Category Archives: Co-teaching using Differentiated Activities

How can you differentiate instruction for a War of 1812 lesson plan?

War of 1812 Differentiated Instruction Lesson Plan

War of 1812 Differentiated Instruction Lesson Plan

The War of 1812 is important to American History and yet it is covered only briefly in state curriculum. The War of 1812 had many causes, battles and events, and effects that should be included in a War of 1812 lesson plan.

All lesson plans should be introduced by vocabulary. Teachers can differentiate instruction for vocabulary by using a chart that allows students to repeat the content at least twice such as writing the definition and also using it to draw a picture.

The mini-lesson should include the causes, events and effects.

The causes of the War of 1812 include the following:

  • seizing of American ships
  • impressment of sailors
  • aiding attacks by Indians on settlers
  • refusal to remove troops in the Northwest Territory
  • War Hawks
  • desire to expand

Battles and events that should be included in a War of 1812 lesson plan are:

  • Fort Mackinac
  • Battle of Detroit
  • Constitution vs. Guerrire
  • Battle of Frenchtown
  • Battle of York
  • Battle of Lake Erie
  • Battle of Thames
  • Battle of Horseshoe Bend
  • Burning of Washington D.C.
  • Battle of Plattsburgh
  • Battle of Baltimore
  • Hartford Convention
  • Treaty of Ghent
  • Battle of New Orleans

The effects that should be included in a War of 1812 lesson plan include:

  • British recognizing boundaries and leaving Northwest Territory
  • national pride
  • increase in industry
  • disappearance of the Federalist party
  • Weakening of Native resistance

In order to differentiate instruction for a War of 1812 mini-lesson a teacher should give students a pretest or quiz to see what their background knowledge is or allow them to develop background knowledge through the use of a reading assignment differentiated by reading level. After reading teachers can give them a 5-10 question quiz to see what they have retained and where they should start for the differentiated instruction War of 1812 mini-lesson.

Teachers should try to reinforce the War of 1812 content by using different learning styles and Multiple Intelligences. They also should develop two War of 1812 mini-lessons. One with more detail and critical thinking for enrichment and the other just using the basic information which allows time for more repetition. This is most easily done with a co-teacher in the room. If a co-teacher is not available, a teacher could have the basic or enriched students go through the War of 1812 PowerPoint mini-lesson by themselves using a computer. Another option is to have the advanced students skip a mini-lesson altogether if they retained and took notes on the content during their reading assignment the day before. This will allow them to begin their differentiated instruction activity on their ability level or with their learning style preference.

If you don’t have time to develop a differentiated instruction War of 1812 mini-lesson using PowerPoint, I recommend looking here: I specialize in social studies differentiated instruction. My War of 1812 PowerPoint is loaded with media links.

To close, create a graphic organizer on 3 ability levels and or a paragraph or an essay writing assignment.

Written by,

Kasha Mastrodomenico (Connect with me on

How do you explain why activities are different when differentiating instruction?

Differentiated Instruction Misconceptions

Fair is a very difficult concept for many students to grasp. Many students will see differences in assignments, differentiated instruction, as frustrating at all levels of ability. The advanced or gifted student might resent the lower levels because they may see their work as easier or shorter. The lower levels may feel like they are not as good as the upper levels or embarrassed that they were given a different assignment.

It is very important that the teacher differentiate instruction correctly. Don’t just add busy work to upper level students and don’t just take away parts of an assignment for the lower level students.

I try not to level activities at all but to differentiate them using multiple intelligences instead. I also give students the choice of what they want to do and how they want to work (self, partner, group) through the use of flexible grouping. That way everyone is different so no one feels different.

There are some occasions when leveling/scaffolding/tiering an assignment is necessary. Accommodations for SPED and ELL students are constant too which can make certain students stand out more and resentfulness and embarrassment can take place. This is when the teacher needs to step in and explain to everyone that “fair isn’t always equal”, to quote my former Principal Lauren French, Gouverneur Middle School. Explain that all students are starting with different background knowledge and need to be taught from that level and brought up to the next level. No one should feel jealous of another group because at some point in the year, during different concepts, people are going to change levels. You need to bring it down to their level and possibly relate it to a sport or video game. These accommodations or levels of an assignment equal the playing field like a handicap does in golf. helps social studies teachers differentiate their activities and writing through the use of multiple intelligences and  leveling/scaffolding/tiering

Written by,

Kasha Mastrodomenico