Favourite Language Arts Links

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