Mindprint Toolbox

Search Results

Please wait...

Differentiating Instruction with Menus: Language Arts (Grades 3-5)

Mindprint Rating


ELA: Reading ELA: Writing Social-Emotional Learning ^Music, Art and Makerspaces ^21st Century Skills K-8 Workbook


Flexible Thinking Expressive Language Organization Verbal Reasoning

Mindprint Expert Review


  • This is a creative supplement for teachers to provide engaging activities for their advanced students to practice and apply learned skills.
  • The menus allow students to choose hands-on activities that align with their interests and strengths, promoting engagement, ownership, and deeper learning.
  • For each lesson, teachers are given clear objectives, practical guidance for implementation and grading rubrics.


  • Many of the activities involve outside materials or resources, such as a video-recorder or socks for sock puppets, so teachers should be prepared to offer necessary materials or guide students on how to find what they will need.
  • Menu activities rely on mastery of the specific language arts skills, as well as the ability to apply those skills and integrate other complex planning and thinking skills, so teachers will likely need to support even their most advanced students in some ways.
  • Teachers should anticipate the need to work with some students on how to make good, efficient choices and manage their time.

Mindprint Expert Review

This teacher's language arts workbook is part of the Differentiating Instruction With Menus series which is designed to give advanced and gifted students choice and flexibility in developing their learning. The book is organized in chapters covering reading comprehension, fictional and nonfiction genres, reading and writing mechanics and process.

The concept of the menus, much like the menu you choose from in a restaurant, is to offer students choice in how they practice skills and demonstrate their learning, as opposed to giving the whole class the same assignment or worksheet. After teaching a language arts unit or topic (not included), teachers use this workbook to allow students to select from the menu of choices to demonstrate their learning. The choices are hands-on activities that will enable learners to apply their knowledge in creative, motivating ways, such as making a movie, recording a rap song out of a favorite poem, or building a museum exhibit. All the activities are structured to demonstrate understanding and application, and they rely not only on mastery of the skill but also on the student's ability to organize and execute the project. Most students should be able to find an engaging activity on any given topic. Teachers should expect to support students in varying degrees for choosing, planning and executing projects, as students with strong language arts skills might struggle with some of the executive functions required to be successful with the activities. This helpful teacher's workbook provides in-depth guidance on managing each activity, including objectives, time frame, grading rubrics, and special notes and should be a useful supplement for teachers prepared to implement project-based learning in their classrooms.

Academic Benefits

Improves academic skills

  • Provides sufficient and varied types of practice problems to maximize understanding and generalization of the targeted skill/concept
  • Manufacturer claims alignment with Common Core/Known Standards
  • Presents educational concepts accurately
  • Explains answers so students can learn from mistakes
  • Better for teaching the skill to new or struggling learners
  • Better for practicing or refreshing the skill
  • Skills are practiced through authentic, meaningful problems (not just rote practice)


Engaging for the Mindprint recommended age range

  • Appropriate for a broad age range to use and enjoy
  • Subject matter and problems are relevant, interesting and authentic to students
  • Includes reward stickers
  • Visually stimulating and appealing (uses student-centered pictures, colors, and themes)
  • Graphics and overall feel of the workbook is appropriate for the target age range
  • Relative to most workbooks, fun to use from a child's perspective
  • Offers ongoing, progressive challenge
  • Overall - Enjoyable. Given the option, students would choose this option

Easy to Use

Understandable for children in the Mindprint recommended age range

  • Provides teaching guidance for adults to support the child and set appropriate goals
  • Student should be able to use independently after first use
  • Specific topics/lessons are easy to find
  • Presents information in multiple formats (voice over, pictures and text, etc.)
  • Overall - Easy to use

Cognitive Concerns

May not be advisable for students with the following cognitive needs

  • Abstract Reasoning
    • Directions may be confusing for students using independently
  • Attention
    • Age inappropriate amount of work which could overwhelm or discourage students
    • Directions may be confusing for students using independently
    • Visually distracting with too many pictures, problems or moving objects
  • Organization
    • Age inappropriate amount of work which could overwhelm or discourage students
    • Directions may be confusing for students using independently
  • Reading Basics
    • Directions may be confusing for students using independently
  • Reading Comprehension
    • Directions may be confusing for students using independently
  • Reading Fluency
  • Verbal Reasoning
    • Directions may be confusing for students using independently

Manufacturer Description

The best-selling Differentiating Instruction With Menus series has helped teachers nationwide differentiate instruction for their high-ability learners with easy-to-use menus and exciting tools to challenge and reach gifted and advanced students in the classroom. Each book includes an updated, student-friendly rubric that can assess different types of products, free choice proposal forms to encourage independent study, and new and favorite challenging menus to meet the needs of these diverse higher level learners. Readers will also be able to save time by using updated guidelines that reflect changes in technology for each of the products included in the menus and find direct alignment with standards approved in recent years. Topics addressed in Differentiating Instruction With Menus: Language Arts (Grades 3–5, 2nd ed.) include genres, writing skills, and mechanics.