2017-18 Subscriptions

I remember this time of year!  It was always so exciting to start planning for the new year… purchasing new curriculum… watching boxes of new books arrive… setting up schedules (so I wouldn’t have to work on it later)… enjoying not having to do schoolwork any more during the summer…  having more time to read…   Yes, those are good memories of my 11 years of homeschooling.

Perhaps you are in that same frame of mind right now, yourself.  As you plan, you are wondering, “Can I use the HCOS subscriptions through the summer?”  “When will the links for subscription renewals be open?”  “My child is going to be in kindergarten this fall–can I start him (or her) using subscriptions right now?”  “When will the 2017-18 usernames and passwords be available?”

Which question shall I answer first?

  1. YES, you can use all the HCOS subscriptions through the summer if you are re-enrolling.  If you are not re-enrolling with HCOS for the fall, you will be able to use our subscriptions until the end of July.
  2. For subscriptions that needed billings to your curriculum budget, the links for renewals (or for new registrations) are available right now.  Scroll down to the bottom of this article to find those 2017-18 links and sign up for subscriptions through July 2018.
  3. YES, if your child is enrolled with HCOS for kindergarten this fall, you may start using HCOS subscriptions for him (or her) right now.  And yes, your teacher may start your kindergarten-to-be child in Reading Eggs right now.
  4. For the rest of the subscriptions, those that are free to you, just keep using the logins that you will find on your parent homepage in Encom under “curriculum resources”.  When these logins stop working, just go back to your parent homepage in Encom to find the new ones (probably in August).

Curriculum Resources Link in Encom

As always, if you have questions I’m happy to help you!  Beth Johnson


You can go to these links to find out more about the various subscriptions, to renew your previous subscription, or to start your new subscription:

Please have patience with me if it takes a while to get these registrations completed for you.  Lots is happening these days, and summer is coming…

Amazing Resources for Social Studies

To find the amazing extra resources available in the LesPlan site, when you log in to download the latest issues of these subscriptions (What in the World? and The Canadian Reader), you will look for the “Student Resource Links” located just above the issues.  https://www.lesplan.com/en/subscribers  You will not need passwords to access this information.

LesPlan Student Resources button

  1. Click on that button to find many more links and suggestions for teaching each of the topics introduced in the various articles of The Canadian Reader. (E.g. “Before Reading” suggestions, “Extension” for added teaching ideas, “Internet Connections” for more information about the same story and related topics, “After Reading”)
  1. Scroll down the page to find sites and links to videos that will enlarge your student’s understanding of the articles in What in the World?
  1. At the top right-hand side of the page, you will also find links to previous issues.

Teacher Resources

For the extra teacher resources that are available in LesPlan, please go to https://www.lesplan.com/en/resources  There you will find:

  • Activities  (“Find someone who…”  to familiarize students with key people in Canada)
  • Assessment Rubrics  (Criteria and marking rubric for assessing assignments of maps and paragraphs)
  • Assignments  (Assignments to familiarize students with different aspects of Canada and current events)
  • Graphic Organizers  (blank graphic organizers:  everything from Big Ideas to Venn Diagrams)
  • Templates  (e.g. “Find Someone Who…” template)


Using LesPlan with the New BC Curriculum

From LesPlan we learn:  “The new system provides teachers with more time and flexibility to explore topics in depth with students.” Our resource spends 1000 words on a topic, but the critical thinking questions, extended learning questions, and multiple links to additional resources allow for deep exploration. Many teachers allow their students to choose one of the four stories (or three for the elementary Canadian Reader) and go deep from there. To become mini experts who then teach the class.

“All 6 of the core competencies (communication, creative thinking, critical thinking, positive personal and cultural identity, personal awareness and responsibility, and social responsibility) are well served by current events resources–especially ones that often feature social justice stories.”

Note:  The Canadian Reader is aimed at a Grade 3 to 5 level; What in the World? Level 1 is for a Grade 5 to 7 level; What in the World? Level 2 is at a Grade 8 to 10 level.  For passwords to these issues, please contact your support teacher or Beth Johnson.

WITW and TCR picture


by Farrah Falco, Tech Specialist at STEM Magnet Academy, Chicago.

This article is copied from http://edtechchronicle.com/2017/01/learning-to-code-to-build-a-growth-mindset/

By now, most teachers know how important it is to teach Computer Science skills. The logic skills, creative problem solving abilities, and technology fluency will last a lifetime.

When students in Kindergarten through 8th grade learn Computer Science and coding skills, they also gain a growth mindset. That’s an important concept to learn early because, without a growth mindset, it would be almost impossible to learn to read, write, or even add. What interferes and stops most students along the learning pathway is not that they fundamentally cannot learn the concept; instead, it is the belief that they can’t do it and the freezing fear of failure.

Instilling a growth mindset in students has been shown to increase their willingness to persevere through challenges, leading to better learning outcomes. In a recent survey of teachers, 98% said, “all students can and should have a growth mindset.” And a further 97% agreed that, “Fostering a growth mindset in students is part of my job duties and responsibilities.” This is why, beginning in Kindergarten, on the first day of school, our students learn about having a growth mindset and how it’s not a failure to mess up.

It’s a key lesson I share over and over in Computer Science. When a student runs a line of code and it fails, it doesn’t mean that they failed. It means they found a way that didn’t work. That is not failure; it’s called learning. When the fear of failure is removed from the learning equation, amazing things can happen. Dreams are realized, discoveries are made, and lives are changed forever.

In our classes, we use Tynker to help our students learn to code. Not only is Tynker a deep and engaging (even fun) resource for kid-focused tech learning, it’s also a great way to reinforce the growth mindset and the process of learning. With Tynker, our students learn to be brave, to make mistakes, and to try.


To describe what happens, I have to use a word that doesn’t have an English translation: meraki. It’s modern Greek and it means to do something with passion, with absolute devotion, with undivided attention. No matter how difficult a task, it is done with all your effort, with enthusiasm, with eagerness, with complete love, with all your heart. Meraki is to put your soul into something, to put a little bit of yourself into it, be it singing, dancing, or, in this case, coding.

Tynker invites students to create and learn with meraki.

Students don’t code because they want a good grade or because it makes their teacher happy; they have an intrinsic drive to work on Tynker because it allows them to share a piece of themselves with the world, to see their ideas come to life, to let their voices be heard. And in the process, they foster a growth mindset by seeing for themselves that anything is possible when they throw themselves into it.

The passion my young students have for coding in my class and the self-directed student tutorials, puts learning in their hands. Sometimes all I have to do is stand next to them while they do it.

When a student needs help on Tynker, I simply go over and ask them to specifically state their problem. Most of the time they already know the answer. Then I will tell them, “Be brave. I believe in you.” They try again, it works, and their little faces light up. “Thank you!” they’ll exclaim happily. I then say, “You figured it out on your own. I just stood here.” Sometimes students just call me over and say, “I just need you to stand here.” And I do. I stand beside them while they take a deep breath, shatter the wall, and come out victoriously on the other side. It’s an amazing teaching experience.

This typifies the growth mindset because students persevere and gain confidence in their own ability to problem-solve. And this attitude can spread.

I once saw a kindergartener standing next to a new non-English speaking student who was hesitant, fearfully adding his last bit of code. As I moved closer, the new student hit “Run” and saw his program work. He looked up at the boy standing beside him and smiled. That’s when I saw it. The other student wasn’t just standing there. Our new student had faced his fears, summoned up his courage and the belief he could do it while his young classmate helped him the best way he knew how – by merely standing next to him, metaphorically holding his hand.

That’s when your heart fills all the way up because you just taught them something that will open new worlds and stay with them forever. That is what it feels like to teach Computer Science with Tynker. The best part is watching them learn to learn and persevere.

Yes, the hard lessons and hard skills of learning computer coding absolutely have value. And these skills are highly transferable to other subjects. But when coding is taught right – in a way that empowers the students to find meraki and to try to fail on their own – the growth mindset they acquire is infinitely more valuable.

They’re READY!

You may not have known that you were waiting for these, but you were!

The Learning Commons team has been working to create the ultimate resource for parents and teachers wanting to meet the requirements of the new BC Education Plan.  These pages for Kindergarten through Grade 9 are now ready for you to use.  Wait till you see what’s available to help you plan for your students’ schooling!  Look for this icon on the right-hand side of the Learning Commons website or click on the icon below:


For more information, go to BC Ed Plan New Curriculum


BrainPOP Jr. – Redesigned

Have you seen the new BrainPOP Jr.?  It has an amazing new design that is touchscreen-friendly and can be used by your various devices.


BrainPOP Jr. is the K-3 version of our popular BrainPOP website.  (Did you know that BrainPOP is our most used subscription of all?)  BrainPOP Jr. has some new and improved features:

  • With the improved Write About It, students can explore key vocabulary words to use as they write.
  • A richer Draw About It allows young learners to drag and drop shapes onto their drawings, and even add movie images.
  • The new Word Play enables students to explore and practice key vocabulary words through both drawing and writing.
  • Students can even collaborate to create a skit using BrainPOP Jr. characters.

There’s more information at the BrainPOP Educators’ Blog.  Parents, if you would like information about how to access the free BrainPOP Educator site, just email bjohnson@onlineschool.ca.

Teachers will enjoy that their teacher rosters in My BrainPOP are now able to link to BrainPOP Jr.

Middle School Math & Science Learning with Adaptive Curriculum

Adaptive Curriculum is a subscription which allows our students to learn and inquire about what they have learned.  Students are challenged to apply their newly-gained information in a digital activity that helps them understand what they’ve just watched.


The units we have in Adaptive Curriculum are geared to Math (Grades 6-9) and Science (Grades 5-10), and are a good supplement to meet the requirements of the BC Education Plan.  There are activities, explanations and worksheets to fit various learning styles.

The cost is $ 25.00/student for the school year, which ends on July 31st.  You can register your student(s) at https://fluidsurveys.com/s/Adaptive-Curriculum-2016-17/

Parents can preview this resource and get an idea of how Adaptive Curriculum  works.


Correlations of Adaptive Curriculum to the BC Ed Plan may be found at: https://hcslearningcommons.org/curriculum-correlations/

Catalogue of activities available on the Adaptive Curriculum site:  http://www.adaptivecurriculum.com/us/lessons-library/catalog.html

JavaScript 101 available

Tynker has been listening to the requests of their subscribers and has created a new course!  JavaScript 101 is now available (and is part of our HCOS Tynker subscription) for students who want to, “Learn JavaScript and build your own games for web and mobile platforms.”

Students who wish to sign up for JavaScript 101 can do so at the Tynker registration site:  https://fluidsurveys.com/s/Tynker-2016-17/

This course is geared to students in Grade 7 and up and is an introduction to JavaScript for intermediate or advanced coders in upper middle or high school.  In this advanced lesson plan, students will be introduced to JavaScript as they complete engaging lessons, solve challenging puzzles, and build their own games in JavaScript. This course is ideal for students who have already completed at least one Tynker course and are comfortable with the basics of programming logic and computational thinking. This course will help them transition to JavaScript and adapt to the additional challenges of text-based syntax.


Students who successfully complete this lesson plan will demonstrate a strong mastery of JavaScript syntax, as well as the ability to creatively program games and other projects and debug their own code. Students will also be able to come up with an idea for a game and take it through the entire design and implementation process, creating custom versions of many of their favourite games in JavaScript.

To see a description of each lesson, go to JavaScript 101 and scroll down to “Interactive Lessons (click on each lesson to view lesson details)”.

What Students Learn:

  • Learn JavaScript syntax
  • Use conditional logic, loops, and conditional loops to solve problems
  • Create and use variables
  • Detect and handle keyboard and mouse events
  • Write and interpret JavaScript expressions
  • Use the HTML canvas for drawing and displaying images
  • Detect win/loss conditions in a game
  • Implement collision detection between images on the canvas
  • Use arrays and objects to store structured data

Note:  This course and its classroom management are not supported on tablets.

Rewards for Memorizing

Receiving a reward for memorizing is great.  Of course, memorizing is a reward in itself:  it exercises the brain, adds to the content stored inside the brain, and helps the brain improve its ability to perform in other areas.  Memorizing Scripture is best of all, because God’s Holy Spirit can pull those verses back into your mind whenever you need them.

However, when we can memorize and receive an Amazon gift certificate for having done it, why, then there’s a different type of reward!

As the staff member who sets up the Scripture Memorization prizes in Amazon, I have the unexpected bonus of getting many thank you notes from the students and families who have received the prizes!

  • Thank you for the Amazon.ca Gift Card! I sure appreciate all the work you did for getting these out. 🙂
  • Lucy sends a very big THANK YOU!!!!! Thank you for the Amazon.ca Gift Card!
  • We received our Amazon gift!! Thank you so much! 🙂
  • She will (have fun picking out her prize) …of course, the real prize is God’s word hidden in her heart! Thank you for organizing this; it is one of the most worthwhile things our children will do!
  • Thank you so much for this encouragement. My daughter has been diligently memorizing Scripture and not always super keen to review it, but today’s gift really inspired her to get going to memorize the rest of the Sermon on the Mount! She is excited to spend the gift card and my just-turned-5-year-old is already asking if she can do the same so she too can get a reward. So this is fabulous! Thank you! Now to find a chunk of 34 verses that she can wrap her little head around.
  • Thanks Beth!!! We got it yesterday…and Caleb is very excited about it. He still does all of his memory verses every bath night!!! Thanks for giving him the extra ‘push’….better than ‘mom saying he has to.’ Lol!!!!

This year, we awarded a total of $ 2,910.00 in prizes to the following students and one staff member.  Some memorized the basic challenge of 100 verses, 65 verses or 34 verses.  Others memorized new verses plus reviewed a previous year’s verses and recited them, for bonus prizes.

Peter Heyd  $               55.00
Karis Thiessen  $               55.00
Calleigh Parkins  $               55.00
Braiden Zylstra  $               55.00
Logan Zylstra  $               55.00
Jessica Zylstra  $               55.00
Jacob Zylstra  $               55.00
Thomas Heyd  $               55.00
Andrea Visscher  $               55.00
Isaac Visscher  $               55.00
Zacharias Walker  $               25.00
Emalie Carvalho  $               25.00
Danaya Bagnall  $               25.00
Elena Doerksen  $               25.00
Chloe Doerksen  $               25.00
Chloe Trotter  $               25.00
Amanda Jaggard  $               25.00
Bella Nelson  $               25.00
Lilly Nelson  $               25.00
Danielle Parkins  $               25.00
Lauren Parkins  $               25.00
Annika Klopper  $               25.00
Anya Webster  $               25.00
Zoe Ellis  $               25.00
Zara Ellis  $               25.00
Zyana Ellis  $               25.00
Hope Carvalho  $               25.00
Sophia Hartwick  $               25.00
Jordan Hughes  $               25.00
Isaac Hughes  $               25.00
Ellianna Tsai  $               25.00
Tristan Bourke  $               25.00
Gabriel Bourke  $               25.00
Marc Howard  $               25.00
Julie Howard  $               25.00
Samuel Zwygart  $               25.00
Madeline Giesbrecht  $               25.00
Julin Giesbrecht  $               25.00
Sarah Faith Rutsatz  $               25.00
Phinehas Cheng  $               25.00
Trevor Thiessen  $               25.00
Peyton Klassen  $               25.00
Zoe Klassen  $               25.00
Bella McKnight  $               25.00
Mikayla Theisen  $               25.00
Josiah Theisen  $               25.00
Micah Berg  $               40.00
Joshua Berg  $               40.00
Indianna Berg  $               40.00
Noah Berg  $               40.00
Lucy Fedorov  $               40.00
Hannah Nissen  $               40.00
Caleb Nissen  $               40.00
Malachi Jennings  $               40.00
Zachary Jennings  $               40.00
Tyrhel Pawluski  $               30.00
Rhiley Pawluski  $               30.00
Francois de Villiers  $               35.00
Leela de Villiers  $               35.00
Joseph Tsai  $               35.00
Caleb Johnson  $               35.00
Nathan Tsai  $               45.00
Aniah Johnson  $               50.00
Caleb Tsai  $               50.00
Charles Johnson  $               60.00
Thomas Johnson  $               60.00
Aidan de Villiers  $               60.00
Steffan de Villiers  $               60.00
Daniel Jenkins  $               80.00
Joshua Jenkins  $               80.00
Terrell Dutcyvich  $             100.00
Reese Dutcyvich  $             100.00
Jenna Dutcyvich  $             100.00
Roberta MacDonald  $               55.00
TOTAL  $   2,910.00

Congratulations to the 2015-16 prize-winners.  Enjoy your rewards, and especially enjoy that you now have more of God’s Word in your hearts!  Be sure to keep a lookout for the link to register for the “2016-17 Scripture Memorization Challenge”!

Noggin Hoggin Challenge – Are You Game?

I’m excited about the Noggin Hoggin Challenge that is sponsored by BC ExamBank every year.  It’s free!  You may want to stretch your noggin, trying to figure out the answers to the puzzles given out on each of the six days.  Think about it… you have until midnight on the morning of April 18th, 2016 to decide.

Noggin Hoggin Challenge 2016

The rules of the game can be found at this link:  Noggin Hoggin Game Play Summary  Winners in the 2015 challenge were from Grades 5 to 12, so it’s worth trying.  (There were 808 Canadian contestants in that challenge.)  Samples of past questions can be found at Past Questions. To register, go to Sign up to play ExamBank’s Noggin Hoggin Challenge.

Tynker: Coding Subscription

Are you one of the families who has been excited to start your students learning computer coding?  Programming?  JavaScript?  Then you’ll be happy to hear that we have just purchased the use of Tynker for our students.  https://www.tynker.com/

This subscription is described as “The Easiest Way to Learn Programming”, and “Learn to Code with Tynker”.  Tynker’s online course provides a complete learning system with interactive exercises, guided tutorials, fun creativity tools, puzzles and more to make programming fun.  Whether students have worked with coding before, or are complete beginners, there is something for each one.

Because coding or programming will be part of the new BC Education Plan in the fall, we’re preparing to make Tynker available for our HCOS families.   With Tynker, you can begin enjoying some of the amazing adventures to come through these new educational initiatives.


To sign up your student, please fill in the FluidSurvey at Tynker 2015-16.

Free Typing Program – Typing Club

Typing Club photo for Blog

Typing Club https://www.typingclub.com/ is a free program to teach typing.  You can go directly to this URL to access it, and it is also available free in the Chrome web store.

Their “selling points” are that you can log in from the same URL, you can get great reports, you can adjust the difficulty for your class or for your individual students (e.g. words per minute in order to complete a lesson; % of accuracy), you can limit the number of lessons students complete per week, and whether or not they can see a class chart (to encourage competition).  These points are geared towards classroom instruction.

You have to wade through a lot of advertising to get to use this site.  What you see eventually is a page with letters, which the student types.  Depending on the accuracy or time with which they type, they are awarded stars.  They can go back and keep trying until they get to 100%, when they will receive 5 stars!   A nice feature is that you can view the “hands” on the keyboard, or turn them off so the student does not see them.  This helps students find the correct keys.

I did not see any supplementary materials or games for students to work to achieve greater mastery.  However, if you want to find a free typing site, this one would be helpful.

Here is a screenshot of a typical page, including the ever-present advertising:

Typing club typing page



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