Sigmund Brouwer Workshop

Rock and Roll Literacy® with Sigmund Brouwer

  • January 7, 2016
  • Times: Gr.4-7 10:00-11:00am (PT)
    Gr. 8-12 11:30am-1:00pm (PT)
  •  Place: Blackboard Virtual classroom- link will be sent to registrants following the deadline

          We are very excited to announce that Sigmund Brouwer, Canadian author and presenter of our recent Rock and Roll Literacy session is going to be sharing in a virtual writing workshop. If you are a student in grades 4-12, you are encouraged to come and join in the fun and learn how to improve your writing skills. Sigmund will have you engaged and inspired to share and write stories.

    Bestselling author Sigmund Brouwer brings his unique sense of play to the serious business of learning to read and write. Armed with music, humor and heart, he connects the dots for people who work with kids to cultivate reading and writing skills.
    Please check his website for more information:

For more information and to register: 
 Deadline December 15th

Professional Development for U.


Hi learning commons friends,

Education is constantly changing.  Are you finding it hard to keep up with new educational technology, and constant ideas and buzzwords that are floating around the education hemisphere?  Having enjoyed Gafe (Google) summit and BC ERAC conferences recently I enjoyed gleaning and learning from others!  With that in mind we have purchased some great professional development for you to discover on Overdrive e library.  Grab your coffee and come and enjoy some wonderful reads which might inspire you to try something different!

Reading in the Wild:  Donalyn Miller

In Reading in the Wild, reading expert Donalyn Miller continues the conversation that began in her bestselling book, The Book Whisperer. While The Book Whisperer revealed the secrets of getting students to love reading, Reading in the Wild, written with reading teacher Susan Kelley, describes how to truly instill lifelong “wild” reading habits in our students.

Based, in part, on survey responses from adult readers as well as students, Reading in the Wild offers solid advice and strategies on how to develop, encourage, and assess five key reading habits that cultivate a lifelong love of reading. Also included are strategies, lesson plans, management tools, and comprehensive lists of recommended books. Copublished with Editorial Projects in Education, publisher of Education Week and Teacher magazine, Reading in the Wild is packed with ideas for helping students build capacity for a lifetime of “wild” reading.

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift; Ann Voskamp

Based on the overwhelming success of The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp has expanded her presentation of the timeless Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree so families can celebrate together. Each day, families can listen to the provided Scripture passage (which connects with the original adult book), engage with a special devotion to help children of all ages understand the Advent theme for the day, and participate in suggested activities to apply the theme.

This audiobook can serve as a precious guide to help recapture the sacredness of the Advent season and help the entire family understand and celebrate the epic pageantry of humankind from Adam to the Messiah.

Tribes; Seth Godin

A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have been seeking out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads). It’s our nature.

Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. All those blogs and social networking sites are helping existing tribes get bigger. But more important, they’re enabling countless new tribes to be born—groups of ten or ten thousand or ten million who care about their iPhones, or a political campaign, or a new way to fight global warming.

And so the key question: Who is going to lead us?

The Web can do amazing things, but it can’t provide leadership. That still has to come from individuals— people just like you who have passion about something. The explosion in tribes means that anyone who wants to make a difference now has the tools at her fingertips.


One Word that will change your life! Jon Gordon

One Word explains how to simplify your life and business by focusing on just ONE WORD for the entire year. The simplicity of choosing one word makes it a catalyst for life-change. Clutter and complexity lead to procrastination and paralysis, while simplicity and focus lead to success and clarity. By celebrated authors Dan Britton, Jimmy Page, and Jon Gordon, One Word That Will Change Your Life shows you how to cut through to the core of your intention for the next year. It offers an action plan and simple process to discover your word for the year. It also explains how your one word will impact the six dimensions of your life—mental, physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, and financial.


The Montessori Method; Maria Montessori

The Montessori method is characterized by an emphasis on self-directed activity on the part of the child and clinical observation on the part of the teacher. It stresses the importance of adapting the child’s learning environment to his or her developmental level, and of the role of physical activity in absorbing abstract concepts and practical skills. The Montessori method teaches reading via phonics and whole language, the comparative benefits of which are currently being recognized.

“To all educators this book should prove most interesting. All who are fair-minded will admit the genius that shines from the pages which follow, and the remarkable suggestiveness of Dr. Montessori’s labors.” -Henry W. Holmes

We also have copies of The Absorbent Mind and The Montessori Reader.

Science as Enquiry by Jack Hassard

Their eyes light up, they ask good questions, they can explain the concept to other students, and they relate what they learn in class to what happens in the world. That’s how students respond to the project-based, cooperative-inquiry Earth, life, environmental, and physical science lessons this book fully describes. Theoretical discussion of constructivist learning introduces the detailed lessons, many of which hinge on reproducible handouts to present a puzzling scientific phenomenon for students to investigate. Grades 5-8.


Digital Leadership by Eric Sheninger

Digital leadership is a strategic mindset and set of behaviors that leverages resources to create a meaningful, transparent, and engaging school culture. It takes into account recent changes such as ubiquitous connectivity, open-source technology, mobile devices, and personalization to dramatically shift how schools have been run and structured for over a century. Leading in education becomes exponentially powerful when using technology to your advantage.

Eric Sheninger—”Principal Twitter”—shares his Pillars of Digital Leadership to help readers


  • Transform school culture by initiating sustainable change
  • Use free social media tools to improve communication, enhance public relations, and create a positive brand presence
  • Integrate digital tools into the classroom to increase student engagement and achievement
  • Facilitate professional learning and access new opportunities and resources


Let me know  if you need help getting going on our e library.






Michelle shares #Gafe Summit

Gleanings from the EdTech Summit

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 10.18.01 AM

I was fortunate to be able to attend the Kamloops EdTechTeam Global Summit featuring Google for Education conference in October. I was joined by the Learning Commons Team as well as Kathy Kanda, Heather Douglas and Shannon Beglaw.
The two day event was well attended and offered some great workshops on Google-related technology resources. All levels of tech were welcome from beginners to geeky. The speakers were Monica Isabel Martinez, Kim Randall, Michelle Armstrong, Donnie Piercey, James Sanders, William Lewis, Tracy Poelzer, and Davis Carlson. Each speaker opened our eyes to the opportunities that abounded to do with everything Google.

The virtual book called “20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web” gives a brief taste of what the conference delivered in the way of knowledge and training for educators and Google enthusiasts. The workshops on Google apps and extensions were my particular favourite.
If you haven’t already explored the Google Chrome WebStore, it offers many apps and extensions that you can add to your Chrome browser. I have included some hyperlinks to demonstrate just a smattering of what is possible with Chrome apps and extensions. To access these links you will need to download Chrome on to your computer. The links are:

*Explain and Send Screenshots : Capture a webpage, write text and arrows and share it safely
* URL Shortner : Shorten lengthy URL so that they are more managable to share
*TabJump : Ever closed a tab by accident or can’t find the right tab, this app helps manage your tabs
*WolframAlpha Search : Computational knowledge search engine
*Boomeranggmail: Lets you write your email and defer sending it
For More Info on Chrome: Chrome and Plugins

When searching online using Google Chrome you can eliminate a lot of the results that you get by using the Google search operators. These Youtube tutorials are great for students and parents to make their Google searches more efficient. The hyperlinks to each of these Youtube videos have been changed to Quietube links for your viewing pleasure.

Title: Conducting a Google Search by Color
Video Length: 6:09
Source: Google

Title: Conducting a Google Search by Image and Other Media
Video Length: 3:56
Source: Google
Title: Conducting a Google Search by Filetype
Video Length: 4:40
Source: Google
Title: Conducting a Google Search by the ‘OR’ Search Operator
Video Length: 5:04
Source: Google
Title: Finding Content within a Page using Ctrl (PC) or CMD (MAC) + F
Video Length: 7:06
Source: Google
Title: Searching Using the ‘Site:’ Operator
Video Length: 5:58
Source: Google
Monica Martinez Google site is to be found here.

Source material for this article:

Martinez, Monica. Monica’s Google Site 101. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.




New Math Literacy in Overdrive

Math and Literacy

We have added some wonderful new Math Literacy titles to Overdrive! Take a look at these titles along with all of the many other math titles that we have added over the past few years. This is a great way to augment your regular math program and bring math alive! Though most of these titles are K-3 there are a few that apply to upper elementary students.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 6.50.12 PM

Adventures in Mathopolis: Estimating and Measuring by Karen Ferrell (for ages 9-12)

Adventures in Mathopolis Series – All books in this series Elementary-level math becomes an exercise in fun when kids open this cartoon-illustrated fantasy. The story’s cast of characters includes Lostis Marbles, the mayor of Mathopolis, who loves numbers but usually gets them all mixed up . . . his assistant Trusty Dusty, who helps the mayor keep track of his math mix-ups . . . Mongrel Smith, the town’s stray dog . . . and two math superheroes, who use different methods to solve problems. The Superheroes are Elexus Estimator, who is quick at estimating volume, height, weight, and the like . . . and Maverick Measurer, who values accuracy above all else when making math calculations. A mysterious character shows up in town, and the problems he brings with him can be solved by applying math principles. The math Superheroes show young readers how—sometimes by estimating, and sometimes by making precise measurements. Students will enjoy the funny episodes as they encounter one math word problem after another. Meanwhile, they effortlessly learn to think, calculate, and come up with the right answers. The book is filled with amusing black and white illustrations.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 6.53.21 PM

Eat your Math Homework by Ann McCallum (grades K-3)

This collection of yummy recipes and fun math facts is sure to tempt taste buds and make you hungry for more. Explore patterns in nature while you chomp on Fibonacci Stack Sticks. Amaze your friends with delicious Variable Pizza Pi! Wash down your geometry assignment with some Milk and Tangram Cookies. Topics covered include probability, Fibonacci numbers, tessellations, variability, and more.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 6.54.18 PM

Grandma’s Button Box by Linda Williams Aber (grades K-3)

While Grandma was taking her morning walk, Kelly reached for Grandma’s button box. Crash! Buttons in every size, shape, and color flew everywhere! Could Kelly and her cousins have the buttons sorted and back in the button box before Grandma’s return?

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 6.55.46 PM

The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies (grades 4-8)

Fourth-grader Evan Treski is people-smart. He’s good at talking with people, even grownups. His younger sister, Jessie, on the other hand, is math-smart, but not especially good with people. So when the siblings’ lemonade stand war begins, there really is no telling who will win—or even if their fight will ever end. Brimming with savvy marketing tips for making money at any business, definitions of business terms, charts, diagrams, and even math problems, this fresh, funny, emotionally charged novel subtly explores how arguments can escalate beyond anyone’s intent. (check out the sequels to The Lemonade War on Overdrive)

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 6.58.05 PM

The Math Wiz by Betsy Duffey (grades K-3)

Does “Math Wiz” have to equal “Sports Dud”?
Marty Malone thinks no problem is too complicated for him. Then he starts third grade—and learns that being a math wiz won’t stop him from getting picked last in gym class. Kids like tom Ballan are so much better at sports that Marty will never be able to catch up. Trying harder doesn’t work. Trying to get out of gym doesn’t work. But what if Marty makes a friend in class? And what if that friend is a math wiz, too?

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 6.59.42 PM

My Half Day by Doris Fisher (grades K-3)

The wacky fun continues as a young boy awakens to find a half-head of hair. After chugging down his glass of milk that’s two-thirds gooey paste, he and his friend are off to camp for a day of fraction fun and an out-of-this world soccer game. The first two books in the series, One Odd Day and My Even Day, won a Learning Magazine’s 2008 Teachers’ Choice Award for Children’s Books. As with the series’ other books, the imaginative illustrations are sure to please young readers as they scour the pages for countless oddities hidden in the art! The “For Creative Minds” learning section includes “Fractions Around Us” and “A Special Pizza” Party activities.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 7.17.25 PM

One is a Drummer by Roseanne Thong (grades K-1)

This lively ebook shows that the world around us is filled with things to count. Three are the dim sum carts filled with yummy treats, eight are the candles on a birthday cake, and ten are the bamboo stalks growing in a garden. Many of the featured objects are Asian in origin, but all are universal in appeal. With brilliantly colored illustrations, an ear-pleasing text and an informative glossary, this truly multicultural book will make counting a fun part of every child’s day!

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 7.01.48 PM

One Minute Mysteries – 65 Short Mysteries You can Solve With Math! by Eric Yoder

These fun mysteries are each one minute long and have a unique twist—you need to tap into your mathematical wisdom to solve them.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 7.06.20 PM

A Remainder of One by Elinor J. Princzes (grade K-3)

When the queen of her bugs demands that her army march in even lines, Private Joe divides the marchers into more and more lines so that he will not be left out of the parade.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 7.08.00 PM

Sir Cumference and the Roundabout Battle by Cindy Neuschwander (grade K-3)

When Steward Edmund Rounds and Sir Cumference notice that there are strangers camped nearby, Rounds II decides to investigate despite being involved with the task of learning how to make accurate counts of the castle’s stores of food, supplies, and weaponry. When he reports back that an enemy is lying in wait, everyone moves quickly to defend the castle. But wait! Will Rounds II be able to figure out how many bows and arrows they have to create an appropriate battle plan? Using rounding techniques to figure out the totals more quickly, Rounds II is just in time to help stave off a potentially disastrous attack. (check out the other titles on Overdrive of Sir Cumference from Cindy Neuschwander as well)

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 7.09.20 PM

Toads and Tessellations by Sharon Morrisette (grades K-3)

Enzo, a bumbling young magician’s apprentice, is called upon to help the village shoemaker create twelve identical pairs of shoes from only one piece of leather. With help from his friends (and some lucky mishaps), he realizes that math, not magic, is the answer to his problems.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 7.12.05 PM

A Very Improbable Story by Edward Einhorn (grades K-3)

Ethan wakes up one morning with a talking cat on his head. The cat refuses to budge until Ethan wins a game of probability.

Reviews by Overdrive

Learning commons newsletter!

Greetings from the learning commons,

As we burrow into Fall it is good to remember our fallen men and women.  Remembrance Day is almost here, a time to appreciate and value the men and women who served our countries so well.  To discover more in regards to these and other educational resources check out our Scoopit newsletter.

Upcoming webinars!  

Natalie and Pippa are excited to share more about all things #MakerEd in our next Lunch n Learn webinar on December 3rd. To find out more about this new way of learning go to this page.

New Unit Studies available 

More physical kits have been produced to help see you through this year. To learn more about what is still available for booking go to this page here.

Math Literacy on Overdrive.  Check out this curated list of great books for your elementary students.

New Digital Citizenship Kits

Are you looking for a way to build in digital citizenship into your student’s school year?  Look no further!  Rachael our curriculum writer has shared some awesome kits for your students to improve their digital footprint.

K-3 kit.

Gr4-6 kit

Gr 7-9 kit

Events on the Ning?

Secret Santa

It’s that time of year again! For those of you that have never played this game with HCOS/NING, Secret Santa is a fun card/gift exchange. To play this game you MUST commit to sending someone a card/gift worth $5 or less. (Tim’s cards are a good idea if you don’t know what to get.)  Send me an email with your mailing address and at the beginning of December I will scramble the names and match you with another person who you will send a card/gift to. All card/gifts NEED TO be sent out by December 12 so that it reaches the recipient on time. We (HCOS/NING) are not responsible for any late or damaged card/gifts. If you want to play you are agreeing to commit to send a card/gift.  And get one if return.  Spread the word, the more people we get the more fun it is. I will stop accepting names on Nov 30th. =) Feel free to message me with any questions. My email is

Fall Photograph contest for all students happening until end of November 2015 .  Read more at this link here.  if you are not on the Ning please contact Erin at the address above.

Author in Residence Program- Sigmund Brouwer

We have really enjoyed having Sigmund Brouwer share with our students some great writing tools of the trade in his author in residence program.  We are looking forward to more sessions in January.  These sessions will be one day only events, and the learning camp will be shared soon to the learning groups website.

MakerEd Open House – Next Makered open house with Jessie in Kelowna is on November 27th.  Read more on this page

We have built up some lovely resources on Overdrive E Library for your reading interest, in regards to getting your students making.  Go to this page here for the curated listing. Make sure you are signed into Overdrive first.

Blessings from your learning commons team


Lunch n Learn webinar- MakerEd

The learning commons would like to invite you to our next Lunch n Learn workshop on December 3rd on MakerEd.  


What is MakerEd?  Watch this video to learn more about design thinking by Jen Ryan.  Here is our MakerEd page on our website for a clear definition.

Where is this session?  Blackboard LearnNowBC , virtual.

Date: 3rd December 2015

Who can attend?  Parents, staff, students.

Time:  12- 1pm lunch time.  Grab your sandwich and come and share your thoughts with us.

Link to join the classroom on the day:

Please register using this Poll to let us know if you can attend the workshop.

Participant Resources for Blackboard virtual classroom.

Unit Studies Available!

Good news! We have added extra copies of some of the popular unit studies! After taking stock of units and their availability, here is a list of physical unit studies that are still available to book during this school year. To book, just log in to L4U, search for the title and place a booking (see information on booking here.)

Physical Education Unit Study – all grades
Oceans and Aquatic Animals – grades K-3

Animals Unit Study
Families & Neighbourhoods Unit Study
Forces Unit Study
Plants Unit Study
Spring Nature Study
Creation, the Flood & Dinosaurs Unit Study

Grade 2
Discovering Communities Unit Study
Canadian Geography Unit Study
Solids, Liquids, & Gases Unit Study

Grade 3
Canadian Geography Unit Study
Discovering Communities Unit Study
Solar Systems Unit Study

Grade 4
Canada’s Aboriginals Unit Study
Explorers Unit Study
Habitats Unit Study
Light & Sound Unit Study
Weather Unit Study

Grade 5
Canadian Railway, Underground Railway Unit Study
Discovering Canada’s Government Unit Study
The Fur Trade Unit Study
Gold Rush Unit Study
Human Body Unit Study
Immigration and Settlement Unit Study
Natural Resources Unit Study
Simple Machines Unit Study

Grade 6

Afghanistan Unit Study
Electricity Unit Study
Extreme Environments Unit Study
Microscopy Unit Study

Grade 7

Ancient Egypt Unit Study
Ancient Greece Unit Study
Ancient Mesopotamia Unit Study
Ancient Rome Unit Study
Chemistry Unit Study
Ecosystems Unit Study
Earth Science Unit Study
Participating in Canada’s Gov’t. Unit Study

Grade 8
Life in the Middle Ages Unit Study
Empires of the Middle Ages Unit Study
Water Systems on the Earth Unit Study
Grade 8 Math Unit Study Shape and Space

Grade 9
Reproduction Unit Study Guide
Atoms, Elements and Compounds Unit Study
Characteristics of Electricity Unit Study

Are you Moving?

Did you know that when you move, you need to contact the Learning Commons as well as the HCOS Office?  Our systems are not connected, so we do not receive updates when a family moves or if an email changes.  If we don’t receive the updated address information, packages are sent to old address where they might be left, (and lost!). This means your package will not arrive on time for you and can lead to issues with having it returned to us.  The shipment is also counted as part of  your free allotments and any lost items would be charged to your account.

Please be sure to update the Learning Commons with new address information! Email Kelly at or Shandra at

Thank you so much!

The Learning Commons Team


More than ten books to make your students WONDER!

This past week I have been poring over some amazing books that we purchased for our physical commons, many of which will also be available on Overdrive!  These books mostly Canadian will invite wonder, encourage imagination and allow your students to start making and creating, and learning more about God’s diverse world.  They will also work really well to fit into our new learning outcomes 2016/17.

Elementary school

An Inuksuk means Welcome by Mary Wallace.  A central image in the Inuit culture is the inuksuk which frames this lovely book in an acrostic.  Readers will learn seven words from the Inuktiat language as they spell out Inuksuk.  The richly textured paintings will have you in awe! K-3

Good Morning Canada by Andrea Lynn Beck.This book invites students to reflect on their beautiful country with gorgeous illustrations and multicultural symbolism. Gr 1-3

Journey by Aaron Becker.  This luminous colourful book brings flights of fancy to any young reader.  As students journey through this book they will encounter their own amazing adventure as the book does not have any text.   Gr K-4.

The Legend of the Beavers Tail by Stephanie Shaw.  This lovely story encompasses the message “pride goeth before the fall” as Beaver learns that bragging does not beget friends. Gr 1-3

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires.  This beautifully illustrated book is a wonderful story about the art of making, the process of project based learning and how growth mindset is so integral in the early years.  I read this one with my reading buddies and they were all happy to go and MAKE something. Gr 1-5

Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beatty.  This engaging picture book tells the story of Rosie who dreams of being an engineer.  Rosie constructs inventions from odds and ends and afraid of failure hides them away.  But a visit from a great aunt shows Rosie that she does not need to fear failure.  K-4

The Elders are Watching by David Bouchard and Roy Henry Vickers.  This beautiful book created to enhance the natural beauty of our land and waters, brings a plea to respect the natural treasures we have been blessed with in British Columbia.  Gr 5-7 and High school.

Pirate, Viking and Scientist by Jared Chapman.  This inter-disciplinary picture book teaches science concepts in an engaging story as Pirate learns some fun terminology, creates a hypothesis and observes his experiment. Gr K-2.

Middle School

Fatty Legs and sequel A Stranger at Home  by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton.  These chapter books deal sensitively with the topic of residential schools and social justice.  Both of these books inspire great conversation in the classroom, and are based on true life. Gr 4-9.

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson and David Shannon.  The true story of Hiawatha with enclosed CD sharing music by Robbie Robertson.  The journey of Hiawatha as he moves towards peace is brought to life with stunning oil paintings and lots of details.  With Hiawatha and the Peacemaker young people can as Robertson said learn about the real Hiawatha.  And given that Robertson includes the fact the Peacemaker had a speech impediment, I think people within the special needs community will find this book an invaluable addition to their shelves.



Popular High School Reads

Overdrive surveyed students to see what was popular reading matter for high school.  Here is the list!  Most of these books are to be found on our Overdrive e library website!  If you have not been able to access please contact Pippa Davies.

The Book Thief

A Raisin in the Sun

The Namesake

Animal Farm

The Giver


A Long Walk to Water

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Inside Out and Back Again

Number the Stars

Here are a few more high school classics we have on Overdrive.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,536 other followers