The Flexible ELA Classroom : Practical Tools for Differentiated Instruction in Grades 4-8 book cover
1st Edition

The Flexible ELA Classroom
Practical Tools for Differentiated Instruction in Grades 4-8

ISBN 9781138681040
Published October 3, 2016 by Routledge
152 Pages 42 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Find out how to differentiate your middle school ELA instruction so that all students can become better readers, writers, and critical thinkers. Author Amber Chandler invites you into her classroom and shows how you can adjust your lessons to suit different learning needs while still meeting state standards and keeping your students accountable. She provides a wide variety of helpful tools and strategies, ranging from easy options that you can try out immediately to deeper-integration ideas that will reshape your classroom as a flexible, personalized learning environment. Topics include:

  • Using choice boards and menus to teach vocabulary, reading, and presentation skills in fun and interactive ways;
  • Grouping students strategically to maximize learning outcomes and encourage collaboration;
  • Making vocabulary learning interesting and memorable with visual aids, tiered lists, and personalized word studies;
  • Designing your own Project Based Learning lessons to unleash your students’ creativity;
  • Assessing students’ progress without the use of one-size-fits-all testing;
  • And more!

Bonus: downloadable versions of some of the rubrics and handouts in this book are available on the Routledge website at Also, check out the book’s website,, for additional articles and strategies.

Table of Contents

Companion Website

Meet the Author



Chapter 1: Options and Choice: The Heart of Differentiation

Chapter 2: Strategic Groupings: Flexibility for Student Engagement

Chapter 3: Word Study: Personalizing Vocabulary

Chapter 4: Project Based Learning: Differentiating Student Learning Experiences

Chapter 5: Assessment: Valuing the Individual in a Standardized World

Chapter 6: Family Partnerships: Creating a Customized "Dream Team" for Students

Final Thoughts


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Amber Chandler is a middle school teacher in the Frontier Central School District in New York. She is a frequent writer for MiddleWeb, ShareMyLesson, AMLE Magazine, and other educational resources.


"It is possible to take the lessons that you teach every day and transform them into learning experiences. Amber Chandler, a highly experienced teacher, shows the way forward with practical tools and strategies in her workshops and in her book, The Flexible ELA Classroom." – Mark E. Weston, Ph.D, Strategist, Activist, and Author, @shiftparadigm

"To truly teach middle school students in a way that invites them to create meaningful learning experiences for themselves requires a leap of faith, and a willingness to adapt your teaching style to meet their needs. In The Flexible ELA Classroom, Amber Chandler combines well-researched theory and her own classroom experience to help guide teachers as they reshape their classrooms to be a flexible, personalized learning space. This is a must read for all middle school educators. - Ami L. Turner, Senior Associate at the American Federation of Teachers, middle and high school English teacher and adjunct professor