Favourite Language Arts Links

Monday, November 18, 2013

Social Media and Parental Presence

facebook (Photo credit: sitmonkeysupreme)

This past week I  watched a very sad indictment of the "Sextortion of Amanda Todd" being aired on CBC The Fifth Estate, to commemorate the anniversary of Amanda's death.  I was horrified to hear how twelve and thirteen year old teens are sharing lewd images of themselves on group blogging and webcam sites.  I was even more than horrified to see how online predators could take advantage of such students,  and blackmail them into sharing more revealing images.  This tragedy exemplifies some insidious dangers inherent with image sharing sites,  such as SnapChat and Instagram, and with private chat rooms.   Media literacy is not the topic on display, and images provoke more than just fear, or isolation, they can provoke students to suicide.

This brought to mind many ways as parents we need to be involved in our students' "online time"?

You will often hear students saying that the time they spend alone on their computers is private and they have the "rights" to not share their online behaviour.  Not only are cases of cyber bullying on the increase,  many are not being reported for fear of reprisal.  Often the RCMP cannot respond to complaints in time,  due to the nature of time sensitive issues regarding the Internet.

So what can we as parents/teachers do in this situation?

  • Help our students gain awareness of maintaining appropriate digital citizenship, about creating a digital footprint, empowering them with rules and behaviour for fostering online friends.
  • Consider and decide how your family may choose to monitor online and offline conversations.  Teens are often awake late into the night when lights go out. 
  • Encourage loving relationship with your developing teen,  that includes lots of openness to discuss all kinds of  topics.
  • Discuss and encourage safe digital citizenship such as those found in moderated sites like our school Ning.
  • Discuss and apply safe strategies around online activities in group Skype/webcam/google hangout chats if there are no moderators. 
  • Discuss why there are age restrictions set by social media sites.  As a parent you know your child's emotional maturity and ability to communicate responsibly.  You may choose to wait until your student is 13 or older before establishing a social network profile.
  • Pray for your students to imbibe wisdom in relationship, and in sharing personal information and healthy self esteem.
My prayer is that as a community we can be accountable for all of our students, and that together we can partner with you as parents to help keep our students safe.

For information on sites which can help you deal with bullying and preventative education go here.  To watch a great powerpoint with good discussion topics go here
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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Digibraians Unite!

Gone are the days when librarians enjoyed the tight lipped, over controlled persona,  where students and parents feared your presence and eagle eye!

In the quiet dungeon of such library tombs the sound of the date stamp as it thundered onto your book was quite frightening!  Worse than that, losing a book was a life sentence!


Welcome to the age of the "Digibrarian" where literacy is not limited to taking out a hard cover book and returning it on said due date.  Instead the role of teacher librarian, media specialist, or as we now call it "Digibrarian",  has taken the bull by the horns and entered the twenty first century leading the literacy highway.

Digital literacy may encompass many skills which require superb multi-tasking, from : financial literacy; reading literacy; physical literacy; ed tech literacy; art and music literacy; project based learning and inquiry learning.  The list goes on…. and the "Digibrarian" rises to the fore with new and wonderful #makerspaces!  To see all the #libraryawesomeness check out this  infographic!

In our learning commons Digibrarians  may be found:
  •  creating techie tools/bibliographies for patrons, 
  • sharing the joy of  e books, audio books, 
  • creating presentations on digital citizenship,  and social media, 
  • creating havens like Ning to encourage students to learn about social media and digital citizenship
  • helping students refine the research process using tools that fit their learning style  
  • creating a myriad of techie and literacy events to highlight and promote the learning commons.  
  • reading and role modelling literacy  
  • supporting a nurturing and welcoming space for all students 
  • shipping materials to patrons all over the province and beyond
  • writing and editing resources for patrons in the form of kits and supplements.
  • Correlating curriculum.
  • blogging and creating websites 
  • teaching how to use academic databases and Google
  • curating on different media outlets and sharing to social media
  • leading  

 To help Google; curators of the Internet otherwise known as Digibrarians are here to save the Day!

Digibrarian Hero!
Please add all the extra missions you do as a "Digibrarian"?  I am sure I have left out a ton!

Josh Garrels - Pilot Me (from "The Sea In Between")

My new best inspiration of the week.  I absolutely love this song.  Morning worship wake up and shine! Thanks Kevin Gourley for sharing on our music polling competition on the Ning. Thanks Josh Garrels and Pilot Me.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Increasing literacy with your E or Audio books!

Never has literacy been so immediate and gratifying!  Never has an iPad, Sony, Nexus e reader or even your laptop seemed so inviting!!  Oh wonders to have the blessings of e reading/listening at your fingertips.  So the purpose of this post (as you may have realized) is to encourage you to try out some of our audio books;)  Now you might say well isn't that a bit like cheating?  Horrors!!  Reading and/or listening critically to the content, and then making connections with the heart, is the reason we enjoy books.

If you have not enjoyed the advantages of audio books, here are a few reasons why you need to partake...

  • Audiobooks can take students to the next reading level, introducing advanced vocabulary, whilst modelling higher level reading.  Statistics have shown that students who listen to more advanced literature will have an improved vocabulary as a result, and will recognize the words on the page faster if they have heard it before.
  • They may introduce new genres, and help Dyslexic students understand the nuance of humour.
  • They may help students understand in-congruencies in dialects/language like works on Shakespeare.
  • Provide a space for multi-age students and family to bond together over the joy of reading classics like Charlotte's Web, or Oliver Twist.
  • Audiobooks provide a bridge not only for struggling readers, but also for gifted readers. 
  • Audiobooks are a wonderful tool for listening pleasure in the car, on the way to a soccer game, or on a family holiday.
So please check out some of these amazing audio books on our e library with HCS E learning commons. We will even loan you an e reader.  If you don't know how to access e books in our e library please contact me and I will lead you to the best pickings!  Blessings on your reading/listening journey!

Here are a few of my favourites taken from our e library,  (images derived from HCS Overdrive library):

    Click here to view Audiobook details for Stuart Little by E.B. White
    Click here to view Audiobook details for Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. MilneClick here to view Audiobook details for How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  • Click here to view Audiobook details for The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
  • Click here to view Audiobook details for The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Art for the analytics!

After watching this video I have a much better understanding about the purpose of art history!  Who knew that so many deductive skills were involved in creating an art story.  For more on this site check this link.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summer Reads

Summer has brought sunshine and more sunshine,  awesome family time, and the opportunity for reading and quiet contemplation.  What a blessing!  Thank you God for Overdrive and e libraries which make reading accessible and simple!

 I  enjoy leadership books, biographies, and fiction,  which may inspire my thinking for the new school year.  Generally I love a book with a good message, as it leaves me reflecting about where I can improve in small and big things.

This summer I have really enjoyed some of the following books:

Square Peg by Todd Rose (amazing biography about a gifted student who falls through the cracks to rise again!)

Wild by Cheryl Strayed (After doing my camino I am hooked on hiking/travel stories that imbibe adventure and survival.  This one was all about the strength of the human spirit)

Living in the Abundance of God by John Osteen (Great reminders about living from a narrative of gratitude and counting your blessings)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (poignant story of an elderly gent who goes on his own primitive camino in England to search his soul and find forgiveness)

The Good and Beautiful Life :  Putting on the Character of Christ by James Bryan Smith.  I really enjoyed his first book The Good and Beautiful God, which we used as a bible study and found much joy in refuting some of the baggage we have learned over the years.  I love the soul training and biblical messages the book imparts on your mind and heart.  Having an open heart as to why we may get angry, lust, worry and judge are all part of this great read!

Great By Choice by Jim Collins (Inspiring read on how simple folk who work hard, and create a lasting plan will sustain in a competitive environment,  even one that is chaotic!)

The Power of Many by Meg Whitman CEO of E Bay.   (Loved this book as the common elements in her version of leadership are trust, authenticity and good ethics) 

Linchpin by Seth Godin (Just started reading this one!)

What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell (Just started reading this one, but I love his books!)

As I plan for my year ahead I will hopefully remember many of these great leaders' thoughts and anecdotes.  Thoughtfulness, innovation, hard work, connecting in a trusting environment,  and how to validate my colleagues will be playing on my mind;)  What about you?  Have you read any great books this summer?  I would love to glean some good reads from you! 

Many blessings for a wonderful start to the school year in September!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Zibiri to Pamploma!

We were psyched to get going on this 26.5 km stretch,  which would take us to one of the most historic cities in Spain,  and also one of the oldest and prettiest! It is also known for the running of the bulls!

My feet were a little sore this morning and I had to wrap a blister that had formed,  but other than that we were good to go after a good night's sleep in our private Albergie!  We had enjoyed a wonderful evening, and met some interesting French, Dutch and American folk.  I had learned some new words in Spanish and used some of my rusty French!  We teamed up with a friend from Arizona called Jean who was walking on his own, and started our day in sunshine and cool, crisp,  mountain air.  On the way we encountered fragrant Lilac trees, cows and horses in pastures, and on the last stretch some road walking which was not too great for the blisters!  I was envious that my buddy Nic had no foot problems,  although her hips had given her a little problem the day before on the descent.

On entering Arre we stopped for a cafe con leche and rested our weary feet before making the last 7 kms into Pamplona.  We had plans to stay at a German Albergie,  but to our dismay it was fully booked,  and after a detour we made our way up to the fortress where the old section of Pamplona beckoned the weary travelers.  Finally at 4 pm we found the municipal Albergie where we could rest amidst what seemed to be hundreds of other pilgrims!  Note to self "Do not stay in such large municipal Albergies!"  Twenty six kilometers of walking had us extremely hungry.  We settled for a walk around the beautiful town resplendent with neo-classical architecture, and then a Cerveza and pilgrim menu to restore some sanity!

Lovely paved roads winding down into the city!

Only 13 more Kms to the outskirts of Pamplona or Arre!

Beautiful homes along the way!

Still chilly but sunny!  A most perfect day to walk!

Pit stop for Pizza or Tapanade!

Pilgrim Jean from Arizona.

Rolling green hills everywhere!

Outskirts of Pamplona entering Arre.

Praying for a cafe con leche!

The Palacio Uranga in Burlada, possibly with some design influence by the Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudí.

Town hall and plaza!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Camino in 2 weeks!

After a glorious two weeks in northern Spain walking parts of the Camino De Santiago,  I am home resting my weary feet,  and appreciating my comfortable bed and family.  It was hard leaving beautiful Spain and the memories created with my friend Nic, but I hope these images will tell their own story, one shared by many other pilgrims who complete the 850 km pilgrimage, from the Pyrenees in France to the coastline of Spain.  This trip was something I had wanted to do ever since turning 50, and although I did not have enough time to complete all 850 km's, the blessings and spiritual journey along the way were profound!  Please note I used my iPhone 5 camera,  so the pictures were not perfect, but it sure came in handy for internet, and easy access along the way. 

The immense beauty of mountains, rivers, villages, churches and community along the way, builds to an intensity at the end point of Compostela de Santiago, where all pilgrims complete their journey and receive their certificate if they have walked the official last 100 kms.  Pilgrims from all over the world then attend mass in the stunning cathedral/basilica in Compostela, and if they are lucky will experience the spiritual blessing of the Botaparfumerie

Our journey began in Vancouver via London, Barcelona, and then on to Roncesvalles in the foothills of the Pyrenees.    Neither my buddy Nic nor myself had done any hard training for this walk, but we did meet once a week for a longer walk to get our legs and backs stronger whilst carrying a backpack.  We had no idea that we had packed too much for our journey,  and discovered all too quickly that walking with over 20 pounds was way too much!  As you can see in the beginning we had huge backpacks! 

Arriving in Barcelona we were overwhelmed at the beautiful architecture,  and radial symmetry in the city which seemed to ensconce old and new in a wonderful sublime reality.  Community thrives at the heart of each city, town and village,  as cars are rejected for pedestrian walkways and plazas,  and families meet to drink cafe con leche, and catch up on the day's events.

After a day's sightseeing we caught the train to Pamplona, and met our first pilgrims en route to Roncesvalles by taxi.  We were so excited to get started,  but there was a lot to take in in the small town and monastery of Roncesvallez.  We were to experience our first Alberghie, our first mass in the cathedral,  and enjoy hospitality in the first pilgrim restaurant along the way.  Our first night I was transported back to my youth with hostels, sharing bunk beds, and friendship with strangers, all unified by a common cause- a pilgrimage across Spain started by the apostle Mark from the Bible.

 I would become immune to sleep deprivation, weary limbs, and outdoor temperatures as the way beckoned me to explore deep within.  At that first mass I experienced God saying being still and take in all that you observe, including the blessings,  and you will start to understand your Camino.  The next morning I learned my first lesson about being observant, when I fell straight from the patio onto the ground before I even started my walk.  Nic and I both had a good laugh at my splattered body on the ground and then it was onwards to start our trail.  We were to look for the yellow Jacobian
signs that would become our beacons to lead us along the way. 

Pilgrim signs.
Arriving in Zubiri that first day our bodies were exhausted,  and our backs sore as we contemplated how to lose that extra weight.  Out went any incidentals like makeup, ablutions, spare clothing,

and finally we could walk without strain.  Vanity and extra clothes were not required on the way.  I would live in two sets of clothing and enjoy the simplicity.  The Leki poles really came in handy for stabilizing our weight.

The natural and man made beauty of old Roman bridges, churches, cobbled roads and pilgrim sights including the comedic Stop sign kept us motivated as we examined the reasons we were doing this trip.  I was hoping to hear stories and see some of the blessings I had read about in Paul Coelho's book  The Pilgrimage,  and in the movie The Way.  I knew this was a lot to ask when only doing a small section of the trail.  Yet we were already hearing encouraging and moving stories from other pilgrims, as we sat around the communal tables at dinner, and enjoyed our pilgrim menu.  I was meeting people from all over the world, and loving the camaraderie so quickly established.  It did not matter which denomination you represented.   Everyone was identified by their pilgrim shell and common goal; to reach Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of St James were buried in the Basilica

Zubiri to Pamplona will be shared next week.  Thanks for reading my journey.  God bless you!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Planning on Walking the Camino!

With great trepidation and excitement,  my friend Nic and I start our shortened version of the Camino de Santiago today in Spain.  Spring has really welcomed Vancouver this week with gorgeous sunshine, but I cannot wait to see the foothills of the Pyrenees in Spain,  where we start our journey in Roncesvalles.

My hubby John is the hiking expert, owning a mountaineering store, in Surrey BC , so as you can imagine I did not have far to go for my supplies.  Here is a short packing list we have devised, with his loving care!

  • Sleeping bag and insert camping sheet
  • Backpack 30 l.  Osprey.
  • Leki walking poles.
  • Pillow case (stuff with vest)
  • Hiking Boots.  Love my Teva's.
  • Flip flops for evenings.
  • Runners in case of blisters.
  • Med kit- including blister kit, Melatonin, Ibuprofen (lots of aches and pains), Facial wipes (lots as can double on the walk for emergency situations;), sterile wipes, small tube antibiotic ointment.
  • Ablutions- comb, sun screen, camping soap x2, small bottles for shampoo and conditioner, sample size toothpaste and toothbrush. Snik lip balm.
  • Cutlery- small camping bottle, plastic spoon and knife to eat along the way.  Swiss army knife with all the little attachments one needs.  
  • Compass, pedometer, tiny notebook/pen, dictionary app on Iphone, plus charger and adaptor for Europe.  Cell phone plan.  Google Translate app or small dictionary.
  • Wicker based clothing made from Bamboo- one long sheet and one short sleeve shirt.  Two Lululemon shirts (built in bra).  Short shorts and longer cut off shorts easy dry and one long sleeve easy dry shirt to keep sun off arms.  Fleece sweater and vest,  and goretex raincoat, rainpants and wide brim hat. Leggings for wearing underneath rain pants if cold.
  • Two changes of underwear.  Oh No!
  • Three pairs of hiking socks- one thin, two thick.
  • Compression bags to squish all resources into tiny balls.
  • Waterproof inserts to protect objects in backpack if rains.
  • Tatonka money belt to carry cash/wallet underneath shirt.
  • Water sac to attach to backpack. Ultima Replenisher for hydration.
  • Sunglasses and a good book to read.  Of course!
  • Prayers!!
I will try and keep you updated along the journey!=)
Until then Buen Camino!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Learning to balance Digital Citizenship, Research and Publishing!

To protect or not protect our students from the net, that is the question?  Does censorship,  or  continuing education work?  I believe that the more we help guide our students online, the more likely they will,  by osmosis,  become excellent purveyors of online content, and creators of their own digital identity.  They will learn to value what is true, worthy, current and reliable online!

At what age does critical thinking begin; when do we as parents, or teachers help our students learn the critical thinking that goes with the territory of being online in the 21 century?  We used to think that around 11/ 12 years of age was the age of logic according to educational theorists like Piaget.  However university professors can attest to the fact, that many graduate students still do not understand Bloom's taxonomy of higher level thinking when publishing their first hypothesis.  So how do we expect children as young as six to assimilate, adapt and formulate their own opinions on what they are reading online?   We see toddlers consuming content already on iPads, and we know the research shows that reading digital content is all part of improving literacy skills at younger ages, but again where are the parameters?

Here are some suggestions to help your students incorporate critical thinking skills, and be able to learn  how to evaluate online:
  •  Parents need to be involved in providing guidelines for their  students,  with tools to help them assimilate content using computer filters, curation, and organizational apps to help collect websites that pertain to education and their interests.  (Bookmarking tools such as Symbaloo, Mentor Mob, Scoopit, Diigo, and RSS feeds, or apps like Flipboard, are all excellent ideas for helping your students traverse the net and share with others).  But for younger students, starting with resources like Commonsense Media, or Media Smarts, and our HCOS linking library to help find quality authoritative resources, are also useful.  Remember those great,  child friendly search engines too, like SweetSearch and Google SafeSearch for Kids.  Set guidelines for Internet time that are appropriate for your family's needs and balance.  Teach digital citizenship lessons using online games for younger students,  and for high school students encourage the creation of a digital dossier!  
  • Once your students are old enough to enjoy more time online provide some critical thinking lessons.   Project based learning will help create an environment to substantiate the kind of cognitive concepts you want to see in place,  to ensure your students can gravitate towards aggregating data online.  Teach your students to research projects that relate to their passions and interests, which in turn will lead to engaging discoveries!  
  • Teach your students about brainstorming a topic using keywords.  Discover lessons that help with keyword search in Google Lesson plans.  Create  topics which  include basic questions that include what, when and where, as well as more open ended questions,  why, and how?   
  • Assess their work based on how they went about the research process, as opposed to the content they listed, copied or shared.  Give good marks for a qualitative bibliography, where students have researched links from wiki's or other references from websites.  Share tools like Bib me  to make their bibliography stress free!  Make sure students have gone beyond Google to find their sites, using educational indexes, following links, wiki's and academic databases like Ebscohost.  Applaud if they have used different means for sharing their projects like video, podcasting, animation, virtual worlds,  infographics or blogs.  All of these online tools teach 21 century skills, and help students create a digital identity which is true to their learning style, and can be collated from Kindergarten through graduation as a reflective tool for online learning and also for a life long digital portfolio!
  • Help your high school student create their own blog to share their academic authority or hobbies, and if you have a younger student teach them how it blog on moderated sites like Kidblog
  • But most important before your student has been give the freedom to explore the net on their own, expand on how to evaluate a website.  Kathy Shrock's website has a plethora of lesson plans for you to share with your students on web evaluation.   Teach copyright and creative commons to your students if they are already publishing.  This should be all part and parcel of a middle school journey into becoming an educated, and discerning producer of content.

Once your student understands how to evaluate websites, blogs and infographics, they will be more critically attuned to sharing a digital identity, understand how to assess their own presentations, and be safer online for life.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Engaging Students in the Learning Commons

For those of you who missed my presentation at the recent #edtechbc conference here is my SlideShare presentation.  If you would like notes please contact me and I will share with you.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Takeaways #edtechbc

HappyValentines day to you all!

This weekend several of our HCS team descended on Vancouver to the Coast Plaza hotel to enjoy the start of the #edtechbc conference,  all things techie and distance learning.  It was great to commune with other digital leaders and hear their stories and glean from them.  Here are some of my takeaways!

Social media continues to drive  all learning, which is relevant to our students' 21 century needs.  Encouraging our students to become creators, and producers as opposed to consumers was the name of the game.  Follow our keynote Bradley Shende @b_radley to catch up on all things technology.  His motto is "I Click".  

The ministry gave us a heads up that the learning outcomes will be changing in the next year or two to reflect the 21 century challenges!

Digital citizenship is still on the top agenda for students to create their own digital archive of learning to take with them into adulthood.  Another reason to blog ℅ George Couros our second keynote.  Follow him on Twitter @gcouros.

Researching tools, new on the net,  and teaching students how to evaluate online was also discussion worthy!  

Blackboard Collaborate is working on resolving issues that have caused some issues lately in the virtual classroom.

Gord Holden, April Mcleod, Richard Bitgood, Greg Bitgood,  and myself shared on all things techie and wonderful happening in our school!  I made sure to do a shout out for all things Ning, E Books, research, blogging and social interaction in our learning commons.  There was lots of great feedback and discussion about new trends and old trends in education, and how we are keeping abreast of changes.

To catch up on some of the story in tweet language read my Storify.

If you need some updating in your ed tech language check our this great infographic to see if you are on top of all things ed techie!

Blessings to you:)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Do you need a Pep Talk?

This video was share in a learning commons workshop I have been attending.  Great encouragement from a young tyke about community and loving our neighbours. Go Kid President!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Read-A-Thon 2013 and 10 reasons for E Readers!

Read-a-thon 2013 has started this week at HCS Learning Commons,  with many excited students making literacy goals, and searching for  books which will keep them engaged!  Character trait is the theme this year, and we encourage our students to write at least one book review to share more about their favourite or least favourite character!  It is not to late to sign up.  Just go to this page here for more information.  We look forward to seeing your students participate and get excited about reading!

If you have not discovered our E Library now is the time to teach your students how to read an e book on an e reader.  We have several e readers for loan from our library in Kelowna, the Kobo ( just does e reading) and the Sony (has audio and e reading capability).  To find out more how to use the e library contact Pippa,  and she will walk you through the process.

Here are some of the positive stats around e readers and younger students!

1.  You can enlarge the font for students who struggle with tracking the words.  (Thanks Heather for sharing your experience)

2.  The Kobo has a build in dictionary, that lets you highlight and find definitions for tricky words.

3.  Research shows that E readers engage students, especially those students who need a motivational push to get them reading.  http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2012/10/23/YOUNGER-AMERICANS-READING-AND-LIBRARY-HABITS/

4.  E Books can also be read on computers,  and cell phones have become a very popular way to be read.

5.  61% of E Book readers prefer to borrow books from a library according to the PewInternet study.

6.  E books tend to make the process of loaning a book from a library much faster, and does not require a trip to the library.

7.  Borrowing an E Book is easy, once you are a registered user, and know how to use your e reader.

8.  Interactive E Books like the books coming out from Living Books via Broderbond are perfect for students who need to engage, and  manipulate more with a book, although the literacy engagement for students in general,  is to be found more with traditional E books.

9.  The Kobo Glo has a built in light similar to the elluminated iPad, but less intrusive on the eye.

10.  The Kobo and Sony e readers are light and easy to hold in one hand.

Enjoy the read-a-thon, and a new reading experience.

Many Blessings
Pippa and the learning commons team.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Reading Readiness Sites

As a reading facilitator I love websites that will help parents reach out to their kids,  and provide the links or tools that are necessary to progress to the next step in reading.  Having run an ALA Ready to Read program when I worked in the public library,  I loved the tools I could offer parents who needed advice along the way.  Here are some great websites to help you and your young ones move along the wonderful road towards literacy.  When your student learns to read celebrate in style, because it is an amazing and proud moment for your little one!  Thank God for books and the joy of reading!

Get Ready to Read. has screening tools, transitional tools into Kindergarten, skill building activities, and early childhood basics.

Get set 4 K  from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has reading readiness skills, activities, and monthly activities perfect for homeschooling mums wanting some more ideas.

Reading is Fundamental has some very creative games for babies, toddlers and pre schoolers to learn how to read and rhyme.

The Early Childhood Education Network for reinforcement of alphabetical skills.

Toronto Public Library Kidspace.  Pre reading activities to get your young ones on the road to reading.

Starfall One of my favourites for teaching phonics to young uns!

Reading Eggs for students grade k-6.  Thanks Jenn!

RAZ subscription.  If you have not used this be sure to try it out!

Digital storytelling tools for students who like sharing their stories digitally!

Blessings to you

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Goals 2013

2013 awaits with anticipation to see what youthful inspiration and educational phenomena will bless our schools.    We know that technological advancement is turbo charged, and we can only hang on by the edge of our seats to stay in control;) Thankfully we have our almighty God who gives vision and helps steer our ship.

As our learning commons moves to a new setting in the form of a Wordpress 3 blog and website, hcslearningcommons.org we are  optimistic that the vision set forth in Building a New Learning Commons will continue to thrive in its new home?  Discipleship is still first and foremost the goal of our learning commons, and with that in mind here are our goals for our students in 2013.

 Literacy!  Our goal for each and every student in HCS Schools, is that literacy in the many forms of digital, and non- digital media will be easily assimilated and transferred to learning that is relevant to the 21st century.  Find all things literary under our new Literacy Centre, including the Read-A-Thon, with a Character Trait theme this January. Join our new E library and discover a world of e books chosen specifically for your perusal based on your requests.  Discover our learning commons kits and make learning outcomes stress free!  Or check out our books and media library at the campus school/online learning commons, and have materials shipped right to your front door, via Canpar and our superb learning commons team Shandra, Kelly and Jessie.  Our Knowledge Building Centre is enhanced by our HCS Weblinking Library , which covers research related links on numerous subjects for your students' perusal. Our Subscription library has 21 century learning right at your fingertips with some authoritative databases.  Content curation is covered extensively by Pippa and Natalie,  who scour the web daily for your research related queries, on Scoopit and also via LibAnswers.

2.  Collaboration Our goal for each and every student will be to invite collaboration and participation in the learning commons ning!  It is our belief that each student who is fully engaged in learning which is personal and unique to their passions, will feel led to engage more fully with their peers and teachers.  Students will also be able to connect with their fellow classmates, pray for each other and problem solve together.

3.  Build Creatively and with Innovation!  Our goal is to invite deeper learning, in the Experiential Building Centre which will encourage building and problem solving along the lines of our teen geek squad and their technological gifts, or the Flat Stanley community, or the Digital Photography competition that is happening right now on our ning, and a poetry and writing competition in the spring.  Last year some of our students enjoyed critical acclaim for their digital animation skills,  and this year we look forward again to seeing their creations.  We invite all of our teen students to share their gifts on the ning.

 Research and Think Deeply, as a Digital Citizen!  Our goal is to teach and encourage digital citizenship, research skills, problem based learning and privacy aspects of being online, with mobile technology and social networks.   Our prayer is that we can engage in our chat room on the ning, share webinars on networking, and creating a personal learning network with our students,  whilst sharing how to be astute and discerning citizens online in our Reference Centre on our new website.  This term we have had Micah Penner join us as one of teen geek squad leaders to share in Blackboard Collaborate classrooms, how to make video trailers, and stop motion videos.  We look forward to more this new year.  In return we hope our students will teach us something on the technical aspects of being digital learners:)  We invite all of our staff to join us in this directive.

I look forward to hearing how your students are growing as unique, digital citizens in our blended learning commons, and I look forward to gleaning from you in the new year.  Many blessings from our team