Favourite Language Arts Links

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

May Library Links

Welcome to May and the sounds of spring!  As the school year slows down with the sounds of birds, nature and sunshine calling, it is often harder to get our students' brains on task.   I have shared some sites that I discovered at my recent ed tech conference,  along with some new Bible sites, and fun activities to do outdoors.  May is the time to do field trips, take nature walks, visit museums, plan a co-op, or do an experiment outdoors.  PLUS Don't forget to celebrate Mothers Day on the second Sunday in May. 


Desiring God Blog by well known author, John Piper has a goal "to spread the passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ."


Wonderzone Games, activities, and adventures galore in this younger students' bible site.

CBH Ministries formerly Children's Bible Hour, is a media ministry targeting kids ages six to twelve with Bible-based materials. They produce radio programs, print materials, and web-based media to teach kids the message of Jesus Christ.

Vegetales Videos, games and activities at the Vegetales official site.


Teaching Kids the News is a Canadian media site for kids grades 2- 8 that teaches timely, news articles from the student's perspective.  Teaching Kids the News (TKN) was created by educators Jonathan Ophek and Kathleen Tilly and freelance journalist Joyce Grant.  Read up on how to use this site.  Thanks John for sending this on:)


Super Simple Songs is for your preschooler and Kindergarten student who loves singing and learning at the same time.  Watch this Twinkle Twinkle Little Star video to get an idea of the wonderful quality.


KidMango is an exciting new source for the best in cartoons and kids videos, providing everything from an online syndication platform, to a web site, to a TV programming block that airs six days out of the week. May have secular content.

WatchKnow has indexed over 20,000 educational videos, placing them into a directory of over 3,000 categories. The videos are available without any registration or fees to teachers in the classroom and to students at home 24/7. Users can dive into their directory or search for videos by subject and age level. Video titles, descriptions, age level information, and ratings are all edited for usefulness.


CommonSense Media is a national organization led by concerned parents and individuals with experience in child advocacy, public policy, education, media and entertainment. Find reviews of social networking sites, movies, websites and how to stay on top of education in regards. 


Free science videos at brightstorm

The Mad Scientist Network. has some great science labs, fun ideas for projects, a library and Ask a scientist a question.

Five Tips for Introducing Outdoor Education to your Students.

Ducks Unlimited Canada. I have shared this site before and it is a goodie!  Check out the Resources page.

Seeds.  Provides Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum programs that include online Energy Literacy Series and Habitat in the Balance, plus resources for climate change study, water conservation, bird counts, environmental Literacy, cloud and climate observation, and a GREEN Schools program.

GetBodySmart.  An Online textbook about human anatomy and physiology.

Wiredscience Science news, videos and more on this blog for older students.


bcfieldtrips  is the  most comprehensive and up-to-date listing of curriculum-linked field trips available to teachers! The website contains a searchable listing of more than 250 individual programs offered by over 80 organizations in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and across British Columbia.


Freeappalert is the current awareness site for Iphone users.

Giveaway of the Day nominates one software title that will be a Giveaway title of that day. The software is available for download for 24 hours (or more, if agreed by software publisher) and that software is absolutely free. That means – not a trial, not a limited version – but a registered and legal version of the software is completely free for their visitors*.

Makeuseof. is a list of guides, reviews, how to use, forums for techie people to find answers for software or hardware before they buy it.  Reviews of websites are also contained therein. 

Internet Buttons.  Watch the video on the homepage to get an idea how to use this neat site for people who don't like using the Internet.  With Internet Buttons you can create your own personalised list of favourite URL's to help out an aged friend or youngster, who does not use the Internet and needs a hand organizing their links.  As their confidence grows you can add new buttons or they can start adding.

Technorati .  Search for blogs using this search engine, which displays top blogs, and postings around the world. 

 I pray that the start of your spring is filled with God's joy and passion, to discover learning in your own back yard.  

Blessings to you


Monday, April 25, 2011

Doin' it home school!: The Lessons

Doin' it home school!: The Lessons: "This is my first attempt at video production. Thanks to Apple Trailers in iMovie it looks pretty good. I hope this little video shows how..."

Watch one of my parents Katina  show her boys learning how to swim.  Way to go Katina- excellent video editing skills!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Khan Academy Math

Khan Academy has a huge library of math videos starting with basic arithmetic and moving onto algebraic problem solving for high school.  Self paced exercises help students and teachers collaborate with areas that might be causing difficulty.  Science, Economics and Humanities based videos are also covered.  Please note science is covered from an Evolutionary perspective

Blessings to you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Are we Disrupting Class?

Disrupting class
With one ed tech conference and one book club discussion on Disrupting Class I am starting to put the pieces of a techie puzzle in place!  A few months ago I started blogging from a very humble place, and felt like the world was a large and scary place out there, and my little "fishie" contributions were not too deep in the water.   It is with God's inspiration for sharing on my Facebook Christian Teacher's page, Twitter and blogging, that  I am starting to feel like I am part of a larger personal learning network.  Combine that with an amazing ed tech conference this week at LearnNowBC, and I feel ready to take on the world.  Well not really:)

Here are some of the thoughts we came away with from our great book club discussion, and ed tech ranting!

1. We are BREAKING OUT OF THE BOX , as Christensen and other B.C. ed tech leaders inspire us to move on from learning outcomes, textbooks, and rigid teaching and thinking skills.  Of course the BC Ministry needs to redefine some of the learning outcomes and assessment based models, so that we can feel free to move into new pastures.  Time will tell....

2.   How do we get students to move from extrinsic to intrinsic motivators?  Homeschoolers have the freedom to find resources that intrinsically meet their needs and more... But are we as teachers really encouraging them to find those unique resources, and projects, that will help them use all of their God given potential?  Are we helping them learn how to become digital citizens?  Or are we encouraging them to stay focused on monolithic type learning?
Some practical suggestions that came to the foray included;
  • Running digital learning camps for all parents and students all over the province.
  • Webinars.
  • Teachers creating blogs for every student, in a fenced environment (if neccessary for younger students).
  • Assigning a tech ed mandatory course in grade 8 with 2 credits for completion.
  • Creating multi-layered techie online courses, which will attract students to own the course as they accomplish different levels of technical achievement.
  • Augmented reality courses, where students create an avatar and move through a series of games, and levels to explore academic learning in different subjects.
  • Creating modules in online courses so that students can partake in one unit of an online course eg, completing just the poetry section in a language arts course.  These would be like applications on an IPhone

3.  Assessment based learning and how do we move away from the dreaded word?  Should we be teaching to the exam in high school, or preparing students with critical thinking and real life skills?  The B.C. Ministry has yet to completely move away from this, but we heard rumblings from the Education minister, George Abbott that he would like to see some imminent changes.  In the meantime let us move forward with confidence in helping our students prepare for their futures, by accommodating all learning styles in a multi-sensory mode, and allow for peer reviewing each others' assessment like our Humanities team does so well. Let us look for other means for finding assessment like blogging skills, Skype,   videos, Wordles, Prezi's, Wikis, and comics. Check out this Prezi on relevant assessment.

4.  How do we encourage teachers/parents/students to become "disruptive heavyweights", in their own backyard?  Here are some of our thoughts:

  • Encourage parents and students to lead a workshop, teach a skill, make a video, share a bible study etc.
  • Encourage disruptive innovations in areas that are non consumption based, ie look for a niche in the market.
  • Have regular professional days with tech ed as the main component. Do this for parents and students.  For example host an adult book club and read something new and educational.
  • Encourage teachers to share their gifts and skills throughout the year, and to take risks.
  • Encourage students to find numerous ways to share their work so they become leaders in their field of interest.
5.  Support our charismatic and visionary leaders?  Absolutely!!  We need to rise to the challenge that our principal Janet Rainbow  and superintendent Greg Bitgood suggests we do, to make our students great Christian leaders in the 21st century world.  We need to offer our suggestions with communication for a better vision throughout the year.

6.  Impact for personal reflections.  After reading this very scientific and comprehensive book we were challenged to reflect on our teaching skills, our personal networks, and our attitude towards becoming a Godly, disruptive learner and teacher.  Thanks to Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn along with  a wonderful chat with our adult book club, I can say that I have a clearer picture where I see God, our school and students leading.

Blessings to you, as you share your version of what 21 century learning looks like with your students. I would love to hear how you think we can make a difference?


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Using Project-Based Learning to Teach World Languages | Edutopia

Using Project-Based Learning to Teach World Languages | Edutopia

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Critical Thinking and Project Based Learning

What is project based learning?  Watch the above video from Commoncraft to get a clear definition.

As our students progress to more web based learning,  we can encourage them to use their critical thinking skills more often with project based learning.  Challenge based learning is more problem solving directed, encouraging motivation and higher level Bloom's taxonomy thinking skills.  This is something our students can get excited about, and what many teachers could be incorporating into their classroom or home school environment.  Many teachers incorporate this already into their courses, and with the use of multi- layered media technologies available on the web, project based learning becomes more feasible for home schoolers.

Take for instance the upcoming election.  In this Challenge Based Learning website the video shows a student how to focus on essential questions to get his research started with regards to upcoming elections. Solving real world problems can be fun even for your elementary students.  Homeschooling is an amazing arena for us to work on our critical thinking skills, because in many ways we are learning "out of the box".  Now if we could use the areas that our students are already interested in researching, to inspire them to problem solve at the same time!

Teachers we can assess the knowledge and pre-conceived thinking a student may have, before launching them on their topic.  But of course we need to let go of the idea that we are in charge.  We need to take a step back and become facilitators!  Students are allowed to make mistakes and learn from the process, as they compare data from different sources.  We can be there to help them with the "who, why, where and how" questions.  But the students need to be directing the process of problem solving. 

In Project Based Learning for the 21 Century students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. Rigorous projects help students learn key academic content and practice 21st Century Skills.

Here is an example of using Math in the classroom from Computing Technology for Math Excellence, which gives lots of examples of how project based learning can flourish using math and other subjects.

How do we inspire our younger generation to start using new technologies, learn creativity and critical thinking? Watch Mitch Resnik, talking from his platform, Lifelong Kindergarten: Design, Play, Share, Learn” at Stanford.  You might get some ideas for your elementary students in terms of using such amazing computer programming tools like Scratch.

I would love to hear how your students are using project based learning in their environment?

Blessings to you
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Poetry in Motion! A few of my Favourite Things!

With the celebration of April as poetry month, I though I should share some more new resources to get you excited!  Do you wonder  how to introduce poetry to your youngsters without forcing the confines of format?  I encourage parents to spend lots of time reading great poetry to their little ones, and exploring the amazing form of nonsense poetry.  Playing with words while being creative is so conducive to multi-sensory learning. We can combine digital tools, collage work, lapbooking, illustrations, read alouds,  and free writing before we introduce the formats of poetry.  Allowing students to explore the beauty of words is God's way of extending His creative voice.  Here are some unique sites that may help your student think creatively about God's creation, in language.
Poetry Out Loud celebrates ways to get students appreciating poetry by reading out loud.   I would love to share in my students' success this way... and I encourage students to send me their poetry recitation on video!

Flocabulary :  Hip Hop in the Classroom
All subjects are taught with rhythm and rhyme, helping students learn how to rap, bringing harmony to the classroom.

Canadian Poetry Web Links  shares an annotated list of Canadian poetry on the web.

I love Giggle Poetry which allows kids to laugh at themselves, and the ridiculous situations they find themselves in!

Shel Silverstein is one of my favourite poets for getting students to have fun with words and think of ways to make nonsense poetry.  Read some of his poems and then make a Wordle to display your words in a creative way. Check out how one of my grade one students, Serena loves making wordle poetry.

Here is one of my favourite poems by Lewis Carroll, who is one of the world's best nonsense poet!  I have fond memories of sitting on my grandfather's knee as he recited this classic poem.  This Youtube video narrates  You are Old Father William.

Digital poetry can make words zoom and fly across the room! Scholastic explores the wonderful applications you can use with Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi and Animoto in the classroom.  Drama and poetry come alive!

Explore God's creation in nature with classroom extensions in your garden and growing poems.  Then combine the science process with feelings and reactions creatively using this organiser.

Learn how to memorise poetry or bible verses using this Memrise tool.  From the art of memory, Grandmaster Cooke brings an understanding of how learning rejoices in anything that is pithy, colourful, humorous, fantastical, attractive, scary, important, unusual or vivid.

For more poetry links please go to our linking library!

Blessings to you as you share in the Joys of Poetry.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Kids4Truth is an interactive site for kids Bible, including: daily devotions, with  audio and multimedia stories from the Bible; colouring pages; clubs and teaching resources under the EquipU Clubs link.  Thanks Daniel for sharing!

Blessings to you

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Elections! Your vote is required!

With election fever brimming over this last week,   Joris Kempers asked me to submit something on my blog to encourage voter participation at the coming election.  Joris works for Elections Canada as a volunteer and he would LOVE to see all of his favourite Canucks come out and support their TEAM CANADA in the elections.  We have seen what happened in 2008 with low voter turnout, and maybe this year we can teach our students about democracy,  by taking them to what is happening in the rest of the world where uprisings happen in the name of "true democracy".  Lybia, Syria and other countries in Africa and the Middle East, are working towards the right to a fair and democratic say in their government.    So with this in mind let us support democracy in Canada, whether you agree or disagree as to how this election was precipitated.

Here are some ways to educate your students on the election process:

Elections Canada.  Choosing a Mascot and Canada at the Polls are 2 lessons we can teach our primary, and high school students more about the electoral system.
Elections Kits in our Physical Campus Library.
Statistics Canada  Intermediate and high school students will learn the following:
  • To understand the Canadian system of representative democracy
  • To analyse tabular data to reach conclusions on the outcome of election results
  • To appreciate the effects of national and regional issues on federal elections
Canadian Children's Rights Council has tools for teaching democracy.
Students you get a chance to vote as well on the Elections Canada page.

CBC Learning

Media Awareness Network lesson plan on Watching the Elections for grade 8-12

Here is how one teacher is teaching the upcoming election in her classroom.

Another example of teaching Canadian democracy in the classroom from Canada's History.

Teachers Institute on Canadian Parliamentary Policy has lots of resources which explain government process.

The Learning Network (New York Times) has many lesson plans which explore democracy.

You may be interested to find out the statistics involving homeschoolers, and their civic participation over the last 10 years.  In this survey you will get all the facts!

If you have a teaching unit that encompasses democracy and elections we would love to hear from you: ) Thanks Joris for getting us talking about elections!

Blessings to you as you encourage discussions on democracy, and civic duties in your home.

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Digital Media- Disrupting Class

This last week, as I have been enjoying reading my adult book club choice Disrupting Class by Clayton Christensen,  I have wrestled with many of the ideas which he celebrates as part of the 21 century way of learning.  Christensen encourages us as teachers to step out with new technology, finding lessons that meet the unique gifts in each child, and assessing them differently to the way we have been accustomed.  More and more educational sites are now  teaching digital media, from a holistic multi-sensory approach, that embody the personal learning needs of students and not the "one solution fits all".  To try and find unique sites which will allow for individualized learning, has become the HCOS thrust of teaching for the last 7 years.  We are excited about offering digital media to help parents incorporate learning, which meets their  child's specific learning needs.  From a vast array of subscriptions, to a digital library with Canadian, Christian worldview resources, and a physical campus library , we are hoping to help your students reach their individual potential in Christ.

Here are a few sites which will help your student learn how to be a digital immigrant!

Digital media is the choice of teaching in Teacher's Domain which as an online library offers 1000 free media resources from American television.  Broadcasting from Nova, Frontline, Design Squad and American Experience this database is easy to use and offers interactive learning especially with history and science video clips.  Essays, questions and grade correlation is more American based but can be used with world history and science to make learning more alive!

Other sites which teach digital activities are:

CBC Digital Archives Canadian based and easily accessible for all grades.

Library and Archives Canada.   In this Canadian  educational Resources arena you will find databases, research aids and virtual exhibits.

National Archives .  American lesson plans using primary sources.

Media Literacy Network.   Canadian M Net's Web site offers media literacy and digital literacy materials on a wide range of media, including Internet, television, film, video games, newspapers, advertising and popular music. The For Parents section offers tips for talking to kids about media content and advice on managing media use in the home. The For Teachers section includes over 200 lessons and supporting materials aligned with provincial and territorial media education outcomes for Grades K-12. The Media Issues section offers in-depth research and essays on media-related topics such as stereotyping, media violence, information privacy, Canadian cultural policies and online hate.

Integrating Technology in the Classroom is done well in Digital School Collection School Resources.  Find lesson plans which teach hands on using the whole body including visual, auditory and kinesthetic abilities.

Teaching Tech Savvy Kids supplies some hands on ideas for teaching literacy with digital media.

100 Inspiring Ways to use Social Media in the Classroom looks at ideas for K-12 incorporating technology in the classroom.

 Classroom 2.0 is the social network for those interested in Web 2.0 and Social Media in education. 

STHS Library Guides includes some of the latest information on digital technology in the classroom with Youtube videos, guides and reviews.

Free Technology for Teachers has lots of videos and short instructional ebooks.  

Instructional Technology Blog has lesson ideas for incorporating all subjects using technology, with lots of examples.

For other unique educational indexes check out our linking library.

 If you know of a great site that will help teach our students to become technically literate,  please can you let me know. Some of you may have a gift for teaching tech ed, or disrupting the class in a unique way!  We would love to hear from you:)

Blessings to you
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