The library space at Major Ballachey Public School underwent a transformation this year into a new Learning Commons space, and there’s definitely no shushing going on like in the libraries of generations past.
"Our Learning Commons challenges kids to problem solve, use creative thinking, collaboration, and to meet the criteria for their design challenges,” said Grade 8 Teacher Tara McFarling. “The activities we do with students offer many entry points so kids from all levels can find success - it's engaging, and most importantly, it's fun."
The change took place over the summer, and is led by the efforts of the school’s Learning Commons team including Teachers Mel Seip (Kindergarten), Andrew Campbell (Grade 5), Amy Hoo (Grade 7), and McFarling who run programming and STEM projects in the space for all grades.
Transforming learning environments to ensure they are making the best use of space within schools and meeting the needs of 21st century learners needs is a big part of Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan, and in particular its Environment and Technology indicators. Projects such as Major Ballachey’s renovation create a welcoming space that allows the traditional library model to evolve to include a wider range of activities and learning styles. The multi-functional space includes an area for quiet, independent work and group work, with a focus on technology such as Ozobots, iPads, SMART board, microbits, 3D printers, and Makey-Makeys.
This fall, the new area has been a hit with students and teachers alike: “It’s amazing in here,” said Khrystyan, a Grade 7 student. “There’s always something new.”