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From Library to Learning Commons

Our school library is the heart and soul  of  an excellent  school.  It is always humming and filled with classes during the day and filled with students studying each lunch hour.  In fact some students say they would like to be there at lunch but they are unable to get in as it is so full.   Our Teacher Librarian Madame Monk  welcomes everyone into the library at all times.   The Library is being transformed into a Learning Commons.  This means basically an open learning area with access to technology and access to wireless internet.  It’s a learning area for everyone including teachers and students. Our Teacher Librarian  collaborates with other teachers to plan lessons and helps teachers to develop  best practices and strategies. She has an open door policy for all students.  Teachers know they can send students any time of the day whether they are working individually, in a group,  or  a whole class could book in.  The Learning Commons is a campus centre piece for research, computing, and presentation.  The Smart Board is a presentation tool that is used  by students, teachers, and guest speakers on a regular basis.  The Learning Commons is a place for  sharing knowledge and learning.  We are trying to provide the technology that students need in order to access, evaluate, and utilize information  in the 21 century.  Some of the learning tools that have been utilized are web 2.0 tools eg.  blogs, twitter, wikis, facebook, glogster, prezi, and poppletes.

A Library Science student project had them record at the  check out desk  all questions asked by students and staff and then they went on to create a Student Supply Centre . The Library Science students  looked at their inquiries and decided  how many of the  questions they get  are about learning, research, accessing, and evaluating.  They  were often asked for example do you have a glue stick, can I borrow scissors or a 3 hole punch?  The students went on to create a Student Supply Centre which is self serve for students to get what they need to complete projects. There are pleanty of  supplies which are  gathered , found or recycled. This way the Teacher Librarian is able to focus on the teaching and learning aspects of the job.   There is ownership of the Learning Commons as  this place belongs to everybody. Students can help themselves , and return the books, resources,  or items for next person.

The Learning Commons features technology that can be accessed  as a tool for the learner and it is  not a barrier.  The open wireless campus that is coming soon to our school  will help us with this.  For example, students will be able to  use their smart phones for research as well as the  32 computers for student and class use.

Step one of the transition to Learning Commons is  completely user centered.  There is flexibility is having various groups all working at same time.  There is an  open door policy.    The Learning Commons belongs to the students and they have a right to be there.  Our Teacher Librarian has joined forces with Mr. Pahal,  our  tech facilitator.  They are  working  together to help provide  inservice to  staff.  Madame Monk is able to  break down the barriers with using the  technology for  research instruction.  She shows them the data bases and teaches students  how to do a bibliography.   She collaborates  with the subject  teacher and does lots of team teaching.   She also teaches  small groups of students specialized skills.    The Teacher Librarian has an important  role in  staff development.  She  provides other teachers  inservice with web 2,0 tools for projects, eg .  museum box.  She will work with teachers to  integrate technology and  integrate Assessment for Learning strategies.  Sometimes the TL and the subject teacher will  create rubrics together.  Teachers appreciate the support they receive from the Teacher Librarian.

Our Learning Commons is a happening place.




About viewfrommyschool

wife, mom of 3 sons, high school principal, love camping, travelling, and public education

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