Kelly and I are often asked what are the essential ingredients for a Learning Commons model of a library. Building a Learning Commons involves much more than adding in technology, buying some ebooks and making the furniture movable: instead it is about the actions of the teacher-librarian and school staff. If we continue to think about the actions required to create a Learning Commons, we can create a list that has students at the heart; shared ownership, inquiry, technology, community, collaboration, creativity, and above all LEARNING. If you have a child about ages 3 to 8, who enjoys learning on the computer with colorful graphics, has benefitted from the original version of Starfall, then More Starfall would be a good option. I received the More Starfall program for free for one month for the purpose of trying and reviewing it. Implicit in these actions is the idea that the Learning Commons not only becomes the active hub of the school, the Learning Commons goes beyond the physical walls of the library, but permeates the entire school. Starfall also has additional content on their More Starfall component, which consists of more games and activities and expands on the skills taught on their orginal site.

We are moving from; teacher-centered to student-centered learning, from paper and pencil to performance tasks and paperless classrooms, from focusing on summative assessment to developing and researching big ideas, from individual classrooms to collaborating with others, both locally and globally. Wherever integrated collaborative teaching and learning are taking place, THAT’s where the Learning Commons is. More Starfall covers a wide range of math concepts from identifying numbers to basic geometry concepts, measurement, addition and subtraction as well as multiplication and a couple of division activities.
If your child is receptive to learning to read the phonics and stories on the original Starfall, then this would provide more options.
It would be nice to see all new things on More Starfall and perhaps, as the site is developed, they will add more new content.
School Libraries have gone through many name changes; Library, Media Centre, Learning Resource Centre and now the latest appears to be Learning Commons. The Learning Commons needs to reflect these changes, not with more things, but with attitude.

It is the action implicit in the words learning, happen and collaborate that should be our focus. If we “design the commons primarily with the intention that learning will happen there, we are much more likely to see that magical moment when students, building on work begun in the classroom, take responsibility for and control over their own learning.
This is the crucial event that makes the library and its learning commons the last bulwarks of a culture of acculturation.

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