Differentiated Instruction Lesson Plan Format:
The Outsiders Theme Exchange
Teacher Name: Tanya Chiasson
Step 1: Subject and Grade levels and Time Frame:
Subject: Language Arts/Reading
Grade Level: 7
Time Frame: One week for the exchange; Two-three weeks previous novel reading and work
Step 2: Rationale/Objectives: What do you want your students to know and be able to do? What
knowledge and skills to you want them to gain? What important concepts or content will student learn?
(Include Grade Level Expectations)
Students should be able to clearly articulate personal/group textual and real-world responses to a theme in
The Outsiders to exchange in an online blog forum with a group of students from another school who
have also read the novel. The textual and real-world theme responses should include a clear topic
sentence, one to two textual details, and commentary that support their position. Grade Level
Expectations follow:
Explain story elements, including:
 theme development (ELA-1-M2)
Draw conclusions and make inferences in oral and written responses about ideas and information in gradeappropriate texts: Draw conclusions from details SAT RC 6 (ELA-1-M3)
Interpret ideas and information in a variety of texts, including periodical articles, editorials, and lyrics, and make
connections to real-life situations and other texts (ELA-1-M4)
Identify universal themes (e.g., search for identity, love, friendship, family, courage, adversity) and cultural
viewpoints found in national, world, and multicultural literature in oral and written responses (ELA-6-M1)
Extract implied theme or main idea SAT RC 7
Compare and contrast elements (e.g., plot, setting, character, theme) in multiple genres in oral and written
responses (ELA-6-M2) Analyze text structure SAT RC 21 Categorize, classify, compare, contrast details
from text SAT RC 3
Demonstrate understanding of information in grade-appropriate texts using a variety of strategies, including:
 summarizing and paraphrasing information Distinguish important from less important ideas SAT RC 5
 identifying stated or implied main ideas and explaining how details support ideas Determine implicit
details, action, or sequence of events SAT RC 4 Determine explicit supporting details SAT RC 2
Determine implicit supporting details SAT RC 27 Extract implied main idea or theme SAT RC 19 Provide
support for conclusions SAT RC 17
 comparing and contrasting literary elements and ideas Interpret figurative language SAT RC 14
 making inferences and drawing conclusions
Make predictions beyond text SAT RC 29
 Generalize beyond the text SAT RC 20 Draw conclusions from details in text SAT RC 18
 identifying literary devices (ELA-7-M1) Discern literary devices SAT RC 11
Explain the relationship between life experiences and texts to generate solutions to problems (ELA-7-M2)
Write for various purposes, including:
 text-supported interpretations of elements of grade appropriate stories, poems, plays, and novels
Step 3: Assessments (Pre-Assessment, Formative (along the way), and Summative (culminating). How
will you know your students have reached the lesson goal? What assessment tools will you use? How
will students be involved in ongoing assessment? How will students assess themselves? How can
technology support assessment?
I will assign students to heterogeneous readiness/ability groups and the cooperative teacher at the other
school will do the same. I will then assign a theme to each group that is accessible by their
readiness/ability level. A beginning Skype session with both classes will assess student readiness for the
While groups prepare their responses to the theme prompt, I will observe group work and direct student
comments as needed. As part of the blog posting process, group comments will be moderated. During
the moderation, I will have the opportunity to address specific problems within the writing. Students will
exchange responses both asynchronously and synchronously using the blog and Skype.
Using a rubric, I will assess the final student postings and exchanges. Students will have reached the
lesson goal if they were able to clearly articulate a statement of agreement/disagreement with the theme,
concrete details and commentary that support the theme, and a real-world extension of the theme.
Using Intel’s Visual Ranking Tool, students will evaluate and rank all of the themes in relevance to their
daily lives. The results of the ranking will be the focus of a Skype discussion (Why were the answers
similar, dissimilar, etc.?). The students will also evaluate the process and product of the theme exchange.
Step 4: Differentiate How? (i.e., Readiness, interest, and/or learning profile)
I will differentiate by readiness and ability level.
Step 5: Differentiate What? (Content, Process, and/or Product)
I will differentiate content. I will then assign each group a theme that is accessible by their readiness
Step 6: DI Strategy: (i.e., Cubing, contracts, tiered lesson)
I will use multiple modes of response. Students will use Skype to verbally and visually communicate
with the students at the other school and the blog to facilitate asynchronous and synchronous
communication. Students will use Intel’s Visual Ranking Tool in order to rank the themes in relevance to
their daily lives.
Materials Needed:
The Outsiders novel
Internet-connected multimedia-enhanced Tablet PCs with Skype software, a webcam, and a microphone
Projector and speakers
Blog site or discussion board for exchange (set up for each group and moderated by teacher)
Intel’s Visual Ranking Tool website (set up by teacher for groups)
Teacher Preparation:
The teacher will
 conduct the novel study prior to this exchange as this is one of the culminating activities. This
activity can lead into a theme essay using the student responses in the blog as a model.
 need to prepare the theme statements, create the groups, and prepare the blog site and the Intel site
for the group exchanges.
 need to address the technological aspects of the exchange (hardware test of the webcam and
speakers, Skype test, blog access test, and Intel’s Visual Ranking Tool website test).
 need to explain the expectations of the theme exchange and model the software and expected
 need to be prepared for possible changes to the process by outside factors (ex. technology not
Day One: Skype call to establish expectations, model software, and introduce groups (one theme is
paired with a group from each school).
Day Two: Asynchronous communication through the blog. One class will have each group post a
response to the first expectation (First, you will exchange concrete details found in The Outsiders to
support your theme through blog posts and comments. Two different concrete details must be submitted
(one from each group).). Once the first class has finished, each group in the second class will post a
response that agrees/disagrees with the posting and their concrete details.
Day Three: Asynchronously, the first class will post a response to the second class’s response
acknowledging and agreeing/disagreeing with the posting. Synchronously with Skype open for verbal
communication, both classes will post a response to the second expectation (Secondly, you will exchange
personal or general real-world examples illustrating the theme in today's society. Again the ideas must
differ.). The teacher will need to moderate the comments as they are posted for this to run smoothly. An
additional teacher in the classroom will be beneficial on this day.
Day Four: Asynchronously or synchronously, the classes will post responses that show
agreement/disagreement with the second expectation postings. They will then post a response to the third
expectation (Finally, you will exchange support for and disagreement with Hinton's message.).
Day Five: Have groups read all themes and responses in order to determine the question: Which theme
does your group feel is most relevant to students your age in today's society? Use Intel’s Visual Ranking
Tool to rank the themes and compare/contrast the rankings as a springboard for reflective evaluation of
the themes, process, and product during a final Skype call.
The Outsiders Theme Exchange
Cooperative Learning and Blog Postings Rubric
Participants ___________________________________________________________________
All communication is
clear, articulate, and on
task. Users select and
use appropriate
language that all
parties will understand.
Speech is clear,
appropriately paced
and pitched. Suitable
standards of etiquette
are applied regarding
interrupting, turns to
speak, use of slang and
abbreviation, use of
cameras, and prepared
materials. Goals and
plan of conference are
clearly adhered to.
Suitable notes are
Most communication is
clear and articulate and
mostly on task. The
language used is
mostly appropriate and
all parties will l
understand. Speech is
mostly clear,
appropriately paced
and pitched. Rules and
etiquette guidelines are
mostly followed. Some
notes are taken.
Contribution to
group goals
Consistently and
actively works toward
group goals; willingly
accepts and fulfills
individual role
Contribution of
Consistently and
actively contributes
knowledge, opinions,
and skills without
The blog posts show
insight, depth, &
understanding of topic.
Works toward group
goals without
occasional prompting;
accepts and fulfills
individual role within
knowledge, opinions,
and skills without
prompting or
The blog posts show
insight & show a good
depth of understanding
of topic.
Blog entries convey
evidence of a personal
response to the issues
raised in the readings/
activities, and
demonstrate that the
author is capable of
reflecting on learning
and society.
These entries may
contain some irrelevant
material but are for the
most part on task. The
group’s personal
opinion is expressed in
an appropriate style.
Response to
Key Concepts
(Theme evident
in novel and
Blog entries convey
extensive evidence of a
personal response to
the issues raised in the
readings/ activities, and
demonstrate the
author's growth
through reflection on
learning and society
The group’s personal
opinion is expressed in
an appropriate style &
is clearly related to the
topic, activity, or
Most communication is
clear and mainly on
task. The language
used is mostly
appropriate and all
parties will understand.
Slang, regional
language and
colloquialisms are
used. Speech is mostly
clear; there are issues
with pace and pitch.
Volume of speech
varies. Most rules and
etiquette guidelines are
followed. There is
some interruption and
speaking over people.
Some notes are taken
these are of a poor
Works toward group
goals with occasional
prompting; often needs
reminding to do the
assigned work.
Communication is
poor, hard to
understand, off task,
and inarticulate. Use
and selection of
language does not aid
communication. There
is little evidence of
rules or etiquette,
structure, or planning.
information to the
group with occasional
prompting or
The blog posts show
some insight, depth &
some understanding of
the topic.
Blog entries convey
little evidence of a
personal response to
the issues/concepts
raised in the
information to the
group only when
Entries are typically
short and may contain
some irrelevant
material. There are
some personal
comments or opinions
which may be on task.
The entries are short
and are frequently
irrelevant to the events.
They do not express
opinion clearly and
show little
Works toward group
goals only when
prompted; always or
often relies on others to
do the work
These simple entries
lack insight, depth or
are superficial.
Blog entries show no
personal response is
made to the
issues/concepts raised
in the
Sources for rubric creation:

DI Lesson Plan for The Outsiders - chiassonenglish