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Monday, December 17, 2012

Peace at Christmas

I pray you are all well and enjoying some seasoned treats and blessings from our precious Saviour.   After the horrible news in Newtown on Friday, I have not been able to focus on anything else,  and I am sure many of you have been saddened by this seemingly irrational and senseless tragedy.  There is part of me that wants to bundle up my kids,  and keep them festooned inside our castle, to protect them forever.  But at the same time I am praying that Jesus will show me ways to bring God’s sovereignty and Love into the fore.
We have been blasted by the media these past few days,  and as we process by sharing our thoughts on social media I am struck at how many of us in Canada are feeling so strongly about this.  Why are we so surprised that this kind of tragedy can happen and at this time of the year?  Christmas is supposed to be a time for niceties, celebrations, family gatherings etc, but for many in Newtown it will be a time for grieving.  My heart is grieving with our neighbours, and as I think of the birth of our Jesus Christ and what it meant to the community around Him at His time of life, I am reminded that He does bring Peace.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

So with Peace in mind I pray for all of our children effected by this tragedy.  I pray that they will continue to have faith and believe in His promises, that He does Protect, Shepherd and Love his followers.

I pray that He will bind hearts, and mend broken families devastated by their loss.  I pray that He will encompass hurting siblings and forsaken grandparents.  I pray that He will give strength and almighty reassurance to struggling parents.  I pray that all will still be able to remember their Abba father, even in the presence of suffering.
I am meditating on the following verses this week:
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Matthew 11:28-30  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Philippians 4:6-7  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 13:11  Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another,agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Isaiah 12:2  Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.

I pray that even if you are struggling this Christmas, (and many of us have difficulties which can be exacerbated by a busy season) you will be blessed with a peaceful, joyful and encouraging Christmas, resting in the reminder that we do have a Beautiful and Good God!

Blessings to you
In Christ,
Pippa Davies

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

December Favourites!

holiday wishes
holiday wishes (Photo credit: howard.hall)
This past few weeks my son and I have been counting our blessings (journal),  as part of our preparation for the Christmas celebration in December.  I have been encouraged to do this from reading other bloggers sharing their faith,  and also from the new book I have been reading with my book club.  Revealing God's goodness and sharing in His many blessings is such an awesome testimony to see faith at work,  and His provisions on a daily basis.

Cover of "The Good and Beautiful God: Fal...
Cover via Amazon
 In our local community book club which meets once a month,  we are taking turns to lead, share our struggles, and our doubts whilst encouraging soul training.  James Bryon Smith's The Good and Beautiful God, is bringing us all closer to knowing the goodness of Him, reflecting with some powerful but simple exercises.  These include; prayer meditation, finding time to sleep really well, counting your blessings and praising Him.  AND I am only on Chapter 2!

Having read his first book called Embracing the Love of God which was truly a huge blessing and encouragement for me when my mum died, I am enjoying the practical implications that Smith's profound wisdom bring to the table in this bible study.  If you would like to join our virtual book club and share on the ning, please follow this link and sign up.  If you are not a member of the ning please email your teacher or myself for an invite.

One of our sisters in Christ Tina,  shared this Imagodeicommunity link which includes prayerful meditations.  You can subscribe to these and have them sent as a devotion on a daily basis.


For further Christmas and learning commons news check out our new edition of our Scoopit HCS learning commons newsletter!

Blessings to you and your families this Christmas season:)
With love in Christ
From the learning commons team!
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

November it's time to Remember!

Welcome to November, cooler temperatures, falling leaves, and heartfelt Poppies commemorating our veterans.  Celebrating some themes which resonate with the fall, we invite you to enjoy some classic novels for read aloud sessions in front of the hearth.

From our November Author birthday celebrations Natalie Sing reviews authors, Elizabeth George Speare, Frances Hodgson Burnett, whilst I share on  C.S Lewis and Lucy Maud Montgomery.  

 We also encourage you to prepare your students for possible earthquakes,  with earthquake preparation materials.

Scarlet poppy with neighbors
Scarlet poppy with neighbors (Photo credit: Martin LaBar)
Remembrance Day or Veteran's day
Enjoy some lesson plans or educational resources from our weblinking library on Remembrance Day.

Earthquake Preparation Materials and Lesson plans!

Need some ideas to teach earthquake preparation in your classroom?  With the recent earthquake in BC it is wise to have an emergency plan. Some ideas may be found in our Earthquake Links. 
Thanks Ryan and Michelle for sharing some of your links!

November Birthday Authors

November 21st
Elizabeth George Speare

Cover of
Cover of The Bronze Bow
In our home we have all four of Elizabeth George Speare’s books on our shelves and they have been read multiple times. Speare lived from 1908-1994, and really knew how to write engaging, interesting and inspiring historical fiction. We have certainly enjoyed her books!
You may recognize some of her titles:

Calico Captive - is based on a true story about a young woman during the French and Indian War, who is taken by the Abenakis tribe along with the rest of her family. She is sold into slavery in Montreal and has to learn how to survive.
Witch at Blackbird Pond - about a young woman who goes to live with her aunt and uncle in a Puritan community in 1687. This book has won many awards including the honoured Newberry Prize. 
The Bronze Bow - one of our family’s all time favorite books set in the time of Jesus and the rule of the Roman empire in Judea. This is a great book with great characters that is both moving and thought provoking! A great book to read and discuss! We have it in our Overdrive E library.
Sign of the Beaver - a wonderful coming of age story about a boy who survives a winter alone with the help of the Penobscot tribe. He teaches Attean how to read and in return he learns much. A wonderful book for Grade 4 students to read themselves or as a read aloud. We have this in our Overdrive library.

November 24th
Frances Hodgson Burnett
en: Frances Burnett, part of a photograph by H...
en: Frances Burnett, part of a photograph by Herbert Rose Barraud (1845-1896). de: Frances Burnett, Teil einer Fotografie von Herbert Rose Barraud (1845-1896). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Burnett is an author whose works would now be considered classics. She was born in 1849 and died in 1924. This means that her works are available in the public domain, and can be accessed through sites including Overdrive. You can find this icon on the lower left hand corner of the website.
We also have some of these books in our Campus library - see below.

My favorite works of hers are probably her best known ones:
The Secret Garden, The Little Princess and Little Lord Fauntleroy.
The Secret Garden  - was one of my favorite books as a teen! My mother came from India to Canada and Mary Lennox traveled from India to England. The book is really about Mary finding herself, where she belongs and has a sense of family. A wonderful story with vivid passages about nature.
The Little Princess  - is about the fall from a higher class to a much lower one in England.  It is about Sara Crewe and her journey from a life of  privilege to that of a servant. She learns to cope with disappointment and humiliation and yet still remains to not be shattered! It is a story about strength,compassion and true friendship.
Finally Little Lord Fauntleroy is almost the opposite of The Little Princess in that a poor boy is thrown into riches. It is about the overcoming of obstacles and winning people’s hearts. It is about kindness and caring.

Other November authors include C.S. Lewis, and Lucy Maud Montgomery
Are you a middle or high school student who has not discovered the world of C.S  Lewis or Montgomery?  Perhaps the most renowned Christian author in the world,  Lewis's classics such as The Narnia series and The Screwtape Letters live on in our memories,  and have been immortalized visually by many a great movie classic. To find out more about this famous author check out these sites Into the Wardrobe and Wikipedia C.S Lewis.  Many of his books are available on our E Library!

Green Gables
Green Gables (Photo credit: Stephen Downes)
Lucy Maud Montgomery is probably Canada's favourite authoress!  Anne of Green Gables was my introduction to Canada, when I was still a native of South Africa.  I remember reading about her homeland,  picturing Prince Edward Island vividly in my dreams, seen from the eyes of a gregarious, red headed orphan.  To find out more about her life and books you can enjoy browsing her commemoration site L.M. Montgomery Institute or share in her official movie site Anne of Green Gables site, or the Wiki on her lifeHaving read her books and seen the movies, now all I need to do is visit Prince Edward Island to truly catch a glimpse of her spirit.  To view her heritage collection in our E library go here.

Blessings to you
From Natalie and Pippa
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Best Resources For Learning About Felix Baumgartner’s Jump From The Edge Of Space

The Best Resources For Learning About Felix Baumgartner’s Jump From The Edge Of Space

Ning = Connection=Community

Jesus washes the disciples' feet
Jesus washes the disciples' feet (Photo credit: teawithlizzie)

At one of our open learning commons meetings last year, our team brainstormed about how we could encourage community from a virtual capacity.  Spread all over the province many of our families have shared in the past that they felt disconnected from the school body.   Likewise our teens needed a safe space to gather away from the public glare of Facebook.   Something was needed to create a virtual flow of life between students, parents and teachers.  Where could our DL students play in cyberspace and develop community? 

John 13:34-35
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."

Enter the "Ning",  a private social network that was designed to bring people of similar tastes and ideas together to share in professional development or community.  We decided on "Ning", because it was fairly easy software to initiate, cheap and had very good reviews.  The bonus for our grade 8 and up teens was that finally they had a hangout place,  where they could debate, laugh, organise into groups and generally connect and encourage one another  as disciples do:) 

Our logo for our school is "discipleship based education".  If we were going to embrace "Ning" we needed to do it with wisdom and discernment.   After prayer and discussion our Learning commons team decided to stage the process that would allow people to register with the ning.  As moderators of the ning we did not want to be overwhelmed with a huge amount of email.  Everything gets cc'd to our inbox!  So we started with parents, and a few teens and slowly,  but surely the word spread that the ning was a "groovy" place to be. Our first intent was to teach social networking and we did that by showcasing one of our teachers, Ryan Johnston who gave an excellent webinar on digital citizenship. 

To share how our teens are connecting is a wonderful blessing!  As one of three moderators we check on our students, but yet have to speak into anything that has been discouraging or disturbing.  Yes our students are debating topics such as abortion, evolution, creation, bullying, and personal struggles.  Yes they might not agree with each other, but voice is being created and the fire has been lit. The ning is a place where everyone is welcomed and encouraged.  

Groups that have started!
Prayer groups, Bible study groups book clubs, teen geek squads, poetry groups, sports groups, regional groups, music and art groups, GPP (which is Grad Prep Program grade 8/9) Heart groups which are grade 10-12 groups based on region, a new fitness funatics group , and the HCOS Running group which is encouraging our students to stay fit, running clubs. 

Students and parents and teachers can create their own events and share them with RSVP details and other attachments like maps and websites.  Last year a poetry competition was proudly shared on the ning with prizes for winning students.  This year I would love to see a photography event and music event showcase our students gifts!

Media Sharing!
Much like media is shared on Google Plus and Facebook, students and adults can share photographs, create albums, share music and then also share on Twitter.

We now have about 400 participants with numbers climbing every day. Seeing our parents connecting and sharing with students is a wonderful and heartfelt blessing. 

On October 22 I will be running a Ning webinar.  If you are interested in joining please come and log on for a half hour introduction on using the ning for your purposes.  Here is the participant link:

Participant Link:  https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=7345&password=M.157B3446A4C04509CB7AFC3DEB158D

So if you have not joined the ning, send me an email and I will invite you:)  Welcome to an amazing community in Christ!  Please let us know at any time if you have any concerns.

Pippa Davies and the learning commons team.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Autumn colours!

Fall colours
Fall colours (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The dusky hues of Autumn, and the splendor of the bounty invites us to the home and hearth.  As we give thanks to Christ for all our blessings we encourage our students to do likewise:)   To capture some fun and exciting ideas to use in your fall classroom check out some of these links from Natalie and myself:

Homeschool Thanksgiving Ideas.

A-Z Homeschooling and Thanksgiving ideas.

Autumn leaves are falling unit study.

Montessori inspired Fall activities.

Fall crafts!

Fall calendar set.   Fun for kindergarten to grade 2.

Autumn Equivalent Fractions game. 

Autumn Photo Flashcard set

Autumn Brain Booster!

Autumn Boggle Game.  Perfect for middle grades.

Autumn acorn contractions.

Pumpkin Patch, compound match Autumn literary center.

 Bible crafts for Thanksgiving.

Kids Thanksgiving Bible study.

Teens bible study on Thanksgiving from Bible Planet.

Best ways to enjoy October.  Download the app and chronicle your blessings.  Ann Voskamp.   A Holy Experience.
For more links on Fall go to our seasons theme in our weblinking library.  

 Celebrating authors!!

Our favourite authors celebrated this month in the learning commons are Jan Brett and Sigmund Brouwer.  If you have not checked out these children's authors come into our learning commons and enjoy, as we have some of their books therein! Famous authors born in September include Roal Dahl, Agatha Christie, Scott Fitgerald,  our wonderful poet Shel Silverstein, and classic T.S. Elliot to name a few.  Explore literature and read a great author today!

New books in the E library!

Check out for a E Library webinar happening next Tuesday October the 9th.  Please sign into the following link below.

 Starts: Oct 09, 2012, [Tue] 03:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time
                   (You may join 30 minutes prior)

Ends: Oct 09, 2012, [Tue] 04:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time

Click here for Participant Link:

Many blessings to you this Thanksgiving weekend!

Psalm 107:1
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." (NIV)

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

What do you think it means to be literate in the 21 century?

As a teacher librarian I have seen literacy change over the years,  as the information explosion has taken place.  Our roles as teachers have changed for the better because we have so many amazing sources for gaining literacy, all of which have an important role to play.  Reading and writing from a digital and critical thinking perspective,  need to be balanced with  outdoor and social literacy,  and of course spiritual literacy is the food for our soul. 

Check out this video on the different types of literacy.  Have you made sure your teens are acquiring all forms of literacy or are you content to let the education system prescribe to you?  How do your teens find balance when so much of their literacy is technological or digitally based?  How are our teens being impacted?  Positive or negative scenarios?  Do you think certain literacy's are more important than others?  I would love to hear your thoughts?
Blessings to you

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Webinar on Overdrive our new E library

Hello Everyone,

Here is your invite to the Heritage Learning Commons E library on Overdrive  webinar:

Where  Blackboard Collaborate otherwise known as Elluminate

When   1st October 1.30pm

What is needed?  You will need to access the following link at least 15 minutes before start up:
Click here Participant Link:

You will need a working headset with microphone.
You may be prompted to download some software which may take anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes depending on your Internet connection speed. Join your meeting early if you can.
Visit the Configuration Room and use the Audio Setup Wizard before the meeting to make sure your computer's audio is configured correctly.

Handy LNBC Collaborate Links you might want to visit:
Blackboard Support Portal
Participant Orientation- this one is handy!!
Participant Guide

I look forward to seeing you online to chat about the amazing feature of e books in your home!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

10 Reasons why Library Newbies can love the Learning Commons!

Are you a "newbie" to HCOS/HCS and want to find out more about our learning commons?  Perhaps the word "learning commons" is a new Greek term to you, and you shy away from taking that first step;) 

Well to all our "newbies",  I welcome you to the learning hub of the school where students, teacher and families can get acquainted over literary and learning events. The "learning commons" term is the new buzz word in libraries.  Gone are the days of sterile corridors with unused encyclopedias,  and stern librarians peering down at you from their horn rimmed glasses!  Welcome to service with a smile, from a virtual and physical realm of literary bonanza!

Our goal this year is to make service our number one priority!  That means ensuring all of our patrons know how to access the learning commons, and find materials that match their learning needs.  We are also here to promote literacy, and provide reading events which will help your students engage in the world of books, media and other social learning.

So in a few short words here is what you will have to look forward to this coming year!!

1.  An invitation to join our E libraryThis will have been sent to you already via your teacher, along with directions to access the library on Overdrive.  This E library is different from our campus online library which has books and multi-media that can be shipped to your neighbourhood via Canpar.  At the e library you can access e books using an e reader or computer/Ipad, with a simple download, and never have to return a book to the system. 

2.  An invitation to join our campus online learning commons This invite will be sent by Shandra Wiebe our professional online librarian in Kelowna.  Discover the world of books, multi-media and kits shipped to your doorstep by our efficient Kelly Wiebe.  In our physical campus learning commons Naomi Sutherland and Sherri Funk will welcome students with great reading,  and information retrieval.

3.  An invitation to join our ning!  This social network is open to all students 13 years and older, and parents or staff who love learning in social environment.  Moderated by myself and our resourceful Natalie Sing (curriculum consultant), we connect with families and students and moderate book clubs and other such fun events like Fitness Funatics (way to meet your fitness learning outcomes).  Look out for a new book club starting soon called The Good and Beautiful God, by James Bryan Smith..

4.   An invitation to join our Flat Stanley global citizenship wiki in January.

5.  An invitation to join our school wide Read-a-Thon to run in January 2013.

6.  Invitations to join in lots of prayer groups  or poetic,  and literary events on the ning!

7.  An invitation to participate in a webinar  from; subscriptions updates,  techie tools,  research workshops and how to use the learning commons weblinking library and campus library.  If you have not checked out our Subscriptions Library see what Claire Pollok has organized for your enjoyment! Contact your teacher for your usernames and passwords.

 Webinars will be held on Blackboard Collaborate with LearnNowBC.  Check out the participant tutorial for more information!

8.  An invitation to connect with all reference staff on LibAnswers and find answers to your questions. Just look for the CONTACT US sign.

9.  Lots of monthly newsletters  keeping you updated with current awareness on new books/weblinks and themes in the learning commons.  These are forwarded to you by your contact teacher.

10. Student Book clubs and Adult book clubs.  I will be running the grade 6-8 book club, Grade 8 and 9 will also have book club in their GPP program with Kathy Kanda,  and Calvin Johnston will be running the grade 10-12 club (more information to come soon).  Adult book clubs are advertised on the ning and student book clubs via learning camp updates, as well as on the learning commons website!  This page will be updated as soon as book clubs are finalized.

Well hopefully you will have your appetite whetted for more fun things to come on our learning commons.  So stay tuned to our learning commons events calendar .....

Many blessings from the learning commons team, Natalie, Shandra, Kelly, Naomi, Sherri and myself ! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

SpongeLab- Techie Site of the Week!

Spongelab is a unique science platform for teachers and students to find and share science resources.  It contains hundreds of educational games, 3D animations (such as a new "Build a Body" simulation), and stunning scientific images--all tied together within a content management system that provides detailed analytics and reporting tools for tracking student progress.  All you need do is register (free) and get started!  Use the community area to find Spongelab related content posted on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus without leaving the site. Be sure to check out under the What's New, Explore, and Featured Content tabs.  One excellent library feature is that images available on the site include licensing information in the caption, so you can learn which images are in the public domain or Creative Commons licensed for use in your own multimedia projects! Open them, save them, and cite them to create in any multimedia tool.

Enjoy science as you start up the school year!

Pippa and the learning commons team!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New to Blogging!

Are you new to blogging?  Here is a great video on blogging ideas which may make it less scary to take that first step! From Discovery Streaming.

Top 10 sites for 2012 including Popplet!

This last week we all enjoyed some amazing Kelowna sunshine at our staff training session.  Some days it was cooking at 39 degrees, and the plebs from Vancouver had to seek the air conditioning;)  Whilst there I shared my top sites for 2012/13 on a Popplet  If you have not heard of this great mind mapping/presentation tool please take the time to check it out.  This is a great tool for students to share multi-media presentations/collages including images and video format.  The collage can be transformed into a mind map, just by connecting one link to another.  It is so user friendly that students as young as grade 1 and 2 can use!  You can also create a presentation similar to Powerpoint very quickly.  Here is my Popplet sharing my favourites for the coming year.  P.S. if you don't have time to check them all take a few minutes to look at StudyLadder and Learnin5.

StudyLadder is an amazing resource for teachers with Canadian math money, (yippeee!) several subjects including resources on literacy, numeracy, art, music, science, language arts, health, etc.  You can set up a complete class plan and give your students personalized avatars.  During lessons and activities students can earn points for their character and bonus items in their rooms and gardens.  They can even help their little pet alien grow.  Homeschoolers can register one student free, and paid homeschooling families pay $88 a year for a family of 3 students. But even if you sign in on your own you can get tons of free resources at your fingertips!

Learnin5 is your closest place to professional development with tons of videos sharing all the latest techie tools, in just five minute slots!  Love that idea:)

The last shout out it is for ReadingRewards.  (thanks Jill for sharing this with us!)  This is a great way for teachers to promote literacy in the classroom by setting up a class of their own to monitor reading and reward them in the process.  Here is what Jill has to say about the site:

"I recommend setting up a new teachers account, so that you can explore all of the ways that the groups can be used. There are Youtube video's to give you overviews.

At first I thought that I would create a group for my students, but now I think that it would be more meaningful, if there were more children, and that if the children were all of a similar reading level.
I think it would work as a school wide invitation for kids to sign up by grade level. The children are invited to write book reviews and rate their books, and a visual library appears on their account, so that their friends can also see what they have been reading.

When the children sign up, they then track their reading by minutes- an online, visual, daily, reading log. They get to choose avatars, and they earn different "stickers" after reaching predetermined minutes of reading.  The different sticker levels was motivation enough for my kids. If they saw that their cousin had achieved a certain number of minutes and new sticker then they too wanted to match that. But you can also set up rewards of any kind." 

So hopefully you will share your favourite finds with us as we start the school year!  Happy trekking on the web:)

Blessings to you
Pippa and the learning commons team.

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