Transforming our Library into a Learning Space

September 27, 2015

At Belvedere Parkway School we are embarking on transforming our library into a Learning Commons. This will be fantastic work, but my goal is less about transforming the space, and more about transforming the learning that takes place in the space.

I have created a Smart Notebook map for teachers and students to be able to play with, and have gotten large size paper “blueprints” made up as well. Through a Google form, as well as the paper documents, I want to engage staff, students, and parents in coming up with ideas to make this the ideal learning space for our school.

My plan at this point is just to have kids, parents and staff brainstorming, thinking, dreaming and scheming about what we would want as we develop our Library into a Learning Commons. This is less about “realistic” ideas at this point and more about DREAM BIG! We can narrow down based on whatever resources I can get us later.

I have asked our school community to use the following principles as they think about how we want to transform the space:

  • How do we make the space agile and mobile?
  • Easy access to physical, literary, technological and digital resources
  • Spaces for kindergarten students as well as larger grade 6 students as well as adults
  • Comfortable, collaborative spaces focused on enhancing great learning and wanting to spend time in the Learning Commons
  • Must be safe… (Sorry, no shooting principals out of cannons…)
  • How does the space represent great learning and ROARS?
  • How does the space represent and support what we know about best learning practice today, and look ahead to potential best practices as well?
  • How do we use the space as the “Third Teacher” to use design to spark cognitive development, such as “maker spaces?”
  • How do we display student learning so a parent can understand what goes on at Belvedere Parkway School by taking one step into the LC? How do we make it look like a dynamic, ever-changing and up to date Gallery of Learning?
  • Think about common areas in the Program of Studies, such as the concept of “growth” which is throughout our different grade levels. How do we work these concepts into the LC and unite the subject disciplines?
  • Dream big!

This is an opportunity for every child, from kindergarten to grade 6, as well as parents and staff to think like a designer. We will all think like architects and engineers and designers, and collaborate on ideas to creating our “ideal” learning environment. The next step after “dreaming big” will be to look out the actual human, financial, and physical resources that we have available and have the school community work to look at what comes out of our big dreams that then we can actually implement within the space.

I shall keep you updated on our progress and how it goes. Can’t wait to share what the students and community come up with.

Stay tuned! I would love to see what others are doing in transforming school spaces into learning spaces as well.

Work hard, learn tonnes!
D

2015_library_map_1


Relooking at How We Reveal Student Learning: Developing My New Communication Strategy

September 24, 2015

The nature, speed, opportunities and approaches to communication have changed drastically over the last few years. As such, our school, Belvedere Parkway, is embarking on what I hope is a faster, more easily accessible, rich, and clear communication strategy. My goal is to make it much more easily accessible by parents, students, and the school community where and when needed.

My school is embarking on a new communication strategy, including a new, more dynamic website, instant communication and social media, online parent communication, and student online agendas and sharing of learning. I am not a marketer nor do I have any education in that area, but I have come to realize the importance of great communication so that our parents, students and community have a good understanding of what is happening within our school.

Why the change? I am doing everything I can do to cut down on the cost of agendas and paper and copying, develop a consistent form of communication where students can’t lose the piece of paper, utilize automatic tools such as emails and blogs and websites, and even look down the road to adding options around SMS and texting.

The reasoning also includes being better able to communicate in a timely manner (knowing most parents don’t read monthly newsletters, be honest!), trying to minimize our environmental impact through all the photocopying that takes place for forms and newsletters, and creating more instantaneous and easy access to needed information for our school community.

I will be working to completely revamp our school website this year, as well as develop communication strategies for the school community using the following guiding principles:

  • Develop, promote and maintain communication to enhance student learning (daily)
  • Create awareness and understanding of what is happening in learning every day at BelPark
  • Parents, students, teachers and admin are all part of each child’s learning team
  • Students to connect their learning from school to home with their parents
  • Ability to access when and where needed, on computers, phones, tablets, etc.

ADMIN BLOG                                     – http://belparkadmin.weebly.com/     (RSS Feed)

TWITTER                                              – follow @belparkcbe

FACEBOOK                                          – search “Belvedere Parkway”

BELPARK WEBPAGE                        – http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b110/

CLASSROOM SITES                          – http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b110/agendas.htm

 

For me, the Weebly is awesomely easy as when I post, the exact same immediate information will be sent out automatically through the Admin Blog, Twitter and Facebook.

We have made a staff agreement that photos and names will not be connected on any of our Belvedere Parkway School or classroom sites. For example, if there was a photo of 3 students working, a caption might read “3 grade 5/6 students are working on…” rather than identifying them by name.

I am already utilizing tools like Weebly, Facebook, Twitter, and Google apps for education, but I also want to look down the road at a school YouTube channel, utilizing photos and video of student learning, as well as being able to utilize push notifications rather than having parents need to look for information or go to a website to see if it has been updated.

Stay tuned this year, as we embark on this journey. I will share our trials and tribulations and successes and big question marks… I would love to hear more on what others are doing as well. Connect with me or leave a comment.

Yours in enhancing communication between home and school,
D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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