Grade 4 Kit Guides Ready!

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We are very excited to announce that our Grade 4 kit guides are ready! Soon we will announce that all the Grade 4 physical kits are ready for borrowing, but for now, please access the digital kits or download the guides for the physical kits, get prepared and book them as they are ready to go.

Keep on checking our website as we add more kits in the new school year. We continue to work diligently to get as many kits done as possible with the highest quality for you and your students! If you haven’t subscribed yet to our blog, now would be a great time. You can do that on the home page of this website.




Why Ebooks as a digital tool?

As we start our school year we are looking for tools which will help our students meet the new inquiry method and help transition them into the 21st century.  Did you know we had a huge collection of e books, and audiobooks for students K-12 available in our learning commons?

Overdrive recently blogged about why you should choose e books when you approach the new school year. Here are their thoughts:

How eBooks support your current curriculum: by Christina Samek, Overdrive specialist.

” We make it easy to talk to students about eBooks. OverDrive’s custom school platform allows for a quick introduction and most importantly, a quick launching pad into individualized reading. Because it’s reading, you aren’t introducing a new skill into your classroom, you are enhancing an already necessary skill.

eBooks are an excellent, approachable gateway into a lifelong relationship with technology. A tool that fosters reading—a skill essential to success in any subject—is good technology. OverDrive’s catalog provides thousands of titles to choose from, whether it’s for your beginning readers or those preparing for college. We provide service to the full K-12 space. Our eBooks are easy to use and come equipped with key features such as an exportable note-taking and highlighting tool, a built-in dictionary, and a dyslexic font. We can serve your high achievers and your struggling readers on the same, easy-to-use platform. We connect to your existing systems to ensure your students access our eBooks using the same credentials they use every day.  OverDrive helps you individualize the learning experience!

Reading is at the core of what you’ve been teaching all along. English/Language Arts, History, and yes, even Mathematics. Great reading comprehension lends itself to all facets of your curriculum. The benefit of digital reading allows your students to absorb content at their own pace. Your high achievers can push forward without worry they’ll be judged for wanting to. Your struggling readers can take their time and utilize the built-in tools to increase their comprehension, without worrying they’ll be judged for lagging behind. It’s simple, built-in differentiated instruction. Learning behind a screen creates an innate sense of privacy. It lets your students explore their learning capacity on a device like a SmartPhone or tablet, some of their first and most familiar learning tools in today’s world.

Start talking to your students about eBooks. We have audiobooks, too, because reading is reading. We have dedicated analysts to help you build a content list to match all of your curriculum needs. We have time to help.

Make eBooks the first dip into the waters of integrating technology in your classrooms. Start with reading, because, didn’t we all?”

I would also add that with the new BC Ed plan which allows for so much choice in how our students meet their learning needs, Overdrive will help equip our students with an inquiry approach, using a format that meets new technology standards.  An e or audio book can be in your hands as soon as you get those passwords🙂.  Please note students under the age of 13 should always be supervised when borrowing materials on Overdrive.

If you would like to get started using our Overdrive e library please contact Shandra Wiebe for your passwords and then for training/research/curriculum ideas Pippa Davies.

Blessings from your learning commons team!


Deals! Deals! Deals!

School starts soon, if you haven’t started already like some eager beavers I know!  If you don’t have everything you need yet, SAVE your money by checking out the curriculum Sale the Learning Commons is having! Most items are less than 50% of the list price so take advantage:

  • Pay with your PO number
  • Save on shipping by having the items shipped with a library order (We can’t hold items for more than 3 weeks, thanks!)
  • Some items are 50% off the sale price!
  • Sale ends September 8th

What will you find?  Apologia Science, A Beka, Saxon, Writing curriculum, Manipulatives, Bible, Spelling and More!  Check it out!


View the updated link: 2016 Book Sale  Then contact Shandra at with your order and method of payment (PO number, Paypal).


Overdrive is back up and running!

Hello patrons of the learning commons,

Overdrive is back up and running.  Yay!  Thanks for your patience as the Overdrive tech team completed the authentication process.



Booking Kits – issues

Some folks are having some troubles booking.  Please note the following:

  • Be sure to use your Parent or Teacher account, NOT your student account
  • If you get an error message, please send me a snapshot or snip along with the steps you took before you got the error message.  I need this information for troubleshooting.  email me at
  • Overdrive is down at this time…its not an issue with your passwords.

Thank you for being patient!

Overdrive website is Down!

They are working on the problems, but it is taking longer than expected.  We will post when it’s back up and running.  Sorry for the inconvenience!

Bookings for Kits Open!

We have now opened bookings in L4U for unit study kits! At this time we have K through grade 4 done.  The kits for older grades will be add as they are finished, so keep an eye out for them.  We will post an announcement here when they are available.

A couple of points to make note of:

  • The earliest date you can book for will depend on your homeroom, as it accounts for shipping time.  Choose August 31st onward and you should have no problems.
  • You can book items for anytime during the year
  • Book items for the same time period all together to save on your free shipping trips!
  • See our “How to use L4U” section for information on how to book etc.



Different Approaches to the New Unit Study Kits

The new unit studies are laid out differently from the old kits.  There are no daily lessons, which allows you to be flexible in how you approach the units, choosing the activities that work best for your student.

Here is an example of how two different families approached the Grade 2 Local Actions have Global Consequences Physical unit study.  One is a planned approach, the other is a more “plan as you go” approach. Life happens, so remember to be flexible when you are planning your own approach!

Planned Approach:

Cindy is the mom of three busy kids, in grades K, 2 and 4. She likes to have things planned out in advance so she can be prepared.  Cindy booked her unit studies for the year and knows when they will be arriving at her doorstep. She also ensured she had her passwords for L4U/Overdrive and the subscriptions saved!  A few days before she knows the kit will arrive, she took 2 hours one evening to map out her 6 week plan for this unit.

She downloaded and printed the parent guide from the Learning Commons website,  Having the guide on the computer gives her quick access to the links provided.  Cindy likes to have her own paper copy of the guide so she can highlight videos and activities as she plans.

On the How to Use This Kit page of the guide, Cindy noted that the suggestion is to read all of the books, and watch 10 – 12 videos. Each section also noted how many activities to do.  There was a lot to choose from, so it felt a bit overwhelming, but Cindy got her highlighter ready!

Cindy created a 6 week daily plan, knowing there would likely be changes. She kept Fridays as a “catch up” day if they get behind. She aimed for 1 to 1.5 hours daily for the unit, depending on the activity chosen. She worked that into her daily schedule for all subjects. Cindy also used a Google doc to note what was done and shared it with her teacher so portfolios would be easier.

Week 1

Day 1 Wants vs. Needs: A Place to Live Read aloud and discuss questions.

Activity: Giving to Others

Day 2 Watch: Community Rules and Laws (Discovery Education) 15 min.

Activity: Rights and Responsibilities: watch Brain Popjr. video

Day 3  Wants vs. Needs: Food and Drink: Read aloud and discuss questions.

Activities: Reading Around the World (go to local library) and Field Trip to Food Bank

Day 4 Watch Reading Rainbow: Boxes for Katje (Discovery Education) 9 min.

Do the grocery store flyer list of needs & wants.

Day 5  Finish activity: Activity: Rights and Responsibilities Poster.


Week 2

Day 1 Wants vs. Needs: Clothes  Read aloud and discuss questions.

Day 2  Watch: The Difference Between Wants and Needs (Discovery Education) 16 min.

Activity: Our Africa Videos and do Cool Country Report

Day 3  Wants vs. Needs: Possessions: Read and discuss questions.

Activity:  Service Activity and donate items.

Day 4 Continue –  Cool Country Report

Day 5 Activity: Peace Is…Book (if we have time!)


Week 3

Day 1  Justine McKeen, Queen of Green –  read 2 chapters aloud

Watch: Rodney Raccoon Goes Green (Discovery Education) 23min.

Day 2   Our Global Community: Schools Read and discuss questions.

Activity: Holding the Earth Art

Day 3  Justine McKeen, Queen of Green –  read 2 chapters aloud

Activity: Technology Time: Play the Super Sorter Recycling Game. 

Activity: Endangered Species Report

Day 4 Watch: Sid the Science Kid: Save the Stump (Discovery Education) 26 min.

Activity: Endangered Species Report

Day 5 Activity: Endangered Species Report – finish


Week 4

Day 1  Justine McKeen, Queen of Green – read 2 chapters aloud

Activity: Caring for the Earth Story on Storybird

Day 2  Three Cheers for Trees: A Book about our Carbon Footprint  Read and discuss questions.

Activity: Caring for the Earth Story on Storybird

Day 3  Justine McKeen, Queen of Green –  read 2 chapters aloud

Activity: How do Oil Spills Harm Wildlife

Day 4  Watch: Keeping the Hive Alive (Learn 360) 32 min.

Activity: Caring for the Earth Story on Storybird

Day 5  Finish: Caring for the Earth Story on Storybird


Week 5

Day 1  Justine McKeen, Queen of Green – read 2 chapters aloud

Activity: Carl Gets Some Rest EPA Colouring Book

Day 2  Trash Magic: A Book About Recycling a Plastic Bottle  Read and discuss questions.

Day 3  Justine McKeen, Queen of Green – finish the book

Watch: Save Energy: Recycle Plastic (Learn 360) 1 min.

Save Energy: Recycle Glass (Learn 360)  1 min.

Day 4  Watch: Mission Recyclable (Learn 360) 28 min.

Activity: Carl Gets Some Rest EPA Colouring Book

Day 5  Activity: Field Trip – to our local river.


Week 6

Days 1 – 5 What’s Sprouting in My Trash: A Book about Composting  Read and discuss questions.

Activity: Build an Ecosystem – take the week to do this one and finish any other projects.

Videos: Recommend 10-12, completed: 10

Activities: Recommend 5-8 for 1st section.  Completed: 9

Recommend 6-12 for 2nd section. Completed:  8


Plan as You Go Approach:

Mary also has 3 kids in grades K, 2 and 4.  Here is her experience with the unit study:

Week 1

Hooray!  The kit came today and the kids are so excited!

Whoa,  there is so much to do…oh wait, we don’t have to do it all! We can pick the videos and activities we want as long as we do enough to cover the topics.  Kate has already picked out a few she wants to do! I better look up the guide online as there are a lot of links. I think I’ll keep my camera handy so I can take pictures of the projects as she’s working on them.

Just emailed our teacher for the subscription passwords so Kate can watch some videos.

We read Wants vs. Needs: A Place to Live,    Wants vs. Needs: Clothes and

Wants vs. Needs: Food and Drink. 

Kate had fun going through our closets! We donated clothes for the Service Activity.

She also chose to do My Extended Community (Technology Activity) blog which took all week to do.

Week 2

The kids caught colds so I was glad there were videos to watch!  Kate was able to open the links herself since my password is saved for Discovery  and Learn 360!

She watched:

Community Rules and Laws (Discovery Education)

Reading Rainbow: Our Big Home, an Earth Poem (Discovery Education)

Reading Rainbow: Boxes for Katje (Discovery Education)

If the World Were a Village (Learn 360)

The Difference Between Wants and Needs (Discovery Education)

For activities, she put on music: World Music

And did Random Acts of Kindness Challenge for her sick siblings.

Pen-Pals Around the World – we contacted friends in Mexico City via Facebook and she emailed their daughter!


Week 3

We read: Wants vs. Needs: Possessions and Our Global Community: Schools

Kate made a Paper Mache Globe which took 3 days to complete.

She also did the Community Comparison Activity and learned about Ghana.

Instead of Care Kits for the Homeless we put together shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child.


Week 4

This week we read Justine McKeen, Queen of Green and Three Cheers for Trees: A Book about our Carbon Footprint

We had some good conversations about recycling and Kate decided to make the string-covered vase. She also did Recycling Kid Art, and Caring for the Earth Story as a physical book;

Technology Time: Have fun exploring NASA’s Climate Kids website

She also watched Balltown: Environment (Discovery Education), Reading Rainbow Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning (Discovery Education), Reading Rainbow: Jack, the Seal, and the Sea (Learn 360) and Don’t Pollute: Berenstain Bears (Learn 360)


Week 5

We read Trash Magic: A Book About Recycling a Plastic Bottle and watched

A Future for Frogs (Learn 360) and Rainforests (Learn 360)

Activities this week: Simulated Oil Spill and report, which took 3 days to do.

Technology Time: Played Light it Right


Week 6

We read What’s Sprouting in My Trash: A Book about Composting

Kate did the Sandwich Bag Compost Experiment

And from the first section,  Kate made drawings  of 5 important rights:  United Nations Rights of the Child and played the The Fair Trade Game with her older sister.

Videos: Recommend 10-12, completed: 12

Activities: Recommend 5-8 for 1st section.  Completed: 10

Recommend 6-12 for 2nd section. Completed:  6

As you can see, these are two very different approaches! Both work well for the families involved.  You may fall in between these two approaches…that’s great!  Make it your own!

We have created a Unit Study Planning Sheet for the unit studies which you can use as a place to start.  You have six weeks for the units and in some cases, you will be done sooner.  If you run out of time and have to send the kit back, you have the option of using the online guide for activities, or you can use the Digital unit and access eBooks to finish the unit!  Online guides

We are here to help you, so please contact us with your questions!

Physical L4U library:  Shandra Wiebe

Overdrive and Research:  Pippa Davies

Curriculum questions:  Natalie Sing

Subscription info and passwords:  Beth Johnson


Shandra Wiebe

Library Resource Administrator

New School Year, New Goals!

Welcome back to a new school year, one which brings new meaning and HOPE  to our students and their learning, as we embrace Christian Education and the new BC curriculum.  We hope that students will be blessed with more choice to study using their unique gifts and learning style, have more opportunities for STEM and hands-on learning, and find more ways to interact on the global stage as an HCOS disciple of Christ.

HCS learning commons is excited to offer many wonderful and unique ways for your students to learn how to research, design, and innovate, whether it be from web links, digital books, subscriptions or physical kits.  Our team has been working hard to provide the right tool for your elementary student and high school student!


Here are some ways students can connect/learn with other students in elementary school via the learning commons.  When you enrol with our school you will receive passwords which will help you log onto Overdrive and L4U; these include the Marc records to all our amazing media and resources.  Should you need more information contact Shandra Wiebe, and she will help you get started.  You can watch training videos on this page here, which will help update you on the new curriculum, or the different types of technology used.

  1.  Collaborate and learn more about Inquiry with our Inquiry-based book clubs. They will be advertised shortly on the learning groups page and also here.  This year we have  wonderful moderators:  April Mcleod  (Gr 5,6,),along with me, Pippa Davies (Gr K-3) and (gr7/8).
  2. Learn about inquiry and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) with our NEW curriculum guides for K-5. Watch this page for upcoming published kits.  Gr 6-9 will be completed later this year.  These kits will help students learn how to research and plan some projects for the year in science and social studies, and other cross disciplines.  They allow for student choice and independent learning.
  3. Learn more about digital citizenship, research and online safety with our digital citizenship kits.  Check out some research resources under Elementary K-7.
  4. Use our online forums (Moodle) where students can interact with other students in grades 5-7. Contact Erin Duncan for more information.
  5. Join in contests on Ning and also in the Read-A-Thon in January.  All of these contests promote multiple literacies and creative communication as a global citizen.
  6. Contact the STEAM mentor in your area to discover more on design thinking.
  7. Contact Natalie Sing to find curriculum for your student in elementary.
  8. Contact Pippa Davies and work on a research project together.
  9. Contact Beth Johnson to discover subscriptions which meet the Inquiry and STEM/Designer model.  Explora, World Book and Tynker are just a few subscriptions that will help your student focus on research and STEM learning.


  1.  Learn more about Inquiry with book club moderator, Kathy Kanda, as she teaches gr 8-12 students how to think critically. Her book clubs, taking place in second semester, will use Lit circles as an approach.   Details about book clubs will be advertised on the learning group page here.
  2.  Click on our Grad page for updated information on the new curriculum to be implemented in Sep 2017 (under construction).  Inquiry kits for grades 8/9 (inter-disciplinary) will be forthcoming in January 2017.
  3. Learn more about digital citizenship, research and online safety with our digital citizenship kits for gr 8/9.  Find these on this page with more information about research.
  4. Join our online forums on Moodle or create your own personal learning network on Ning where you can blog, enjoy social media and share your music, thoughts and pics!  Contact Erin Duncan for an invitation to these platforms, where you can learn about digital citizenship authentically.  Participate in contests and find out more about the learning commons resources.
  5. Contact the STEAM mentor in your area via this page here.
  6. Contact Natalie Sing to find out about curriculum.
  7. Contact Pippa Davies to work on a project together, or learn how to access the Overdrive eLibrary.
  8. Contact Shandra Wiebe to find physical resources for your student in L4U.
  9. Contact Beth Johnson to discover how subscriptions align with the new BC Ed Plan. Explora, World Book, Learn360 and are all wonderful tools to help you discover more about research and writing.

We pray that the start to your school year will be a blessed time of reconnecting with friends, using our educational resources and enjoying some amazing learning!  We are here to help you, so don’t feel shy to ask questions at our Ask Us reference desk.  If you follow us on our learning commons website you will be sure to get constant updates!


Blessings from your learning commons team,


A Peek at New Kits!

How is your summer going? Lots of beach time, travel, visitors?  I hope it’s relaxing and rejuvenating for you and your family.  It’s hard to believe we are already into August!  Our Learning Commons team has been busy…very busy!  Preparing new kits and adding new resources to meet the new outcomes.  Here’s just a peek at few of the Kindergarten to Grade 3 units we now have on the shelves!  So EXCITING!!


You can view and download the parent guides in L4U  or on our web page: Unit Studies by Grade. We are adding more units so watch for more updates!

We will open bookings on Monday, August 15th!





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