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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thankful for 2010

Unconditional, abiding Love.
Time to say goodbye and time to say hello.
Warmth and soulful days on windswept islands.
Sleeping, beauty,  babes safe in their beds.
Friends afar and friends so close.
Brain that winds forwards and sometimes backwards.
Work that brings me closer to You.
Husband, provider, shoulder, giver of love.
Arms to hug and bring you home.
Eyes to read woeful tales.
Heart to listen, mourn, heal and love.
Legs that crank on leery treadmills.
Home, noise, Christmas turkey, games, laughter, family.
Unconditional, abiding Love.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Check out this SlideShare Presentation: I recently chatted about Glogging and for all my interested students here is a How to video giving you step by step instructions. Have fun!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Techno Bling!

So here we are 2 weeks to go before we celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the stores are all madly competing for your dollars with sale after sale! This year we are trying to cut back on consumerism and focus more on the message of Christmas, but if my hubby wants to know what makes me tick he could follow me to the Apple store!  In the last couple of years I have fallen in love with techno bling and now he knows that diamonds are on the back burner:)  I wonder if you are looking for a special gift for that teen or other family member, that will ensure educational warranty?

Here is Good2know! RT @web20classroom: What Do Kids Want In The Classroom In Terms Of Technology? @edutopia Asked Them: 

If you listened to Greg Bitgood's podcast this week interviewing innovator Steven Collis, you were probably amazed to hear about his 3D virtual schooling in Australia.   Steven Collis has won many awards for educational technology. Yet is this something we need fear, or do we embrace and encourage our students to enter this science fiction state of the 21 century? How do we protect our children from addiction but at the same time prepare their brains for the future work force?  By the way  the term "addiction",  has now been filtered down in its meaning.   For techno geeks it is a sign of entering the new world, but for parents who see the "red eyed" syndrome, and " no mom I am in the middle of a game, and I cannot eat dinner",  there are red flags which we need to address in helping our students live healthy lives.

digital nation - life on the virtual frontierThis PBS show and website will help you as parents make healthy decisions for you and your students as they enter this brave new world!

Teachers and parents watch Protecting Your students  workshops to encourage your students to create boundaries.

God Bless you and your students as you make healthy boundaries.  I would love to hear how you make rules around digital use in your home?

Merry Christmas to you and your families.
HCOS Online Librarian

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Read Up On It - Yesterday's Stories | Diigo

Read Up On It - Yesterday's Stories | Diigo

Christmas Truth
By Tabitha Eenkooren
Christmas time is here!
It’s fun to get excited about the food, gifts, shopping, snow, festive lights, functions and family gatherings. And yes, all those things are important and they all add to the feeling we have about what Christmas is, but I think we often get too caught up in some things which are not the real reason for Christmas. We actually celebrate Christmas to remind us of one thing which happened 2000 years ago: The birth of Christ, who was sent down to the world for us as a gift, to be our Saviour. He came to make us happy, joyful, and plant in us a giving spirit full of love and care for family and those special to us. I truly think that if we are not entirely focused on sharing that truth at Christmas time, we get way too caught up in the shopping and food aspect of Christmas, when really that isn’t the most important part. I heard a story from one of our friends about how her mother was apologizing for not getting both her daughters equal gifts money wise. The mother was actually worrying about what to do. Our friend (who was the daughter who wasn’t getting an “equal” gift) told her mother that she couldn’t care less, and in more words, it wasn’t the amount of money spent on the gift which mattered. This is a very good example of how caught up people get in regards to “equal” gifts. What does matter is how much you love the family around you, the spirit of generosity you have, the thankfulness for what you do have, and what your attitude is. I am not saying it’s wrong to give gifts and go out shopping. I believe that is a way for us to love our family and friends. I just believe when people over- do some things, it takes the real meaning out of Christmas.
I remember one Christmas about 10 years ago or so, here at Totem Co-op, we had a very special time, which I still remember even though I was very young. Signs were made saying “Santa STOP here! ______ and ________ have been good this year” The blanks were filled in with the children’s names who lived in that particular house. I remember being thrilled with the bright red stop sign which had my name on it! Even a “little” thing like that can make children feel special. Also, another thing which we did one year was had a Santa Clause come to the Community Hall. He let everyone sit in his lap and gave each child a gift. I still remember what present I got and to this day I still have it. To me, that was a very special time, and looking back on it now when I am older, I really think it was considerate of the people in the Co-op to organize something like that. To me that shows community and the gift of not only giving something tangible like a gift, but giving a memory too. I feel personally that those types of things are missing in the world and our general society today. I know lots of those types of things still happen in malls and places like that now days, but feel it’s missing in our community. Things are different and time changes things, but the real meaning of Christmas, and the spirit of it should/can never die.
As the Christmas season comes, I personally encourage everyone (not only teens) to really think about doing stuff for other people which they will remember, and which will last in their hearts and minds. A saying which we have in our family is “What are more important, people or things?”
I wish you all a very cheery and merry Christmas full of fun, love, laughter, friends, family, and remembering the real Reason for the Season.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Advent Activity - The Jesse Tree

As a parent, I have always wanted to make the Advent season more meaningful in our home, and shift our focus from "let's make Christmas wish lists and send Christmas cards and lets not forget to bake those cookies!" to more of the message God wants to convey to us during this time.
We have now enjoyed doing Advent readings for a few consecutive years, but this year we've decided to add a visual component: The Jesse Tree!

As is quoted in the resource mentioned below: "The 'Jesse Tree' is the story of our salvation, and the symbols depict the Messianic line, from Genesis to the birth of Christ. It is a tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. The ornaments are colorful and are placed on the tree daily, throughout Advent, after reading the corresponding Scripture passage....As your family reads the Scripture stories, God's plan of redemption will unfold, and the awareness of God's saving love for us through the gift of His only Son, Jesus Christ, will become more profound."

I purchased this resource at our local Christian store.
*I should mention here that this is a Catholic resource, however...apart from a couple of activities celebrating the Saints, I have found this book to be extremely resourceful, and otherwise Scripturally accurate for all other Advent family activities.*

Now, you can set up your Jesse Tree in many different ways:
- you can hang the ornaments on a traditional Christmas Tree;
- you can go outside and choose a nice branch off a winter tree, bring it inside and anchor it in a pot with some rocks, and set it in a visible area of your home;
- you can velcro fabric, felt, or embroidered ornaments onto a banner;

We chose to use up some empty wall space in our dining room and made a tree out of construction paper on our cork-board.

We posted Isaiah 11: 1 under our tree, which says:

"There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots."

And on the base of our tree we wrote "Isaiah 9:6", which quotes:

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Then, beginning on the Sunday of the first week of Advent, we begin putting up symbols.
Each symbol comes with a scripture reference.
You can download a free devotional with instructions on how to make the ornaments here (I may save this one for next year, it looks so beautiful!)

This is what our ornaments look like, and as you can tell, all members of the family helped!

We look forward to celebrating God's plan for our salvation this season,
and I encourage you and yours to add simple activities that will enrich your weeks leading up to our celebrating the birth of our Saviour!

Have a blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bronze Bow and Book Club Buzz

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live during the life and time of Jesus?  At our recent book club meeting to discuss The Bronze Bow, we delved into the main protagonist Daniel, an eighteen year old youth, and his quest for freedom from the Romans. 

We learned that during the time of Jesus in Judea, many people were oppressed and enslaved, and several characters were witness to this kind of daily humiliation.  But none more so than Daniel, who loses his parents to Roman hostility, and vows vengeance on all Romans with an outlaw band of fighters.  So much so, that his life becomes one long theme of hate and vindication.  Daniel must understand firsthand what leadership is all about, as he makes mistakes and learns that a good leader needs friends who will love and protect each other.  His friends draw him to the miracles of Jesus, where as a follower he comes to understand a Christian worldview of life.  But it is not until the end of the book where Daniel is convicted of his own sin, that we start to see repentance and a new life in Christ.  

What an amazing story full of action, suspense, character development, excellent vocabulary and a wonderful conflict resolution.  In terms of meeting all the literary technique for intermediate grades, this book helped our book clubbers understand; setting, theme, protagonist versus antagonist, and conflict resolution.  I commend my book club students for their wonderful interpretation of the gospel of Jesus. 

I highly recommend this book to all students who are wanting to engage in historical fiction with a Christian worldview.

Our next book club meeting is on January 12 at 7.45pm.  We will be reading The Hobbit, just in time before the movie comes out:)  If you are interested in joining in this meeting please email me at pdavies@onlineschool.ca

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Biography Fair

Thank you Pippa for letting me do some bragging here on your blog!

Here's a photo of Serena posing in front of her display at Biography Fair. She decided to pick a real life princess as her subject - Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco. We had lots of fun looking at and selecting pictures and designing the display. In lieu of a speech, I interviewed "Princess Grace" to give the audience more information about this dazzling princess. When I manage to find the time and my brain, I'll figure out how to load up the video footage of our interview!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Glogging= Poetry after Blogging

Did you know there was poetry in digital technology?  Who designs these weird and wonderful, nonsensical names?  I really think that the weirder the name, the more popular the site will become.  Please can some techno geek design a romantic name for me:) 

This week Matt and I "glogged",  and no, this does not mean we imbibed too much grape juice, but rather Matt and I schooled ourselves in the anatomy of a glog poster page.  To learn this we went to Glogster

My role as the "facilitator"in this process of digital learning was to design a teachable topic, brainstorm some ideas, send him to the URL and watch the visual dynamics upload.  Excited with learning a new application Matthew inhaled his objectives, digested the terms, analysed Christian perspective of his topic and created his poster.  As he profoundly said "this is so easy to use even my mom and sister can do it".  He was proud of his Outreach poster and although he could not properly load the music he declared this a work in progress!  Please let me know if you get your students producing a Glog?  I would love to add some samples to our library interface:)

PS If you would like to test your student's knowledge of the Internet and computer terminology have them read the Google E Book.

Thank you God for encouraging me in this process, and for allowing my son to become excited about learning a new application and making Bible an artistic process:)

God Bless you in your discovery of digital technology! I look forward to chatting with you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Absorbing Technology Akin to Starbucks Java

I have decided that learning informational technology can make you manic and then some!  Just as learning the terminology for a cuppa java at your local Starbucks, with that decaf, low fat, no foam, soya latte to go, I have discovered the addictive nature of digital technology.  My brain has slowed down over the last few years, and so learning new applications can take time, and more time...  So I wanted to share the techno "buzzz" the same way you get that coffee "buzzz", of course some of us are just more addicted than others:)

At my recent library conference I was overwhelmed at all the available technology out there, and felt helpless to know where to begin.  So I felt really good that I was on Facebook, could not get excited about Twitter, had figured out Skype and Elluminate (well barely) and now I had to learn about Diigo, Delicious, Jing, Flikker, and many more to mention.  To me they sounded like dog's names, and yet the web was naming them in the top 100 applications of the year.  To get you excited about all these top applications, here are the sites to follow:

Online tools and applications by  - Go2web20
Jane Hart's 100 Tools for Learning List 2010
Kathy Shrock's List Web2.0Tools

Today after much practice and prayer, I brandished my sword, and cuppa and conquered Jing.  Jing is not a prelude to Christmas bells, but rather a very clever way of capturing screen and audio, like IMovie on a Mac, if you would like to have an online screen cast.  My goal was to explain my virtual library to staff and parents, and after several attempts of stopping my dog from making really bad noises in my mike, I realised, according to my son that I had not changed the internal mike to my headset. Oops.. 2 and half hours later, I finalized my sound under 5 minutes and was ready to produce my first "ahem" movie, (not really but it felt like it).  Even my dog and daughter said, "Not bad mum".  Hey, if I can figure out how to load it onto Screencast.com and then send it to you all I will be flying:)  PS Next week we will attempt poster applications using Glogster.  What?

God Bless Pippa

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Absorbing new Technology

Well this morning I listened to Greg Bitgood's podcast on starting a blog, and with much anticipation I am starting mine this morning.  I have been dogged by a bad virus this week so work has been intermittent, as I give my body time to recover.

Do you feel overwhelmed at all the technology out there and wonder how you can enter this new 2.0 world of information overload?!  I hear you:)  I think if you commit yourself to learning one thing at a time, you will be able to enter this brave new world with a different view on life.  Our kids can absorb so much of it within seconds, and yet we struggle to take on the challenge of simply starting the process.  Fear of failure is large in my vocabulary, and patience to get everything right the first time, ie make a perfect page with lovely settings and photographs etc.  Please God remove all these expectations, and help me do one thing at a time.

The reason I am starting this blog is twofold.  Firstly, I like this idea of posting my newsletter this way so that we can collaborate, and parents and students can see our posts.  Secondly, I love the idea of keeping archives, must be the "librarian" in me!  Having one's own domain is a distinct plus!

So if you have not listened to Greg's podcast this week please do so.  I joined Blogger.com and was amazed at how easy it is to use.   I would love for my students to be doing their own blogs, especially my middle and upper level students.  I know that some of my book club students are already blogging and reaching out to students all over BC.  But you can choose to make your blog personal and closed, by going to settings.  I look forward to meeting you here on my blog and chatting!  God Bless!