In the fall of 2003, the Iowa Alternative Schools Project (IASP) was established when the Iowa Department of Education -- in partnership with the Belin-Blank Center, the Iowa Association of Alternative Education (IAAE), and seven alternative high schools in Iowa -- was awarded a three-year (2003-2006) federal grant from the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program. The purpose of the project has been to identify and serve academically gifted students in Iowa’s alternative high schools.
Teachers from the alternative schools involved in the IASP were eligible to attend summer workshops to learn more about gifted education. The IASP's Differentiated Instruction (DI) Workshop offered alternative school teachers an opportunity to learn how to differentiate their curriculum in order to appropriately challenge the high-ability students in their classroom. As the name suggests, DI is a way of providing unique and individualized instruction for students of all ability levels. This website is a collection of five DI units developed individually by five alternative school teachers. All writers attended the IASP's DI Workshop. Their units are intended to challenge high-ability students in alternative school settings. Alternative school educators in Iowa and beyond are encouraged to review these units and use them in their own classrooms. In this way, these educators can begin to explore how they, too, can apply DI within their own curriculum.
Questions regarding the Differentiated Instruction Unit Projects can be sent to the Belin-Blank Center using the information below.
600 Blank Honors Center
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242