Personalize Instruction for Students Using A Playlist

Teacher sitting at her desk in front of her classroom full of students going over how to use a playlist to personalize learning.

When educators start planning, they use the same typical layout: 

  • Map out a series of lessons
  • Create assignments to go with the lessons
  • Set up assessments for each lesson

But is this the best way to teach all students? 


Personalize Instruction for Students Using A Playlist 

I believe that using a playlist would be a better way to personalize instruction for all students. 

Want One-On-One Expert Help?!


Find A Tutor TODAY!

What is a Playlist? 

A playlist is a set of instructions or directions for students to follow. These can be in a combination of formats. 

  • Individualized digital or written assignment
  • Chart
  • Checklist 

Playlists are sometimes called road maps because they are directing students through activities. 


Why Use Playlists? 

When incorporating playlists into a classroom’s daily routines, they allow for individualized learning. The teacher can set up a list of instructions for the students to work independently. This allows the teacher the freedom to work individually with more students. 


3 Ways Playlists Support Individualized Learning

  • Students can work at their own pace
  • Automatic feedback from the educator is built into the plan
  • Supports students’ learning when they are absent 


4 Essential Pieces of a Successful Playlist  

These essential pieces need to be included for the students to learn the material. It is important to note that the one who is talking and working is the one that is learning. 

So, in a typical classroom setup, this occurs all the time because the teacher is the one providing direct instruction. If educators utilize a playlist, this would not be the case.  

How to Create a Playlist 

There are many ways to create a playlist for a specific content area. But the most important thing to remember is to start small and think big picture. There are three stages in creating playlists. 

Stage 1-

Implementation occurs in year one. Educators can use paper checklists or Google Docs to outline the order of the given assignments and checkpoints.  

In this stage, educators can also have student-driven conferences. These conferences can occur because the students are responsible for their learning and know where they are at.  

They can also provide feedback on why they may have skipped a particular assignment (for example, they didn’t understand the material). 


Stage 2-

Implementation occurs in year two. In this stage, educators can provide whole group instruction by providing student groups. 

These groups should be changed continuously throughout the semester, depending on how the student is performing. The changing of groups will not cause students to think one group is the “smart group” while another is the “stupid group.”  

Teachers should build in foundation days. On these days, the teacher will teach the main points to the whole group.  

Also, in this stage, student-driven conferences should occur every two-three weeks or when a student is in need.  


Stage 3-

Implementation occurs in year three. In this stage, small group instruction occurs within each group, such as teacher check-ins.  During this stage, there should be interactive paths. These paths should include: 


  • Video lessons
  • Skills checks which require immediate feedback
  • Assessments

In this stage, the teacher is mostly “hands-off.” The teacher can work with an individual student or a small group struggling rather than re-teach the entire class.   


Additional Strategies to Help Your Students

Playlists allow educators to meet the individual needs of students better and enable them to guide the use of technology to promote learning. You can create a playlist for an entire subject or just one lesson so give it a try. 

Have you used a playlist in your classroom? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below. 

Here are a few other posts that may give you more ideas for helping your students:

Click here for weekly tips and techniques from a fellow Special Educator and parent of a special needs child?

Do you have a student that needs one-on-one special education tutoring that can be done from anywhere? Our special education experts conduct their sessions online! Get them started with a free consultation!



Teacher sitting at her desk in front of her classroom full of students using a playlist to personalize learning.
Here is how to use a playlist to personalize learning without sacrificing your time. Reach all your students’ different learning styles.

Picture of Amanda Wagoner, MAT

Amanda Wagoner, MAT

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

blog form headline-2 special ed resources