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Monday, January 31, 2011

Sir Ken Robinson answers your Twitter questions about Homeschooling

Resolutions for Tech Implementation 2011

I wonder if you started off this school year with great intentions of launching some new goals that incorporate technical innovations, but have now back slid into feelings of hopelessness?  You hear God saying "Solder on dear teacher/parent/student there is still much to be done to reach your goals... " Your reply is by now a terse "Yes but Lord there is not enough time in the day"! At the rate of this information overload, with all these new teaching ideas and technical applications, how will my brain cope, let alone find time  to teach it to my students?

I have realised that if I can set myself some goals for the year and God willing He allows me to complete them, I will keep going until He tells me to stop!  I love Greg Bitgood's slogan to reach 1 million children in his lifetime.  Crazy in my language, but in God's language nothing is impossible.  I was encouraged today when I found Richard Byrne's, Edtech goals for 2011 for teachers ,and thought you might like to see his user friendly How to Do 10 Techy things in a Year.  I have posted this to my Favourites, and I am thankful that there are a few things on his list that I have completed.  Praise God!   Okay, maybe I am giving away my age here, with my tendency to take time to learn new innovations.  When I see how quickly my 14 year old Matt learns things I am covetous of his "smarts".  Thankfully my son is my best ally when it comes to learning these new applications, and I am learning humility in asking him for shortcuts.  Of course he does not know everything, but like me he has a voracious appetite to want to know more.  So with this in mind here are my goals/grateful heart for what God has started in our school this year.

1.  Encouragement with  teachers and parents to share their news via blogging!! Thank you Greg for inspiring me to get going on this!  And for inspiring all of us to be innovative teachers!
New to the blog roll are

Learningtogrowathome  Carmen Timmermans

ChristianHomeschoolResources  Pat Mackesy

Inspire  Laura Weatherley

Tina and Serena's Homeschooling Adventures  HCOS parent.

2.  Have fun Glogging, and create a Wiki to share Glogs from Christian students around the world.  I really am excited about making this a global outreach project!

3.  Create a Podcast, sharing stories and reading stories for the younger age group.

4.  Create a Facebook Page for students, teachers and parents to share how they are learning new technologies in the classroom, and also in the homeschool arena.  Please see my FB logo on my blog site to Like and then you will receive updates and have the ability to share with me:)

5.  Create Jing videos, and learn how to make my own videos look professional!

6.  Further develop my Personal Learning Network so that,  I can help educate my users about creating their own personal learning networks.  Currently I use Blogger, Facebook, Twitter and I love searching beyond Google for our HCOS Linking Library.

7.  Receive Professional development in the area of educational technology to share with my school.

8.  Create innovative teaching tools that include Christian worldview.

9.  Read Disrupting Class by Clayton Christiansen and other educational books, and host an adult book club to encourage professional development with our teachers.  Encourage my younger book club to learn new technologies along with their avid interest in reading

10.  Last but not least, Love my God with all my heart and all my might and love my family and community.

Whew I have 10 resolutions, and a whole year to enjoy learning.  I hope you will take time to learn something with me so we can all collaborate.  I would love to hear about your goals for the year:)

God Bless

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


This week my heart is reeling from things that are outside of my control.  Two of my students are battling with sickness, one with Crohn's and the second with substance abuse.  I want to wrap both of these girls up in my arms and tell them how much God loves them, values them and honours them. As an online teacher I submit in prayer, and send my loving thoughts their way.  God will you provide, will you  provide, please heal these girls in your timing...and be with their families in their pain.  Lord please meet them in their needs.  Amen.

Secondly although minor, all of our computers went on the blink, and I was powerless to do anything with the problem.  For two days my kids groaned from withdrawal- yes this may be a good thing:) However with one homeschooled son, 2 daughters at university and my work fully online I was literally clutching at straws, and trying to talk sense with our server.  God has an amazing way of intervening when you are faced with a choice.  You can give over to anger, and impatience or you can submit.  With a humble heart I am learning more to submit and wait for Him to return  answers rather than repeating in my own strength.  This morning resigned to God's timing, I handed over my computer to Him.  Needless to say it was restored without technical intervention within an hour ( I still don't know what happened), and it  might  not be forever but for now that is good!   Praise Him!!  I pray that God will work in my heart daily to restore all of my imperfections, and need for control.  Amen!

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr
In loving memory of
Fr Bertram Griffin -- 1932-2000
Requiescat in Pace
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3, 5-6
God Bless

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January Links!

Greetings fellow Bibliofiles.

As January draws to a close many of us are searching for good writing and reading tools, to help our students progress at their grade appropriate level.  So with this in mind I have focused on Writing as a theme, along with Valentines Day, Black History Month in February,  and some pertinent Canadian sites. 

WRITING:  Do you have a struggling writer who cannot decipher how to put a paragraph together?  With some of these links hopefully you will find something that resonates:

 Bitesize from BBC, breaks down the writing components into easy chunks for younger students to enjoy.  Interactive video content for all ages. 

Story Starters abound in this neat Young Writer's Workshop site with downloadable PDF documents for your younger students to get writing.  

 Book reporting forms for all grades come in handy downloadable forms from LovetoLearnPlace.com

READING - Audio files
Listen to the classics with HomeschoolRadio audio book on Great Expectations, just in time for our Readathon! 

Discover more suggestions for readathon books at the following HCOS library page

HOLIDAYS - Black History Month.  
Want to get your middle grade or high school students writing about  Martin Luther King, in time for Black History Month, then use these writing prompts to get them brainstorming.

Older students may want to listen to this wonderful audio lecture on Martin Luther King sent to me by Mark Daley, as a topic for discussion around freedom in western democracy and freedom from a Christian perspective.  High school students take this challenge, and listen in, and then write about what freedom means to you.

Or sign into our new Gale Cengage Learning subscription to learn more about  Black History Month.  These free Gale Black History resources can be obtained just by clicking on this link

 Counting on Art 
Both elementary and middle school activities and worksheets (equations, the Fibonacci Sequence) are included with this combined math and art lesson, where students will be exploring Alexander Calder's balancing act with his mobiles, and then creating their own versions.

 VALENTINES DAY- Resources for Christian Teachers has some interesting links to share this holiday with your students.
Valentine Game ideas has printable Valentines games to share from a Christian perspective. 
Teachnology has tons of teaching ideas for teaching units linking Valentines to science, language arts, cooking, and poetry!

EARTH SCIENCE- Earthquakes in BC.
Thanks to Trish her sent in this link on ShakeoutBC. where you can learn more about the potential consequences of earthquakes in BC.

Angela Paine reminded me to send out this Canadiana site from our library which will help with Canadian learning:)

BIBLE: Download this free printable Colossions in a Year booklet from Ann Voskamp's blog A Holy Experience.

Have fun reading, writing and researching this month as well as loving one another in Christ!

God Bless
Pippa Davies
HCOS Online Librarian

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011


So you think the idea of blogging too much like hard work:)?  Teachers this is your opportunity to share with your students about your week, and also hear about their week?  I started blogging with Kidsblog recently, and have been pleasantly surprised by how many of my students are connecting, not only with me but with other members of their classroom. It is super simple, and kids can learn how to post links of themselves doing activities, share their hobbies, talk about what they had for dinner, books they have read, and generally connect.  I am enjoying journaling with my younger students the same way you would in a primary classroom. It is safe as only you and your students can go on and view the material posted.  I am also looking at starting a Kidsblog, for my Book Club students as a way to communicate about the books we are reading.

To learn more you can listen to my Jing , although the website is very explanatory!

Have an awesome week connecting with God and your community:)

God Bless

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Personal Learning Networks

The Hobbit for Tolkien fans!

Dustcover of the first edition of The Hobbit. ...Image via Wikipedia
Our book club had admirable goals in reading The Hobbit by JR Tolkien.  The boys in our group, many of whom are fantasy fans, were definitely the most excited to read the first of the 3 part trilogy.  I on the other hand was coached into reading the book, as I am not a fantasy fan.  But.... on the journey through the book, encountering Bilbo's adventures with spiders, goblins, wizards and dragons, I disappeared into a world of childhood dreams, filled with life size spiders, hideous creatures and vivid conquests. 

The main conflict of the story is Bilbo's versus himself, as he struggles against dragons and other creatures to fulfill his destiny, and rescue the treasure in the Lonely Mountain.  The other part of the conflict is the whole group versus Smaug the dragon.  Good versus evil is interwoven throughout the story, and the magic ring which brings invisible power, becomes the very heart of the legend in subsequent books.  Although we could not decipher any Christian analogy, we had to agree that some of the creatures were definitely more Satanic than others.

Many of us could identify with Bilbo Baggins as being a most noble and courageous character, even though at the beginning he did whine a lot about missing his breakfast (which is another whole theme on its own!).  We loved the fact that he made riddles, learned wisdom about being a burglar (no irony intended:) courage and confidence along the way, and had the support of friends in their ancestral home of Middle Earth.

Book clubbers were eager to share visual links of the characters in the story, and chat about their favourite characters.  Some wanted to read the next in the series right away.  Some even said it was their best book EVER!!   A few members enjoyed the descriptive writing, but found the plot confusing.  We all agreed that Tolkien is an amazing writer, and can be enjoyed by adults and older children alike.

Our next Book Club meeting will take place on February 23, sign in at 7.30 pm.  We will read Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.  Please let me know if you would like to join us! 
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

11 Foreign Language Resources to Try in 2011

11 Foreign Language Resources to Try in 2011

Made in Christ's Image

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...This month I have been so encouraged with blogging.  When I first started blogging in November I was overwhelmed with many of these ungodly thoughts:  my vulnerability, my flesh, approval seeking, who might I upset, would I have the perfect page, perfect poetic writing, who would read my blog and how many hits would I have?  You see I thought my blog should reveal more of who I am, and if it did boy was I a mess, who would want to read it?  I have not got anything figured out, I am a work in progress being refined by His presence. However the anxiety feeling that came after writing a post was there, and I had to pray through it.

During this last week I have felt the Lord working in me to release all my pre-conceived ideas about my vanity and pride.  You see I am made perfect in His image, and through blogging I have learned that I will never produce amazing perfection, but if I give glory to God in what I am doing then He is in everything I am doing, even my mistakes.  And He Loves me still, always, forever until eternity!  What a gift for all of us new bloggers!

I am so encouraged by many of our teachers who are blogging, who are taking that one small step.  Praise God!  I want to encourage you to keep writing, even if the words don't make sense, the thoughts are jumbled and the coffee is cold.  If we are made in God's image,  then write as if God was watching you, loving you, embracing you, and writing for you.  The words will come, even if it is sometimes in your sleep.

Two of our teachers have started blogs and I wanted to share them with you:
 Angela Paine writes Learning to Grow for the Vancouver Island community.
 Laura Weatherley has started InspireConsulting.
Here is an HCOS parent, Camille who has been blogging for some time on her Flowers In His Garden.

Genesis 1:27  states: 27 So God created mankind in his own image. " Will we believe this and blog on or will we fall in our flesh? I will pray for all of our new "bloggers", to be encouraged in His Image. 

In Christ
Pippa Davies

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Thursday, January 6, 2011


Watch this tutorial to learn how to use Screensteps to make blogging easier to use!


Not only do I love the sound of this application,  WORDLE (Beautiful Word Clouds) ,  I love this application all around!  Yes, for a romantic "techo geek"!  This week Matt and I, a little  bored with novel study questions on The Old Man and The Sea, by Ernest Hemingway (which by the way is an excellent read for grade 9 boys), decided to spice things up by adding Wordle!

Motivating him to write a paragraph on why God allows difficult things to happen to people, I sent him to his novel study and Wordle.  Once he figured out the application which is very simple, we brainstormed some descriptive words that would enhance his writing and Wordle when complete.  He was motivated to write about his protagonist Santiago, and share it artistically as a front page to his paragraph.

So what is Wordle?  Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.  When your student writes an essay you can encourage them to copy and paste to Wordle and voila, you have a lovely essay title page.  You can apply this to poetry samples as well.  If you want the image link make sure you don't paste the whole html link they give you, only the image link.

Some of our students are blogging, and Angela Paine sent me their blog sites to share:)  Here they are:
Samara who is 10 years old, has a lovely colourful blog all about her daily life. 
Robyn who is 13 years old  writes about her daily reflections.

I would love to hear about other bloggers......please send me your blog sites and student's sites so that we can share with other potential bloggers.

PS Note to all Gloggers: there is now an educational component which is safer for younger "Gloggers", called Edu Glogger. 

Hope you are having fun Glogging, Blogging and making Wordles!

Yours In Christ
Pippa Davies

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