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Differentiation Folders - An Easy Idea for your Teaching Toolbox

Looking for a DIY tool to differentiate instruction for elementary students?  Check out this simple idea: differentiation folders!
Are you looking for a handy tool to help differentiate for students that won't cost a ton of moolah and won't take forever to make?  You're in luck!  Differentiation folders are here to save the day!

Differentiation folders sound all fancy, but in reality they're super simple.  Check it out.  A differentiation folder! 
Looking for a DIY tool to differentiate instruction for elementary students?  Check out this simple idea: differentiation folders!
These are crazy easy to make, and are a super amazing idea for simple differentiation.  All you need is a few file folders (You can use the manila ones from the workroom or get all fancy and use colors), scissors, and a Sharpie marker

A few types of students who might benefit from differentiation folders are:
* Kids who get overwhelmed by looking at too much information on a page
* Students who need an accommodation of completing fewer problems
* Students with test anxiety 
* Kiddos who freeze up when they see a blank page in front of them
* Students who absolutely MUST know how much they have to do before they will begin
* Talented and gifted students who are working on completing only the hardest problems to pass off a standard or assignment

Most people think of these being helpful for math, but you could also use these folders with reader's response or writer's workshop notebooks.  We all have sweeties who get overwhelmed when looking at an entire blank page just waiting for their writing that won't materialize.  With these folders you just put their blank page inside and open one or two of the flaps with the expectation that their response needs to be at least that long.  Sweet!
 Looking for a DIY tool to differentiate instruction for elementary students?  Check out this simple idea: differentiation folders! Looking for a DIY tool to differentiate instruction for elementary students?  Check out this simple idea: differentiation folders!
Looking for a DIY tool to differentiate instruction for elementary students?  Check out this simple idea: differentiation folders!
Looking for a DIY tool to differentiate instruction for elementary students?  Check out this simple idea: differentiation folders!
You can probably figure out a differentiation folder "how to" just by looking at the pictures.
But just in case . . . 

Supplies: 
Scissors
Sharpie Marker
Folders (manila with tabbies or another brighter color so the folders are more visible inside desks)

Steps:
1. Cut the front side of the folder into thirds
2. Label each third of the folder (top = must do, middle = feeling good want to do more, bottom = really want to challenge myself)
3. That's it!!! You just created a differentiation folder!

I don't recommend making one of these for every student.  I typically throw together 5-7 over the summer and then see which students need them most (usually my students who struggle to complete or start work).  Then I give folders to those students to keep in desks as soon as they need them.  They also serve as handy places to keep unfinished work that are easy for me to fish out of desks.  One reason you might want to use NEON folders! #sneakylikeafox 

You could also introduce differentiation folders to your whole class as part of a mini lesson on accommodations along with slant boards, fidget bucket items, etc.  Then you could keep a few available for students who want to try them out.

What do you think?  Do you have a student or two that could benefit from a differentiation folder?  Do you have other ideas as to how these could be used effectively in your classroom?  Leave a comment below!

Have a fab day Super Teacher!







If you're interested in more of the Summer Stuff Series, focused on easy items to make or think about implementing in your classroom next year, check out these posts: 
Summer Stuff #1 - The Birthday Committee
Summer Stuff #2 - The Service Station Freebie 
Summer Stuff #3 - The Tooth Fairy  
Summer Stuff #4 - Freebie Sanitizer Bathroom Passes 
Summer Stuff #5 - Books for Back to School 
Summer Stuff #6 - Award Awesome Students with The C.H.I.P. Award 
Summer Stuff #8 - Collecting Mentor Texts for Writing

8 comments

  1. I love this. Thanks for sharing such a thoughtful idea. :)
    ~Brandee
    Creating Lifelong Learners

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  2. Great idea! I may have to give this one a try!
    Courtney
    Polka Dot Lesson Plans

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  3. This is awesome! What a great resource for me to have for my first year :) Also, just curious about your "fidget bucket" you mentioned- do you have a post on this?!? I'm intrigued!!

    Thanks so much!
    Lindsay Rodriguez
    http://rodriguezteachon.blogspot.com

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  4. This is a really good idea! It is good for kids who need less problems due to IEPs as well as like you said, the gifted kids who don't really need all the practice. they can do their problems then world on an extension activity!
    Gina

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  5. I LOVE this idea! I can't wait to try it out but will have to see how I can make it work in ELA...would love to see ideas! :)

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  6. This is a seriously great idea!!! So simple! Thanks for sharing and congratulations on winning!!

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  7. This is a fabulous way to differentiate work - how appealing for your students. Bravo!

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  8. I just happened upon your blog, and wanted to let you know that I've signed on to follow you via BlogLovin! I assume you're taking a "summer break" from blogging, and I look forward to seeing posts from you this fall! ~Deb
    Crafting Connections

    ReplyDelete