Thinking about Space: Remembering Its Purpose

My school is currently in a transition period. We are in the process of building a new school so for this coming school year we have moved to a temporary location. Since I needed to redesign the space to work for my students, I spent a lot of time thinking about the purpose of each part of the library. 

Challenges

Not Made for Kindergarten

Since the space I am in now was originally designed for upper elementary students it presented a few challenges. The shelving is too tall for early elementary students so I have kept the collection to the bottom three shelves. But what to do with the top two? Using bins to increase storage made this usable space.

Some Furniture Stayed

Some of the furniture that was in the space previously had to stay behind. A large desk and countertop could not be removed as well as a large table with two benches.

Additionally, the shelving could not be relocated. I had to work with the space as it was. So I started with the purpose of the large desk and countertop.

The desk will now be the LEGO station since our LEGO wall disappeared with the old building. The countertop allowed for additional seating. A publishing station was created as well as a quiet place to read.

Decisions

After reading the book The Space by Rebecca Louise Hare (inspired by a blog post by Diana Rendina), my focus was on defining what spaces that I need to include while keeping the purpose in mind.  Here are the spaces that were created:

Places to Create

We have a separate makerspace in our school building so in the library we have maker stations. Included are things like blocks, felt shapes, and LEGOs.

Additionally, after the junior library council completed a survey last year it became very clear we needed a publishing station. A place where students could share their own work.

Places to Read

Including a variety of seating allows the students to have choice about where to read.

Place to Work and Learn

Students need places to work together as well as individually. We have included both.

I am sure that these spaces will change and evolve as we begin to use them. I am excited to find out from my students what they want to add or changed.

References:

Hare, R.L., & Dillon, R. (2016). The Space: A Guide for Educators. Irvine, CA: EdTechTeam Press.

Rendina, D. (2018). Read this Book: The Space: A Guide for Educators. [online] Reading Learning. Available at: http://renovatedlearning.com/2017/07/24/read-book-space/ [Accessed 1 Aug. 2018].

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Author: Kelly Hincks

I am the librarian at Detroit Country Day Lower School in Bloomfield Hills, MI. I have worked as a librarian for the past five years. I was a classroom teacher for four years prior to that. I have worked in charter, public, and private schools. My favorite thing about being a librarian is the opportunities I have to work both with students and teachers. I love the co-teaching opportunities and connections I have been able to make! I have served on AASL committees as a member and chair.



Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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