Favourite Language Arts Links

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolutions: Strengthfinders 2.0

Pippa GraceImage by AKMA via Flikr

This year I have been so thankful and proud of my learning commons team, who have risen above the ordinary in moving towards a twenty-first century library.   We have worked with common purpose to fulfill some strategic short and long term goals.  But without understanding our common purpose and strengths in life, how do we support each other in mutual growth?

As we anticipate how information and technology have impacted our lives sometimes we hear the exclamation that it takes too long to learn things, and why should I have to if I don't need to?  After all aren't we all working too hard, just to keep the ever increasing information overload at bay:)

Having just completed reading Strengthfinders Web 2.0 by Tom Rath I was amazed at how my gifts in library science and teaching lined up with the half hour online survey, which I needed to complete at the end of the book.   I really loved the way this book focused on the top innate gifts in your life, and encouraged you not to stress your weaknesses.

I learned from a young age that numbers were not my 'thing',  after a terrible year in marketing actuaries.  Instead God encouraged me to follow my gifts of "Learner, Input, Connectedness, Intellection and Strategic".  Libraries, teaching and leading in these fields have been a joy and passion to pursue. Of course there are other skills that I thought maybe should have been on the list,  but these were the top 5:)  When I break down the skills I see;

Life long Learner =teacher.
Input = collector of information/librarian.
Connectedness= collaboration and social networking/book club moderator.
Intellection= literary analyst and story maker.
Strategic = Intuition and leading in learning commons. 

After reading this little gem, I have come to realize that  maybe one of the reasons we gel with certain people is because they bring out our gifts:)  When we understand each others' strengths we learn how to partner and empower each other.  If we fail to do this and instead focus on their weaknesses we really lose sight of God's encouraging influence.  I am learning to rely on my teams' strengths and empower them to follow their gifts. 

So if you are reading this and say to yourself "hmm this is why Pippa loves sending out information on a regular basis", you will start to understand what makes me tick:)  Likewise I cannot wait to hear what makes you tick so we can learn from each other?

Have a wonderful New Year with God's richest blessings!!

Pippa and the Learning Commons Team

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, December 19, 2011

Are you CRAZZZZY about Apps? Appitic!

If you or your sweeties have an appetite for using app's on your iPad, then look no further,  as this amazing library of iPad apps will do more than whet your "app" etite!  Divided by category into Bloom's taxonomy and multiple intelligences,  you will find something for your student, based on their learning needs and age.  Do you have a favourite app that you would like to share with us?  Please let us know how you are using in your homeschooling or online classroom?  We are learning with you:)

Bloom's Revised TaxonomyImage by dkuropatwa via Flickr

English: Multiple IntelligencesImage via Wikipedia   

Friday, December 16, 2011

Website Evaluation High School

High school students here is a great way for you to understand inherent bias, lack of validity, and reliability, in articles on the web. See if you can find some articles and then share the bias by changing the wording:) You will need to download the following XRay Goggles application to change wording on websites.  Have fun!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Learning to be a 21 century teacher

TeacherImage by tim ellis via FlickrMany of our teachers and parents are wondering what it means to be a 21 century teacher, and how do they go about starting?  It is hard to even conjure up a place,  or space in our brains to know where to begin.  The beauty of it all is that our students often know where to begin.  Why? Because they know the online sources, tools and resources more than we do. 

So as a flipped home school parent or teacher how do I start a project/research essay with my student?  How do I guide them to incorporate excellent resources, while using Godly discernment.

Here are some ideas which I think fit beautifully into creating the most perfect setting for 21 century learning, and may help you to fulfill learning outcomes:

The first thing I do is let my son start the research.  I give him ideas where to find his materials, using all the amazing databases, and search engines that are on our learning commons website.  I check them over to see if he has understood the validity, reliability and authority of his sources.  This may take a week or two as he delves into reading and researching.

As he reads he starts to formulate questions in his mind.  We start tackling the essential questions,  and Christian worldview starts to percolate, along with a possible thesis statement.  We have used An Elegant Essay to establish a good starting place for formulating the written structure of an essay. 

Matthew is using virtual worlds this year with his teacher Gord Holden to critique his Grade 10 history period by writing, building and connecting with other students.  He is  loving the whole project based learning approach, and can't wait to dive creatively into history.

He explores Discovery Streaming for images, videos on the Metis, along with Ebscohost for secondary resources and the amazing DVD series Canada A People's History.   History is now multi-sensory and learning is exciting.  Along the way he might decide to add some of his own resources, change the thesis statement and start again.  But he is motivated, and inspired!

As an English teacher I need to make sure that Matthew is covering the 5 essential parts of the curriculum, reading, writing, viewing & representing, listening and speaking.  He also needs to incorporate critical thinking into all his work. 

The first thing Matt does as he starts to take notes is open his  Symbaloo account (site that houses all his favourite tools), or Folder in Ebscohost where he can save all his URL's and find the correct MLA citations, ready to be copied and pasted for his bibliography.  He then goes to his blog or Google Docs where he starts his writing process. 

My role is to sit and listen, and help him make decisions and guide him with lots of where, why, how and when questions to see God in the story. His teacher Gord directs him in his building and collaborates, shares, marks and encourages.   Thank you Gord!!  You are an amazing 21 century teacher.

During this term Matt has learned the  Physics of how to make a train move, the physical geography of Canada and the history of  Confederation.  He has had to study the cultural period of that time, including the architecture, clothes, crimes, and artifacts found in the Library Archives of Canada. 

In my book club we are using Collaborize Classroom as a closed social networking system to bring our novels to life.  I find a movie trailer to start our discussions on the books, get the students hooked on reading and then they continue with their own amazing topics for discussion.  In our recent Blackboard discussion all students prepared their own questions and led the event.  My role is to moderate, listen and guide.  They are deconstructing the novels in their own way, and they love the leadership opportunities.

In our new Ning I can foresee an amazing social and educational learning space transforming students and families,  as we share what is happening in our own communities in a fenced environment.  Teachers start to form their own groups based on book clubs, computer or sports groups.  Students start to communicate and share their images, or videos in their particular niche.  Some of our teen geek squad may share their own videos and teach us how to be computer savvy.  As we share our ideas and collaborate we are giving rise to our students' voice and emotional well being.  They are being heard,  and prayerfully God is involved in this transformation. 

As Matt builds in his virtual world,  other students might make videos and share their learning. I am hoping that some of my book club students might make  movie trailers to share their book reviews  for their next novel.   Common Craft have some easy to use ideas for students making simple videos, or IMovie has generic trailers to authenticate, along with  Animoto

So if you have a student who is stuck in textbook land and traditional style classrooms, ask them if there is another way they might enjoy learning?  If you are unsure how to go about doing this ask your Support Teacher for ideas.  Let us take our students to the next level of learning so that they can become leaders in the 21 century and teach us to be listeners, encouragers, coaches, and facilitators as we dance in this new era of learning.  Let us help our students become digital writers using Google Docs, blogs, and social networks.  We can guide and point them in the right direction to learn how to navigate the web wisely and with discernment.  

I welcome your thoughts:)


Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ning Release!

As many of you have probably heard from your teachers,  we are sending out invites to parents, staff and teens in our community to join our HCS Learning Commons Ning.  A Ning you may ask is what?  I like the dictionary meaning: To bring together like minded people who share the same passion! Our goal is to create a space for discipleship based education and collaboration. You can form your own group, join another group, share in the chat room or chat individually with another friend or you can add an event, share media and generally get acquainted. 

If you teacher has not sent you the invite,  please email one of the following people to get your invite:

Natalie Sing, and Pippa Davies at HCOS or
Paul Kelly at HCS

We ask that you read some of the social networking guidelines on our ning or learning commons interface,  so that you can help your teenagers (13 and up) if they decide to join.  Be aware that like all social networks you need to decide with your students how much time a day should be spent online, regardless of the fact that the ning is moderated. 

Please note there are several Ning tutorials on our ning site already for those of you who need extra help.  I look forward to running a webinar on Monday 22nd of October 2012 to help you figure out how the ning can work for you.  Please join me at this Blackboard Collaborate Classroom webinar using the following sign in link between 1.15 and 1.30pm.


We pray that you will be blessed by our HCS Ning,  and we look forward to collaborating with you there:) Please let me know if you have any concerns.

Pippa and the LC team.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

December Treats from our Learning Commons

English: Nativity sceneImage via Wikipedia
Greetings fellow learning commons folks,

This month to celebrate the birth of Jesus,  Natalie and I  share some great Christmas finds, along with getting ready for Winter celebrations and SNOW.  If you have a wonderful link that celebrates Advent or Christmas please drop us a note!

From our linking library here are some holiday links on Christmas.

Winter traditions and seasons.

Bible links to learn more about Jesus.

From our physical campus here are the links to Christmas books.  

What am I reading right now:  The Reason for God by Tim Keller.

Our book club is reading:  Where the Red Fern Grows. 

This is still my favourite Youtube video!!  Charlie Brown and The Reason for Christmas!

Blessings to you and your families, for a Peaceful, and  Joyful Christmas in His Namesake.
From the learning commons team!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Teen Geek Squad Tutorials

HCS Learning Commons has started our TEEN GEEK SQUAD this fall, and we are very excited about sharing their tutorials, and advice they may have for our learning commons.  This page will give credit to our group!

Marcus Miller heads up our first video tutorial on creating avatars.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Avatar Tutorial. Marcus starts Teen Geek Squad

Hi everyone,

Marcus Miller, HCOS student has started our Teen Geek Squad with his first Avatar tutorial.  Thanks Marcus for sharing your talents.  If you have a talent that you would like to share on our teen geek squad please let me know?

In January Dave Robertson will share his gifts in making video tutorials! Stay tuned:)

Pippa and the learning commons team!

Livebinders- Techie Site of the Week

Livebinders is a cool way for students or teachers to collect their resources in a 3 ring binder and share them neatly and quickly on the web.  You can add as many tabs as you like!  I am So excited to find another way to share!!    So I am starting my new Livebinder today on Learning Commons Monthly Treats. It is really easy to start a Livebinder, just watch the tutorial and away you GO! 

Here are a few of my favourites!

12 Ways to ELearning
Welcome to Livebinders 4 Teachers is a compilation of livebinders with lots of great resources.
Apps for Teachers and Students.
Digital Curation for School Librarians and Tech-Types.
Evaluating a Web Site
iPads in Schools.
Research Skills for History and Science Fair Projects
Using DropboxintheClassroom

Blessings to you as you share on the web.  I would love to know if you or your students are using Livebinders please, and how they are helping you learn more?  Drop me a line:)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Reading from our corner!

iPhone 4S and iPad OrnamentsImage by Photo Giddy via FlickrGreetings from the Learning Commons Team,

This year I have really opened up to reading on my iPad.  I never thought that reading could be so easy and effective electronically, BUT I am sold!!  Maybe it does not squish in my hands, but I love the large font, the bookmarks and the illuminating light which highlight the words.  I actually find that my speed reading has improved a ton.  Well okay.... I was always a fast reader, but now I am  a SPEEDMONSTER!:)  Thank you God for eReaders!  I have not had time to play with all the apps but I am learning!

To get you excited about all the happenings in the learning commons in the new year,  here is a little to whet your appetite.

1.  We will be launching Overdrive to all our students, staff and families in the new year, God willing.  So with that in mind please keep those eReaders as a possibility on the wish list for Christmas?  We do have some eReaders in our learning commons, that may be borrowed but not enough for everyone.  There are some great deals on readers like the Kobo (with wifi) right now, and this will bring you the closest to having an iPad without the expense.  Please be patient as we start off slowly with our collection development.  It will take some time to build on this collection.

2.  Our Readathon will be sure to INSPIRE some of our readers with some great prizes in the third week of January.  Clues are hinted at in the previous paragraph?:)  This year we will be open to both schools and all students K-12.

3.  Flat Stanley is set to launch in January and involves both our campus school and home school students.  We have ordered quite a few copies of the books to get you excited about all the literacy and writing possibilities Flat Stanley will inspire in your grade K-3 students.  All the Flat Stanley learning and sharing will take place on a wiki which will be launched on our library interface to coincide with the theme.  We are VERY excited about sharing how Flat Stanley can contribute to our warm and inviting community.

4.  Physical campus learning commons renovations are happening slowly but surely.  After completing a big weed and freeing up some more space, we are working at providing electronic access for Ereaders, netbooks and iPads in our learning commons, as well as a digital presenter.  The next step will be to provide some more innovative and comfortable furnishings to boost space and comfort.  We hope to see high school students, teachers and parents  in our learning commons to share, collaborate and build.   Possibly practice music, play music???  Shari would love to sing with you! 

A BIG thanks to all our learning commons team for working SO hard to make our learning commons dreams come true!  We pray your students will be blessed!

Christmas blessings to you



Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, December 3, 2011

10 Christmas Blessings!

As Christmas comes and Christ's light shines brightly, I am reminded of the most amazing blessings He has given me this year!

1.  God's continued faithfulness, mercy and love!
2. My family who support  me and love me unconditionally.  Especially my hubby who loves me through thick and thin.
3.  My learning commons team who show initiative, support and an amazing work ethic!  I am so proud of them!
4.  My HCS families who have taken on some form of 21 century learning, and the results show in their kids.  I am so proud of them!
5.  Janet Rainbow, Greg Bitgood,  directors and other staff who pray for me.
6.  Travelling mercies this year, and there were some scary flights.
7.  Technology and the many blessings IT has served with my students, and my own personal learning network.
8.  My book club and their keen initiative to collaborate with love and support.
9.  My book club moderators who give of their time and energy to raise a next generation of book worms.  Book worms UNITE!
10.  My friends who love me warts and all!

Christmas blessings to you and your families,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Google Docs Unleashed!

For those of you techie wannabe's here is Claire Pollok's Google doc Slideshare presentation, to help you with Google document sharing:)  Have fun! Thanks Claire:)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Alice- Techie Site of the Week!

Are you interested in encouraging your students to learn computer programming skills?   Alice might be your answer?  Computer programming becomes a game as students make avatars and lead them into action sequences and story lines.    Carnegie Mellon University developed this program to allow students to play in a 3D modeling environment, and create animations.  The tutorials are explanatory,  and can help students move from beginner sessions to more advanced computer programming.  Along with other computer programs like Scratch (which I have blogged about recently), you can motivate your young ones to enjoy the technical artistic creations to be found in computer programming.  If we are hoping to get our students ready for virtual worlds and 21 century learning, this might be a good place to start.

Big thanks to Natasha for sharing:)

Other interesting reviews on Alice:
Alice 3D Programming and How to use. Makeuseof.com

KidslikeInfo.  Teachers share how they use in the classroom.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Trailers as Book Reviews. Techie Site of the Week!

Along with using Collaborize Classroom in my book club,  I am hoping to encourage my book club students to share book reviews as trailers using IMovie or Windows.  Having made my first iMovie trailer a while back to advertise my own book club, I was amazed at what a fantastic learning experience it is being your own movie producer!  Of course I needed a ton of help from my son who knows IMovie backwards!  What a great way to get your students excited about sharing their book review by making a video:)  SOOOO 21 century!

Book Talks and Trailers.

List of Book Trailer links and ideas from Joyce Valenza.

Using Flickr and Creative Commons to find images care of the BFTA.

Examples of Book Trailers in the middle grade from 4shared.com

Book Trailers for  Readers from teacher - librarian Michelle Harclerode.

Check out how some Christian publishers are using Book trailers to reach their audience.

Christian Writing Today has a Thousand Book trailers to share with you.

Here are some links to help you make some book trailers using video:

How to with Mac Computers

How to make with Windows

Nick Draw's Writing Blog

HubPages How to make a Windows Book trailer free.

Video creation resources with Richard Byrne
Blessings to you as you make your first book trailer.  I would love to share so please send me your links or embed codes?

Enhanced by Zemanta
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, November 14, 2011

Take-Aways from iNacol

Being an online teacher often feels isolating.  Put 1800 teachers together in an iNacol conference room, with laptops, netbooks, and cellphones, and you have geek teacher mentality and collaboration = TECHIE SHARING!!  Needless to say I was in my element:)  Thank you God!

Statistics from the U.S, show that 6  million students signed up for at least one online course at high school this year!  Many online courses are now receiving reviews equivalent to face to face classroom experience.

 Canada still leads the way in math, science and literacy in North America, and we are still developing the means for making our online courses multi layered and technologically sound.

These are a few of my favourite take away thoughts/sites I gauged from my amazing week at iNacol.

1. Teachers are not the experts anymore!  We are continuous learners.  As continuous teachers, learners and home schoolers we can only improve with age:)  Hallelujah!

2.  Transformational learning only happens, when God is present in our element or passion for learning.

3.  The virtual relationship between teacher and student is where encouragement, space, and love transforms learning.  Just as we want to do what matters most, so do our students.  Let us encourage student centric learning which meets the needs of the holistic child.  But also let us encourage our students to think of others first!

4.  New technological prototypes around the corner will change the way we view education, and how we  help students in the future.  However we do need to address which technological innovations can help our students today.


Simplebooklet  This web friendly online booklet sharing site is easy to use and useful for students or teachers wanting to share a set of instructions, invitation, make an eportfolio or present a list.  You do not need your own website, but can incorporate this into your blog or website.  Simply place your objects on the given canvas and type, copy and paste, resize and then move to the next page.  Share or print out your booklets.

Popplet is a unique mind mapping presentation tool, which allows you to share and collaborate with others.  Watch the video on the home page and discover how easy it is to use.  For use in the classroom with brainstorming and mind mapping, creating family trees, science hypotheses, timelines, story plots and life cycles.

 ABCYA offers games and applications for students from grade 1-5.  Amazing fun to be had!

Google Historical Events.  For open access to historical voyages and events.

Art.com.  Learn how to be an artist using all the right art tools on a computerized canvas!

Layar.  Get more information out of augmented reality.

Layar Vision can recognize real world objects and display digital AR experiences on top of them.
Now layers can be truly immersive as seemingly ordinary objects come alive with interactivity
Other takeaways included open learning resources like Merlot, Hippocampus for great biology labs, and MIT Open Courseware 
What surprised and blessed me the most?  The realisation that our school can be authentically who we are in Christ!  We are uniquely discipleship based and community driven; to make relationship more important than the technology details.  Yes, we need to have some of the best techie tools to bring our students into the 21 century, but first and foremost we need to bring them closer to Christ.
Blessings to you!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Digital Storytelling using Collaborize Classroom

A week ago I shared Collaborize Classroom with you as a possible teaching tool, to get students collaborizing and sharing.  I  have been using this tool successfully with my book club, along with the Book club blog , and Elluminate sessions, where my students share book reviews and presentations.  However, Aneta Coulter sent me this neat webinar on using digital storytelling and Collaborize Classroom as a combo tool, to really encourage her students to start sharing and peer editing.  I LOVED what she was doing, and like Aneta I wanted to share it with you:)  Thanks for sharing Aneta!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Remembrance Day and Fall activities

November brings wonderful pumpkin, harvest activities along with Remembrance Day in Canada.


New in the learning commons this month:


From the physical commons Eirena shared the books, DVD's and kits on Remembrance Day and War related resources.

From our weblinking library Pippa and Natalie share some new resources on Remembrance Day, and Fall activities. 

Other websites to explore:


Junie B Jones thematic related activities. 

Geronimo Stilton.  Based on chapter books.

Story Jumper- Children's Publishing. This online tool helps parents and students create their own story and publish it to the web.  Please note you do have to purchase the final product.

ImpressKids.  Bible memory games.  


Kidipede.  History for Kids studying in the middle grades with ancient civilisations.

Canada Grade 10:
Plains of Abraham site.

Batoche Youtube video.  Virtual Sasketchewan website on the history of Batoche.


Research Visual Map

Digital Citizenship. and Social Networking lessons from BrainPop.


Don't forget the Adapted Curriculum webinar happening this week!

Adaptive Curriculum Webinar
November 3, 11:30 am – 12:00 noon

To join the meeting from your computer or mobile device, click or copy and paste this URL into your browser:

To join the audio portion of this meeting, choose your dial in method:
Dial-in Number: +17759963560
U.S. toll free: +18007414032
Skype: fuzemeeting

When prompted enter the room number:
Room #: 507465 and press the # key.

Blessings from the learning commons team, Natalie, Pippa, Shandra and Eriena.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Embeditin- Techie Site of the Week

Embeditin is a neat tool for including documents on your website in their unique format, without understanding HTML.  This makes it accessible for viewers to see and interact with content in their own browser, ie no downloads. 

You can also annotate on any page specific portions of the document you would like to highlight, or stress, for example a due date on a project.  Analytics allows you to gain information about who is viewing your documents online.This is a free application for now and I will hopefully share more with you as I use it down the road:)

Reviews on Embeditin:
Web 2.0 Tool Review- Embeditin

Enhanced by Zemanta

Bringing 21 century education into God's Creation This Fall

How do we begin to get innovative and respect God's creation at the same time?  How do we get our students off the couch and encourage them outdoors?  We take the technology with us!

Study of a Figure OutdoorsImage via Wikipedia
Here are some ideas to get your students playing outdoors and indoors with their gadgets:)

1.  Beautiful fall days are on us so grab your camera, Iphone, video camera, IPAD and head for the hills, plains and forests.  Encourage your students to start taking pictures of different environments, plants, local features in the landscape, interesting buildings and people in their daily lives.  Then bring those tired but technically complete students home to load their images and start exploring.  Discover the beauty of God's creation through your student's lens, and share with the world on your blog, or Picasso Albums!

2.  Do you have a student that hates writing? Ask them what events he/she would like to attend in the community.  Then as a family head to the event armed with IPAD, or other gadgets and launch your student into being a JUNIOR JOURNALIST.  With applications like EVERNOTE for taking notes, and WORDLE for making your essay pretty, and STORYBIRD for inspired stories, your student will be encouraged to write passionately about their interest.  Interview your favourite athlete using your Iphone to record the interview.

3.  High school students who are studying CANADA, yes that boring subject that we LOVE to teach to DEATH, find a unique alternative and study one aspect of your learning outcomes by doing a comparison with WIKIPEDIA and your textbook to see who has the most current information.  Yes check out those links at the bottom of the page, and correlate to see who has the depth of information.  Following these links will help students find accurate information, and help them evaluate the type of sources using website evaluation tools.

Blessings to you as you prepare your students for 21 century education this fall.  What ideas do you have using technology this fall?  I would love to hear.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, October 24, 2011

Moving to a Learning Commons

This last week our learning commons team was blessed to attend the BCTLA conference.  We were also excited to visit the John Oliver Learning Commons in Vancouver, which had recently experienced the transition to a learning commons space.  Part of this trip was to inspire our staff to dream big on how the blended learning commons(physical and virtual) could resonate in all of our hearts.

Although John Oliver is an older school on the east side of Vancouver, we were amazed to hear the story of how their learning commons had developed.  We paused, imbibed, queried, complimented, and took photographs of the different spaces that inhabited their new library. After an extensive book weeding the books were now housed in more lower modern shelving, the lighting was lower and less intrusive,  the space was sub divided into rooms that invited collaboration.  Students could produce in  a video production room,  research in a computer room, while charging their a laptop,  recline in a a lounge and bar area, collaborate in conference rooms with digital presenters and whiteboards, be entertained with movies, and listen to music! YES music was playing in the background... and the students were according to their librarian Moira Ekdahl really enjoying the vibe!  After some serious note taking, and meeting their visionary leader Gino Bondi, who passionately shared how their digital immersions had transformed the whole school with their techie abilities, we ventured off to Burnaby for some serious desert delights and the start of a great conference.

It appears that many school libraries are looking closely into the feasibility of becoming learning commons now that UBC, and some other university campus libraries have made such successful transitions.   We learned how elementary libraries are also trying to make the changes to keep up with the trend towards learning commons, even though the money is not in the system.  Librarians are having to be innovative, administrators are coming alongside their library staff and supporting them with ways to make libraries a HUGE entrepreneurial adventure!

The big talk at the conference was of course how our net generation of students are "plugged in".  We looked at the stats presented by Doug Johnson and we were not surprised:

"As a distinct demographic
1. Born 1982-2000 - AKA Millenials
2. 36% of population/31% minority
3. Racially and ethnically diverse (20% have one immigrant parent)
4. Eventually larger group than Baby Boomers
5. Valued (Play dates, NCLB, SAT prep) and Sheltered (Helmets, Metal Detectors, V-Chips and NetNanny) Sheltered

Relationship with Technology
1. Fascinated by new technologies
2. Grown up with tech - immersed
3. 96% have gone online
4. Spend more time with digital media than TV (3.1 hours vs 3.5 hours)
5. Access primarily through home and amount varies by race and economic level

Relationship with Information
1. Ubiquitous - mobile
2. 94% have used the web for school research
3. Taggers/folksonomy users
4. Satisfice - snip-its
5. Information = conversation = authority?

Learning Styles
1. Teachers are vital - computers can't replace humans
2. Building social skills is a part of school
3. Social learners / informal learners
4. Re-mixers - Share - 57% content creators
5. Minds shaped by technology and media
Hypertext minds
Read visual images
Inductive discovery (games?)
Learn by doing
Shift attention Expect fast responses
Text literacy less well developed
Tech understanding shallow

Values and Views
1. Achievement oriented - Want rules, schedules and agendas - Believe it is cool to be smart - Focused on grades
2. Work on "things that matter”
3. Identify with parents' values
4. Busy with extra curricular activities
5. Unaware of consequences of their tech use"

So some suggestions that Doug proffered to help us educate our net generation included the following:

1. Media specialists could be on the forefront of helping our students find an "inductive style of learning", one that moves students towards critical thinking, by exposing them to primary sources that  will help students learn to interview, survey, experiment, and source documents.
2.  Information could be presented in images as opposed to text, enhancing photographs, creating video content, and many other formats of the media.
3.  Meaningful experiences could also be experienced as students meet practical and life forming/ or spirit led relationships in the library.  Students could collaborate with each other and the librarian to make sense of their new world and find practical life skills in the learning commons.
4.  Students could work in groups and collaboration was encouraged in the learning commons.  Students could play, build and research together!
5.  Learning commons are a wonderful inviting, warm, Godly place where all students can come to play, learn and engage.

We are blessed to have such an amazing staff who support libraries, student learning and books, both physical and electronic.  Our ebook collection is happening soon in the next few months, and we are very excited about what they will offer to our plugged in generation.  We also look forward to hearing from our teen geek squad.  If you are a "techie geek" please let me know, and I will welcome you to our geek wiki, where you can chat, suggest geek activities, and make video tutorials, or other amazing techie celebrations.  We are so passionate about your students finding their element and sharing on our learning commons.  Please let us know how we can add their gifts to our virtual and physical learning commons?

So as we dream anon about libraries, learning commons, and the blend of the physical and virtual, here are some great spaces happening in Calgary! 

What are YOUR dreams for our blended learning commons?  I would love to hear your comments please and thanks!

Blessings to you!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Safe Sites for the Youngun's

Back to school brings lots of fun surfing the net, but for younger students we want to create some safe places to play, network and research.  Here are my pick of the month!

PRIMARY STUDENTS Learn nursery rhymes, sing along and play games at the same time with Duck's Alphabet.  Safe and fun!


Bible Islands a Virtual Adventure.  Build your own island, create your own avatar, earn gold coins playing games and invest wisely, all while learning the Bible.  Send messages and learn how to communicate.

KungFu Panda World  Set for the age group  7 and up,  this fun site is educational and safe.  KungFu Panda movie lovers will play with swords and develop martial arts skills. 

Scuttlepad  "Parents need to know that this simple social networking website was designed with the young user in mind and is intended to create a safe online space for kids aged 6-11. The site is a pared-down place for kids to learn the basics of social networking and, unlike other social networks geared to kids, doesn’t have any of the extraneous games, puzzles, activities, or ads (at least yet) to occupy them. All content is closely monitored and controlled: Uploaded photos are manually reviewed and status updates and comments are created only through a pre-approved list of words." Commonsense Media.

Kidipede is a research site for middle grade students with lots on ancient worlds, and math and science.

MEDIA LITERACY Admongo is a safe government site which teaches students, 8 and up the importance of media literacy and how advertising works. 

Blessings to you,

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, October 14, 2011

Media Literacy and Christian Worldview

A few weeks back I was asked to share my vision on how our learning commons could impact our student's lives with 21 century learning.  As a librarian I have always been of the opinion that it is better to educate, than to censor or shelter our youth.  Protecting our kids for too long is bad for them, and really bad for us.  Because when our kids leave home they will be consumed by the wolves.

Here is why? Students today are being assaulted by the media from all directions, and many do not know how to deflect some of these barbs, nor do they understand how to critically evaluate them.

Media literacy is  the ability to sift through and analyze the messages that bring critical thinking skills to bear on all media.

If we censor we risk losing our kids, because down the road they will rebel in a big way.  So how do we go about training up our youngsters to think on their feet?

We call into action Christian worldview!  We start by asking questions and lots of them like; where, why, and how God is not in the story of a young woman who poses inappropriately in a magazine.  We analyze photographs and compare illustrations, art work and poetry to gain an insight into God's creation.  We come alongside our students and ask the following:

Whose idea is this?  Is this message true?  What are the consequences of this message?  Do you believe in the same thing.  Is this a secular or a Christian worldview,  a naturalist or creationist view?

Once our kids are questioning their every viewing, reading, and listening you will be amazed at how they start to resonate with God, and tune out the negative.  We need to attend to their needs while we can still help with their doubting minds, and instead of preaching, start encouraging them to bring their critical thinking to the fore.  My son Matthew and I are reading Thinking Like a Christian and for the first time he is understanding the forces that are so eminent in the culture which shape him so implicitly.  Part of his course means reading and sifting through the media to understand the different worldviews that are so inherent in journalism today.

I am so proud of my son when he shares with me how a song is inappropriate or a movie has bad language.   I am encouraged that God is testing him, to nurture him into a stronger faith.  I encourage you to bring media literacy into your home.

Blessings to you

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Collaborize Classroom- Techie Site of the Week

Are  you looking for a way to connect with your students outside of a blog?  Then Collaborize Classroom might be a starting point. Teachers can upload any teaching materials, and then hold online discussions in their own time frame.  Teachers can choose from a variety of question types including; multiple choice, yes, no and voting answers.  This is one other tool to encourage student participation, and help increase learning.  

To register simply fill out the registration form presented on the homepage with name and email address.  Click on "Create My Free site".  Complete the additional information and then sign in to add settings for your classroom and students.  

Benefits of this site!
1.  It is free!
2.  It scans discussion overviews to see which students are participating.
3.  Asks questions and surveys.
4.  Encourages another form of communication with your students, which helps with grading.

If you sign up for Collaborize before November 15, 2010, the product is being offered at no-cost (read FREE) for the 2010-2011 school year!  In partnership with Democrasoft, The Kids in Need Foundation made this free year possible…take advantage of it before the 15th!

Please let me know what you think of this site if you are using?


Another similar tool being used for the same purpose is Wiggio.  
Image representing Wiggio as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pippa's Homeschool and Library Blog: Scoop It and Curation!

Pippa's Homeschool and Library Blog: Scoop It and Curation!: You know you are a researcher, when you are curating your own Scoop. it Topics, and then sharing via Facebook, and Twitter. Scoop.it allows...

Open Learning Commons

Hello fellow Heritage family!

This past week was a huge 25th celebration for our school, and all that makes Heritage a wonderful place to work and play in God's educational playground!  It is so amazing to see how so many gifted leaders, and some unbelievably good teachers with Godly vision have brought HCS to where it is today!  Not forgetting our amazing community of students and parents who support us in this vision.  We are blessed.

During our Open Learning Commons meeting,  we shared some ideas for collaboration amongst students, parents and teachers.  Ideas that flowed from our discussion included: using Moodle for both online and individualized students;  creating a wikipedia for all learning commons collaboration, including our present learning commons interface, and the community's creations;  creating a virtual collaboration world where we could meet and greet each other in cyberspace.  Of course we are excited about all these options- because we just love collaboration!

Now I would love to hear your ideas?  Are you excited about sharing using different technologies?  Of course technology does not lead our school,  but we want to support your voice in a way that is immediate, educational, inviting and encouraging!




Comment Here. please:)

Blessings to you,

 Pippa and the Open Learning Commons team.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Learning Commons Theme of the Month- Apples and Back to Fall

Hi Everyone,

Our Blended Learning Commons is pleased to announce that, once a month we will share learning resources for you on a particular library theme.

This month is APPLES back to FALL month!  If you are in elementary school the following resources will come in handy!  To get you in the mood here is a video link of the history behind Johnny Appleseed   One of my favourite books is by Stephen Kellogg,  Johnny Appleseed , and if you get a chance to take it out your young ones will greatly enjoy:)  We have ordered a copy for our library.

Our learning commons team has come up with some amazing resources on Apples, Harvest, and  Fall.

Physical Learning Commons Eirena.

Apple Book Resource List.

Thanksgiving Book Resource List.

Virtual Learning Commons:  Natalie Lapbooking and Unit study ideas.

Johnny Appleseed Lapbook.

How to Make Apple Pie and See the World Lapbook.

Apples to Oregon Lapbook.

Apples Unit Study

Apple LapBook.

For Pippa's web theme on apples go to:

HCOS Weblinking Library

Blessings to you from,

Pippa, Eirena, Shandra and  Natalie.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Digital Content Management, using 21 century tools!

Digital Content Management | ERAC and Ebscohost 2011/2012.

We have Ebscohost in our library!! If you would like more information on how to use Ebscohost in your classroom,  contact our library staff and we would love to help you.

In the meantime if you would like to watch some tutorials, and acquaint yourself with this amazing reference tool you are encouraged to watch the following with your students.

Basic Search Tutorial.  This is a must for all students grade 4 and up!

 My Folder  allows high school students to save everything they research, in their own personalized folder, including bibliography details,  and how to save information.

 Literary Reference Centre  provides users information on authors and their works. Perfect for novel study!

 For students engaged in debate/compilation of controversial essay topics, they might need to watch Canadian Points of Review.

Novelist is perfect for all students who want a book finding resource.  This is a librarian's first place for finding reading recommendations.  Teachers you can also find novel study reviews, and questions for book clubs.

Younger students check out Kids Search and Searchasaurus for all reference needs.

Science students check out Science Centre.

History students check out History Centre.

Career and Health  high school students students check out COIN

I look forward to seeing your students blossom with all these wonderful, multi-layered 21 century learning tools.

Stay tuned for Learning Commons webinars in October.

Blessings to you,


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Word Tamer!

Ooh I absolutely love this site!!  Word Tamer is a great start for students who are interested in learning how to deconstruct a novel.  Suitable for grade 3 and up this wonderful carnival of literary techniques takes students through the setting, plot,  and character development.  During the process they write out their stories.  A Big High Five for orginality, interactivity, and innovative graphics.  For that student who needs an extra creative plunge in the writing process, this may be IT!

Friday, September 16, 2011

AwesomeStories! Techie Site of the Week!

Awesomestories is an amazing compilation of stories in multimedia layers containing; video documentaries, lesson plans, current awareness, movie reviews and correlating lessons, some famous Christian writers, audio clips, and slide shows.  Experts from all over the world contribute on a variety of themes like the Holocaust and concentration camps, Civil War, and themes such as racism.  Academics from universities, along with experienced teachers contribute to make this a compelling and interesting media awareness site for students and teachers.  Sign up and become a subscriber once a week to keep updated.

Blesssings to you
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Adult Book Club 2011/12

Are you interested in becoming a book clubber extraordinaire?  Come and join the HCS Learning Commons and discuss books together. 

What kind of books do we read?  Educational, spiritual, biographies, life journeys, technical innovations in education and more, in non –fiction.

Who can join?  Any adult worker within HCS staff, office, admin teaching or other.

When do we meet?  Our first meeting will take place in November around the time of our regional meeting.

Where:  On Skype or Elluminate. 

What do you need?  A copy of the book we are reading, and a good set of headphones with mic.  Bring a  keen sense of conversation, and desire for professional growth and collaboration.

The books we are reading this term include the following:

Who Moved my Cheeze, by Spencer Johnson.

Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life, published in 1998, is a Who Moved My Cheese?Image via Wikipediamotivational book by Spencer Johnson written in the style of a parable or business fable. It describes change in one's work and life, and four typical reactions to said change by two mice and two "little people", during their hunt for cheese. A New York Times business bestseller since it’s release, Who Moved My Cheese? remained on the list for almost five years and spent over 200 weeks on Publishers Weekly's hardcover nonfiction list.

Living at the Crossroads, by  Michael Goheen
Living at the Crossroads first lays out a brief summary of the biblical story and the most fundamental beliefs of Scripture. The book then tells the story of Western culture from the classical period to postmodernity. Authors Michael Goheen and Craig Bartholomew next analyze how Christians live in the tension that exists at the intersection of the biblical and cultural stories. They proceed to tease out the implications for key areas of life, such as education, scholarship, economics, politics, and church. The result is a deeply thoughtful yet approachable text that draws on the rich tradition of Reformational thinking but contextualizes it to a postmodern setting for a contemporary audience.

Disrupting Class by Clayton Christensen.Adapting the monolithicImage by ecastro via Flickr
It's no secret that people learn in different ways, so why, the authors of this book ask, "can't schools customize their teaching?" The current system, "designed for standardization," must by its nature ignore the individual needs of each student. The answer to this problem, the authors argue, is "disruptive innovation," a principle introduced (and initially applied to business) by Harvard Business School professor Christensen in The Innovator's Dilemma. The idea is that an audience in need will benefit from even a faulty opportunity to fulfill that need; in education, the demand for individual instruction could be met through infinitely customizable online computer-based instruction. The authors, all professionals in education, present a solution to the ills of standardized education that's visionary but far-fetched; even they admit that their recommendations would be extremely difficult to implement in current school systems. Still, the authors' unusual case, though occasionally bogged down in tangents, is worthy reading for school administrators, teachers, parents and, perhaps most of all, software developers.

To know as We are Known, by Parker Palmer.
This is a classic essay by one of the outstanding educational thinkers of our time. Parker Palmer was a student of Robert Bellah (Habits of the Heart) and shares Bellah’s deep concern for modern society’s loss of community and shared, sustaining values. He is also a spiritual seeker who was affiliated for several years with the Quaker retreat center Pendle Hill. To Know as We are Known expresses these concerns in lyrical, heartfelt prose. Palmer examines the modern tendency to objectify knowledge in order to “divide and conquer creation” and demonstrates that this is a fundamentally alienating and violent way to conceive the world. He proposes, instead, that true knowledge involves a mutual relationship between person and world — a relationship which calls upon us as individuals, and as a culture, to approach our experience with humility, reverence, imagination, and feeling. Holistic knowing is deep self-knowlege that engages the person morally and spiritually with the life around oneself.

Finding Harmony, by Sally Hyder
A keen mountaineer, Sally Hyder was in her prime and loving life. She shared her passion for climbing with her partner Andrew and it was a dream come true when Andrew proposed at Everest Base Camp. For them, climbing mountains made anything seem possible and represented their attitude to life. But a year after Sally and Andrew were married Sally was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She was only 28 and was training to be a Macmillan nurse - she wanted to care for the terminally ill. But Sally was determined the disease wouldn't slow her down: she went back to work looking after others and, despite warnings that her condition could deteriorate in pregnancy, went on to have three beautiful children. But it was when her youngest child Melissa was diagnosed with severe autism that Sally began to spiral into depression. Sally felt guilty about the pressures faced by her elder daughter Clara in her role as a carer. Sally worried that she was missing out on the freedom of childhood.She needed help. Unsure who to turn to, she happened upon Canine Partners and an extraordinary dog called Harmony. They formed an instant bond; Harmony can perform over 100 chores - from putting groceries into the trolley to handing over Sally's purse at the till. Harmony is an unending source of comfort: she intuitively knows when Sally is in pain and calms Melissa when she suffers panic attacks. Harmony has given Sally the ability to start living once more, and become a mother again in her own way. She has shown Sally that the sky's the limit and, with a taste for independence that she hadn't felt since her mountaineering days, Sally's sights are set on the peaks of Ben Nevis once more.In August 2010 Sally planned to climb the hardest of the Munro Mountains. Sadly her attempt was thwarted after her motorised wheelchair short-circuited. But Sally is a fighter and is training for her second attempt, which she will complete with her husband by her side. And Harmony too, of course.

To register for the adult book club click here!

Enhanced by Zemanta