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  • Writer's pictureSarah Hudson

How to Create Differentiated Literature Activities

Updated: Apr 20

Do you have a great book you want to use for a lesson? How do you facilitate success for all your students? Easy, create two versions of your lesson at the same time. Here's an example of how...

Step One (Optional):

Download some new fonts. (I am always inspired by a new set of fonts.) I suggest going to TpT and downloading Hello Fonts.

The creator of Hello Fonts has free fonts for personal use. I would advise only installing a few at a time. Installing the whole package is overwhelming. I use fonts that are clear and age appropriate, avoiding handwritten script fonts for younger elementary students and “too cutesy” for older grades. 

Step Two:

Open PowerPoint and use this platform for creating. It is the most versatile and user friendly. It will allow you to copy and paste entire pages into new files and save entire multipage page files as JPGs and PNGs. I also find it easy to use with google classroom.

Step Three:

Open a new slide and change the size of the slide to 8.5” x 11”.

Design>slide size>custom slide size> 8.5 Width and 11 Height, and “maximize” in the pop up screen.

Remove the preset text boxes.

Step Four:

I like to start with a border to visually anchor the page. I do this by selecting a rectangle shape and dragging and adjusting the sides to fit the page. Allow for a small edge beyond the frame as printing may cut the frame off if it’s too close.  You may want to experiment with the thickness of the border and sketched lines opposed to straight lines. You can also download border sets from TpT and use those instead. Search “free” sets if you are reluctant to invest money. I avoid anything too visually distracting. (Search “simple borders” in TpT and click the “free” filter.

Step Five:

Start inserting text boxes. I start with the title, student name line, and instructions. Each has its own separate text box. Keep the instructions as simple as possible.

Step Six :

Create your Activity. For a “Problem/Resolution” I will insert two rectangle shapes for illustrations and two smaller rectangle boxes for writing. Inside the smaller rectangle boxes, insert a text box for the writing lines. I create the lines using either a 1.5 or 2.0 spacing on an 18 size font in Aptos. Don’t forget to add the "Problem" and "Resolution" headings for the boxes.

(Side Note: To create interlined lines,

I will use one solid line. The next line below will be dashes. Then the following line will be solid again. I will select those three lines and copy and paste as needed.)

Step Seven: Creating Your Variation

Duplicate the slide.  Remove the lines in the writing sections. And replace with the instructions “Glue Here” in the center of each box.

Step Eight: Creating the Cut and Paste Options

Copy and paste the “Glue Here” rectangle shape onto a third slide. Make the shape slightly smaller and change the shape from a solid line to a dashed line. (This will indicate to the students, to cut.) Cut and paste that shape two more times on the left side of the page.

Step Nine:

With the three boxes, write a problem, solution, and a decoy. Keep the wording simple and clear. Remove extra words. Select all three boxes and text and paste on the right side of the page. Insert a text box at the top of the page and write the instructions, “Cut and glue the correct problem and solution onto the next page.” Copy and paste the instructions onto the left side of the page. (When the time comes to do the activity, page two will be cut in half to accompany page 1.)

Step 10:

Print off a copy of your work to see that it works. Adjust spacing, boxes, font sizes, etc. if needed.

Final Thoughts:

This may seem like a lot of work for one lesson, however, consider it a template. You can reuse this activity for other books. I design and create multiple differentiated lessons for author units and combined language arts and social studies themes of study. Once you have created your own lesson activity, examine the work of your favourite teacher authors and create your own variations of their activities to suite your unit focus. Have fun!


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