I have learned that an important part to having a successful Learning Commons in a middle school requires student involvement. By having the students involved in the decision making process we have created an awesome place for them to learn, create, collaborate and be.
When we opened Nose Creek School in 2012 ( grade 4-9) we decided that it would be a space for the students of our school. A space for them to want to be, feel comfortable in visiting and place to showcase their work. Not a space to store books, av equipment or teacher resources and definitely not a quiet space.
We wanted their input. We promoted this to them through announcements and the teachers asked for their input during their T.A. (teacher advisory classes). This created a lot excitement and suddenly we had long lists of books, games, and furniture that was recommend by the students.
Our learning Commons has many student L.C. Assistants from every grade . They help with book fairs, shelving books, closing blinds, taking care of the technology and tidying. They are key to making our Learning Commons successful.
In the future we plan to establish a Student Learning Commons team and maker stations operated and lead by students for students. The Student Learning Commons team will help us come up with ideas on how to make this an even better space.
Going into our fourth year our Learning Commons is still very busy. Students are there all day and even after school we have a hard time getting them to leave. It is truly “their” space.
The Learning Commons always has different things to see and do. Including new books, puzzles, art work (created by the students), board games and of course the newest, coolest thing - the 3d printer.
Annette Bennett (@BennettAnnett) is a Learning Commons Assistant at Nose Creek Middle School and is the mother of two giant male children. She is a pusher of books who loves to learn and explore.
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