Favourite Language Arts Links

Thursday, March 31, 2011

April Library Links

Welcome to April, and our Lord's resurrection on the cross.  As we prepare for Easter I have compiled some links that share in the celebration, as well as Poetry (April is Poetry month), science fun, math sites and teaching with technology.


Awesome Stories- Easter  Awesome Stories looks at religious stories and comprehensively covers the story with a virtual journey. On this interactive adventure, you will "go" to the important places where the Easter story happened, and you will "see" the events through the paintings of some of the world’s greatest artists.

Free Easter devotional from A Holy Experience.

For further Easter links go to our HCOS Easter Holidays.

Read about the latest archeological finds in Mail Online, which prove an ancient collection of 70 books bound with wire could unlock some secrets of early Christianity.  Please note adult content on adjoining page.

Evidence for Christianity  is an Apologetics blog written by Dr Oakes from the University of Chemistry at Grossmont College in the US.  He has written many books on science and Christianity.

Christian worldview is discussed re Michael Goheen on Jimmy Davis's blog called Cruciform Life. Check out the column articles.


April is poetry month so let us encourage our students to celebrate along with Reading Rockets,  and Edutopia as they explore the many wonderful attributes of writing creatively.

For further great poetry resources, including Christian worldview check out our HCOS library Poetry section.

Children's Books is the Guardian UK daily for catching up on the world of Childrens' Literature.

Students who would like to submit their poetry or creative writing to a Christian magazine look no further than Alatheia Writing Magazine for Teens


Kids could have so much fun on this site that it's entirely possible they won't notice how much they're learning in the process

Do you have a high school student between grade 10-12 who loves making videos?  Here is their opportunity to shine in the What's Your Story video contest. Share your story about cyberbullying, hackers and privacy issues online and educate yourself in the process.

Teach your high school student some web evaluation tools, searching for web authority, bias and objectivity, copyright and plagiarism with this Online Teacher Toolkit from Dennis O'Connor.


Commoncraft is a a small company in the US who specialize in making short, 3 minute videos to teach technology.  Many of these videos can be used in the classroom and are useful for teachers when introducing how to link technology tools to what they are doing in the classroom.

Cloud Based Technology and Privacy- A Canadian Perspective  Tony Bates discusses the Canadian Bill of Rights on Privacy for social network users.  Do you have a comment on this issue?  Join in the discussion.

EdTechBCDaily   is a new local daily on educational technology news from Tim Winkelmans.


Canadian History on the Web is a comprehensive list of history sites drawn up by Dr Susan Neylan Professor of the History Department at Wilfred Laurier University.  Lots of good sites to be found here!

If you have a student who enjoys the Humanities approach, you might want to check out this Historical Fiction for the Classroom blog, which reviews novels, rates them and gives you a reading level as well!

The Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History.  project provides engaging, high-quality materials to schools and universities for the teaching of historical methods and Canadian History. It is also used in a wide variety of other courses including law, language, literature, aboriginal issues and many others. The project, based at the University of Victoria, the Universit√© de Sherbrooke and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, has created a series of instructional websites based on the premise that students can be drawn into Canadian history and archival research through the enticement of solving historical cold crimes.

Further to that the HCOS library, and teaching team is  putting together a list of Humanities resources for grades 10-12.  If you have a resource that you know would benefit others we would love to hear from you in this regard?

Check out our newest links, including some fun games in our HCOS Math site.


Creation Science Association of BC.  has many interesting articles which I will be adding to our grad science site.  Thanks Joris for sending on:)

Science Netlinks has lots of great lesson plans and this one covers Electricity and Atoms for grade 9

Grad students who are interested in doing science from a virtual laboratory, check out this list of virtual laboratories.

If you have a site that you would like to recommend to our library don't forget to post in on our site. We really appreciate your contributions!

I pray that you find time to remember Christ this month, and celebrate His greatest gift to us.

Many Blessings to you!
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3 Ways to Privately Share Videos

3 Ways to Privately Share Videos
Free Technology for Teachers shares different options for showing videos privately. Thanks Richard for sharing!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Voice Thread. Techie Site of the Week

A tag cloud (a typical Web 2.0 phenomenon in i...Image via Wikipedia
Discussion in the classroom is not only limited to Skype and Google Chat.  With Voicethread you can collaborate with a whole classroom with voice, and discuss media and its' impact.  For simple full presence communication you can engage students in discussions about all learning, whether it be a; novel study, book review, or second language learners as they practice speaking, interaction with teacher's videos explaining math,  digital storytelling in history, or sharing digital portfolios.  Graphics included in the VoiceThread can be any digital images. Students can also use the doodling tool to draw on the screen while recording audio. This can be helpful to point out areas of interest, such as when discussing art or architecture, or when solving mathematics problems.

The free Pro subscription is limited to 3 voicethreads, 30 minute of video commenting and 75mb of storage.  There is a charge for premium subscription of $60 per year for a full class use.

To view how resources are used check out the education links.

Browse their library.

Watch a tutorial on how to make a Voicethread.

To learn how to use in Moodle.

Other alternatives to Voicethread are Voxopop, or Ourstory.com which is free and allows users to make family timelines and histories with stories attached.

Suggestions for other audio options are found at Web 2.0 For the Classroom.

Blessings to you
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

How to teach Kids to LOVE books and get them READY TO READ!

How do you instill a love of reading?  Assigning a ritual of reading for half an hour daily in their school day, is not the only way to get your students hooked on reading.  As parents we need to do a little more...  Here are some literacy tips to get your students HOOKED on reading.

*  Read to your child in the womb.  YES I know it sounds strange, but babies have been shown to react to sounds in the womb, so music and reading are high on the list, especially if they make your endorphins bounce.  Can you imagine the feelings of peace resonating, as your baby listens to poetry:)

*  Create a story time nook, where you can enjoy quiet time with your youngster, and... "comfy old armchairs",  come to mind.

*  Read to your baby on your lap, with large STURDY, picture books, that are easy to put in their mouths.  Because of course that is where the book will probably end up.  Sing and dance, and show enjoyment, as you read to your little one, and before long they will delight in holding a book and sharing in the pictures with you.  This is now part of their daily routine and bonding with mum.  Hence those LOVE endorphins:)

* As your toddler/preschooler grows take them to the library weekly, and allow free choice of book selection, as many as they like.  Libraries will now allow you to take out 30- 50 books at a time.  Linger longer in your library, and make friends with your local librarian.  Soon they will discover what kind of books you like best!

*  Share your favourite stories from your own childhood,  traditions and family stories will be passed down to them along the way.  Nursery rhymes are a great way to introduce memory skills.  If your child is read  a nursery rhyme repetitively, he will be able to remember some of it by rote.  If by 4 your child is not able to memorize simple nursery rhymes, there may be a lack of auditory memory.  Reading to your youngster will expose differences in learning.

*  Be astute to your child's listening techniques.  Boys will often not be able to sit still.  THAT is okay- they are still listening, even while playing with toys.  Ask questions to see if they are listening.  Then take the picture book to them if they are hanging upside down.  Find ways to be inventive with reading:)

*  Read with EXPRESSION!!

*Record your kids first attempts at reading.  Show pride and excitement when your child expresses interest in word association.  Buy an assortment of alphabet sequential toys, and great rhyming books like Dr Seuss.  Buy books that will make your child LAUGH and CRY:) BUY BOOKS!!

*  Get your kids playing alphabet computer games that teach phonetic skills; like Starfall. 
Download applications for reading games and word activities on your IPAD.

*  Help preschoolers understand that compound words can be taken apart, and divided into different words with picture connotations.  For example draw a hotdog, and then underneath the hot dog show how the word can be broken in two.

*  Discover puppets!  Puppets will draw your youngster into a world of make believe and stories.  Within a short period of time they will be acting out with their own puppets, and telling wonderful stories!

*    Write out the stories they narrate to you, and bind them in sweet booklet form for keepsake treasures.

*  Discover signs, cereal boxes with names, grocery lists, toy names, street signs,  and make up store items, with signs for playing shop.

*  Listen to audio books in the car and at home.  Statistics show that the more vocabulary a child is introduced to in their first 7 years, the more they will absorb, and be able to recognize in print when they are reading down the road.

*  Read a wide variety of books to your youngsters throughout their formative years, and find books that will appeal to their interests.

*  Get your preschooler to tell the story, by asking open- ended questions, on every page.  What do you think is going to happen next?  Why is he sad?  Where are they running to?  In a while your child will want to tell the story all by himself.  That is when you know those pre- reading skills are in place!

*  LASTLY but most IMPORTANTLY role model reading in your home.  When your kids see you reading, they will want to read.  Read the greatest STORY of all- The BIBLE!

For further literacy websites go to our HCOS library, Books and Reading.  If you are at all concerned about whether your child is ready to read, go to Get Ready to Read for a pre screening tool. Or read this book, by Dr. Gary G. Brannigan and Dr. Howard Margolis which discusses reading and reading disabilities in detail.

Blessings to YOU as share your LOVE of reading!


Homeschool and Mom Burnout

Maybe you are feeling a little too tired, a little too edgy, and cranky with the kids.  Playing the pity party song all day.  January, February and March can often be times when homeschooling parents, including myself can burn out.  That's it!   We are throwing in the towel and packing them back to campus school:) Our kids may be perfect angels but the level of responsibility has now reached breaking point.  HOLIDAY is SCREAMING at you.  Before you lose sight of the reasons why you started to homeschool in the first place, remember how God called you to start in the beginning..... and then read this article to learn how we make mistakes, and live out of different realities.

You might also be interested in the following:

How would Jesus reschedule
Three Steps to Overcoming Homeschool Fears.
God has a Plan for your Homeschool

 Do you have 20 good reasons why you home school?  I would love to hear what they are?

Blessings to you !

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Yes this is an amazing Kerpoof!  I was blown away by the creative elements in this "Walt Disney"owned,  more than educational learning tool.  Here are some of the things you can do with Kerpoof:

  • Make artwork (even if you aren't good at drawing!)
  • Make an animated movie (really! it's easy!)
  • Earn Koins which you can trade for fun things in the Kerpoof Store
  • Make a printed card, t-shirt, or mug
  • Tell a story
  • Make a drawing
  • Vote on the movies, stories, and drawings that other people have made.
Check out what's new at Kerpoof. 

Teachers learn how to use in the classroom

Watch a video to see the many functions

Kerpoof is ideal for children who are artistic and want to meet friends at the same time. It’s more than just a basic image editing package and makes drawing fun and easy. Characters can be incorporated into your drawing fairly easily and everything can be done by clicking and dragging. It’s not difficult to use and is great fun for children.

Hope you have FUN with Kerpoof.  I am sure your kids will.

Blessings to you!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Your Child’s Reading Program: Start with Asking

Your Child’s Reading Program: Start with Asking

Do You have a student who struggles with reading?  You will be interested in following this blog which covers all kinds of reading disabilities and offers suggestions and resources for your students.


Pippa's Homeschool and Library Blog: Social Studies BC Grade 10-12 Learning Outcomes an...

Pippa's Homeschool and Library Blog: Social Studies BC Grade 10-12 Learning Outcomes an...: "This week Natalie Sing (our curriculum consultant) and I have started collaborating on providing resources for grade 10- 12 BC learning out..."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Libyan Civil War Teaching tools

With all the news on Libya right now, I thought I would share some resources that are educationally linked to this new civil war.  This  might be a good conversation to have with students regarding the role that the United Nations plays, especially Canada's role in the current no fly zone over Libya?   Is imperialism involved? What are the reasons for sending our troops in?   Christian worldview should be paramount.  Where is God in this picture?  Should Christians participate in revolutions?

CBC Libyan Unrest Spreads
CBC Moammar Gadhafi and his family.  Profile article

2011 Libyan Uprising- Wikipedia article.

Libya No Fly zone   Globalsecurity.org article.

War News Updates.  Civil War in Libya; list of up to date links.

Larry Ferlazzo's Best Resources for What is happening in Libya

Libya: Violence is worse than you see on news.  Christian Telegraph.

Libya situation worse than what you see on the News.  Open Doors asks for prayer from around the world, especially persecuted Christians. 

Libyan Civil War Interactive map and Videos.  Free Technology for Teachers.

Libya Protests and Revolts.  New York Times

The Role Social Media has played in Egypt and Libya.  The Wall.

Canada's Role in Libya   Yahoo News video links.

Globe and Mail.  Commons backs Canada's Deployment to Libya.

Kevin Swansons Latest Broadcast.  Revolution VS Regeneration.  Kevin Swanson takes a biblical perspective towards this important social issue.

Blessings to you

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bob Books on IPad and IPhone

Now you can give your four your old the Iphone to play with, and hope they learn to read at the same time.  The Bob book application includes phonic based games, with a simple drag and drop interface which can be used by the youngest of children.

Bob Books Reading Magic will show your child how to:

-Make the connection between letters and sounds.
-Sound out simple words.
-Spell the words they’ve read.

Have fun reading!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake in Japan and Emergency Preparation

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan today, as they experience the devastating effects of the recent earthquake.  I cannot even begin to rationalize an event with so much calamity and chaos, but my heart reels every time I watch a news event.  We know living like those in Japan, that the Ring Of Fire is a risky place to abide,  and we watch and wait with bated breath for the Big One to finally come to our Vancouver home.   God is in all of His Story,  and so we pray that His presence will be felt by those in Japan, as resources, emergency equipment, and His people are required to help the victims.

John 10:11, 15:13, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep... Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Here are some of the Canadian associations and  groups, who are giving to the Japanese people in their needs.  I know praying and giving is a way we can all be part of God's community. 

Here is a list of Earthquake Classroom activity links for you to consider reviewing with your students.

Family Education has some family oriented resources on emergency preparation, in the event of an earthquake, as well as teaching links.

Geology.com has a list of teaching links.

EdGalaxy has some ideas for using resources on their blog.

National Geographic has lesson plans understanding earthquakes, from the Kobe experience.

The Learning Network has some teaching ideas on earthquakes and tsunami, as seen in Japan yesterday.

Free Technology has video footage and further links.

Our HCOS library has Earthquake links and Emergency Preparation links, which will help prepare your students for such an event. 

My heart, and prayers are with the people of Japan.  We feel your pain.

God Bless

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pippa's Homeschool and Library Blog: Teacher's Corner Canada

Pippa's Homeschool and Library Blog: Teacher's Corner Canada: "Professional Development British Columbia Canada. Here is your place to discover more about professional development in Beautiful British Co..."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pippa's Homeschool and Library Blog: Favourite Language Arts Links

Pippa's Homeschool and Library Blog: Favourite Language Arts Links: "Here are my very favourite top 25 language arts links, including literature, poetry, writing, reading and grammar. Literature and Poetry E..."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


If you have not used Curriki you will be in for a surprise.  This is more than your average website for teachers.   Curriki is built on the XWiki platform, an open source development platform and "Next Generation Wiki" application developed in Java.  You can search the Curriki databases for thousands of learning resources including lesson plans, videos, worksheets, multimedia activities and full courses.

  **  You can use the advanced search to find materials top-rated by members or by content area    experts.

  ***  You can publish your own materials for the world to share by adding content in any format.

  ****  Collaborate around the world with other educators, or create your own personal learning network.

Curriki is the result of work done for GELC - the Global Education and Learning Community - an online project started by Sun Microsystems to develop works for education in a collaborative effort. The leadership team consists of people with a long-time commitment to exploring the use of technology to improve education.  It includes academic and technology experts in the field of education, CEO's and authors.

Watch how lessons are reviewed, using their All About Reviewed  resources video.

I hope you enjoy using this new resource in your daily searching online.  Some of the courses could be incorporated into an individualised learning plan,  so this is exciting for our teachers, parents and students.

God Bless

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Heart Sync: New Blogger

Heart Sync: Lift up: "Have you ever watched a group of larks suddenly lift off the ground and fill up the air? If you were close by the take-off you might be able..."

Come and read Shelley's blog, and be lifted up in the Holy Spirit! Thank you Shelley for encouraging me today:)

In Christ

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Paraphrasing and Citation Preparation for University with APA and High School MLA

Do you have students in grade 11/12, who are thinking of going to university?  If so you will want to encourage your students to watch this online tutorial , from Harvard University, which covers, paraphrasing, citing and avoiding plagiarism.  In three modules you will learn about defining paraphrasing; Rules for quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing; and Tips and strategies for successful paraphrasing. The tutorial includes a self-check exercise that gives tutorial users an opportunity to paraphrase texts by HGSE faculty, and provides an answer key.

If you are a high school or middle grade student at HCOS, please note that all teachers use the MLA method for citation.  The Cornell University Library , University of BC, or Owl of Purdue, have very good websites, which will help your students decipher the appropriate method for citing their works.  If you need help formulating your bibliography there are some excellent links on my website .  OR if you want the shortcut after you have covered this lesson, watch this High Tech Library video for an easy solution to use BibMe!

Blessings to you

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

To be the "sage on the stage"!

Ah yes, I wish I could be the "sage on the stage", as Greg Bitgood shared eloquently this morning, on his podcast regarding the shifting roles we need to expect, with the 21 century learning:)  Learning to be the "guide on the side",  is something librarians are quite used to doing in the ever increasing world of informational literacy.  We love SHARING and helping students find the perfect resource to match their topic or thesis.  But are we becoming obsolete in the ever increasing need to disseminate information on the web?  Are we along with teachers becoming facilitators, as opposed to the institutional record of learning? 

I remember when Greg first interviewed me on his podcast a few years back, we had a slight disagreement over the issue of Wikipedia, and the hot topic of academic authority.  You see I thought as a librarian I was an  expert on the dissemination of information, and that Wiki was not going to provide academic authority.  Well over the years I have watched how Wiki has taken hold of the web in it's pursuit of bringing authorative, and relevant articles to the fore, or as Steve Codling said to me the other day, "the cream of the crop".  I have had to put Wiki into its place of standing on the web, and eat humble pie.  Of course I do send my students to our HCOS linking library, academic databases and other reference sites to find good choices for projects, and maybe use Wiki to find some interesting starting points, or for needle in the haystack queries.  One look at the bibliography attached to the site in Wiki will often tell me how well the site has been researched... 

So with God's guiding hand I feel my role has become more paramount to teach students how to check for authority on the web, as well as to show them how to read online text in a different light.  Giving students a good foundation in Christian worldview, along with teaching the nuances of the English language helps indelibly, as does teaching media literacy. Critical thinking skills go hand in hand with understanding whether a site is current, relevant, reliable and authoritive?

To further my professional development  I am going to be reading Disrupting Class, by Clayton Christiansen , and another  helpful book which deals with teaching text, "Illuminating Texts",  by Jim Burke.  I hope to explore the idea of "textual intelligence,"and decipher how students' brains are wired to assimilate all the new information, which is so fundamental to their achieving in this online world.

One of my parents sent me this interesting video from Vimeo, on how social networking is changing our world. How well do you relate in the social networking world, and how does your student rate?  Think back 10 years and imagine life without Facebook, or other social media tools?  These and other applications are impacting our students' way of relating to each other.  We need to be the "guide on the side" still steering them in the right direction.  Towards God!

Blessings to you, as you help guide your students on the web, with wisdom and grace.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Little Bird Tales

Little Bird Tales captures your young child's stories with creativity and cuteness personified!  This website is easy to use, and allows original art work, uploading of photographs and sounds of your sweetie chatting about their creation.  Your student will learn how to create their own little project with a few easy steps.  Watch the demo video for more information on the website.

I would love to hear if you decide to use this application, whether your students enjoyed the process?  Please blog me with your adventures in Little Bird Tales.  I would love to see and hear from you as would others regarding this new application:)

Blessings to you,
In Christ