Favourite Language Arts Links

Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Club Buzz- Hatchet

Gary Paulsen famous American author, explores the rugged, Canadian wilderness, with protagonist Brian in the novel, Hatchet. During our recent, book club chat we discovered that in order to survive in the wilderness we not only needed a level head, but also certain character traits like; resilience, patience, resolve and inner strength.  Survival gear is good and handy, but as we learn with Brian, sometimes these are not enough. 

This book set at a reading level of about 13 years, is a great novel for introducing youngsters to the theme of Man vs Nature.  Brian learns how to commune with nature, and as some of our students revealed he establishes an affinity for the animals and environment, which metaphorically helps him deal with his inner conflicts relating to his parents divorce.  We discussed how we might react in such a situation, how would we respond as Christians, and whether this would be different to Brian's plight, in his transformation from negative to positive attitude.  Brian learns to deal with the forces of climate, wild animals, and the initiation into manhood.  As he grows to respect God's creation, he becomes more resourceful and patient in  meeting his challenges with rationale, as opposed to emotion.

The symbolic hatchet is reinforced many times during the book, and becomes Brian's "raison d'etre".  We share in Brian's successes with an appreciation of how the mind and body can work together.  Some students shared how God enables physical and mental changes, with prayer and meditation, so that one can survive such situations.  By the end of the book Brian has achieved several milestones in his path towards adulthood, and he sees his family in a different light.  God has brought him full circle; from thoughts of death,  to a deeper understanding of human relationships, and the emotions that constitute family loyalty. 

If you are wanting to teach your youngster about surviving in the wilderness Gary Paulsen has drawn up all the necessary requirements for outdoor emergency preparation.  This is useful if you are covering some of the PE outcomes in grade 8/9.  His survival tips might just come in handy the next time you are out in our beautiful wilderness!

Here are some cyber guides if you are contemplating doing this as a novel study:
Hatchet Cyberguide


We will meet on Tuesday April 5 at 7.15 pm.  Please let me know if you would like to join us in this session on Elluminate?

We are reading, The Battle for Duncragglin ,by Andrew Van der Wal, and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

The Phantom TollboothImage via Wikipedia

We will discuss both books, but it is optional whether you choose to read both.

May God enlighten your week with wonderful reading and learning!

Blessings to you

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar time- The Importance of Visual Literacy

Edutopia looks at Life on the Screen with George Lucas and Martin Scorcese,  the importance of visual literacy and the new language of image and sound.  How do you incorporate classic cinema in the classroom?

  I love reading a book and then watching the movie, and making contrasts as to how the author presented the story in my mind, as opposed to on the screen.  Was it really an authentic reproduction of the tale? 

This week I have been watching the BBC version of Bleakhouse by Charles Dickens, and I am really enjoying the stylistic recreation of London during Dickens' time.  For those students who find it harder to read some of the old classic authors, watching the live version on screen is a wonderful alternative.  Of course you cannot beat the real feel of a book, and Dicken's use of language to make your imagination recreate the whole ambience!

Blessings to you

Saturday, February 26, 2011

TOC 2011: Theodore Gray, "The Elements: How We Did It and Where We're G...

With the publishing industry being revamped with E books, here is Theodore Gray sharing how he made his first E book and launched his own E book company with the help of Apple. Enjoy how he put together interactive science E books with sound, movement and voice to make a complete and interactive production. Visionary extraordinaire!

Blessings to those of you who are thinking of making their own E book. Authors out there?

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Apple's new laptops grab Thunderbolt with impressive speed | Seattle Times Newspaper

Business & Technology | Apple's new laptops grab Thunderbolt with impressive speed | Seattle Times Newspaper

Excited So is I Am! As you can tell I have been waiting for this new laptop, and finally it is here. This is why I am speech deranged! For a while I longed for the IPAD, but after seeing this new laptop I am sold. Read all the itsy bitsy stuff you can do with this new laptop, in the Seattle Times Newspaper. PLUS I need the new Lion when it comes out in June. So now I just need to pray that my hubby is going to LOVE me enough to help me buy this. Please pretty please:):) I will make you all the most delicious dishes you could wish for, for, for, years to come...

Blessings from a blogger having a Mac attack!
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Blended Learning: Is this what the Future looks like?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

IPAD Storybook Apps And Kids

If you have a pre- schooler you might enjoy listening or reading this NPR blog, which reviews the advantages of reading to your little one on an IPAD.  I LOVE the 3 D component which really brings the story to life.   This makes me long for grandchildren.  Sighhhhh:)

Books and technology do go together...  I am converted.  How about you?

In Christ

March Library Links

Welcome to March, and a time to reflect about new birth in spring, and in Christ.  As we start the big thaw from winter, I love the smells and sounds of God's creation.   With this in mind I have indexed some learning tools to help you celebrate God and His creation in reading, science, history and technology.

LANGUAGE ARTS - Primary grades.

 Celebrate March 2 with Dr Seuss and 10 ways to enjoys his books.  You can also check out his official site at Random House.


Into the Book is a blog which celebrates young adult and children's books, reviewing fiction and theology from a Christian perspective. Blog entries are made by a team of children and young adults.

HISTORY- All grades

 AWH Canada History  covers Canadian government, prime ministers, provinces, Native issues, and foreign policy.  Check this out for projects on Canadian history.

BIBLE and MEDIA- High school.

Media from a Christian perspective is to be found at canadianchristianity.com. Check out the film reviews for 2011.

Think Christian  is a collaborative Christian blog that talks about faith, culture, and what it means to be a Christian in today’s society.


Are you interested in how faith and science are interwoven?  This fascinating Refaithing Science Cosmos blog from Regent College , written by renowned pastor, Dr Ross Hastings,  now Dean of Theological Studies at Regent College UBC;  will have you asking questions and inspiring your science students to critically think about their worldview. *****

Also check out God and Nature, Faith and Science Archives, and Botox for the Brain which looks at Bioethics.
God in Creation shares podcasts, and slides from the Associate Professor of Law at Seton Hall University Law School, where he serves as Director of the Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology.

Institute for Creation Research gives students resources to study fossils, dinosaurs and animals. *****

Tug at Nature shares great science homeschooling resources for all ages.

TECHNOLOGY- All grades

Do you have a student in the primary grades who loves spending time on the computer?  This K-3 Learning site has a compilation of primary, friendly activities for a younger student to become acquainted with computer technology.

Google Apps Lesson plans is a list of lesson plans which incorporates Google Apps into your curriculum with these classroom-ready lesson plans.

Learn how to create your own website with Free Technology for Teachers as the different options are explored for teachers and students.


How to Choose Brilliant Images for your Blog Posts


Teen blog site THEREBELUTION was founded by ALEX AND BRETT HARRIS  2005,   among the most popular writers and speakers for Christian teens.


If you have a student who is interested in Work Placement and apprenticeships take a look at our HCOS Linking library, which has been recently updated in this area.

May God Bless you as you prepare for the celebration of His life in Christ.


Sharing and Connecting with teens!

Are you a teen or student with HCOS, who would like to share your blog with some other students?  I would love to share your blog or link on my blog or on our library interface for others to find you.  Please comment on this post, and I would love to give you the blog honour roll in my next posting:)

Here is one of my Book club students, Jenessa who loves sharing what God is telling her on a daily basis.  She includes the use of homeschool sites, technology and biblical encouragement to encourage other teens.  Does one of your kids have a heart to share? 

Blessings to you


New to Homeschooling

If you are new to homeschooling here is an awesome site to get you started and planning your year. Designyourhomeschool.com outlines how to set up goals, how to choose curriculum, philosophy and organise your planner.  Compiled by a homeschooling family this site will get you motivated to start your year, with quiet contemplation for all the values you want to instill in your homeschooling routine.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Family Day Feb 21, 2011

February 21 is Family Day.  It is official - you can shower your family with LOVE, and let them know how much they are appreciated.  Well actually we can do that every day of the year, but on the 21, in some parts of Canada it is a public holiday.  Let your family know they are LOVED! 

To learn more about Family Day with some great sites, go to our HCOS Library and check out our Family Resources.  If you have a great family resource please can you let me know and I will add it to our collection to share for PROSPERITY in CHRIST.

Exodus 20:12

"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

Blessings to you

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Have you ever wanted to show a video to your class or homeschool group, and wondered about all those undesirable comments underneath?  Well here is an application, ViewPure that will remove all that content so you can show the video in it's pure state. AWESOME!  Find your Youtube video you want to watch and then simply drag the button below into your bookmarks toolbar (or right click and favorite it in IE) to use it. Next time you see a video you want to purify, click the button when on the YouTube page.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Justin Bieber lesson plan

High school students may enjoy this Justin Bieber lesson plan.  What are pop culture idols and icons, and how do they both reflect and influence the prevailing culture? What does media coverage about popular stars say about them, the publications and the culture overall? In this lesson, students analyze the teenage singing sensation Justin Bieber through the lens of cultural criticism and consider some of the ways critics deconstruct other cultural heroes and heroines. Just add Christian Worldview and you have a great topic!

In Christ
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Creating a Personal Learning Network including Twitter

Video on Twitter in the Classroom Web 2.0

I shared last week that creating a Personal Learning Network is an area which all educators are encouraged to pursue, not as part of their school day but as part of their professional development.  For many teachers, the web is a diverse and cluttered desk of multi layered papers and articles.  How do we declutter our desks, create varied and interesting collaboration and learn to share online?  Can we emerge from our chrysalis, and become leaders in the digital technology field?

  As a newbie to blogging, and Twitter I hope to share some of my joyful discoveries, with creating a personal learning network relevant to your needs and teaching.

Confident with my social media networking on Facebook, and recent blogging with Blogger, I completed my Twitter profile with FEAR and trepidation.  How was I going to make sense of all these names and links, and people to follow?  So maybe some folks were wanting to share what they had for dinner that night, BUT there could also be some great educators who were waiting to connect, engage and SHARE.  As you can gather I LOVE sharing, and collaboration is also something I enjoy doing.  Having searched Beyond Google for the past 6 years for my school, I am blessed when I find information that is pertinent to Christian worldview, educational technology and books.  So I waited and watched to see who would follow me...... well I waited a couple of days and nothing happened.  Then it dawned on me, "Duh Pippa!  YOU need to find people to follow and ask Twitter to help you."  As I started to add people to my profile, Twitter started to figure out who I liked, and before long it was finding me educators, Christians, and media tools.  I was hooked!  Now in the morning along with my cuppa J I read my newspaper online, and go to Twitter.  Thank you God!

Blogging is a huge blessing to me.  Not only can I share my ideas to be archived for years to come, but I can find numerous educators by going to my blogging dashboard and adding interesting blogs to follow on a regular basis.  Along with Google Reader, and Diigo, I now enjoy storing all kinds of educational and Christian articles in my large filing cabinet.

Here are some worthwhile Blogging and Facebook sites, that will help you make contact with other teachers.

1.  Classroom 2.0. 
This site has special interest groups, for instance I joined the Canadian Mashup group which is only Canadian educators.

2.  The Educator's PLN

3.  EdubloggerWorld

4.  Edutopia

5.  CEET Ning

6. CSI Bible Exchange

7.  Educational Technology for Christian Teachers

Searching online will also help you find people and websites that are perfect for your needs. I have several library sites and Nings which I belong to, where I find up to date professional news happening in my field.  Along with these I also love going to sites such as Buzzfeed where I can find news related articles from a wide variety of media including Christian media.  Once I sniff out a good authorative site I follow other links, and so Pippa the Library Hound finds another lead.  I love the chase, and the find and I hope you will come alongside of me and create your own personal learning network so that we can share together.  Grab your cuppa J and come Tweet, Blog, and create your PLN to further your professional development.

In Christ

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Message

I pray that you have all enjoyed a wonderful day or plan to enjoy tonight with your honey's!  My weekend was spent with my honey on Whidby Island, surviving gale force winds and enjoying windswept sea air at Deception Pass. 

Today my principal, Janet Rainbow and I were sharing how not all of us have the ability to write about Love in glowing meaningful ways.  She shared how her Crosswalk devotion on Love impacted her today, using the metaphorical meaning of nouns and verbs.  As a young person in love with the idea of love, the noun has so many ways of hurting us in the long run.  But as a verb it has the ability to keep us rooted in Christ.  Thanks Janet for sharing with us:)

My love inspiration which never fails to make me cry is Josh Groban singing Don't Give up.  Restores my faith every time!
Happy Valentine's day everyone!
In Christ

How to raise Boys who READ?

In one of my last posts I shared a video about gaming and the effects it has on boys.  Here is an article by Thomas Spence from the Wall Street Journal on raising Boys who Read.  I tend to be of that opinion that typically boys will read, and learn to read when using technology, and staying active and absorbed in something that relates to their interests. This could be a hard cover book, video game, educational game or audio book.

Removing technology is not the solution, but creating times for reading classics is a definite must!  E readers have opened up a huge plethora for reading in this category.   Teaching your students how to read online is an effective skill for media awareness, and critical thinking,  and it is something 21 century students could be doing.  Our school is going textbook free in the next few years,  and so are many schools in North America.   Boys can and will do both, if you as a parent are excited about reading.

Parents have to role model reading to their sons, and share reading habits that work for your student's learning style and habits.  I love sharing books with my son, and online book clubs are a great way to meet this using technology.  Most of the students in my book club are male...  Hmm this seems to defy the odds out there:)

I would love to hear how technology is effecting your son and his reading habits?  Can you have a video gamer and a "classics" child at the same time?

PS if you have a teen this Rebelution blog is for your son or daughter:)

God bless you as you encourage your students with reading.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Ideas for Class Blog Posts

Well after reading Richard Byrne's Free Technology post who shared Tom Barrett's post  37 Ideas for Classroom Blogging I could not resist and did what Richard did by adding my slide and sharing again.  I pray that you find some interesting ways for sharing on your Blog. Thanks Richard and Tom for sharing!! 

Many Blessings to you

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Is your Child Ready to Read?

When I worked for Surrey Public Library in the childrens' department, we all ran Ready to Read programs, designed to help new parents help their children with the early stages of reading. Mums and dads would come wide eyed and eager to learn all they could, about how their child was going to READ.  We HAD to have some magical formula! 

One of the questions I get asked the most by new homeschool mums' is "How do I know if my child is ready to read?"  Many children will only learn to read once the pre-reading skills are in place.  For that to happen certain levels of reading skills need to be in place. These include phonemic awareness, letter and sound recognition, tracking ability, and visual processing skills.  Bar learning disabilities, or physical development, that may take longer for some than others. 

I remember the sheer joy and exhilaration when my son learned to read in grade 3.  I was so thankful to God.  In his earlier years when he struggled to put letters together and make sense of sequence, I would cry out to God in exasperation.  You see I thought as a teacher, I would somehow magically make him read. I did all the right teaching things, taught him nursery rhymes, played alphabet games, and read so many books to him....  But God needed to show me that this was out of my control, and I needed some extra help.  Had I known about homeschooling at that stage, I would have brought him home right there and then.  It was not until Matt had all the pre- reading skills in place in grade 3, (with some extra help with decoding letters and tracking re-inforcement), that he was able to read. Today he reads beautifully and I am so PROUD of him!

I wanted to encourage all of our Kindergarten mums who fearfully wonder how their students will ever learn to read- to remember that God has a special timing for all of your children, to read and acquire the cognitive skills necessary for the first few years of school.   There is no special time frame to learn to read in homeschooling.  Your child will read when he or she is ready. 

Reading Rockets has excellent videos for teaching younger students, not only the acquisition of  the alphabet and sounds, but also how to sequence those sounds and isolate phonemes. Many of the videos are geared for struggling readers.  If you are at all concerned about your child's reading or pre-reading skills, speak with your individualised teacher or learning assistance teacher, for some excellent ideas to get you going.

Blessings to you

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Homeschooling in US today.

Check out what is happening all around the US as 1.5million students are learning from home. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/02/09/educating-children-evolution-home-schooling/

How to Find Your Passion: What is your passion? Learn with Sir Ted

Library vision for the 21 Century Learning

I was excited to hear Greg Bitgood's  views on A Vision for 21 century learning, in his recent podcast.  I love the fact that I am included in this new vision of Futuristic teachers, even though I am often overwhelmed at how fast the information explosion is happening.  Having just watched The Social Network movie, I caught a glimpse of our future generation encapsulated in Mark Zuckerberg's energy, and ability to innovate from his laptop. I liked what one critique of the movie said, "The film comes down to a mesmerizing portrait of a man who in any other age would perhaps be deemed nuts or useless, but in the Internet age has this mental agility to transform an idea into an empire."  Not all of us are "Mark Zuckerbergs" or would want to be considering the diabolical and ethical implications  Facebook created.   Yet the Internet is allowing for such amazing creativity and innovation, that I think we will see many such "wonderkids",  in the next generation (not only in the field of computer applications, but in many areas of life).

How blessed we are to be given the gift of homeschooling, where we can engage our students in life giving subjects that embrace the whole child in learning, exploring gifts digitally to match with their strengths and weaknesses.  Is it not amazing how technology has helped in the area of reading, with sites that teach phonetic skills, spelling tricks, reading comprehension, speed reading?  With writing we can now blog, find writing extensions, applications, online novel studies , creative story tools, and share at such a rate that it is mind boggling to imagine.  In math we can incorporate video content, learn how to rewind and watch a lesson again, play with math tools and learn how to be cool math kids.  With Physical education we can now play sports or learn dances virtually using Wii games.

In science and building the applications out there are too many to list, (from streamed labs to educational games), each enabling students to find their niche and contribute in a multi-sensory and interactive way. Some schools have entered this new world with virtual classrooms.  My son would LOVE this:)   So I guess I need to listen and follow his gifts....  Help?

As a parent and educator I know there can be stumbling blocks in wanting to take on this new and challenging 21 century learning.  Will our kids know more than us?  Are we entering the age of being facilitators as opposed to teachers. How do we let them loose, when we don't know where they are going?  Boundaries and frameworks need to be explored and discussed.  We need a new Bible for the computer age:)

As teachers we need to be encouraging our students to become media literate, so that they can read online with skills that can critique authority on the web. We can help our students by taking them to sites and comparing what makes a site authoritive, relevent and academic.We can also role model by becoming bloggers, and sharing how to create a personal learning  network.  I will discuss this in my next posting. 

I do think God is wiring our kids' brains differently…so they can cope with all of these new and different technologies.  We can relax and learn with them, pray and ask for advice, and embrace CHANGE.  Now I need to practice what I preach and learn a video game with my son, play some educational games with my students, and invite some professional development in my own life.  One step at a time!

Blessings to you

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Engaging students with Video documentaries.

I love sharing interesting documentaries and video files that can be included in the classroom.  Snag learning is made for teachers to promote effective discussion within the learning community.   Questions below the documentary will get students thinking and sharing.   Only snag with Snag(no pun intended, is that some of the video streaming did not work for Canadian viewers).

Other ways to watch video include Academic Earth where all the world's scholars congregate to ponder the world's problems. 
Big Think is a global forum connecting people and ideas.
5minLifeVideo includes instructional video in shorter five minute format.
Brightstorm is for teachers including video content from the Best teachers in the World.  Maybe some of our teachers need to be included here!:) *****
CosmoLearning is a free universal portal for educators and homeschoolers.
Learner.org or Annenburg Learner is one of my favourites, along with PBS  for finding lesson plans and great video content.  I shared Schooltube recently and was interested in finding out if anyone had ease uploading their videos?  We sure did...but this is a good place for students to share in what other students are doing.
NeoK looks amazing- it is definitely worthwhile using!  This is child friendly and easy to use  *****

I love TED Talks, *****and sharing them as discussion starters is a wonderful way to get debate going!
 YoutubeEdu is the educational component of Youtube and useful for high school students or teachers.  Many of our students love Brainpop which we subscribe to as a school, and if you have not checked it out it is worth your time.  We also subscribe to Discovery Streaming, which for many homeschooling students is a staple.  I have yet to try out Vimeo, but I love the look of their Video school with instructional content.
For Christian video content check out Godvine and Godtube

I would love to hear some feedback from some of you who may be using video in the classroom, as to what works best for you?

Blessings to you

Portfolios and sharing!

I know many of my parents are anxiously putting together portfolios this week, and trying to decide which documents need to be enclosed in that magic parcel.

Some of my parents are already blogging, and so I will be able to find their samples of work quite easily in their blogs.  This morning while reading my newspaper and checking my PLN, I came across George Couros's recent blog entry on Creating a WordPress portfolio or for that matter a Blogger portfolio using Google Documents.  Take a look!  Thank you George for sharing:)   Other ways for students to share their work could be via Picasso Web, or Dropbox.  This makes it easier for parents and teachers to have all of the work in one domain. I pray that my parents will be encouraged this week as they reflect on all their students' giftings in homeschool.  Have fun sharing.

Have an awesome week!
In Christ

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Celebrating Poetry and Writing!

Some of my students have enjoyed writing poetry,  creating Storybirds, and writing stories this month, and so I wanted to celebrate, and share some of their work. I hope you enjoy their artistic creations.  

Simon Eenkooren Grade 9:  Death

When my mind does think of death,
While some may tremble and flee,
I do not sharply intake my breath,
Nor do I crash upon my knees.
I smile at Him who gives me strength,
And to Him I gently say,
“In Your time, my Lord, my Saviour,
But come quickly for Your creation.”
T'is but a time before the Call,
When Jesus cometh for us all.

Ballad - The Wisdom of the Sages

When the world is looked at from the wisest of eyes,
There seems to be nothing but evil and demise.
The rich are fat but unsatisfied; full but barren,
And men strive for greatness, only to find the Fouler’s lies.
Nought does death care for piles of clothes,
Or knowledge, or wealth,
For death can only take the body,
Down with its shadowy stealth.

Tabitha Eenkooren Grade 9
Good or bad,
Fearsome and sad
To those with no hope
In the One who has the eternal note

My love for death is sweet
For in heaven Jesus is the One I will meet.
I do not fear death—no
For my Saviour above loves me so.

Life’s Seasons
Based on Ecclesiastes 3
By Tabitha Eenkooren

Life has many seasons,
Some happy and some sad.
We don’t know of all God’s infinite reasons,
But can be comforted times will not always be bad.

Be thankful there is a time for everything.
This gives us much comfort and hope.
There is always promise of a new song to sing,
Bring forth your faith with a shout! Cherish every note.

Matthew Davies Grade 9:  The Soldier
Knee deep.
Steady sounds of fire, soulful screams, and dying gasps,
Some fall, some rise, but I cower and weep.
My soul too fragile, my heart too weak,
Bearing the scar of man's deceit.
With regret I cry, for thinking true men go to war.
Coward is me who cringes under lonesome lore.

Charge forward with rifle in hand.
Stop. Stare.
Glaring eyes at men who together stand.
As one for War and War for One!

Serena Ippel Grade 1
FOREST; A list poem by Serena, including Wordle

Squirrels scurry
Raccoons scamper
Bunnies hop
Blue birds sing
Robins twitter
Trees shake
Ferns rustle
Daffodils blossom
Blue jays fly.

A Runny Babbit poem by Serena & Mommy

Sicken Chalad
Chewered Skicken
Brye Read
Leat Moaf
Sash Squoup
Somato Toup
Burkey Troth
Pocolate Chudding
Canilla Vake
Mueberry Bluffin
Tungry Hummy
Tunch Lime!

Check out Serena's blog to see her  Storybirds

Matthew Stokes Grade 1 :Peace

Peace is .....
Peace is when you've ended a war.
When it's really quiet,
When you're by yourself,
When you're kind to people.
That's peace.
Bekah Stokes Grade 3:  The Happy Birthday Poem

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
I know some special presents
Are coming to you!

Luke Fulton Grade 5:  Dust Mite, Who and Wherefore Art You?

I know where mustard comes from.  I know where cotton comes from.  But I don’t know where dust mites come from. And I had never really met one until recently.

My mom is always cleaning! She is really concerned, because I have an allergy to dust mites.  Only dust mites.

Where do dust mites comes from?  They seem to multiply faster than the bunnies at Ladner, Leisure Centre.  Do the dust mites live in dust?  There are probably ten million of these guys living in your mattress, but not mine.  I’m sure there are a lot less in mine now.

That’s because my mom bought me a cover for my mattress and my pillow.     My mom cleaned the walls with vinegar. She doesn’t want me to be taking more medication than I need to.  Sometimes I clean out my orifices, ( the holes in my head)  with salt water.
Well, we are not supposed to be able to see these little critters, unless it’s under an electronic microscope magnified 2000- times BUT the other night I heard a little tiny voice that said “I’m over here”.

 I knew it wasn’t my brother because I don’t have a brother.  I knew it wasn’t my stuffed animals, because it wasn’t any of their voices.  So who was it?

 Surprised, I said,  “Go away!” because I had a feeling that it was a lone dust mite. These guys are my enemies.  I can’t see them, and before I had the mattress cover they would attack when I was asleep.  Had one escaped the cleaning?

When I opened my eyes….something filled my whole vision !   This gigantic bug stared at me with beady eyes!  I stared back.  He stuck his tongue out at me.  I stuck mine back at him. Was it a monster, a space alien, a scary nightmare??? Was he a she?  I was seeing a dust mite with my naked eyes.  Was this possible?

We had a good talk.  I asked his name.  He said his name was Michaelangelo.  He told me he liked living with us. I don’t really like the idea of a bug, but here is the good news. They eat saliva, skin flakes,  and sweat so they are really amazing, cleaning agents.

Finally I said, “I really don’t want bugs in my room but you seem like a nice chap….I’m going to let you stay because you are a great maid.  And thanks for doing such a good job eating my saliva, devouring my skin flakes, and drinking my sweat.  You can stay.” 

  Now I know a dust mite personally, and since it’s just one – I’m not sneezing.  We are good  friends, and we are living happily ever after.
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Ali Carr-Chellman: Gaming to re-engage boys in learning | Video on TED.com

Reason to Homeschool: Listen to this if you have a son who likes video games, and finds it hard to sit still:) My son would agree with her whole heartedly. Ali Carr-Chellman: Gaming to re-engage boys in learning | Video on TED.com

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lapbooking Homeschool Adventures

Lapbooking is a favourite with many of my younger and middle grade homeschooling students.  Not only does it foster a love of independent learning, it allows younger students to be creative, learn how to cut and paste, do some active research and take pride in their artistic creations.  I prefer to use the lapbooking materials that I purchase as a base, and add some of my own questions to get students thinking more and interacting with their subject.  However, for younger students it is a welcome relief for parents to have their students engaged in something that requires multi-sensory learning, with less work for mums to think up the project requirements. 

Most of my parents use cardstock as a base for making lapbooks, and some use file folders that can be easily mailed in an A4 envelope for portfolios. These are generally large enough to be put into your lap, hence the name lap-book.   Mini-books are smaller versions of lapbooks, that can be incorporated into the larger version of lapbooks. 

If you are just starting out lapbooking then Lapbook Lessons will help you learn some creative ideas, and engage with other homeschoolers.  Homeschooling on a Shoestring will help you if you are on a budget.  Free Lapbooks requires Adobe Acrobat PDF for downloading, and make sure you read their copyright rules first:)

I think the lapbooking company that is most popular with my parents is CurrClick .  Developed by two homeschooling mums they offer easy, affordable lapbooking curriculum, on a variety of subjects.  History Through the Ages also offers some neat timelines, and lapbook activities.

To make a larger lapbook with more space for layout, watch this video on a double lapbook.

Ideas for Valentines Day:  Here is a video on making a Valentines Lapbook incorporating biblical elements and mini-books. 

You might have a student who would rather work online.  If so have them design their lapbook, or visual poster using EduGlogster

If you have a neat lapbooking link or would like to share your child's lapbook on my blog please feel free to send me your ideas.  I love sharing!

God Bless and Have Fun lapbooking!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Research Skills Workshop

At our learning camp recently I presented a Powerpoint lesson on Research skills, and going beyond Google with wisdom, grace and safety.  Please feel free to read this Powerpoint and if you have any extra information pertaining to safety on the web, or good searching skills on the net I would love to collaborate with you.

Research Skills Powerpoint PDF

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Inviting Communication and Participation

I have been thinking over the last while about what works in a brick and mortar school and how our school is different, in regards to student and parent participation.  Working in an online distributed learning environment is not always as conducive to interaction, bouncing off ideas, sharing, collaborating, experimenting and learning innovation.  How do we do encourage parent participation in the education of students that enhances respect, and a desire to contribute? What do teachers want in the way of professional development?  I would love to find out from you, what you would like to see happening in our school in the way of technology education, and how we as co-educators can help your students move into the 21 century?

I invite your thoughts and comments on my blog, so that we can move forward towards being good listeners;  towards a vibrant learned community, which is engaged in innovative thinking beyond textbooks and dry academia.   This of course involves technology that has value in your lives, and not technology for technology's sake.  I value relationship with you, and I pray that you will find the time to let me know how technology is impacting you and what you would like to learn as students and as a larger community?  I hope in my library, surfing time to find technology that reflects our school and our way of learning.

Blessings to you