SchoologyGroups and Differentiation

Written and designed by Amy Labrecque


  • Meet the Coaches

  • What is Schoology?

  • Quicklook at Schoology Benefits

  • Differentiation

  • Creating Groups

  • Group Features

  • Differentiation with "Groups"

  • Additional Links


Throughout this book, you'll have two coaches to help you navigate the text! Pedro the penguin will assist with any reading tasks. If you're struggling to read the text, or just feel like being read to, he'll take care of it! Monty is here to direct you to any additional links. They won't bother you unless you call upon them. To get their help, simply click on their pictures in the lower left corner of the page!

What is Schoology?

Schoology is a learning management system (LMS) that has all the tools an institution needs to create engaging content, design lessons, and assess student understanding. The software is free and allows for:

  • Course management (multiple)
  • Student engagement in a digital content
  • Collaboration
  • File sharing
  • grouping and differentiation
  • Student tracking
  • App integration


Schoology Overview Video

Equal education is not all students getting the same, but all students getting what they need. This is where differentiation comes into lesson planning and delivery. Differentiated Instruction (DI) is how a teacher anticipates and responds to the different needs within the classroom. Effective differentiation occurs when students have choice in how they learn, and how they demonstrate their learning. Proper DI can be accomplished through the following modifications:

  • Content: What is being taught.
  • Process: How material is being taught/delivered.
  • Product: How students demonstrate their learning.
  • Learning Environment: The way the classroom works and feels.

Schoology offers opportunities for all of these DI modifications, through their grouping features.


Additional Resources

More Information About Differentiation

EduTopia: Videos and Articles

How To: Create Groups in Schoology

Once you've added courses to your Schoology account, you can focus your instruction even more within each course, by creating groups. Often these groups are used for collaborative purposes amongst the teaching community, however, they're an excellent tool for differentiating instruction. Before we get into specific differentiation ideas, let's start with creating groups.


  1. Click on the "Groups" tab at the top of the screen.
  2. From the drop down menu, there will be an option to "Create" in the lower left corner.
  3. A new box will appear on your screen. In this box you will:Click "Create".Click "create".
    • Name your group
    • Write a description for your group (optional)
    • Set privacy of your group:
      • School - everyone at your school can view.
      • Group - only the group members can view (recommended for DI).
      • Custom - you decide specifically who can view.
      • No One - only you can view.
    • Determine access:
      • Invite Only - you determine the members of the group by sending invites to specific students (recommended for DI).
      • Allow Requests - Students can send requests to be in the group, and you determine whether or not they can receive access.
      • Open - anyone can join.
  4. Click "create."
  5. Add members to your group - see the video below. 


More on...

How to Create Groups

Adding Group Members

Schoology's Group features offer all the things necessary for effective differentiation. Not only does Schoology allow for adding resources to one's personal account and specific courses, but educators can individualize the resources and assignments offered to students through the group features.

 Group Features

Accessing the group features is simple, you just have to go to the group page. To open the group page, click "groups," and choose the name of the group that you'd like to visit. Once you enter the group page, all group features will be available in the lefthand margin.

Note: Group administrator has the option to assign learning targets for each resource.

Updates and Discussions - Educators can post updates and discussions that are specific to each group. The administrator, typically the teacher, is able to control who has the ability to start a discussion and/or post a new update.

Albums - Media albums can be created for each group. The group administrator has the ability to manage the settings for album contributors. Settings can include the ability for students to add media, or limit it to the teacher. 

Resources - This is a very broad section, because there's so much that can be done with it! In fact, this section provides so many opportunities for differentiation, that we're just going to list them.

    • Add folders 
    • Add tests/quizzes
    • Add files
    • Add links
    • Add discussion templates
    • Add pages
    • Add external tools (apps like Google Drive)
    • Add package
    • Add rubrics
    • Add badges (digital badges are an excellent way to boost engagement and motivation in 21st Century Classrooms)
    • Add question banks
    • Copy resources

At last, you've learned a bit about what Groups has to offer on Schoology. As stated earlier, effective DI can include accomodations and modifications in the following areas:

  • Content: What is being taught.
  • Process: How material is being taught/delivered.
  • Product: How students demonstrate their learning.
  • Learning Environment: The way the classroom works and feels.

So, how can we use these features to differentiate instruction in order to meet the needs of all of our students? Let's start with a sample scenario.

Scenario: You're an ELA teacher, and you and your students are working on understanding the author's purpose. Your students need more practice determining the author's purpose with nonfiction text, so you've selected a passage about Google's new "Fake News Checker."

  • Problem: Not all of your students have the same reading level, but you still want all of them to understand the concept of an author's purpose.
  • Possible Solutions: The following are just a couple examples of what could be done to differentiate. Each method could be done by personalizing group resources on Schoology.
    • Content 
      • Provide varying lexile levels for the same content, like the image above.
      • Choose a less complex article to practice author's purose.
      • For students that aren't ready for author's purpose, another learning target could be focused on in their group (i.e. fact and opinion, which would help build the foundation for author's purpose).
    • Process
      • Varying Lexile Levels
      • Add media resources to support understanding and build background.
      • Post recording of the passage being read aloud, or a podcast of content.
    • Product
      • Provide a menu for each group member to choose from.
      • Grant permission for group members to add files, so they can create and add their own media (audio or visual).
      • Connect Schoology to apps, like Google Drive to provide additional options.
      • Personalize each group's discussion.
    • Learning Environment - this should naturally occur if differentiation is occurring in the other categories.

Tip: Here are a few great resources for downloadable text to differentiate Lexile Levels:

News ELA


Read Works