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After attending Treasure Mountain at the University of Alberta several years ago, I began to work with our school administrators, staff and parents to move us toward the library learning commons model suggested at that time.
What is that model?
At École Ricard Secord School, it’s all about literacy and learning! We are large elementary school with 3 different programs. There are no flexible common learning spaces besides the gymnasium or library commons. Following is how we are working together to build a library learning commons (LLC) over the past four years. It is a work in progress, as all LLCs should be….evolving to meet the needs of its school community.
We strive to provide students access to resources, both physically and virtually, in a timely manner.
How we do that:
Students, staff and community members share common spaces to access information and meet for collaborative learning and/or to provide best functionality of users’ needs. E.g. when a classroom needed more space, a section of the LLC became a guided reading/writing center for student. Or the teacher-librarian provides guided reading instruction to meet flexible grouping of students based on literacy needs. The virtual common spaces are facilitated by our school district, which provides StaffZone for teachers and SchoolZone for student work spaces and parent information.
How we do that:
We have moved to a flexible scheduling of facilitates and technology to foster integration of technology/learning between students and among teachers. This schedule encourages collaboration between the teacher-librarian/teacher and teacher-to-teacher collaboration.
How we do that:
It is easy to forget that the core of a school library commons is about programming and services above all else. (It is like eating a hamburger bun without the meat in it.) People are our greatest primary resources. They ensure that the LLC is not simply a resource repository but a place where everyone can come to learn for a variety of purposes. Each school must look at its own population needs to develop their LLC program plan. The school library commons plan should be developed to support the school wide plan and evolve/be updated on at least a yearly basis.
How we do that:
Leadership is the catalyst to bring change to a library learning commons. The school administrators and teacher-librarian provide leadership in guiding the development of a school library commons program with teachers, support staff, parents and students.
How we do that:
In the end, a LLC should be the place everyone wants to be. Some guiding questions you might ask yourself and your school are:
Each school library commons will have these five common elements; Access, Common Spaces, Flexibility, Programming & Services and Leadership. The reason it is hard to define a LLC is because is constantly changing with each of these variables being modified to meet your students’ learning needs. We have begun to use Google Form to survey grade 4-6 students about our Library Learning Commons each year. This provides us with valuable information about what we are doing well or not doing well and how we can improve upon our Library Learning Commons. A school survey of parents also informs us of the priorities of school families. Attending school council meetings and establishing a working partnership with parents helps to build a shared library commons a reality. Fostering a relationship between the (school administrator, district consultants, teacher-librarian, library-technician, teachers, students, support staff and parents) ensures that the school library commons development becomes a focus in your school, as it has in ours. In the end, it feels like the LLC is a living, breathing organism that it is continually adapting and changing to meet the needs of its host (school). Choosing to prioritize the school library commons will help to improve the literacy and learning of your entire school community. We continue the journey…
École Richard Secord School
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Conducting Action Research to Evaluate Your School Library
How should teacher librarians or instructional leaders engage in action research to improve their school library and benefit students' learning? This book provides the answers.Teacher librarians need to get directly involved with the research process in the learning commons in order to create actions and strategies that will enhance student learning—and benefit their own professional development as well as demonstrate accountability through their action research efforts. This book provides practical tips and work spaces for educators at the local, state, and national levels, clearly modeling and explaining the process and the tools for conducting action research in a school library setting that will identify the program's strengths and weaknesses. The author coalesces current expert opinions on the topic of action research in the school library environment and highlighting what other teacher librarians in the field have identified as the pros and cons of using the process. Readers are directed to focus on mitigating the "cons" through the use of specific working pages and templates and by initially exploring "five favorite" links, thereby encouraging those who are new to action research to try what might otherwise seem a daunting process. School principals K–12 who read this book will be better equipped to support their teacher librarians and teachers in this important professional process.
• Supplies invaluable insights from experts and practitioners on the subject of action research
• Provides a clear model of the process in action
• Directs readers to additional resources that facilitate effective action research and timely topics for school library research, such as time management and technology in learning
Students create digital projects with images, music, videos, and websites to win an iPad Mini or annual subscription to one of Rosen Digital's online databases
New York (Feb 27, 2013) -- Help your students harness their creative energies while putting their 21st-century skills to use with a new contest from ThingLink and Rosen Digital. Students in grades K-12 can create Interactive ThingLink images, providing the opportunity to explore their interests and passions, connect multiple resources into a cohesive presentation, and share their projects with a large community. Visit ThingLinkContest.com for more information.
ThingLink allows students to connect audio, video, images, websites, and text into one interactive image presentation. Projects deepen learning as students delve into content through research to present knowledge and ideas as they learn while practicing digital literacy skills of image creation and selection, content curation, tagging, and sharing.
"ThingLink is o ne of my favorite and most frequently used tools because it supports active student participation and requires users to construct ideas as they create," says Susan Oxnevad, Instructional Technology Facilitator and educator for 26 years. "The tool can be very useful for designing and implementing the types of deep learning experiences required by the Common Core and it is also an effective way to help students develop digital literacy skills. ThingLink is fun, flexible, and intuitive!"
Eligibility: All students K-12 are eligible to enter. Teachers and parents may enter an image on a student's behalf.
Submission Deadline: Images may be submitted through May 1, 2013. Enter images at ThingLinkContest.com.
Winners will be announced on May 15, 2013.
Categories: There are 10 categories:
My Favorite Books or Authors
Science -- Think Like a Scientist!
Health & Well-being -- You, Your Family, Your Friends
Environment -- The World Around Us
Community -- Volunteering & Making a Difference
Money Smarts -- Earning, Saving, Spending
Art & Music -- Express Yourself!
Sports -- Game On!
History & Social Studies -- From Yesterday to Today
Animals -- Furry, Friendly, & Fierce
Students can enter as many images as they like. All entries are viewable on ThingLink.com.
Voting: Friends and family can vote on their favorite images by using a "touch" icon on a ThingLink image. The most "touches" counts for a portion of the score. A team of educational advisors will review entries and determine winners.
Prizes: One iPad Mini will be awarded to the top winner in each category. The winning school in each category will also receive one Rosen database subscription for a year (Teen Health & Wellness, Digital Literacy, Financial Literacy, or the PowerKnowledge Science Suite). Certificates will be awarded to second and third place winners in each category.