Teacher Librarians fulfill many functions in our schools but their
main role is assisting students on the road to learning. As the
scope of student needs continues to broaden, how can Teacher Librarians build inclusive collections and support all students in research and independent reading quests? This presentation will help you gain a better understanding of differentiation in the library classroom and how to assemble resources that are challenging and accessible to a range of student abilities.
Describe examples of student interest in your library? Faith - preschool student who has insatiable interest in fire trucks (individual interest) Faith - student who wants to know what it is like to grow-up muslim in America? (one time)
How this makes for a better classroom ecosystem
Faith Ward - Differentiation: Supporting All Learners in the School Library
I am Faith Ward
I am here because I love to give presentations.
This is a Directed Session with time for
Questions and Sharing
What is Differentiation?
It is not a set of strategies, but
rather a way of thinking about
teaching and learning.
Differentiation is acknowledging
that students learn in different
ways, and responding by doing
something about that through
curriculum and instruction.
How Differentiation Works at GFS
• Cohort was created to examine how we were
reaching our highest achieving students
• Lead Research on gifted education
• Differentiation surfaced as the practice to
• Carol Ann Tomlinson
The Common Sense of Differentiation
● Ensuring an environment that actively supports
students in the work of learning (mindsets,
connections and community)
● Absolute clarity about a powerful learning
● Persistently knowing where students are in
relation to the destination all along the way
● Adjusting teaching to make sure each student
arrives at the destination
“When classroom teachers
partner with the teacher-
librarian to design, facilitate
and evaluate learning
experiences, the opportunities
for differentiation are
-Carol Koechlin and Sandi Swaan
Where Librarians and Libraries
Play a Role
differentiated information resources
technology rich environments
flexible learning environments
More Than One Way to get there
We have to know where we want all students to end
up before we can think intelligently about how we
want them to get there!
Differentiation is seldom about different outcomes
for different kids. It’s about different ways to get
students where they need to go.
Fundamental to the Success of Teaching and Learning
is Teacher’s understanding of What Students Must:
Know Be able
Rationale for Using Tiered Assignments
Allows students to begin learning where they are
Allows students to work with appropriately
Allows modifications of working conditions based on
Avoids work that is anxiety production or boredom
Tiered Assignment Examples
Make a poster showing the
three types of angles we
discussed: acute, right and
obtuse. Draw and label an
example of each type. Then
look through magazines and
catalogues to find at least
two examples of each type
of angle and add the
pictures to your poster.
Your poster should tell us
about the types of angles.
Compose a short story or
poem about angles. You must
use all three types of
angles that we have talked
about. Be sure your story
or poem includes the
characteristics of the type
of angles and clearly
teaches us about the angles.
Design and draw a building
that has no right angles.
Write three paragraphs
describing your building and
its angles. In your
description, include what the
building would be used for.
What will the doors and
windows be like in your
building? Will your design be
popular with the general
public? Why or why not?
The Importance of a Quality Curriculum
It is artificial to separate curriculum
and instruction. What we teach
sharply affects how we teach.
Questions to Consider about the Quality of a
• In unit planning do students understand what they should
know, understand, and be able to do at each step of the
• Is the unit constructed so that it is relevant to students
lives and experiences so they can build on prior knowledge?
• Does the work the students are asked to do generally
support them in becoming thinkers and problem solvers,
often drawing on methods and practices of experts?
Differentiation in response to Student Readiness
Teachers looking for student’s readiness needs in regard to
specific academic content rather than focusing on student’s
ability are well positioned to work from a fluid, “growth mindset”
Readiness is not a synonym for ability
Interest refers to a feeling or emotion that causes an individual
to attend or focus on something because it matters to them
Situational Interest and Individual Interest
Student interests are conduits to motivation, relevance, and
Differentiating in Response to Student Interest
• Provide resources of all kinds that help students relate
essential content to their areas of interest
• Use illustrations of complex ideas related to student
interests to keep them moving from the familiar to more
• Show examples of skill applications in areas of student
interest to see how skills are applied in a real world
• Use examples that mirror experiences of all students
• Share ways in which personal interests intersect with
essential knowledge and understandings
Neuroscience and Interest
to a sense
How are you promoting and providing for
In the Library?
Differentiation through Curation
AASL Best apps for
teaching and learning
Mix and maximize app
utility to fit a particular
need - places choice and
accountability in the
hands of learners!
“...Be evaluative in your thinking
and practice and encourage
students to assume this stance
as well. Often, discovering that a
tool doesn’t fit a need can also
be a productive outcome.
-Rebecca Morris, Professor Library and Information Studies in the School of
Education at UNC Greensboro
You can find me at
Koechlin, Carol and Sandi Zwaan. Everyone WIns: Differentiation in the School Library. Teacher Librarian
(35:5, June 2008) p. 60-65.
Morris, Rebecca J. In School Libraries, Differentiation through Curation. Voices in Education: the blog of
Harvard Education Publishing. September 17, 2015. http://hepg.org/blog/in-school-libraries,-differentiation-
Sousa, David A., and Carol A. Tomlinson. Differentiation and the Brain: How Neuroscience Supports the
Learner-friendly Classroom. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2011.
Tomlinson, Carol A., and Marcia B. Imbeau. Managing a Differentiated Classroom: a practical guide. New
York: Scholastic, 2011.
Credits: Presentation template by SlidesCarnival