School Name: School District office
School District: SD#79 Cowichan Valley
Inquiry Team Members: Darcie Zibin: firstname.lastname@example.org, Michael Dunn: email@example.com, Beth Elliot: firstname.lastname@example.org, Andre St. Cyr: email@example.com, Amy Loudon: firstname.lastname@example.org, Greg Wall: email@example.com, Karen Evans: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Intermediate (4-7)
Curricular Area(s): Applied Design, skills & Technology
Focus Addressed: STEM / STEAM
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? We explored how we might best incorporate Maker into our practice as teacher-librarians.
Scanning: •As teacher-librarians, we are always trying to extend and improve our practice. We wondered how we might be better able to support our learners by offering hands-on projects that linked back to literature. We noticed that visits to the Library Learning Commons (LLC) were sometimes not engaging and not productive for students, so we wondered what we could do to engage them in a way that made sense. We also noticed that when we lead design thinking sessions and brought in Applied Design Skills & Technologies (ADST) learning, students reacted enthusiastically. Our learners were better able to articulate their learning trajectory when they were actively engaged in ADST learning.
•We used the OECD principles of learning by considering how our students could be at the centre of the learning and how the social and emotional aspects of learning might be amplified by introducing Maker in LLC lessons.
•We used the First Peoples Principles of Learning in our scanning by considering how “learning requires patience and time” and that in order to go deep into learning we should take our time and not rush the learners.
Focus: •We selected this area because many of us have been learning more about Maker and have been excited to try it and share our ideas with each other. We noticed that students reacted very positively to any hands-on ADST work, and we wanted to enhance our LLC programs by incorporating Maker projects.
•We hoped that coupling ADST activities to literature would engage our learners with both ADST and literature, and we wanted to help them understand that the Library Learning Commons is a place to create knowledge and understanding rather to just consume it.
Hunch: •We suspected that the more traditional practice of a story and book exchange were limiting learning, although a fixed schedule system for library makes short one-off lessons practical. Many of us have moved away or are moving away from a fixed schedule so we can have larger blocks of time with groups of students to do more in-depth work.
New Professional Learning: •We researched the Maker movement online–websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram–paying particularly close attention to the colleagues in our Professional Learning Networks. We discovered that many teacher-librarians were exploring this same movement and had lots of information to share. Our initial investigation had us all reading Cate Heroman’s “Making and Tinkering With STEM”.
•We had regular dinner meetings where we shared our questions and our understandings. Most helpful was hearing how each of us had tried different projects and how they went. Our most inspiring meeting involved one of us leading a Maker session in which we all designed and created cork portraits of ourselves. Darcie Zibin, the TL leader in this case, took us through a process similar to the one she used with all the students in her school. We were excited and completely engaged creating our mini cork people, the same way Darcie’s students were!
Taking Action: •In order to move forward, we decided that we would need to have a shared understanding of what Maker is and could be in our LLCs. We shared questions, struggled over solutions, and examined the philosophy of Maker. School TLs went back to their LLCs and tried incorporating an ADST project into their practice. Each time we met, we shared what we did and how it worked. For our own inquiry, this was very helpful.
•We determined that Design Thinking was key for our learners. We found that the students were more engaged when they had the literature, the Design Thinking experience, and the Maker sessions rather than just the Maker sessions. We wanted to have in-depth learning that culminated in students making something rather than having Arts & Crafts in the library setting. This took time, but we had an idea that it would, so we weren’t surprised.
Checking: •We feel strongly that we made a difference to how students (and their teachers) understand library; students created understanding rather than just consuming it. They were more engaged and seemed to find the LLC to be a more exciting and interesting place to learn. We were pleased with our initial steps and very happy that our students could clearly articulate what they were learning, how they were learning, how their learning was going, and where their learning was going. We didn’t use baseline data–which we see as a weakness–but our anecdotal data tells us that students really loved what they were learning and how they were learning it.
Reflections/Advice: •We learned that Maker has a valuable place in the Library Learning Commons. As we continue including it in our practice, we want to share what we have learned with our colleagues who question Maker’s place in the library. We plan on sharing more projects with each other.
-Go ahead and try it! It will be messy and time-consuming, but worth it.
-Don’t skimp on the Design Thinking element; have learners spend time planning and designing before they make.
-Connect the Maker project to good literature.
-Collaborate with the classroom teachers, bringing them into the learning.
-Invite your administrators to visit/participate so they can see all the important learning.
-Try to keep it simple at first.