Great schools have great libraries as an intellectual hub for all students. As part of the New Gear family of improvements to academic spaces, the construction of a new all-school library is underway. We will combine our two smaller libraries in favor of one 3-level space allowing for quiet study, research & collaboration, and building, testing, programming in a hands-on “maker space”.
For our youngest children, the library faculty and facilities serve to support the joy, the habit, and the discipline of reading. Weekly library class fosters interactions with literature through story time, take-home book selection, and independent reading or perusal of books.
Research skills are introduced in Kindergarten and steadily advance toward a goal of complete autonomy: knowing you can walk into any library in the world and solve your informational or literary need. This requires familiarity with OPAC, organization of a library, types of books, and parts of a book.
By 3rd Grade, Green Vale students can locate a specific book within our collections. We introduce them to databases and explore the difference between a database and a website.
In addition to regular library time, library faculty collaborate with classroom teachers to introduce elements and rigors of the research process in conjunction with academic projects. Younger students require appropriate “pathways to research” to avoid a bewildering and misleading Google search to understand a given topic.
Digital citizenship is emphasized with age-appropriate discussions of web safety, plagiarism, hoaxes, social media pitfalls, and the types of content found on the web.
By 5th Grade, library work becomes so entwined with technology that we begin to call this class period “Info” which speaks more broadly to the quest for information and processes by which to evaluate sources.
In technology, students have complete control.
The academic exercise is one of agency: what can I make happen?Not long ago, “computer class” meant learning the ways of the machine. Students were humble explorers, cautiously testing the ever-expanding capabilities of computers, software, and hardware. Now students apply technology. How do I control the machine to obey my instructions?
With a coding-centric curriculum and two teachers per class, students program “bee-bots” and “pro-bots” -- an exercise as challenging as it is rewarding. When students acclimate to mental sequencing (breaking down a task into small, ordered steps) at an early age, it becomes more intuitive and enjoyable.
By 4th Grade, students pursue independent projects using the Logo programming language. All students participate in the technology curriculum through 7th Grade; in 8th Grade tech becomes an elective. In addition, older students may join Green Vale’s Computer Art & Design Club which uses the Adobe suite, iMovie, and video production software. 3D Printers are readily available used by all grades throughout campus.
Beyond the computer lab, technology infuses classroom activity throughout campus. Through the use of Google Chromebooks for each student, fluency with word processing and other applications develops organically. The library and technology faculty regularly “push in” to support classroom teachers’ lessons and projects with additional tools and resources.