Thursday, 30 October 2014

#YYCLC Day42: The Learning Commons - A busy place

Today the learning commons was busy with two opposite ends of the school. Kindergarten were creating sets as a math sorting centre and also documenting with iPads. Grade 5 were creating in their DC Project using MacBooks, iPad and digital cameras.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

#YYCLC Day40: Grade 5s Explaining Everything

The learning commons is a great place to spread out when recording audio (or video) to explain a concept.

Monday, 27 October 2014

#YYCLC Day39: Kindergraten Centres

Kindergarten doing a centre station in the Akkerman LC to sort objects and document their work

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

White Board Dots

These look awesome! We are going to  buy some of these and create writeable workspaces on our learning commons tables.

They can be found here:
Ghost Dry Erase Dots - Dry Erase Decals

eBooks Are Awesome

In June 2014, Willow Park Middle School’s eLibrary went live. Over the summer, early adopter teachers and students started reading online. Some of us took our eLibrary traveling all summer. It was awesome!

I know. Some people think that students need to feel paper, that reading on screen causes eye strain and that a device that could die if dropped in a bathtub, can’t be seen in harsh sunlight and depends on battery life is so far inferior to a book it’s not even worth trying, never mind investing in a library of said choices. Fair enough.

For naysayers, I know that you know that eBooks are a done deal. They exist with or without your approval. For those people that don’t want to read eBooks, don’t. For those people that do… here’s what we love about eBooks:

  • they are delivered instantaneously
  • they are available every where, all the time
  • they take up very little space
  • you can read them on a laptop, computer, phone, tablet…
  • they’re simple to download or read in a browser
  • they’re leveled

We’re using OverDrive, it’s an expensive subscription and it contains eBooks and audiobooks. We choose it because of the ease of enrolling our school population and because the Calgary Public Library uses it. We have a pretty strong partnership with Fish Creek Public Library. For those of us that were already using the OverDrive app, it was really simple to just add a new library.

One of the coolest things about OverDrive School Library is the Book Club ebook. OverDrive has a program called “Big Library Read”. It’s world wide and your school can borrow unlimited copies of “Anatomy of A Misfit” by Andrea Portes in either an audio or eBook version. They’re marketing it as “Mean Girls meets The Perks of Being Being a Wallflower” and so far the Willow Park Book Club loves it!

If you’re thinking about using eBooks in your library, you’ll have some serious things to consider. With OverDrive you buy a subscription… every year. With Follett you buy the book one time and you have it forever. We’ve tried having a few tablets with certain eBooks and audio books on them available for sign out and we didn’t find huge success with that route. We are finding huge success with our eLibrary, because it suits our student population.  We’ve also had a huge amount of success with students creating their own eBooks and eMagazines. I don’t think eBooks are going away, just like I still read hard copy books and I don’t see them going anywhere fast either. I choose to embrace them. To me it’s not should we use eBooks, it’s how should we use eBooks.

Karena Munroe
Learning Commons Teacher
Willow Park Arts-Centered Middle School

#YYCLC Day36: Building with Kindergarten

Building with Kindergarten and Grade One

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Living Wall at Andrew Sibbald School

We received a $10 000 grant from the BP A+ for Energy program last spring. Our project was designed to promote Solar Energy and sustainability through the installation of Solar Panels on our school, tracking the amount of energy stored and redirecting the solar energy to our new Living Wall.

The Living Wall engages students in learning about the needs of plants and animals as they help our school community care for the plants and fish. Each grade team has been assigned specific roles that correlate to their curriculum in areas ranging from; science, math, language arts, visual arts and health. 

Teachers worked with a Calgary based company called, Vertical Oxygen to design, build and plant the Living Wall in our Learning Commons. Students, teachers and parents participated in designing the plant placement and planting the Living Wall. 

Students have been drawn to the Living Wall for many reasons, such as, the calming sound of the water flowing, watching the fish and observing and sketching the plants.


Our school community is able to track the Living Wall through a Twitter account, @SibbaldSolar. This creates a connection between home, school and our community. 

YYCLC Day 35: Electronic Take-Apart

Electronic Take Apart with Grades 4, 5 and 6

Monday, 20 October 2014

#YYCLC Day34: Cardboard Challenge at Simons Valley

Thanks to Michelle Chastko for sharing what is happening this week at the Discovery and Learning Centre at Simons Valley School.

Global Cardboard Challenge with Makerspace CAD group.

Friday, 17 October 2014

#YYCLC Day33: Full Class Learning

The Learning Commons at Chris Akkerman is often used as a place to learn something together. These grade 3 students are learning how to make a copy of a document and then share it with the teacher within Google Drive.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

#YYCLC Day32: Getting Creative with Digital Citizenship

Grade 3 students at Chris Akkerman learning to take creative photos. These photos are for a Digital Citizenship project about privacy. More to come...

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

#YYCLC Day31: Centre of Attention

Bubba the Turtle is in the centre of or Learning Commons. The kids love observing him and asking lots of questions about how he lives.

Creating Maker Stations in the LC

Here's my thinking about how to introduce maker stations to the Learning Commons. Of course it's not the only way but this is how we are attempting to change the culture in our school and to foster entrepreneurial spirit in our students. We would love feed back or comments on how others are doing it!

Friday, 10 October 2014

#YYCLC Day 29: The Evolving Learning Commons

Our evolving Learning Commons design acts as a third teacher to invite our K-4 students to read, create, discover, grow, and share!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

#YYCLC Day28: Failing to Succeed

Kindergarten failed forward with big smiles as we attempted to create a maze while practicing those important fine motor skills we will need for writing.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

#YYCLC Day27: Rapid Idea Generation

During Friday afternoon PLC time, teachers shift to learners as they question, collaborate, and create prototype answers to authentic questions.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

#YYCLC Day26: Magazines, Texts and Purpose!

Discovering the magazine rack in our Learning Commons led to authentic "in the moment' learning about different types of texts and their purpose.

Monday, 6 October 2014

#YYCLC Day 25: What Can You Do With Cardboard?

This weeks photos are form Andrew Sibbald School's Learning Commons. Thanks for sharing Heather McKay!
Kindergarten answers the question, "What can you do with cardboard?", by thinking with their hands and using Makedo tools housed in our newly created Maker Space.

Friday, 3 October 2014

#YYCLC Day24: Independent Work

Students often come in to the Learning Commons to work independently on a project or catch up on work.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Wednesday, 1 October 2014