Sunday, February 15, 2015

Moving in the right direction

We had the opportunity to host a group of Librarians and administrators from GCISD in our Learning Commons this week. I was super excited to have @tinaberumen visit, whom I respect and believe that she is one of those people who "get" the Maker Space movement in Libraries. It was the first time we had a real expert come to our space. We have had lots of librarians come and visit, talk to us about our vision and ideas, but all were at the same stage in their MakerSpace transition - the planning phase. I didn’t feel the nerves or anxiousness before, but I definitely felt added pressure this time. I couldn’t confidently predict how the visit would go. Would they love our vision or would they think we weren't on the right track? My principal, @R_H_Steele has really let my vision guide the way. Mr. Steele has continued to push ahead even when most principals, much less first year principals, would have put their hands in the air and said, it's just too hard or it's not worth it! I've seen firsthand the resistance to change and the repetitious, antiquated ways of public education and how hard it is to push a system out of its comfort zone. I have come to respect those trailblazers that have refused to give up, that have continued to move forward, even when doors were seemingly slammed in their faces. So finally seeing our library transition to the space that I had envisioned has been somewhat of a professional dream. Something that I don't take lightly, that I feel very grateful for having taken a part in. So with that, I feel responsible for our new Learning Commons success or failure. I feel a large amount of responsibility to create a space that magnifies our motto: If you can imagine it, you can create it. While at the same time, fostering those 4 C's: Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking but not losing sight of the Standards. A very daunting task and one that I often find myself waking up in the middle of the night adding to my list of things needed to be completed or ideas to incorporate. So this project of transitioning the Library to the Learning Commons has been a very personal one, but one that I haven't done for myself or my own gratification, but because I want it for our kids. I want Christie Elementary to be the very best because we have the very best teachers that work tirelessly day in and day out. I want it for every one of them because they are the ones who the space will belong to. I'm simply creating the environment and learning labs. They will be the ones that take this vision and really make it soar. So that's why this visit was really important to me. I felt it was our first true test. 
It’s actually hard to explain our space because I feel like it’s not like any other. It’s called a Learning Commons but it’s actually much more than that. It’s almost a Hybrid of a Learning Commons coupled with a Discovery Center with a Maker Space addition. Complicated right? That’s why we always invite visitors to come see it.

The visit started like any other, with Mr. Steele greeting the visitors and introducing me. That's where it always gets interesting because as they always just assume that I'm the librarian. It makes sense. The person who has had a big part in transitioning the space and setting it up should probably be the person housed in the space right? Well...not in this case! Following introductions, I explain that I'm the Science/STEM coach and really confuse them. I think that our space is unique in so many ways, and one of the biggest ways has been my role. I look at our Learning Commons transition through a Science/Engineering lens. I also, make sure that all visitors meet our resident, Maker Man who doubles as our CTA, @mike_svatek. He wears many hats and has had a we make our way to the Learning Commons. They loved it. Once you enter those doors, we want you to be tran@tinaberumen and the new members of my PLN who had great perspectives, @tonablizzard, @ajkeller1, @osunewell, @KJlibrarian, @jparker6 noticed and noted every detail, took lots of pictures, and even asked me to share ideas. It showed me the power of my PLN. It was truly amazing to meet face to face. A success! This was more than a visit to show off the space but a validation that we are moving in the right direction at Christie Elementary.  

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