Phelan Learning Commons
Situated in a bright, attractive space and linked to a technology lab, the Phelan Learning Commons is a gathering place where boys meet for Inquiry, Electives, Book Exchange and Reading Buddies and where they hone literacy and research skills.
Boys are encouraged to foster their love of reading by borrowing fiction and non-fiction materials, which may be taken out for a two-week period. New materials are regularly added to the collection, and many of these are specifically geared towards boys, including a large number of engaging graphic novels, encouraging boys to try different genres. Often they are recommended by the students.
A number of programs help the boys develop a sense of ownership and excitement towards the Learning Commons. Audio-visual tools such as flip cameras, digital still cameras, and iPads are available for boys and faculty to borrow. Many valuable online tools are made available, allowing the boys to make personal connections with books and with the space.
Author visits create an atmosphere of excitement and are an opportunity for boys to ask questions and hear their favourite works read aloud by the writer. Recent guests have included Jennifer Nielson, author of The False Prince and The Runaway King, Shane Peacock, Canadian author of The Boy Sherlock Holmes series, and Eric Walters, author of Camp X and several other novels based in Ontario.
The print collection is enhanced by generous donations from the Birthday Book program. When a donation is made by a parent or friend on the occasion of a student's birthday, a book plate is placed inside the new acquisition in the boy's name. That boy also has the honour of being the first to borrow the book.
Reference Help Pages
Online resources have been developed to assist boys with homework and research requirements by saving them time and providing authoritative information. The Reference page includes links to online dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, magazine articles (under the "EBSCO" heading), and clipart.
In addition to utilizing all of The Sterling Hall School's materials and information, students are strongly urged to acquire a free Toronto Public Library (TPL) card so that they can make use of this vast resource. Through the TPL system, students have access to the latest in print materials and extensive electronic databases and audiovisual collections.