Tips for Configuring Your Classroom for Differentiation


In this video from the PD Online course Differentiated Instruction: Creating an Environment That Supports Learning, Carol Ann Tomlinson offers tips for setting up a classroom for more effective instruction.

How do you set up the physical space of your classroom to facilitate differentiated instruction?

This video was originally featured in the May 2012 issue of Educational Leadership on “Supporting Beginning Teachers.”


  1. This video was very interesting. The idea of incorporating differentiated instruction in how you set up your desk chairs and even how the students fix the room at the end of day was truly fascinating. I have tried it during instruction and I look forward to using in with decorating and much more. Thank you for your wonderful tips.

  2. The concept of differentiated instruction, as the name indicates, primarily focuses on the types of instruction teachers can use to appeal to the maximum number of students. Nothing about the term differentiation makes me think about organization of physical space. However, now that I have seen this video clip, it seems that I have been missing a piece of the differentiation puzzle. As a new teacher I mainly worry about designing curriculum and classroom management. Thinking about the organization of classroom space never leaped to mind, but I can now see that it is in an integral part of both successful curriculum and well-behaved classes. Setting up the room to allow for easy adaptation to different lesson and activity types, as well as having relevant information displayed on the walls, can have a huge impact on teaching effectiveness. I never thought about it from the students’ perspectives–they spend their days staring at the back of someone else’s head. Creating a more open, casual environment can foster more class conversation, easier group work, and a general feeling of receptiveness in the room.

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful resource.


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