Changing it UP for Spring on Overdrive!

Overdrive is happening with new curated picture books for all ages!

Just in time for Spring we have some amazing Inquiry style picture books, and Doring Kindersley books to get students wondering about our amazing creation and growth mindset.  Check out whats new on a regular basis on Overdrive by signing in and scrolling down to the Newest Additions tab on the home page.

Are you looking for ideas regarding Spring?  Look no further as we have curated a collection for you called Calendar/Seasonal/Spring under the Collections Tab!

Elementary School

The Bee Book by Charlotte Milner.  Doring Kindersley Publications.

Its almost time to explore the secret world of bees not only outside but in this picture book: how they live, how they work, how they support each other and their hive.

DK’s The Bee Book is a wonderful introduction to the humble honeybee: nature’s hardest worker, and much more than just a provider of honey! Bees are incredibly industrious, brilliant at building, super social, and-most importantly-responsible for a third of every mouthful of food you eat! Find out how bees talk to one another, what it takes to become a queen bee, what the life of a worker bee is like, and more. The contents include bee anatomy, types of bee, hives, colonies, pollination, making honey, and more. Discover just how much they matter, why they are declining, and what you can do to help!

Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner

In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing. These and many other secrets are waiting to be discovered…over and under the pond.

Iggy Peck’s Book for Amazing Architects by Andrea Beatty

Creativity meets curiosity and critical thinking in Iggy Peck’s Big Project Book for Amazing Architects, the new hands-on STEM project book from the #1 New York Times bestselling team behind Iggy Peck, ArchitectRosie Revere, Engineer; and Ada Twist, Scientist.

Iggy Peck has one passion: building. His parents are proud of his fabulous creations, though they’re sometimes surprised by his materials—who could forget the tower he built of dirty diapers? This empowering workbook book features art and the characters from the picture book Iggy Peck, Architect, and it will inspire young readers with activities of all kinds.

Iggy Peck takes readers through more than forty exciting STEM and design projects, from drafting and doodling to building and blueprints. Aspiring architects and young dreamers will get a sense of the unique mix of science, technology, and art skills used to create lasting structures. Packed with the same quirky humor and gorgeous illustrations that made Iggy Peck, Architect a favorite with kids, parents, and educators, the project book will appeal to fans who crave more from Miss Lila Greer’s clever class.

In this interactive activity book, kids will have the chance to:

  • Imagine a brand-new cityscape
  • Invent energy-saving gizmos
  • Design a dwelling on Mars
  • Draw a gargoyle
  • Build a bridge out of marshmallows and spaghetti
  • and much more

Play With Art by DK

More than 50 projects to draw, paint, print, stencil, model, and more.

The perfect starting point for teaching your little one about all types of art, delve into more than 50 fun art projects for kids. From handprinting and sponge painting to mapmaking and origami animals, this is the perfect book for a little learner starting on their art journey. Play with Art is simple, fun, and it’s packed with fun and creative hands-on activities to share and enjoy. This is a perfect addition to any classroom’s STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) library or home book collection.

Pool by JiHyeon Lee

What happens when two shy children meet at a very crowded pool? Dive in to find out! Deceptively simple, this masterful book tells a story of quiet moments and surprising encounters, and reminds us that friendship and imagination have no bounds. Plus, this is a fixed-format version of the book, which looks nearly identical to the print version.


The Shape of Ideas by Grant Snider
What does an idea look like? And where do they come from? Grant Snider’s illustrations will motivate you to explore these questions, inspire you to come up with your own answers and, like all Gordian knots, prompt even more questions. Whether you are a professional artist or designer, a student pursuing a creative career, a person of faith, someone who likes walks on the beach, or a dreamer who sits on the front porch contemplating life, this collection of one- and two-page comics will provide insight into the joys and frustrations of creativity, inspiration, and process—no matter your age or creative background.


Exciting Changes Ahead!

Dear Patrons,
Thanks for your patience as we experience some issues with our learning commons portal over the next couple of weeks as we reorganize the system.

HCS Learning Commons

Dear Learning Commons patrons,

The Learning Commons team is making changes to our Learning Commons website after surveys revealed you had problems finding materials.   In mid June we hope to release a simpler information portal, and a more visually pleasing layout.  We have purchased a new resource manager via Insignia, and are in process of upgrading our WordPress website,  Over the next few months, we will transfer some existing data, and have the new circulation system installed.

What does this mean to you as a patron?

  • Your search and booking process will be easier, and more authentic.
  • Sign up will be faster via Encom authentication, or for our campus patrons Google Suite. One set of passwords will be applicable for all systems.
  • The Learning Commons hub will allow you to search seamlessly in one place for web links, digital and non-digital books, and some of our…

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As we enjoy Poetry Month, you may be wondering where to find poetry selections for your students, at the reading level they can manage best.  I would like to remind you that Reading Eggspress has poetry selections for your students at various Lexile levels.

Teachers or parents who wish to find the poetry books in Reading Eggspress will log in to the Reading Eggs site, choose “Teacher Toolkit” from the menu on the left, choose “Book Notes”, and then look for the blue link on the page which says, “Go to Library”.  This will take them into a page with this menu on the left, where they can choose “Poetry” at the bottom right-hand side:

Reading Eggspress - poetry

It is possible to choose the Lexile level of reading, or reading age, by moving the slider to the level of your choice.

Reading Eggspress - lexile and age level choices

Parents who wish to access the Reading Eggspress “Book Notes” will need to email me and I will set them up with an account.  Please feel free to email me with any questions you’re having, as I am glad to help you.

Poetry: Whats the word?

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Poetry has been around for thousands of years. Long before it was written and read it was used orally to share stories, remember genealogy, teach laws. It was also used to: entertain in song and spoken word with historical accounts; tell tales of happenings in the day to day life; share fictional works that pass on the identity of a culture; and inspire with love stories and more.

Celebrate right now with Poetry eBooks on Overdrive here in this collection!


How do I write a poem? It can be hard to get started. What should it be about? Does it have to rhyme? Creative Writing Now’s site has the answers to those questions and more to help you get started! Creative Writing Now: Poetry

Poetry Games: Children’s Author Ken Nesbitt has a list of fun games to help kids learn about and enjoy poetry. Poetry Fun and Games

To Rhyme?: One fun aspect of many poems is making the poem rhyme. However, it can sometimes be hard to find words that rhyme and fit your poem. Thankfully there are tools to help with this. Rhyming Dictionary

Poetry in our culture today: One of the current most popular works of poetry and spoken word is the musical ‘Hamilton’ by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Lin’s inspiration was Alexander Hamilton, a man who used his talent in both written and spoken word to influence people, to ignite passionate opinions and ultimately to help shape the nation. Lin first introduced this concept at the White House Poetry Jam that the Obama’s held and it became a cultural sensation. One that has ignited a new generation’s passion for spoken word. I have included a link to a video of this first performance at the Whitehouse. Please know that there is some language used that today may not be considered the best, but is used in its correct historical context in this piece. Words are powerful! Lin-Manuel Miranda Performs at the White House Poetry Jam

Poetry Contest: Heritage Christian School Learning Commons and NING are hosting a Poetry contest open to all HCOS students running from April 2nd to May 25th. The theme for this year’s contest is Grace. The contest is hosted on NING: NING Poetry Contest – Spring 2018 NING is open to students Grade 8-12, parents and teachers. For students Grade 7 and under who would like to take part in this contest a family account can be made.  If you do not have a NING account and you would like more info on NING or the Poetry Contest please email Erin Duncan.

Let’s have fun and write poems!

Happy Poetry Month!!

Erin Duncan

Math + Fun = Learning

The month of April is not only special for the spring flowers, but also for the new Math possibility springing up.  We have been given a pilot or test account in Matific from now until the end of April.  Every HCOS teacher has been given an account in this site, which is available to them until April 30th.  Contact your HCOS support teacher to be placed in Matific to prove that math + fun = learning.

A Matific episode is a game-oriented group of tasks designed to convey a specific mathematical concept, skill, or insight. Each episode engages children from 5 to 15 minutes.  It feels like playing games to the students, but allows them to master core math concepts.

Parents, if you would like to try some sample activities, go to this link:  Matific Sample Activities.  Scroll down the page to find a menu of grades, each of which has a number of fun learning activities.  Note the description  of the game is below the screen with the activity.

Matific Sample Activities

One big “plus” is that Matific has established a Canadian site; another “plus” is the content is correlated to our BC curriculum, including assessment available to teachers.  This site comes highly recommended to us by HCOS teachers.


CHEC Earlybird Registration Closes Soon!

BC Christian Home Educators’ Convention
April 27th & 28th, 2018, Kelowna B.C.

Embracing Change!
#Create #Innovate #Transform

Earlybird  rates end April 2nd!

HCOS families can receive 50% off their children/youth (grades K-12) registrations, but funds are going quickly, so register soon!


Our theme for 2018 is Embracing Change! In the education world, there have been a lot of changes: BC’s new curriculum, the new Graduation program and the move toward project-based and inquiry based learning, to name a few! Home educators have been leading the way in education for years, using many of these “new” ideas daily! Flexibility with curriculum and teaching methods is one of the hallmarks of Home Education. Change is Biblical! As Christians, God calls us to change, to become more like him:  Romans 12:2 — Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Our Keynote speakers, Zan and Joe Tyler, have been through a lot of changes during their home educating years. Come and be inspired!
We are also hosting a High School Fair on Friday where you can learn about the new Graduation program!

Please share the BC CHEC website with friends who are interested in homeschooling, as we have New to Homeschooling workshops just for them!

This is a DO NOT MISS event!
Registration  is now open!


New STEAM Books on Overdrive

New to Overdrive are the Zoey and Sassafras early chapter books!  These STEM related readers are perfect for the younger set (gr 1-3) because they delve into science related topics, and pose challenging questions.

They have a lovely large font, come with images and great characters to follow in the series.   If you are looking for extension ideas check out the printables, from Teaching Mama.


Dragons and Marshmallows

In this whimsical first book in the Zoey and Sassafras series, Zoey—a resourceful budding scientist with brown skin, springy curls, and a cat sidekick—learns that her mother has been secretly rehabilitating magical animals in their backyard. Naturally, Zoey wants to help, but when a sick baby dragon appears while her mother is away, she must use the tools available to her to help the dragon survive. Citro plays Zoey’s anxieties against her can-do attitude, demonstrating how research, past experience, and the scientific method can come in handy (investigating what dragons like to eat, Zoey learns that they enjoy marshmallows but fish is a better choice). Dense blocks of text don’t make for a terribly inviting reading experience, but Lindsay’s cheery spot illustrations help, and Citro gracefully balances her story’s scientific and fantasy elements.

Monsters and Mold

In this second book Zoey and Sassafras discover the monster of mold and invite science experiments with bread.

Merhorses and Bubbles

In the third book of this series, Zoey and Sassafras head to the stream only to make a terrible discovery. Things get even more urgent when they learn that the magical creatures living in the stream are in danger! Can Zoey and Sassafras solve the mystery of the stream and save the Merhorses?


Caterflies and Ice

In the fourth book, an unexpected snow storm causes trouble for the magical creatures of the forest. When Zoey and Sassafras attempt to rescue trapped caterfly eggs, they make a mistake. Can they figure out a way to fix things before the baby caterflies hatch?


Inquiry-Based Science and Math with GIZMOS

Do your students want to learn by asking questions and trying various possibilities?  That sounds like Gizmos to me.  Do your parents want BC-correlated curriculum ideas?  Sounds like Gizmos again.  Do your students ask you for links to sites where they can learn more?  Hmmm.  Gizmos has that.  What about answer keys?  Teaching suggestions?  Vocabulary lists?  You guessed it–Gizmos has those with classes in Grades 3 to 9 for both math and science.

“Gizmos helps students develop a deep understanding of challenging concepts through inquiry and exploration.”  The site explains concepts at various levels and students then use the Gizmo to try out the idea… to change things… to “mess” with them.  “Over 400 Gizmos gives everyone something to graph, measure, and compare. Even predict and prove… hundreds of opportunities where students don’t just act like scientists and mathematicians. They are.”

To find out the Gizmos available, this document Shared Gizmo Lists will give you the links to see which Gizmos are available for each grade.  (You’re welcome to share this with anyone.)  The lists will even allow you to access the Gizmo and look at it for a few minutes, before it closes.  To use the site properly, you will need to set up an account and log in.

I am excited about the great potential you can find in our Gizmos subscription.  PLUS, we have made it so much easier for you.  Just email me,, to receive the class codes so you can set up your account in Gizmos.

This is a site you need to try in order to believe how good it is!

Used Curriculum & Book Sale

Learning  Commons   USED CURRICULUM SALE!!book-sale-clip-art

April 27th and 28th, 2018

Preparations for the BC Christian Home Educators’ Convention are in full swing and the Learning Commons is gearing up for a lot of visitors!  We are looking forward to meeting new families and seeing old friends!

Four Great Reasons to visit the Learning Commons Open House:

Friday:             11:00am – 3:30pm

Saturday:        11:00am – 2:30pm

  1. Curriculum at great prices! Popular titles including math, language arts, science and socials! Cash/cheque, or PO number.  Check it out before you visit the Exhibit Halls!
  2. Investigate the ever-popular science and socials kits!
  3. Sign up for your own Username and Password
  4. The last hour of the sale on Saturday, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. everything is 50% off!

We are located in the campus school building.

Water Week, March 18-24: Fun Lessons and Activities


Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

What is something that every living thing needs to survive? Water! It is an important natural resource that too often we take for granted. In Canada, we have about 20% of the worlds fresh water supply in our country, however, this is a resource that we need to take care of so that everyone will have it for years to come. March 22 is World Water Day.

BC Hydro has planned some fun and educational free lessons and activities to help us learn and appreciate the water around us.

Guess the Mystery Water Animal Game Play a game with Grades K-3 to guess the names of animals who live in water habitats by looking at clues about the animals.

Every Drop Counts – Group Project Grades 4-7 take a look at how water is used. How much of the world’s water is wasted? What can we personally do to conserve water and make a difference?

How Big is your Water Footprint? – Group Project Grades 8-12 Will look at their personal water footprint. How much water do you use? (Hint* it is more than just what your drink, shower and wash with.) How much water was used in the making of your clothes? How much did it take to make all of the food you eat? How much water was used to make the electricity in your house? What can we do to responsibly use water?

Don’t forget to drink a large refreshing glass of water and be thankful for the blessings that we have in the water around us! On that note, I think it is time to put on some rubber boots and go and play in a spring puddle. Have a great water week!


Erin Duncan


Photo by Oscar Blair on Unsplash






New Growth Mindset Books

As we teach from a Growth Mindset perspective, our students benefit from great story book role models, who present a positive and authentic voice about learning from failure or taking risks.

These new picture e books may be found on Overdrive under Collections-> Growth Mindset. 

Hopefully they will inspire your students to think outside of the box, and have courage to try something different.

Brave Irene by William Steig

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Brave Irene is Irene Bobbin, the dressmaker’s daughter. Her mother, Mrs. Bobbin, isn’t feeling so well and can’t possibly deliver the beautiful ball gown she’s made for the duchess to wear that very evening. So plucky Irene volunteers to get the gown to the palace on time, in spite of the fierce snowstorm that’s brewing— quite an errand for a little girl.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way, as Irene proves in the danger-fraught adventure that follows. She must defy the wiles of the wicked wind, her most formidable opponent, and overcome many obstacles before she completes her mission. Surely, this winning heroine will inspire every child to cheer her on.
William Steig’s Brave Irene is a 1986 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year.

Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle by Chris Raschka

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“[Raschka’s] marvelous sequences, fluid style, and emotional intelligence capture all of the momentum and exhilaration of this glorious accomplishment,” raves School Library Journal in a starred review.
Learning to ride a bike is one of the most important milestones of childhood, and no one captures the emotional ups and downs of the experience better than Chris Raschka, who won the 2012 Caldecott Medal for A Ball for Daisy. In this simple yet emotionally rich “guide,” a father takes his daughter through all the steps in the process—from choosing the perfect bicycle to that triumphant first successful ride. Using very few words and lots of expressive pictures, here is a picture book that not only shows kids how to learn to ride, but captures what it feels like to fall . . . get up . . . fall again . . . and finally “by luck, grace, and determination” ride a bicycle!
This Read & Listen edition contains audio narration.

Thanks for the Feedback I Think! By Julia Cook

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It doesn’t matter is RJ hears compliments or constructive feedback, he is never sure how to respond. With guidance from his family, RJ learns why feedback, even when it’s difficult to accept, is information he can use to become a better person.

After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back up Again) by Dan Santat

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From the New York Times–bestselling creator of The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend comes the inspiring epilogue to the beloved classic nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty. Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after?

Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat’s poignant tale follows Humpty Dumpty, an avid bird watcher whose favourite place to be is high up on the city wall—that is, until after his famous fall. Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most.

Will he summon the courage to face his fear?

After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) is a masterful picture book that will remind readers of all ages that Life begins when you get back up.

Dare the Wind;  The Record-Breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud) by Tracey Fern

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Ellen Prentiss’s papa said she was born with saltwater in her veins, so he gave her sailing lessons and taught her how to navigate. As soon as she met a man who loved sailing like she did, she married him. When her husband was given command of a clipper ship custom-made to travel quickly, she knew that they would need every bit of its speed for their maiden voyage: out of New York City, down around the tip of Cape Horn, and into San Francisco, where the Gold Rush was well under way. In a time when few women even accompanied their husbands onboard, Ellen Prentiss navigated their ship to set the world record for speed along that route.

I am not Little Red Riding Hood.  By Alessandro Lecis

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A little girl enters the snowy forest wearing a vibrant red scarf and holding a basket in hand. But don’t be fooled—this is not a story about Little Red Riding Hood! The little girl soon meets, not an incredulous wolf, but rather a courteous, white bear. When asked what is in the basket she replies, “Nothing. I’m collecting snow, soft snow.” The bear then leads her to the very best snow, which can only be found where the moon sleeps.
Once they arrive, the little girl and bear dance among the snowflakes. He informs her that she can’t keep the snow; it will inevitably melt. Regardless, the girl fills her basket with snow and the bear brings her home. After parting ways, she realizes the bear was right—the snow has disappeared, just as the bear has. With endearing characters and a simple, poetic style, Alessandro Lecis and Linda Wolfsgruber have successfully created a mystical tale about enjoying the here and now and the magic of the winter season.


March Winds and April Showers Bring Forth Flowers!

Photo by Andyone on Unsplash

We are in all need of spring flowers after a long winter.  As we look ahead we can enjoy longer days, and more sunshine and flowers. Yippee!  Here are a few spring ideas for you to check out on your March schedule.

March 8 is International Women’s Day!  Celebrate with books on Overdrive that promote the amazing qualities of the females in our lives.

Easter is almost here!  A time for Holy reflection and appreciation of our sovereign Lord.  Celebrate with our digital library on Easter books!


Techie Tuesday Webinars!  Mark your calendars!

Brain Olympics Workshop with STEAM mentor Sara Zuidhof.  Find out more in this article

Research -Middle School Style with Beth (Subscriptions Facilitator) and Pippa (Learning Commons Director) .  Find out more in this article.


Extra news!

Our digital unit studies are now all housed conveniently for you on Overdrive.  Check them out here.

March Good Read selections on Overdrive for all ages.  Check them out in this article here.

March Special Ed/Learning resources in our physical commons.  Check out this article here.


Blessings from the learning commons!  Enjoy your spring break!

Pippa Davies

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