Ignition Stories

Year of the Learning Commons: Igniting the Future

If you had a million dollars!

"Plan as if I could spend a million dollars" my principal said to me at the beginning of the school year! So that's what I did. First I had meetings of my teen advisory board and my library advisory board and we brainstormed, visited other newly renovated or built learning commons. Then I had one of my student tech trainers put together a 3-D schematic with accompanying budget and present it to the principal. As luck would have it, the funding did not come through this year. Next year we are bonding out for the project though!

Nancy Stenberg Secondary

Westborough High School Library awarded $5,000 to fund
mental health and wellness projects

"LSTA Grant with info about  Library as Learning Commons: https://goo.gl/HvQPUL

Media format of this year's project: https://goo.gl/OYalxK

Anita Cellucci Westborough High School 90 W Main Street Westborough MA 01581 celluccia@westboroughk12.org

YouTube Video

This year we transformed our LLC into a Makers Fair for one day. The marketplace style event showcased student, teacher and community members’ inquiry, innovation, creation and 21st century learning through hands-on activities and demonstrations. Some of the demonstrations and activities were high-tech like 3D-printing, Digital Photography and Robotics, some like Card Making were low-tech, and some involved no technology at all (knitting, needle-point, zines). The event was a true collaborative effort and sparked the creativity and innovation in presenters and attenders, students and teachers. Inquiry questions were posted around the library so students could think about making in their lives and the world while browsing. Feedback from presenters, attendees and teachers was captured in a variety of ways including Google Forms, paper student passports and a post-it note board. Based on the response of the participants our LLC will be hosting events like this again next school year. We are planning to introduce pop-up makerspaces and to engage the collaboration of more students, staff and community.

Velitchka Gilbert, ACL of LLC David and Mary Thomson CI, Scarborough, Ontario velitchka.apostolova-gilbert@tdsb.on.ca

Playful Inquiry in the Learning Commons

The role of play is becoming more important in the Learning Commons at the St. George's School. A growing makerspace and Maker Club, based in the Learning Commons has increased playful inquiry through student directed projects like building large geodesic domes and 3D printed objects and teacher directed projects such as math based sculptures and paper folded masks. The role of playful inquiry in the Learning Commons is expanding through tools such as more 3D printers and a laser cutter to expanded programs such as continued Maker Club activities and a new STEM program based in the Learning Commons.

Marc Crompton mcrompton@stgeorges.bc.ca Secondary

Follow Marc's Blog mcrompton.ca/wordpress/adventures

Lighting the Fire of Change

Increased Student Engagement, Usage and Academic Results

Lord Beaverbrook High School Learning Commons in Calgary, Alberta experienced a monumental shift when the Vintage '68 furniture was replaced by a modern 2014-2015 contemporary look. Student engagement has increased, student usage and academic results (an increase of 1.6% - 9.4%) demonstrate the advantages of initiating a learning commons approach. Our learning commons hosts many school events such as an art show, an interactive immersive play, and facilitates study, collaborative group work, technology integration into the curriculum, academic research, it’s a happening place.

Marlene Ponjavic, 403 259-5585 mmponjavic@cbe.ab.ca Secondary

Marriage of Tech Lab and Media Center

The transition from separate K-5 Tech Lab and K-5 Media Center to a joined space in the form of a Learning Commons is underway as we speak. The collection has been weeded to a striking level of 50%. The space is being "reformatted" to better match the needs of a combined library, project-based learning space and makerspace. The decor is being transformed to reflect nothing the students have ever before seen. The schedule will allow students a double-block once a week in the space with the Media Specialist, an assistant classroom teacher, and, for 4th-5th grades, the classroom teacher. The excitement is in the air. Teachers and students are anticipating the learning that is about to occur!

Leeann Denham, ldenham@mountpisgahschool.org Elementary

Fabulous Training

Media specialists k-12 have participated in the fabulous training with Fran Kompar and CES in Connecticut. We are looking forward to year 2.

M. Biondi, mona.biondi@ncps-k12.org Secondary

Addressing Mindset

We are just beginning our journey and trying to address the mindset of how librarians see themselves and how they need to seek ways to be connected and infused into the instructional fabric of our today's learners and our instructors.

M. Mannion, mmannion@apslearns.org Secondary

Where will we go? 

Tall, gloomy shelves out of reach
Dark, dusty corners
Large, heavy tables and
uncomfortable chairs 

Is this a kid's space?

A stroke of luck, a persuasive case
A supportive community standing by 

Tear it all out, strip it all down 

First we start with the paint - bright, colorful
No more cracks in the wall
Our ceiling is yellow! 

Then the rug - warm gray, fun stripes
Where once there were dingy stains 

Next comes the shelving
(amidst chaos and delays): 
More colors, low and best of all 
They move! 

Books reshelved for kids to see 
Explore, grow, find old favorites 
And new 

Stage two brings furniture 
Paint splat tables so easy to move
And grape purple chairs - 

Can you tell we’ve had so much fun
With all the colors? 

And now comes the last step, 
Most exciting of all 
iPads and laptops 
Instead of a wall 
Of giant desktops, taking up space

Where will we go? 
The sky’s the limit
Having fun 

A 21st century space 
At last

Maya Bery, mbery@carlisle.k12.ma.us, elementary