3 years might not seem like a long time for adults, but for these 8th graders (Alexis, Terez, Ben, Isabella, John, Ethan, Alex and Rebecca) 3 years of a “lame and boring” library is far too long. It is with this in mind that they set out to improve and re-invent this common space for all to enjoy.
Last year I reinvented my classroom to include more creative seating areas, colors designed to elicit particular emotions, and more creature comforts normally associated with home than a school. Many of the now 8th grade students working on this project were part of the transformation of my room last year.
It was mentioned many times that the library was a far less desirable place to study and work than my classroom was. The media center has been called, among other things, uncomfortable, ugly, boring, and my favorite “the worst!”. They wanted a comfortable reading place (complete with lamps to see better), technology that allows for new books regularly (Kindle Fires), places to charge their own devices when being used for lessons (charging outlets and extension cords), and a way to add pleasant tones to the background instead of the annoying hum of florescent bulbs (stereo speakers). With these changes the students plan to leave behind the legacy of a library students want to use.
“Reading is a key to future successes”. “Those that read more as a youth will earn more in the future”. This has been a preached for ages. The great thing about this project is that students not only are encouraging others to read but they are actively participating in math skills (setting a budget and comparative shopping for the best prices), economics skills (students have participated in cost/benefit analysis of items requested), writing skills (students wrote separate proposals and debate points about items requested), and marketing skills (students created materials to explain their project and are actively promoting their cause). All items presented in the project have been vetted through a brainstorming session, pros and cons analysis, healthy debate, and sometimes even more healthy debate, until the correct items for their desired outcome were present. Students owned the process from start to finish. Their group work, participation and passion have made it a success already.
In Their Own Words
Our hope to renovate the library. Our library is one of the most unused rooms at Algonquin because it's uninviting. When put our ideas in action, this library will become a place where students want to be. Whether it's to study, read, or to do their classwork/homework. In addition to creating a working production zone, we want our library to have some artistic qualities to it. Inspirational quote posters, a little cafe, and a charging station for laptops, tablets, or phones. A dream of a library.
The entire 8th grade Student Council has been responsible for this project. For the past few weeks, we've been creating the shopping/wish list, comparing ideas, discussing priorities and enjoying the possibilities. In addition to that, the Student Council members will be dedicating their time, personal materials, and much more to make sure that our library is beyond perfect. We are excited to make the library a great place where students want to go and spend time.
This library renovation is important to our entire school because the library is a resourceful place that should be used. Our library, as of now, is idle. Students only go in there when class is being held. If our goal is reached, we'll be able to make it somewhere where students want to be. If they have a quiet place to study- test scores increase. If they have a place to get and read books- reading will become more enjoyable. The library will be used and useful.
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