By Tammy Privette
CREATE! COMMUNICATE! COLLABORATE! Yes, these are buzzwords in education, but they are the mantra of the Winder Elementary Media Center. Winder Elementary School is a part of Barrow County School System, and is located in Winder, GA We are a Learning Commons where all students learn in a variety of ways. From our MOID classes to gifted classes – all are included. We promote literacy and learning.
Each year begins by allowing students to explore and experience learning that is active and not always quiet. Pokemon Go gave us the inspiration for themed scavenger hunts to help teach students about the different areas in our library. QR codes and Flip grid allow students to blend technology and learn Media Center rules in a fun and interactive way.
Our Maker Space encourages students to think outside the box and be responsible for their own learning. We require students to use the Design Process and develop a plan before they begin creating. We also have many exploratory STEM-based learning stations. Children often use the Lego Challenge cards to stretch their creative powers as they work to build something new. Card games are a quiet way to motivate students to read detailed directions and then work with peers to follow them in a fun, engaging way.
While our littles are eager to try new things, the older students sometimes need a bit more motivation. This year, we have integrated a badging program: WES Ninja Warrior Challenge. Students choose from a variety of challenges including creating avatars, using YouTube to build something in Maker Space, coding, creating videos in our production room, engineering projects, and trying new genres of reading. Students proudly wear the badges they have earned on their library card lanyards.
Throughout the year, we engage students with exciting schoolwide literacy competitions. In October, we hold our Trick-or-Treat Reading Challenge. Classes compete to see who can read the most minutes and books. In January, we host the Reading Super Bowl with cross-grade leveled teams that earn points when meeting reading requirements. In the spring, we do a two week Read-a-thon.
We encourage our students to write as well as read. The Blog Board (a large whiteboard) displays student’s thoughts regarding various topics. We also utilize a mailbox in the shape of a school bus. We host a variety of contests to encourage students to write us and put their submissions in the mailbox. For example, we celebrated Picture Book Month in November by having students read picture books and enter written summaries for prizes.
Student voice is a driving force! In addition to our daily excitement, we have many special programs. SPED Pre-K and toddler siblings attend a monthly story time. MOID classes come weekly for interactive literature experiences. Our gifted students published books and created data-driven book orders for the library. To promote language arts and history, classes participate in Escape Room and Living History reenactments. You can always expect something new and exciting in the WES Media Center where we create, communicate and collaborate!
To learn more visit our website at https://www.barrow.k12.ga.us/schools/wes/services/media-center
By Tammy Privette