Teaching Kindness

As the TL of Ellison Elementary I have the opportunity to see every student in the school. This week with the kindergarten students we learned about bucket filling. Kindness and spreading good thoughts throughout the school.  


Exciting news! 

Last week I stumbled upon an incredible program offered by Chapters. Every year they pick a school in a community with a chapters store, I thought, hey that sounds amazing and our school could really benefit from being part of a program like this! I applied and………

We are so thankful and excited to announce that Ellison library has been accepted into the Chapters Indigo Adopt a School Program!  Coles Village Green will be fundraising for our lovely library, all funds raised for our library will go to purchasing new Books!  

We are beyond thrilled about this opportunity and look forward to creating a love of literature amongst our students and help purchase new titles for our everyone to enjoy for years to come. 

Thanks to Chapters for making my day ūüėÄūüėÄ 

Author visits, Baggins Breath, & Battle of the Books 

Exciting things are happening at Ellison library in the coming Months!  March 2, the fabulous author Eric Walters is coming to share his knowledge with our intermediate students, check out their welcome banner! They are very excited to welcome Eric into our school.  

Welcome Eric!


Just some of his many titles!

We are also exited to share with you that we have three teams of dedicated readers grades 3-7 competing in the zones tournament for Battle of the Books on April 10 from 9am-1130am at Mission Hill elementary school . Teams that advance head off to compete in the District competition later in the spring. Once again Ellison is holding our annual school wide reading competition  Baggins Breath on April 11 at 5pm. We look forward to seeing the team costumes, hearing the cheers, and seeing the joy on the faces of our students who truly show a passion for reading and Literacy!  

Voila- The Ellison Library Learning Commons Blog

fireworks.jpg(Phot Cred Texarkana Emergency Centre)

Well my friends, the fireworks are to celebrate all of our hard work this semester. Congrats all for completing this course!!

From the start of this course I have wanted to create a resource that is easy to use and useful to my colleagues. I wondered the best way to present some of the awesome information that we have learned during this course, and how to highlight some of the tech info that I found most exciting and I settled on a website/blog. For the past three months I have been looking over the teacher resources in our library and I wanted to create one that teachers can access from anywhere to get ideas. The website is combined with a mobile maker kit. I plan to have a mini meeting to present these materials to our staff…hopefully before Christmas Holidays!! I definitely had some speed bumps when it came to working with online creating. It took me a week and a half to figure out why I wasn’t able to save my blog entries. But once I figured that out (I was sending the signup email to the wrong address), it has been smooth sailing! I do feel that if I had more time to dedicate to this course-no job, no second job- that I may have been able to dive even deeper into the content. I am very excited that I know about all of these amazing things now, I can continue learning about them on my own for years to come.

The key learning tid bit that I will be taking away from this course is : if you have an idea about engaging students learning- search it up, chances are there are some wonderful like minded educators out there in cyber space that have tried your idea. The online PLC groups that can be created through inquiry are really inspiring. I wondered what it would be like, taking an online course and never actually bouncing ideas off my peers face to face, I wondered if it would me feel less connected to my learning, as it happens I have never felt more connected, thank you for that LIBE477 group and Aaron!! I plan to post my blog on my school website and possibly see if the tech ed teachers in our district would like to use it. I am starting small and sharing it with few- in the hopes they will share it.

I am very proud to share with you the blog/website I have created for my school library. This blog includes links to many STEM and Design Thinking Challenges to use in your classroom,  Information on SD#22 Maker Space Kits that are newly available, information on how to implement maker space time in your classroom, a list of resources included in our schools beginner mobile Maker Kit, the switch from traditional Library to a Learning Commons model, and the idea of creating a library for maker space club.

I have enjoyed this course very much. I am in awe of the amount of information I have learned in the last 4 months. I am a better educator for having taken this course. The amazing amounts of resources, ideas, challenges, inspiring comments from my peers have left me feeling truly excited about the future of teaching and learning in our schools.

I can only hope that in the future I will still have the opportunity to work in a school library as a Teacher Librarian. I have learned so much about the shift in school libraries and the roll of TL’s in schools through this course. As a new TL I feel that this course has allowed me to explore a new path of learning while also using all of the amazing ideas shared by my peers in my library. I could learn about something one day and they attmept to integrate it into my library the next. How incredible, to learn and try and adapt and change ideas. I have felt like a true learner these past 4 months, I have also felt confident to share my failures and triumphs with my students and I have found it has made our connection as Teacher and Student much stronger.

Ellison Library

FAIL= First Attempt In Learing


(Photo credit Pin 21 Weebly)

I feel so grateful  that I was able to take this course. It has shown me some incredible things. I have been so lucky to become part of this learning community. We have a great PLC happening here! My peers have opened up a whole new world of learning for me, before this course I had no idea what a Maker Space was and how important they could be for our students.

The technology portion of my vision project has changed many times from my first thoughts and ideas. When I started to envision my project I was thinking I would do a simple Prezi Presentation at a staff meeting.  I would use my computer and a written handout. Things have evolved from there. I have now created a website/blog for our library. I will present the website to my staff as well as show them the maker kit I have created for their use.  I am working on creating a iMovie with an intro video to welcome staff and parents and students to the site. The website will be loaded with links to STEM lesson plans as well as Design Thinking Challenges. There will be articles with suggestions for bringing in the concept of maker space in their classroom. My ultimate goal is that they will find the site user friendly and really want to check it out and try some new projects in their classrooms.

The potential road blocks for this project are that the staff may not buy in. It might seem like one more new¬†way of teaching that doesn’t fit into their year plan for their students learning. I will seek help from my administrator to encourage staff to take risks in their teaching and learning. Another worry I have is that I Amy not be teaching at the same school next year- who will continue to carry the maker space torch if I am elsewhere? I will also be attempting to add my website to our schools homepage. I will definitely need help with this. Our district tech support staff are amazing and I will be working with them to access any extra resources or assistance to complete my visions. Their is a very tech savvy literacy support teacher they I have been sharing my ideas with, she is very helpful and supportive!

My brainstorming is old school pen and paper before adding it to the computer. Check out an image of my first/continuous drawing board. photo-on-2016-11-25-at-7-38-am

So far my struggles have simply been receiving an email from wordpress to activate my site- for some reason the link up email is not getting sent where it needs to. Does anyone have any suggestions of things I can try here?  I have also struggled with the time I would like to dedicate to this project- this has been an incredibly busy semester for me (I am sure it has been for everyone!!) and I recently got another teaching position to fill in my week and I have found it difficult to fit all of the tasks, projects, everyday things like eating 3 meals, into a day!!! So setting out 30 minutes each night to work on my project has been tough, I wish I had more time but the great thing is this project may evolve yet and I think it will be ever changing as a resource that wants to stay relevant and up to date as the year goes on. A triumph that I have had was of course the materials being donated to our library. I may not have the tech yet but I have some fantastic materials to create a kit for our library in the meantime. I have also felt it very serendipitous that just as I was taking this course, all of the opportunities to attend maker space events popped up. Whenever there is an opportunity for me to really learn about something that ignites my passion I feel that is a personal triumph.

I can’t wait for this to be up and running. I am really excited to see if the staff with use it. I am really excited to host maker space meetings for the kids lunch time sessions. I think I will use my class at the guinea pigs and work on some STEM lessons just after the new year. Yahoo, learning is amazing.


Future Vision Project: Learner Considerations

Maker Kits Vs Maker Spaces 

After attending the Maker Day workshop hosted by my district on Monday I am feeling very excited about implementing a Maker Space in my library. It was presented to us that we should strive to have a maker kit that can be used anywhere. Our instructor warned of the restrictions that a maker space would put on the content driven creating that happens.  She worries that teachers may get excited and create a space that is fun but not promoting a deeper sense of learning with connections to the curriculum.

I have thought long and hard about creating a space in my library but now I am leaning towards creating kits that I can share with the teachers in my school and I will work to teach them how to use the kits in a way that is very user friendly. I want to create a resource that can be used in and out of the library. I want to create a resource that enriches the teacher’s lessons and most importantly will be used!! I don’t want to create kits that will be forgotten about(much like many of the teacher resources collecting dust in our resource room)!!

To start my audience will be the staff at my school and I will present this project to them during a staff meeting. I would like for them to see the power of using maker kits in their library and in their classrooms OR turning our library into their classroom for an afternoon. Secondly,  I will target the students. I will teach them how to use the kits. Our instructor was very wise when she told us that the deepest connections and creativity comes with parameters. If we leave the making too open ended the result could be a disaster and prove too difficult for the students. I want them to be confident in their creating.

Teachers needs : easy to use, engaging materials to support and enrich their students learning. Creating design thinking challenges that will create a deeper understanding to go along with the resources in each kit, project based learning, inquiry projects.

Students needs: easy to use, engaging materials to support and enrich interests, materials that are safe to use in school, tech of some kind, freedom to create within their interests, confidence to use the technology, confidence to create.

In¬†an ideal world, I would have 40-45 minutes with each class and their teachers on their library block and I could teach them how to use the maker kits in a way that enriches their everyday learning. I would show them how to the use the tech (I still haven’t decided the best tech to purchase), how to use low to no tech materials, how to participate in design thinking challenges, how to create their own design challenges. ¬†Perhaps I can run seminars with classes and their teachers weekly? ¬†Ideally, students would be able to learn quickly how to use the resources in the kits and share their learning with their peers/teachers. We know the power of students sharing their learning with peers and the power of our students teaching us something new!

I have been reading content on the following websites about how to implement a space/kit in my library :

Dayton Metro Maker Kit Intro
Starting a Maker Space from scratch
Content Creation
Making the Most of Maker Spaces
Idaho Makers
60 Ideas for Maker Spaces
No Tech Maker Ideas

I will be narrowing down the items I would like to add to my kits.  So far some ideas include:

  • Kinex
  • Tinker Toys
  • Makey Makey
  • LittleBits
  • Sphero
  • straws
  • plastic stacking cups
  • Wood, Plastic pipes, glue guns, zap strapsGrants for STEM Maker Spaces:
    Going to local business to supply items for our kits (Walmart, Vernon Teach and Learn, Canadian Tire, Rona)
    Grant List
    Renovated Learning Grant Ideas

**Update: Today a wonderful woman from our community donated materials to our school. I was lucky enough to be in the office while she was there to donate and scooped up lots of amazing stuff for our maker kits! Lots of fabric, glue, beads, toggles, plastic frames,zippers, yarn,  thread and needles.

Vision Project Ideas…


Here is a photo I took last winter of an amazing Lego Robotics Unit that our district offers to students from grade 1 to grade 8. My grade 7 class was completely enthralled and engaged with the learning that took place during these sessions. I feel that the Library provides a unique space for students from any class to come and take part in the creative learning that Maker Spaces can provide.

Looking back on all of the wonderful ideas we have discussed and learned about in the past 2 months I am excited.

I am currently working on a plan to implement a Maker Space into our school library.  How this will look and how I will raise the funds to create this space are still in the works.

Below is a list of Things I will be looking into:

My weekend brain is telling me to add more to my blog before heading down for my brother’s weekend wedding on the coast. SO here goes……Looking forward with my project I feel that a website or blog would work really well to lay out my plans. There is a very real possibility that I will not be at the same school next year- and if that is the case I would like to have a well laid out maker space ‘to do’ list. Possibly instructions on how to run the Maker Space should I be at another school, how to use the tech resources and how to set up an engaging lunch time program for intermediate and primary students. I may use the wordpress platform again, it has been such a user friendly site to use. ¬†With a website I will be able to use and add to the online space whenever or where ever I end up!

Looking Back to Move Forward.

(Emerging Ed Tech photo cred)


I am very excited about all the different directions my learning has gone in since we started this course! As a new TL I had some idea of all the amazing things that are encompassed in this position. I had no idea the incredible learning networks that exist for us. With Twitter alone I have found numerous educators, inspiring people, and tech pieces that I will be able to learn from and share with for years to come. The online community is very inspiring, you look for one thing and end up finding the most amazing information (the Koombook is an amazing piece of tech!!)

Yesterday I bought a 30 student subscription to MineCraft Education, I can’t wait to share the news wheaderwithlogoith my staff next week during our staff meeting. But I know that small steps will be the best approach and that is why I’m starting with jut 30 subscriptions to MineCraft. Show the teachers the value of this program and let them go for it! How excited am I to go to work today!? I think that as a new, beginner teacher librarian and somewhat new teacher (this is my fifth year teaching) the more experienced teachers may need some time to trust my knowledge and begin to work with me as a teacher not just a librarian. This course and the exploration into digital literacy
and technology has given me confidence to go out and share the incredible things that are
going on in libraries throughout our province!
Maker Spaces. Maker Spaces. Maker Spaces. If I had to choose anything that I learned about during phase 2 to explore some more it would be Maker Spaces and how to successfully integrate them into my school library. I am so jazzed about this topic! I have signed up for a PRO D Seminar that is being hosted by my district next week. I look forward to learning more and seeing how different teachers are implementing Maker Spaces
in their schools, creating connections so I can check out how to implement one in my school. I do plan to have some intermediate and primary Maker Space lunch time programs. There are many amazing resources that I learned about at the BCTLA conference and many items I can buy through Scholastic (yahoo, after our book fair we have some rewards money to spend!). It seems as if everything that we are learning about, working with, discussing at first seemed overwhelming but now is just endlessly inspiring. I WANT to implement it all in our library!!! Hands on, engaging, unique learning opportunities. Let’s give our students a space and the resources to become the makers they are!!

Having peer feedback is a great tool. It helps drive my practice when I know others are searching, looking and learning about the same topics I am. Collaborating and sharing is and will continue to be important under the umbrella of teacher tasks.

Digital Library Programs in the Developing World.


(google image)
I found it very inspiring that within 30 seconds of googling libraries in the developing world I was about to find some amazing resources. As soon as I read the description about this week’s blog post I thought of one country that is very special to me: Ecuador. When I was in my early twenties I backpacked through this beautiful country and met some wonderful people. I searched Library programs Ecuador and found some pretty great information. I went down the wonderful wormhole that is internet research and found an organization called Libraries Without Borders (LWB). I had no idea that an organization such as this existed and it just so happens that LWB was participating in starting a digital library system in Educator as well as many countries around the world.

The idea of digital libraries is quite neat. This will allow content to be shared in many different places. Wherever there is an internet connection people can gain access to vast amounts of information and resources available through digital libraries. My school has a wifi connection that teachers can connect their personal devices to, we haven’t quite made the wifi accessible to our students yet- but that doesn’t mean that the more tech savvy students haven’t figured out the password and gained access! Many of my students have the plethora of Apple products, all of which are capable of having internet access. Giving kids access to the wifi would come with a variety of issues but as discussed in previous posts we teach our students the importance of appropriate internet and device usage. The idea of wifi hotspots is tied very much with a piece of tech created by Libraries Without Borders.

LWB is introducing a product called Koombook. This device creates a wifi hotspot and allows users to use their digital devices to access information, it allows up to 30 users to log on at any time. This incredible piece of technology allows even the most remote places in Ecuador to access thousands of educational resources by connecting to its Wifi hotspot. How incredible that people in the furthest reaches of our planet could conceivably gain access to the most current information and educational resources (the Koombook is loaded with the Khan Academy and is updated regularly!!!!). This is very exciting. I am interested to see how much it costs to manufacture a device like this, would it be feasible to provide every community in need with one of these amazing devices?  The cool thing about this piece of technology is that the information is all pre-loaded so the content can be tailored exactly to the audience using the koombook. A possible problem with the preloading is that biased information may be added to the device, the democratic access to info may be biased. These devices are being used in remote schools, community centres, giving children and adults access and allowing them to be connected. Check out the links below for a more thorough explanation of the Koombook.


Kukumbuka-To Remember

LWB Trains Librarians around the world


(LabFab image)

Works Cited:

“Librarians Without Borders¬ģ‚ÄĚ Trains Librarians in Africa, Asia and Latin America.” Http
 Elsevier Foundation, 2016. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.
Chang, All-star. “How Libraries Serve 21st Century Needs?” News N.p., 20 Mar. 2016. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

Supporting Teachers

ict_800x390 (google image)

As a new TL who has long admired and cherished a great school library I have to admit that teaching as a librarian can be difficult at times. The school I am working at this year has had many years of very part time TL positions- positions that were spread amongst other responsibilities in the school. Lucky this year our school was rewarded a .5 library position, so I am able to spend half of my day in the library working with classes. I love getting time with the whole population of the school. I do find that I want to work the library more as a teaching/learning space then a quiet book exchange area and it is taking some time to show the classroom teachers this. I have some great ideas about how to collaborate with classroom teachers and I am looking forward to working together with my staff.  I reached out to my elementary school TL and she shared with me a story about hurdles she faced as a TL. She said slowly but surely teachers on her staff came on board and utilized her and her knowledge as another resource. They began to see the library for something other than a book exchange. That is my goal and I am very excited! I am going to do a better job of checking in with each classroom teacher each week- what are they looking for to extend the learning of their students, how can I help?

Heart of the School

I believe that as TLs we can share our knowledge in a variety of ways. We can take part in after school meetings, create learning groups, offer after school knowledge sharing, write up on the staffroom meeting board. It can be as simple as sharing a website for your fellow teachers to check out. I plan to hold a little meeting with my staff after this weekend. I hope to learn all sorts of great stuff at the BCTLA conference this weekend! ¬†the ‘learn at night’ idea is a great way to include the community in the thoughts and learning projects happening inside the school. Our principal holds fireside chats every couple of months and invites parents and community members into the school so they can discuss and share their thoughts, concerns and ideas together.

Promoting Your School Library

At our school we have a collection of resources : themed units, ¬†professional publications, Adriene Gear Texts. Our library would definitely benefit from some more technology- a couple of iPads or tablets would work really well. While cleaning out my library I found an old camcorder from 2000. A once great tool that is now totally obsolete. Unfortunately tapes are no longer made for cams like this one and their isn’t any way to plug the cam into a computer! Having an iPad or two would be quite helpful to record students from my reading groups, and to be used for classroom research projects. Our school would also benefit from access to an online database- possibly a province wide space for TLs to share their knowledge and what they are working on in their libraries. I’m sure that attending the BCTLA conference will show me many cool projects that are going on in libraries around the province.

After looking up ICT I learned that it stands for information and communications technology. This is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application: radio, tv, cell phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellites.  One thing I will do this year is include the teachers in any decisions that are made about technology purchases for the library. I would like the purchases to be useful in every classroom. I will also talk with my fellow staff members about creating maker spaces in the library. I think that many students would be able to show a deeper level of learning and deepen their inquiry with access to create and show their learning in new ways.

Adrienne Gear Reading Power image

Works cited:

Heart of the School [Video file]. (2013, January 9). In Retrieved October/November, 2016, from
Promoting Your School Library [Video file]. (2014, January 4). Retrieved October 10, 2016, from