EQ: How does my UbD unit reflect my understanding of differentiated instruction?

My teaching unit is centered on adult learning. I have four 30 min lessons where we will learn the basics of spreadsheets via Excel. I have laid out a lesson plan, but can expand on topics that my students want to focus that might be related to their personal lives or work. For instances, someone might want to create a project estimate list or a shopping list. We will learn how to enter data in the cells and total them. We will talk about how this program is beneficial with financial uses and view the tables, graphs and chart for better visuals. The differentiated instruction will come into play when a student might need more concrete examples. I will try to provide real world scenarios to work through the understanding.

5 key differentiation elements:

  1. Environment
    1. Growth mindset
    2. Student-teacher partnership
  2. Curriculum
    1. Understanding-focused
    2. Planned for high relevance and “teaching up”
  3. Assessment
    1. Authentic
    2. Focused on feedback and differentiated assessments
  4. Instruction
    1. Readiness emphasized
    2. Consistent use of flexible grouping and respectful tasks
  5. Classroom Leadership and Management
    1. Learning-oriented
    2. Focused on leading students and managing routines


Environment is when we set the tone for a growth mindset that we can learn new things. We are learning a valuable tool (Excel spreadsheets) that is useful in real life. Student teacher partnership happens when we inspire peer learning. We welcome questions and small group study sessions.


Curriculum is instructed in a way that is easy to understand. For example, we create the cells this way because this is how you might see a layout as an accounts payable clerk. We are teaching exposure to real world tools that is helpful in everyday life.


Assessment is the pre and posttest to ensure that the student is digesting the material in a meaningful way. We want them to be able to use Excel outside of class to help them with personal and business functions.


Instruction is close to curriculum, but is centered on how we deliver the message. We want our students to see that spreadsheets are fun and useful. I am teaching the lesson in an open format, where I can welcome real world projects and questions to help the students be able to perform basic functions independently.


Classroom Leadership and Management is when I am able to talk about my experiences with the program and how it has helped me understand the program. I use Excel for my budgets, to do lists, shopping lists, Christmas/Birthday lists, etc. These examples will help inspire questions and further thinking how this powerful tool can help in their personal lives.




Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-ability Classrooms.


Tomlinson, Carol Ann and Murphy, Michael. (n.d.). Leading for Differentiation. Retrieved on 4/2 from: http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/115005/chapters/So-You-(Might)-Want-to-Lead-for-Differentiation%C2%A2.aspx


McCarthy, J. (2015, Aug 28). 3 ways to plan for diverse learners: What teachers do. Edutopia. Retrieved 4/2 from: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/differentiated-instruction-ways-to-plan-john-mccarthy



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