Techniques “are teaching techniques that allow for all students to demonstrate, at the same time, active participation and cognitive engagement in the topic being studied.”  Many strategies are described with clear directions, and ways to assure higher-order thinking. The strategies have been field-tested in elementary to college classes.  A real winner, very readable.
PAYNE, Ruby K, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, A Cognitive Approach, 2013, 5th Edition, aha!process Inc. pb, 237 pages, ISBN: 978-1-929229-48-2.
If you teach children who are experiencing generational poverty or situational poverty in your classes, you will learn answers to some of your most perplexing problems, both in teaching content, in motivating  student motivation,  focus and planning behaviors, classroom management, and parent communication.You will learn the Hidden Rules of the wealthy, the middle class, and those living in poverty, and find greater respect for the rules your students are living by.  Most teachers rate this information as the most helpful they have encountered.
REEVES, DOUG B, Leading Change in our School:  How to Conquer Myths, Build Commitment, and Get Results, 2009, ASCD paperback, 192 pages,
ISBN: 1416608087.  This author, who is highly regarded, describes examples of both elementary and secondary schools with success in overcoming resistances to differentiating.  Brings in the roles played by both teachers and administrators. It includes information about creating, planning, implementing, and sustaining change and provides assessments to measure personal and organizational readiness for change.
THOMPSON, CAROL ANN, Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom:  Strategies and Tools for Responsive Teaching, ASCD, 2003, paperback, 165 pages, ISBN: 0-87120-812-1.  “Good teaching begins with good relationships and a passion that students can see.”  That is the theme of this book, and this focus is the reason why you should read another book by Carol Ann Tomlinson about differentiation.  She has moved from her previous work describing how to design the components of curriculum to describe “the promise of the differentiated classroom” in which the emphasis will be on meeting student needs, both academic and personal.
THOMPSON, CAROL ANN,  BRIMIJOIN, and NARVAEZ, LANE, The Differentiated School:  Making Revolutionary Changes in Teaching and Learning, ASCD, 2008, 20xx, paperback, 204 pages, ISBN-13: 9781416606789.  If you are looking at a school-wide plan for change, this book will provide you some of the background of Michael Fullan on the realities of planning for change, and will lead you through the processes for bringing the learning community together to increase the likelihood that second-order change can occur.  There are interesting case studies of both elementary and secondary schools whose plans for change were highly successful and illustrative of possibilities for real accomplishment.
WOOD, Chip, Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom Ages 4-14, Northeast Foundation for Children, Inc., 3rd Edition, 2007, paperback, 217 pages,
ISBN: 978-1-892989-19-2.  For teachers trying to differentiate instruction, this book provides the essential child development piece.  It is based on essential principles. It is based on the idea that children will generally go through predictable stages that are similar the world over, but have differences that may be due to family, personality, and other environmental features.  In addition, it appears that children develop in patterns of spurts and then consolidation.  You will see the overarching patterns for each of the stages described in the book.  You will both be enlightened and affirmed in your own perceptions.
WORMELLI, Rick, Fair Isn’t Always Equal:  Assessing & Grading in the Differentiated Classroom, 2006, ASCD, pb 218 pages, ISBN 1-571304240.
Once you have decided to create differentiated paths to student learning, many issues about grading the work of students need to be determined:  how much to consider the effort, attendance and behavior in student grades;  how to consider extra credit,  homework grades,  make-up work,  and finding fair dividing points in assigning per cents for student work.  Rick Wormelli addresses all these issues with clarity and also considers how test construction and report cards would be affected by differentiation.  This book will help you think about your own beliefs and provide some reasons to create a rationale for your own decisions.