A grade 3-4 class at Gilmore Elementary School was instructed to follow health and safety protocols year-round. Now they have used the memory as inspiration to create their own hand sanitizer holder.
Teacher librarian Andrea Hunter-Mogg explains that the seeds for the project were planted in 2018.
It was then that she met David Track, then McMath Secondary’s librarian, and David Henderson, who worked in the district’s career programs office. The three teamed up during a Pro-D daytime workshop, “and the collaborative connection was kismet.”
“We all had the common vision of relocating classrooms – and especially school libraries as transformative spaces of creation – away from analogue places of information retrieval,” says Hunter-Mogg.
But like so many other things during the COVID-19 pandemic, a wrench was thrown into teachers’ plans. As of September, Hunter-Mogg, Henderson and Track have taken on roles different from what they were used to, teaching both personal learners and home-based students.
“These shifts weren’t so new to teacher librarians and those working in non-enrolled positions across the district,” says Hunter-Mogg.
Despite the challenges, the school library assists students with practical design challenges that invite them to use their imaginations and collaborate. There has been increased emphasis on these so-called “maker” activities, where hands-on exercises have been carried out, and a nationwide shift from traditional libraries to learning communities where the activities are more flexible and diverse.
At Gilmore, “Maker” activities so far this year have included modeling baked clay, making pin-back buttons, 3D printing, beadwork, origami and video production. After the spring break, macrame, coding and creating rhythms and beats using found objects as instruments are planned.
“With each project, we encourage students to reflect on the process and outcomes in relation to our school history: ‘How can a focus on connection and core competencies help students better communicate their thinking and understanding as learners?'” Explains Hunter Mogg.
Using the school’s 3D printer, students were invited to investigate how to make their health and safety routines more efficient and consistent. Department 4, which includes students in grades 3 and 4, wanted to create a permanent location for their hand sanitizer bottle.
“They drew a design, made it out of cardboard to make a prototype, and then they shared their prototype in small groups and discussed it,” says Hunter-Mogg. “Next, they decided on a design in their group based on these criteria: durability, appearance, ease of use, using the least amount of material (to be environmentally friendly).”
After completing five designs, the class voted on their favorite, which was made available to the library team to help them print on the 3D printer. It’s currently used in the classroom and in about a month students will be reviewing how it works and possibly making additional changes.
“In my experience, students are always preoccupied with such learning experiences. Encouraging curiosity and amazement in a flexible learning environment designed for collaboration offers many opportunities for spontaneous inquiries, ”says Hunter-Mogg.
“The excitement arises not only from the opportunity to use new and exciting technology, but also from the feeling of pride in seeing their creations come about – from a series of numbers arranged on a computer to anticipation The layer-by-layer look of thin plastic takes shape (or, equally satisfyingly, the failed test iterations that twirl and hang and provide an opportunity to use critical thinking to refine a project). Students see themselves more as consumers – they are productive; You are creative. “