"A learning commons is an inclusive, flexible, learner-centered, physical or virtual space for collaboration, inquiry, imagination and play."
When we began planning our Library to Learning Commons renovations, we asked everyone what they hoped they would see there. When planning, we considered all of the requests alongside the Learning Commons documents from Alberta Education and the Calgary Board of Education. Now that we are three years into the process the considerable changes have had a big impact on student learning at our school.
"It used to be the library but we changed the name because it’s not just the books, it’s also groups of kids working at the tables.
"The Learning Commons should look and feel different... coming in and seeing different children from different classes working (either together or independently).... It should enable creation, collaboration and communication."
"Tree house concept – increasing floor space, more students in the space, organizes it and make it larger... It’s not the quiet place anymore – its about exchange and communication...We want to have shelving that will display books in ways that entice students to read books and explore the books that they are interested in. Books are still important."
Physical changes are just one part of the big change that our Learning Commons has undergone. In order to make this change successful we have all had to learn to think differently about the space and how we use it. The biggest change we have seen is in our students.
Students have valued seeing their suggestions honored and put in place. Students know that this is their space and that they need to help take care of it. Students know that they can borrow and return books whenever they need to, instead of waiting until a scheduled time when their whole class would go to the library together. Students are coming to know how and where to find books that they need. With little support our students can check their own books in and out. Students have joined our Learning Commons Ambassadors and help other students as well as learning how to re-shelf books and help create challenges for the Maker Space. Students have learned to take better care of their books by using a book bag to bring their books to and from home.
This week we had another big change in the Learning Commons. One of the requests from students and parents was for a treehouse where they could sit quietly and read. When students returned to school this year they discovered a very large present wrapped up in the Learning Commons, and they speculated what it might be, many hoping that it might be the long awaited treehouse. This is what happened today.
To hear the sounds that went with the reveal, click here. Sadly, we can't show you all of the students' faces, but they were sure ALL smiling!
We hope that you all come in to the school to volunteer and see the new addition to our Learning Commons. There will be lots more changes over the next year thanks to a donation from Douglas Harkness School Council and a grant from Education Matters. Please watch on Twitter and talk to your child about the exciting things that are happening!
PE FOCUS - Soccer
Playground schedule - Division 2 (Grades 4-6) on playground before school and at recess and Division 1 on the playground at lunch time.
Monday, August 29
Please remember that Monday, September 5 is Labour Day and there is no school on that day. If you have children at other schools in the CBE, the first day back for schools on the Traditional calendar is September 6.
Remember to check out our school website - http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b347