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5 Ways To Differentiate Instruction When Report Writing With Kids

Teaching our kids to write reports can be a challenge ... especially when our classrooms are filled with students with different learning needs. You can make this process easier by using differentiated instruction strategies.

5 Examples of Differentiation Strategy

5 examples of differentiation you can use when teaching your kids how to write a report are:

  1. Provide different information sources
  2. Use differentiated jot note templates
  3. Give students a word bank
  4. Let students present information in different ways
  5. Have different expectations for writing skills

Differentiation Strategy #1: Information Sources

Think about the learning needs of the students in your class and what information sources would help them successfully gather information for their reports.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can all my students use the same type of information source?
  • What types of information sources do my students need?
  • Do I have students who struggle with reading? How can I support these students?
  • Do some students require a text reader? 
  • Would some students benefit by working with a partner?
  • Should I bring in a guest speaker?
  • Would some students learn best by interviewing an expert on the topic?

Possible sources of information (if applicate to report topic):

  • books (print and audio),
  • websites,
  • encyclopedias (print or digital),
  • magazines,
  • trading cards,
  • guest speakers, and
  • interviews.

Differentiation Strategy #2: Differentiated Jot Note Templates

Students will need a place to record the information they discover for their reports. There are different ways of recording information.

Your students could record info:

  • on scrap paper,
  • using sticky notes,
  • on graphic organizers,
  • using a speech-to-text device, or
  • by having someone scribe for them.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the best way for my students to record their research?
  • Do any of my students need support recording the information they find?
  • Should I pair students up for this project?
  • Do some of my students require scribes or speech-to-text devices?
  • Am I going to provide options to my students for recording their findings?
  • Do I need differentiated templates to guide my students with their research?

I like to use differentiated jot note templates. The templates visually look the same but provide each student with the support they need. 

Differentiation Strategy #3 - Word Banks

Providing students with a word bank will help them in a number of different ways. 

Word banks: 

  • provide students with ideas for their writing,
  • give students a list of key vocabulary related to the research topic,
  • show students how to spell different words, and
  • are an easy reference tool for students.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What type of word bank would be useful to my students?
  • Would students benefit from a word bank that includes a list of topics?
  • Are there key vocabulary terms that I should include in a word bank?
  • Do students need a list of verbs related to the topic? 

The type of word bank you use will depend on your topic of study and the learning needs of your students.

Differentiation Strategy #4 - Presentation of Information

Provide students with a choice in how they present the information they discovered while researching their report. Work with students to come up with the best way of presenting their information depending on their unique learning needs.

A Few Possible Ways For Students To Present Their Report Include:

  • written report,
  • oral presentation,
  • poster,
  • digital report, and
  • puppet plays.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the goal of the report?
  • What standards or outcomes are you focusing on with this project?
  • Are all students going to write a digital or printable report?
  • What are the learning needs of my students?
  • Do I need visual, auditory, and kinesthetic options for the final report?

Differentiation Strategy #5 - Expectations

Set your expectations for each student based on their individual learning needs. Not all students will be in the same place when it comes to their writing journey. Some students will have mastered the writing process while other students are trying to put together a complete sentence.

You may have different expectations around:

  • the number of sources each student uses for research,
  • the number of facts you expect for each research category,
  • what your editing expectations are for each student, or
  • whether or not you'll expect students to revise their research projects.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the goal or outcome of this project?
  • What are the different ways that students can demonstrate the report writing process and still meet the goal or outcome?
  • What are the different ways that students can present their final product and still meet the goal or outcome?
  • Do some students require target questions to help them with their research?
  • Will I have all my students revise their reports?
  • Will I have all my students edit their reports?
  • Will I expect all my students to focus on the same editing skills (capitalization, punctuation, spelling, interesting words, etc.)? 

There are a variety of ways to differentiate the process and final product when you are report writing with kids.

*** The images seen in this blogpost are taken from different report writing resources in my TpT store.

If you're looking for some ready-made, no-prep, digital or printable differentiated report writing packages ... check out a few of these resources on TeachersPayTeachers:

Related Blogposts:

Happy writing!

Until next time,

P.S. Do you struggle teaching writing to your kids? Are you looking for writing tips, strategies and ideas? Join the FREE 10 Day Teaching Writing Bootcamp and begin using the resources in your classroom today.