Leading Learning Update: What’s Happening in Canada?

Leading Learning

See it in Action: Designing Learning Environments to Support Participatory Learning

By Judith Sykes and Carol Koechlin

National ProjectIt is hard to believe that Leading Learning: Standards for School Library Learning Commons, celebrates its second year since publication this June. Over this time we have enjoyed helping in facilitation of the standards and also endeavored to track and share the many ways this document is helping to build awareness of the evolution of school libraries and spark positive renewal. We think it is valuable at this time to share with our school library community the many ways Leading Learning is already making a difference in the improvement of school libraries and programs in Canada. We have kept the original writing network together through email news updates and recently developed a news flyer to keep our growing community informed and involved. Now that we have a new national organization and a website established we have a more formal platform to build future updates from. We will keep the National Project site in place for the foreseeable future and eventually transfer relevant news items, article links and presentation material to the new site for Canadian Voices for School Libraries (CVSL).

Learning Environments

See it In Action: One of the Standards where we have seen dramatic growth in the last two years is Designing Learning Environments to Support Participatory Learning. Not only an explosion of stories about transformed physical spaces but a real resurgence of Learning Commons professionals taking the lead in creating virtual spaces to work, learn, play and create. The design of innovative spaces and programs to embrace self-directed learning such as maker spaces is also making waves across Canada. Here are a few inspiring examples:

  • Not Just Furniture – Lisa Dempster, teacher-librarian at Riverdale Collegiate in Toronto Ontario shared her annual report virtually to highlight the impact of transformation from library to Learning Commons. Another Funtastic Year! See it in Action

Riverdale Annual Report

  • Student Engagement – Listen to the students at William Aberhart’s New Learning Commons in Calgary Alberta, share how transitions have changed the way they work and learn. ABC Learning Commons. See it in Action
  • Posting to a Global Fridge – Anna Crossland, teacher-librarian at George Vanier LLC in B.C., has not only created a VLC to curate and share resources but also to celebrate the accomplishments of her students by posting their work to what Anna calls the ‘Global Fridge’. See it in Action

Global Fridge

  • Growing a Virtual Makerspace – Jo-Anne Gibson, teacher-librarian at Fort Richmond Collegiate LLC in Manitoba, has extended library support 24/7 by creating a VLC where students and teachers can find ongoing and archived units and projects complete with marking rubrics, resource links and student work spaces . Check out how Jo-Anne has used Symbaloo to build a virtual makerspace. See it in Action

Virtual Makerspace

  • Flipped Library OrientationAnita Brooks Kirkland Consultant for Libraries and Learning and Carlo Fusco Teacher-Librarian at Waterloo C.I. in Ontario have developed a series of workshops called “Flip Your Library Orientation’. Learn how Anita and Carlo make use of virtual tools and spaces to build a 24/7 orientation learning environment. See it in Action
  • Making Maker Leaders – Curriculum Leaders in Upper Grand Distrct School Board have partnered with Teacher Librarians to develop collaborative approaches to integrate coding into Learning Commons maker spaces and classrooms. See it in Action
  • Creating Maker Mindset – Monica Berra, the District Vice Principal Learning Innovations-Learning Commons, Prince George B.C. intrigued principals with a maker poster to get them on board with the LLC in their schools to lead a maker movement and consequently create whole school ‘maker mindset’. Read about how Monica got principals on board and follow the journey in her TMC4 paper. See it in Action


  • Now check the maker kits ready for circulation that have been developed centrally to support schools getting started. See it in Action
  • Partnering for Inclusive Resource Collections – Also on Monica’s TMC site page open the PowerPoint called TMC Table Talk to discover how Monica partnered with the Aboriginal Department in District 57 to develop “a collection of learning resources to support the blending of Indigenous knowledge into our daily learning” Here is an example: See it in Action

Inclusive Collections

  • Building Virtual Participatory Learning Projects for Professionals – Quebec School Librarians Network have built a virtual Digital Badges program to empower professional learning based on Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada. See it in Action. Study their TMC4 paper Digital Badges for Professional Development: Supporting Library Personnel with the CLA School Library Standards.

Digital Badges

  • Teacher Research in Action – The focus of TMC4 2016 papers was to explore the growing impact of Leading Learning. The papers were divided into three themes and are archived for your study. See it in Action:
    • Co-teaching for Deeper Learning
    • Innovation for Learning
    • Building a Learning Community

TMC 2016

Moving Forward with Best Practice Examples of Leading Learning Implementation

These new examples of implementation of the standard, Designing Learning Environments to Support Participatory Learning, and many more new ‘See it in Action’ examples will be integrated into the new web version of Leading Learning as it develops on the new school library organization site CVSL http://cvsl.ca/. We invite everyone to share what’s working well in their transitions to Library Learning Commons so we can continue to keep Leading Learning alive with fresh indicator examples. Watch for a form on the new site soon to submit your See it in Action example.