Differentiating instruction in your classroom requires an intimate knowledge of the students. Who are they? What do they enjoy? How do they learn?
You can't expect the same approach to work for all students. There will be some that thrive in one environment, but struggle in another. The important thing to remember is to take a multi-modal approach to teaching and make sure that your students know you are there to help and support them.
I like to think of it as having Kindergarten centers that are content and skill focused. Group your students by skill need and design lesson plans that mold to each group. Then, develop centers around the room that are at their level and rotate centers every 20-30 minutes. Have yourself as one of the centers to do guided reading, for example. Also, don't forget you can send home differentiated homework assignment based off of their level (i.e. maybe flashcard matching for key terms for your lower students and writing tasks for your above level students using the same key terms.)
Differentiating instruction may mean teaching the same material to all students using a variety of instructional strategies, or it may require the teacher to deliver lessons at varying levels of difficulty based on the ability of each student. Formative assessment is an essential ingredient of this method.
Teachers who practice differentiation in the classroom may:
Design lessons based on students’ learning styles.
Group students by shared interest, topic or ability for assignments.
Assess students’ learning using formative assessment.
Manage the classroom to create a safe and supportive environment.
Continually assess and adjust lesson content to meet students’ needs.