The School Library Learning Commons and STEM – December, 2018

The holidays are just around the corner and there’s so much happening at Sir Adam Beck! Many of you experienced some holiday spirit when you visited our annual Winter Bazaar. Sir Adam Beck was buzzing with the typical sounds you hear when large groups of people from the community come together to share stories, purchase holiday gifts, and taste the various treats that were offered by both vendors and our School Council. A huge big thanks to our School Council for their tremendous efforts organizing and directing the efforts of many for Sir Adam Beck’s 65-year-old tradition. Such a delight!

Next week is Hour of Code Week! Teachers at SAB are gearing up to make sure their students get even more opportunities to code. Currently, all grade 1 to 5 students are coding in STEM class. And in the next little while, all of these students will be working with robots to apply their coding knowledge in real-world projects. If you want to help your children code at home there are a number of resources they can use. Even Google will use their Home Page as a jump off to various coding activities. In the past, they’ve added one coding activity a day for the whole month of December – and the students love the broad range of activities that are offered for coding.

Here are some suggested sites for your very own Hour of Code at Home:

STEM: Robots and Coding

Speaking of robots and coding, students in grades 1-5 will be working on various projects with a real-world application. Students will get an opportunity to develop deeper critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and collaboration skills through their work in these projects with a curriculum connection to Data Management and Probability in Mathematics, and Structures and Mechanisms in the Science curriculum.

Junior students will be working with Root Robots. These robots are built to survive in student use contexts and offer many different opportunities to challenge students with their problem solving and critical thinking skills via the plethora of built-in sensors the robots have including touch sensors, light and sound sensors. Also, the robots can be coded to draw on dry erase or vinyl sheets with a dry erase marker to create shapes determined by their coding.

Students can progress through the coding software via 3 levels with each level offering a progressively challenging coding context. Students can begin with graphical coding, move into computational coding and in the later grades explore full-text coding using Apple’s Swift programming language. In short, this robot rules! For more of what Root can do, visit this page.

New French and English Coding Books

Thanks to a visit to The Toronto District School Board’s Book Fair we were able to purchase some much-needed non-fiction books in STEM topics and First Nations history. Students will be able to find these books in the library stacks now!

Also, we’ve picked up some coding books for younger readers exploring some of the more difficult concepts of coding, and some coding books providing resources using Scratch. Again, all books are available!

March – National Reading Month

If you didn’t already know, March is National Reading Month. A number of teachers and the Alderwood Branch of The Toronto Public Library are partnering together to offer some great activities highlighting the importance of reading! Stay tuned for more information!

The Forest of Reading Book Club

The Forest of Reading Book Club will begin in the New Year. Many great fiction and non-fiction books from Canadian authors will be featured. Students will get an opportunity to spend one day a week at lunch in the library learning commons reading as many of these books as possible! The book club runs until the first or second week of April.