The Differentiated Instruction and Response to Intervention Connection


Today's teachers are using two powerful approaches—Differentiated Instruction (DI) and Response to Intervention (RTI)—to help every child succeed academically. In this course, you'll learn how to put this "dynamic duo" to work in your own classroom teaching and lesson plans.

You will explore different learning styles and delving into a concept called multiple intelligences. You will examine the factors that motivate students to learn in a child-centered classroom. You will master the basics of both DI and RTI and learn how these two approaches work hand-in-hand to enhance children's learning. You will discover how to perform different types of assessments, monitor your students' progress, select research-based teaching materials, address learners' diverse needs, and move students up or down the RTI tiers so they're getting just the right help they need. Finally, you'll learn how to get parents involved as active partners in the education process. You'll come away armed with powerful and easy-to-implement strategies that will benefit every student you teach!

Enrollment Options:

6 Weeks Access Course Code: 4di
Start Dates* May 15 | Jun 19 | Jul 17 | Aug 14
*Choose start date in cart



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The Changing Classroom

Marcus struggles with math, Caryn can't sit still, and Brianne is reading two years below grade level. Does this sound like your classroom? If so, you need help—and you'll find it here! In this course, you'll explore practical, easy-to-use strategies for implementing RTI (Response to Intervention) and DI (Differentiated Instruction)—two new and powerful educational frameworks. In the first lesson, you'll see how these two approaches came into being and discover how you can prepare yourself and your students to use them successfully.

Exploring Learning Styles, Multiple IQs, and Motivation

One crucial concept is central to both RTI and DI. What is it? That every child can learn. To transform that concept into a reality, you'll need to tailor your strategies to meet the needs of each student—and that's what this lesson will talk about. First, you'll look at three different learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Next, you'll explore eight—yes, eight—different intelligences. Finally, you'll look at one thing that all of your very diverse students need: a motivation to learn.

What Is RTI?

In this lesson, you'll explore the first of two powerful instructional frameworks: Response to Intervention, or RTI. You'll examine how the RTI model differs from the traditional IQ Discrepancy Model and look at how you'll decide which tier is just right for each of your students. In addition, you'll identify the five core elements of every successful RTI program.

Differentiated Instruction

In this lesson, you'll meet the second member of the dynamic duo: Differentiated Instruction (DI). First, you'll learn how to create a DI classroom by adapting three elements of your lessons: content, process, and product. Next, you'll discover how flexible groupings and a technique called compacting allow you to teach to every skill level. Finally, the lesson will talk about anchor activities, including journaling and RAFT assignments.

Combining RTI and DI

RTI and DI work hand-in-hand, and it's time to discover why they make such a great team. In this lesson, you'll look at ways to interweave the two approaches when you're assessing students, creating standards-based and child-centered instruction, and finding a way to help every learner succeed. In addition, the lesson will talk a little about preparing for the transition to an RTI/DI classroom.

Assessments—Part 1

Teachers are happiest when they're teaching, not when they're testing. So why do you need to spend so much time assessing kids in RTI and DI? In this lesson, you'll discover the answer as you delve into the benefits of all that data you'll be collecting. In addition, you'll look at different types of assessments and talk a little about the important topic of fidelity.

Assessments—Part 2

You'll continue your look at assessments by looking at three types of tools you'll use in a DI classroom: pre-assessments, formative assessments, and summative assessments. You'll discover that these assessments, in addition to providing you with valuable data, can be fun and effective learning tools.

The RTI Intervention Team

Collaboration is the key to a successful RTI program, so this lesson will talk about teamwork. You'll learn all about your school's RTI intervention team and find out how to refer students to this team. In addition, you'll discover the benefits of volunteering to serve on this team yourself and get some great tips for holding effective team meetings.

Research-Based Interventions

Research-based interventions are a foundation of RTI and DI. But you're a teacher, not a researcher, so how can you know if an intervention qualifies as research-based? This lesson will tell you how to evaluate interventions yourself—and better yet, it will steer you to resources that will do the work for you. In addition, you'll explore nine research-based strategies that can benefit all of your students, whether they're struggling or not.

Lesson Plans and Day-To-Day Activities

A great lesson starts with a strong lesson plan, and that's where you'll begin. First, you'll look at ways to meet your state and district standards as you develop lesson plans that satisfy the needs of every student. After that, the lesson will discuss ways to enhance your students' classroom experience. Finally, you'll visit a virtual campus and begin exploring how you'll implement RTI and DI on a daily basis.

Sample Lesson Plans

In this lesson, you'll visit the classroom of Mrs. Green and see how she implements RTI and DI in her lesson plans. You'll watch as she integrates principles of both educational frameworks into her math, science, reading, writing, and literature arts lessons.

Activities for Kids Who Need Extra Help

In the final lesson, you'll explore some fun and effective ways to foster your students' comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary skills. In addition, the lesson will talk about two groups of kids who need extra attention in an RTI/DI classroom: gifted students and kids who may need special education placements. After that, you'll take a closer look at the role of parents in learner-centered classrooms.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or newer.
  • Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.


There are no prerequisites to take this course.


A veteran educator who has taught every grade but third, Marsha Spears has spent 35 years teaching students and training teachers. Spears earned a bachelor's and master's degree in educational administration with a specialty in curriculum and literacy development, training that would prepare her to take on the toughest of classrooms. And tough classrooms are where she made her mark, helping a wide variety of at-risk learners read with renewed confidence. Over the years, thousands of students and teachers have learned how easily they can incorporate Spears' reading techniques and activities into their daily routines.


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