How Do I Use Matific?

We had a most interesting and informative webinar with the Matific representative last week.  If you are interested in learning how to use the site (parents or teachers), here is the link to a Vimeo version of it:

Matific Sample Activities

Exciting Changes in Subscriptions

Wait till you see what is ahead for you in our subscriptions for 2018-19!

  • The first and biggest change is that we have purchased Matific for K-6 Math to replace IXL Math.  You may continue to use the Matific logins that you used during the trial in April.  Parents who would like to sign up their students in Matific may now do so, which gives them the option to assign lessons, as well.  If you have questions, please email me and I will be glad to help you.
  • Secondly, we listened and Mystery Science helped.  Teachers, when you send the “student link” to your families for the Mystery Science mysteries, the information they receive will now include the helps needed:  materials, process, a video to show what to do, etc.   Look at the top right-hand side of the page for “Student link” (NOT the “email to parents” link).  E.g.

Student Link in MS

  • Lastly, we have news about our Curriculum Pathways subscription.  This site now offers students the option to sign up for their own FREE account, which allows them to save their work.  Teachers can have access to the answer keys, as well.  There are many, many great resources in this site:

SAS Subject List

For more information, please go to Welcome to Curriculum Pathways and sign up for your FREE student or teacher account.

I was interested to see that Curriculum Pathways Read Aloud for iPad allows students, teachers or parents to record their reading, highlighting the words being read, and then share it.  This has been a felt need with our teachers for a while!

I’m in Grad; Where Do I Find Information about Canada???

For high school students wanting to find Canada-specific reference materials, here is a list of our reference subscriptions that should be of good help to you.


  1. Gale CENGAGE: Canada in Context

“Canada in Context” material spans the North American continent and includes Canadian and French first language publications. Discover topics on the First nations, Confederation of Canada—celebrating 150 years, Métis, Inuit, biographies of Canadian figures as well as information on technology, sports, industry, and more.

Gale Cengage - Canada in Context

This site allows you to save content to your own folder within the site.  Log in on your parent home page in Encom, choose “Curriculum Resources” and scroll down to find the links and password for Gale CENGAGE.  Choosing the “Curriculum Standards” heading will allow you to choose BC learning standards and topics for English Language Arts, Science or Social Studies.

Gale SS curriculum standards - BC _2018

Videos explaining how to use “Canada in Context”:


Search Results:



curio_ca Image

The platform gives grade 8-12 students streaming access to the best in educational content from CBC and Radio-Canada.  You will find documentaries from television and radio, news reports and archival material.  There is also closed captioning for the hearing impaired.  Educational content is correlated to the new British Columbia curriculum.

BC Ed Plan Curriculum for Arts in Curio_ca

To set up your account, go to your parent homepage in Encom, choose “Curriculum Resources” from the menu at the top, and scroll down to the section “Create Your Own Login”.  This allows you to save your own playlists in your account.

NOTE:  Please be aware that, although the CBC-appropriate age range is highlighted for each program, parents need to view the programs to see if they will consider them appropriate for their own students.  You may agree with our staff that a number of the programs should have an older rating.

Social Studies programs in 

Tutorials for use of


  1. Discovery Education Streaming

The Discovery Education Streaming site has thousands of educational videos, including Canadian content, and is correlated to Provincial standards for grad students.  This site includes hundreds of Canadian topics such as Canadian geography, Canadian history, Canadian culture, Canadian attractions, famous historical figures, and much more.  Look for “Canadian Studies” to find Ancient Times, Colonial, Confederation, Canada’s Role in World History, Civics, Government, Geography, Famous People, Economic System, Culture and French Canada.

Discovery Education - Canadian Studies homepage

Log in to Discovery Education Canada with the username/password that you will find on your parent homepage in Encom.  To save material, you will need to have your parents email for a parent account.  Then under “My Content”, you can save and organize the material you wish to access later.

“Student Basics” for use of Discovery Education:


  1. EBSCOhost’s Explora Secondary

EBSCOhost’s Explora Canada is a premium online information resource specializing in Canadian content.  Explora Canada includes:

  • Simple search, including primary source documents, news articles, and video clips.
  • Easy-to-browse categories organized by popular topic
  • Topic Overviews that provide students with a starting point for research
  • Citation help, including the ability to export citation information to online bibliography generators such as EasyBib and NoodleTools

EBSCOhost search bar

EBSCOhost Explora may be accessed by choosing “Curriculum Resources” on the parent homepage in Encom, and scrolling down to choose EBSCOhost: Explora High School.  Choosing “Search Other Databases” from the top menu will allow students to choose “Canadian Libraries” and “Explora Canada”.

EBSCO Other Databases Site - includes magazines, images

EBSCO help is found at  To set up your own folder in Explora go to



  1. KnowBC

Encyclopaedia of BC through includes more than 4000 authoritative entries and 1500 photographs, maps, charts, tables, sound, and video clips covering BC people, places, events, culture, accomplishments, inventions, and resources.  Log in to KnowBC with the username/password that you will find on your parent homepage in Encom.

KnowBC homepage

The easiest way to search this site is by going to “Books” on the top menu, choosing a title, then going to the Table of Contents to find your topic of choice.  The Encyclopedia of British Columbia, itself, has a detailed index.


  1. Learn360

Learn360 is a website for K-12 multimedia and non-video resources.  There are thousands of video and audio materials available, plus images, articles, timelines, maps, experiments, activities, fact sheets, and more.  Students can use the search to find Canadian content, or search by BC curriculum standards.

Learn360 Logo

To log in, HCOS enrolled students should go to the parent homepage in Encom, choose “Curriculum Resources” on the top menu bar, and then scroll down to the “Shared Login” section for the username and password.  Students should email for the passkey to set up a personal account, which allows you to bookmark favourite content, add documents, create playlists, etc.

Learn360 - search by standards

Help for using Learn360:  Here is an 18-minute video to help you learn how to use the Learn360 site, or read “Search Basics – Searching for Video Content”, found at—searching-for-video-content.

* * * * *

Last, but not least, for students who wish to prepare for exams, there is BC ExamBank.  This is a powerful resource for British Columbia students in all grades.  You can write randomized practice exams that relate directly to the curriculum as outlined by British Columbia’s Ministry of Education. The computer will mark your practice exam as soon as you’re done, so that you can immediately see where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

BC ExamBank home page

Log in at with the username/password that you will find on your parent homepage in Encom.

Keep Calm and Study On


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.

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.


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!

Research – Middle School Style

I would like to invite parents, teachers and students of Middle School age to join Pippa Davies and me on March 13th at 3:00 p.m. to learn about using HCOS subscriptions for research.  Our main focus will be on using BrainPOP, Discovery Education, Learn360, World Book Student and Explora.  We will briefly touch on RightNow Media for Bible, and for Social Studies: KnowBC and “What in the World?” (Level I for Middle School).

Where?  Zoom classroom

 Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

Or iPhone one-tap :

Canada: +16475580588,,337380724#

Or Telephone:

Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

Canada: +1 647 558 0588

Meeting ID: 337 380 724 International numbers available:


Fake News – What???

Did you know that in the last US election, “fake news” outperformed mainstream news?  I was shocked to learn that by going to the right sites and “messing” with the true news, I can 1.  fill a candidate’s mouth with totally different words; 2. change his facial expressions; and 3. totally change a piece of media making it almost indecipherable from the original.  People spread false reports for commercial or malicious reasons, or even just for fun.  So how are we to know that the articles we are viewing are the truth?  And even more, how are we to encourage our students to care about finding the truth?

First, what is fake news?  It can include such things as:

  1.  False information posted on a website to mimic real news.
  2.  Satirical websites being taken seriously.
  3.  Native advertising, which is advertising disguised as “news” articles.
  4.  Slanted or biased news.  It could speak truth, but omit critical information.

How can we check to find out whether our news is accurate or not?

As was mentioned in the embedded video, check the source sites.  People will often believe sites even though they state clearly that they are fake news.

  1. Read the “about us” in a site.
  2. Note the domain name.
  3. Consult the experts.

Learn to do a “Reverse Google Image Search”–this is a basic skill for all students.  Just right click on an image, hit “copy image address”, then go to the original site where the image was found.

“Satirical websites” and memes are often forwarded as truth.  It is so important to check the source.

“Native advertising” camouflages ads by making them look like real news.  This allows them to misrepresent scientific studies, for example.  Students can actually phone the organization to ask for their scientific results!

We need to realize, also, that our interests will drive what media content we will see on the internet.  You may have noticed this in a Facebook site, for example.  The Wall Street Journal created Blue Feed, Red Feed to illustrate how Facebook specifically shows what viewers want to see and engage with.

There is a great site to use in response to the problems of satirical or slanted news media:  “Media Bias/Fact Check“.  This site will list media sources and rate them for you according to their bias:  left bias, left-centre bias, least biased, right-centre bias, right bias, pro-science, conspiracy-pseudoscience, questionable sources, and satire.  It will show where the media involved would fall on a scale of extreme left to extreme right,  expresses whether the reporting tends to be factual or not, and gives a link to the “about page”.  Unfortunately, it is an American site and did not include the “The Beaverton” in its listing of satirical sites.

A fun way to teach students about spotting real or fake news is to use the “Fact-itious” website .  If you are working with several students together, you can use “Two Truths and a Lie”–finding 3 stories and then getting the group to assess which two are true and which one isn’t.  This gives opportunity to encourage students to read articles beyond the headlines.

Resources for teaching students to evaluate media:

Contents and resources for this article were inspired by the Cinematheque workshop ‘Dissecting Fake News’ ( ), delivered by Liz Schulze at the 2017 PSA Superconference.

 Presentation Summary of the workshop presentation “Dissecting Fake News: Media Literacy in the Post-Truth Era”  







Career Education Page

Let’s assume you’re working away on making sure you have the curriculum you need for your students… when you suddenly come to a component that says, “Career Education” and your brain stops working.  What in the world do they want for Career Education?  What do they MEAN by Career Education?  How can you manage to find material that will meet that requirement?

I am here to tell you about a new resource that will answer your needs!  We have created a Career Education page in the Learning Commons.  This page gives you an introduction, goals, and an overview of the areas that Career Education should cover.  Like this, for example:

Career Education diagram 2016-08-16

Looking at a chart like that will not answer all your questions. so you will need to scroll down the page to find the links to “Resources for Career Education” for Grades K-3, 4-5, 6-7 or 8-9.  On those pages you will find more explanations of the “Big Ideas” and “Curricular Competencies” that are expected.  Better yet, you will find all kinds of Resources from OverDrive (the digital or eBook collection), from L4U (the campus library) and, below that, from the subscriptions HCOS offers.

If Career Education is the area in which you need help, go to Career Education Resources and you will find the help you need.  BUT…  if you are looking for help related more to a particular grade, you need to go to this icon on the right side of all the Learning Commons pages:Resources for BC's New Curriculum

It will take you to BC’s New Curriculum: Resources for Each Grade.  This is the most amazing resource we offer to help you with meeting your students’ learning needs year by year.  (And it has Career Education information, as well.)

Hour of Code Ideas

What is “Hour of Code”?

At we read, “The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event.”  Hour of Code happens during the week of December 4-10th this year.

Avid Larizadeh, head of the Hour of Code UK campaign explains it this way, “The Hour of Code is an attempt to teach people the basics of computer programming in 60 minutes in a fun, simple way. It is part of a campaign that, a non-profit organisation, launched in the US with the goal of introducing coding into the US curriculum and raising awareness around what coding is.  The idea was to show that it’s not just about the geek in the basement or the super-tech-savvy person but that it actually plays a role in everything we do and everybody should have access to it. And 20 million kids signed up to it.”


Ideas for a Successful “Hour of Code”

  1. Make it student-directed
  2. Create opportunities for differentiation
  3. Allow them to “fail forward”
  4. Encourage them to MAKE with code!
  5. Try a one hour tutorial with hour of Code ideas here.

If you want to set up an “Hour of Code” using Tynker, here is a quick video with ideas:

Are there webinars that we can attend that will help us with this?

Register for a Tynker “Hour of Code” webinar  (Nov 29 or 30, Dec 6 or 7–various times)  20 minutes long

Register for a BrainPOP “Hour of Code” webinar  Nov 29 at 12:30 p.m.  45 minutes long

Follow up with lots of great coding books on Overdrive here under the Creative Thinking core competency!

To discover more about some amazing ADST materials check out our Making Sense of ADST article.

Learn How to Use Reading Eggs

Parents, teachers and students, please join us on Tuesday, November 7 at 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. to learn about our exciting Reading Eggs subscription.

Please register for Heritage Christian School – Reading Eggs Training on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PST at:

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the training.

Reading Eggs site


Remembering on November 11th

We are blessed to live in a country with so many freedoms.  As we are preparing for the “International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church”, we are reminded of the freedoms that are so important to us as Christians: the freedom of religion and of peaceful assembly.  Remembrance Day gives us opportunity to remember those who fought and died so that Canada could have these freedoms.

Remembrance Day Resources

  •  From the Learning Commons:

Remembrance Day Resources:  (A document with multiple resources listed for you to use in studying Remembrance Day topics)

  • From OverDrive:

On Remembrance Day”  by Eleanor Creasey

 “Remembrance Day” by Molly Aloian

By searching the topic “war”, I found many results, including a number of books relating to various wars in which Canada has participated.  For example:  “World War I:  Canada & the Great War” and “World War II:  Total War“, both by Doug Sylvester.

  • From Historica Canada:

  • From the Government of Canada:

This Veterans’ Week, #CanadaRemembers:

10 Quick Facts about Remembrance Day:

For educators – Resources:

  • From  (find the link, username and password on your parent home page in Encom under “Curriculum Resources)

Remembrance Day:  In Memory of the Men and Women Who Have Served”  This collection features a selection of 29 stories marking this special day, in which we acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who served their country.  About half for ages 9-12 and half for ages 13-14, one for age 15-17.

Canada 150:  War and Peacekeeping”  This collection features 28 titles which look at the experiences of Canadian soldiers during the wars in which Canada has participated. It also examines the legacy of these wars, as well as Canadian participation in United Nations-led peacekeeping missions.  Mostly age 13-14, a few for 9-12 and 15-17.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

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