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

Good Reads on Overdrive!

High School

Overdrive by Eric Walters.  Gr 9-12

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Jake has finally got his driver’s license, and tonight he has his brother’s car as well. He and his friend Mickey take the car out and cruise the strip. When they challenge another driver to a street race, a disastrous chain reaction causes an accident. Jake and Mickey leave the scene, trying to convince themselves they were not involved. Jake finds he cannot pretend it didn’t happen and struggles with the right thing to do. Should he pretend he was not involved? Or should he go to the police?

The Curse of the Viking Grave by Farley Mowat.   High School

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The popular sequel to his award-winning Lost in the Barrens, this is Farley Mowat’s suspense-filled story of how Awasin, Jamie and Peetryuk, three adventure-prone boys, stumble upon a cache of Viking relics in an ancient tomb somewhere in the north of Canada. Packed with excitement and with little-known information about the customs of Viking explorers, this story of survival portrays the bond of youthful friendship and the wonders of a virtually unexplored land.

The Yearling by Marjorie Rawlings (readers guide included)

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No novel better epitomizes the love between a child and a pet than The Yearling. Young Jody adopts an orphaned fawn he calls Flag and makes it a part of his family and his best friend. But life in the Florida backwoods is harsh, and so, as his family fights off wolves, bears, and even alligators, and faces failure in their tenuous subsistence farming, Jody must finally part with his dear animal friend. There has been a film and even a musical based on this moving story, a fine work of great American literature.

Elementary School


A Butterfly is Patient by Sylvia Long

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The creators of the award-winning An Egg Is Quiet and A Seed Is Sleepy have teamed up again to create this gorgeous and informative introduction to the world of butterflies. From iridescent blue swallowtails and brilliant orange monarchs to the worlds tiniest butterfly (Western Pygmy Blue) and the largest (Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing), an incredible variety of butterflies are celebrated here in all of their beauty and wonder. Perfect for a child’s bedroom bookshelf or for a classroom reading circle! Plus, this is the fixed format version, which looks almost identical to the print edition.

The Doll People by Ann.M Martin.  Audiobook. Middle grades.

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The 100-year-old Doll family—beautifully crafted china dolls passed down through four generations of girls in one American family—meet their new neighbours, the Funcrafts, a doll family made completely of plastic and delivered straight from the factory shelves.
Annabelle Doll is eight years old—she has been for over a hundred years. Not a lot has happened to her, cooped up in the dollhouse, with the same doll people, day after day, year after year…until the Funcrafts move in. Now Annabelle has a friend. Sure she’s made entirely of plastic and she’s living in the scariest room in the house, but she’s an adventurer, and after a hundred years of boredom, that’s just what Annabelle needs.

Why Do Rabbits Hop? Penguin Young Readers by Joan Holub.  Read Aloud Format

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Gr 2-3-Using a question-and-answer format, Rabbits discusses the different traits and behaviors of rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils. While all are rodents, each one has its own peculiarities. Horses does the same for horses and ponies. Charming, full-color photographs and drawings, especially those depicting the animals interacting with humans, mostly children, enhance the large-type texts. A winning combination of tightly written narrative, age-appropriate vocabulary, and worthy illustrations guarantees that independent readers will enjoy these titles.-Pamela K. Bomboy, Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA

The Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing by Helen Lester.  Read Aloud.

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Ewetopia is not comfortable in her own wool, and every attempt she makes to impress the other sheep falls flat. So when an invitation to the Woolyones’ Costume Ball arives, Ewetopia knows her chance to shine has come at last. After trying on fifty-eight different costumes, she finally finds the perfect one—or so she thinks. But her wolf ensemble turns out to be none too popular with Rambunctious, Ramshackle, and Ramplestiltskin, so Ewetopia finds herself standing all alone again when a stranger enters the room. He is dressed simply as a sheep, but he is so handsome, none of the other sheep notice anything peculiar about his costume choice. Ewecalyptus, Ewetensil, and Heyeywe all look on as the newcomer chooses to dance with none other than Ewetopia. But as they dance across the floor, Ewetopia begins to wonder about her mysterious partner: Why is his growl so deep? Why does he have such long, sharp claws? And why does he keep calling her Mother?!!!

Swimmy by Leo Leonni .  Read and Listen.

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In this charming Read & Listen edition, kids can dive deep in the sea to discover a happy school of little fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, but there is also danger, and the little fish are afraid to come out of hiding . . . until Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends how—with ingenuity and team work—they can overcome any danger. With its graceful text and stunning artwork, this Caldecott Honor Book deserves a place in every family’s ebook collection.
This ebook includes Read & Listen audio narration.

Adult Professional Development

In the Name of Jesus by Henri Louwen

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Henri Nouwen was a spiritual thinker with an unusual capacity to write about the life of Jesus and the love of God in ways that have inspired countless people to trust life more fully. Most widely read among the over 40 books Father Nouwen wrote is In the Name of Jesus. For a society that measures successful leadership in terms of the effectiveness of the individual, Father Nouwen offers a counter definition that is witnessed by a “communal and mutual experience.” For Nouwen, leadership cannot function apart from the community. His wisdom is grounded in the foundation that we are a people “called.” This beautiful guide to Christian Leadership is the rich fruit of Henri Nouwen’s own journey as one of the most influential spirtiual leaders of the 20th century.

December News Learning Commons!

Good tidings we bring you to share in the celebration of the birth our Lord Jesus Christ!  As you wind down for the Advent season we hope that your first term has brought much joy and learning into your classroom this fall.  The Overdrive E Library will be open at all hours for your reading pleasure and we look forward to a new year with webinars for subscriptions, Missions Read-A-Thon and more starting in January. The physical commons will be closing over the holidays, so if you have last-minute loans to pick up December 18th is it:)  The Learning Commons will reopen in January when school starts on January 5, 2015.

New Webinar!!

We are very excited to have our very own Jeremy Hirsch come and share with students, teachers and parents about Digital Citizenship on December 12th at 10.30 am.  For more information on this very current and important topic please see the details here.

New Movies on Overdrive just in time for Christmas!  Read more in this article.

Suggested Reading for the Holidays on Overdrive. Read more here about professional development for adults and teens in this article and a great sample of Christmas reading here in this article.


Our #Makered STEAM page is ready to be shared with all information/and resources available at your disposal here.  It will be updated as new resources get added.

Campus and online are embracing all things #makered,  with the learning camp sessions run by Jesse in the learning commons.  Check out this article here.

Ning news!  Congratulations to our Photographic finalists!  

Here are the top photographs on this Ning album which will go into the next level of our So YOU Think you can PHOTOGRAPH contest!  Winners will be announced next week.  Big thanks to all participants for sharing your artistry!

New Kits!

  • Grade 2:  Discovering Communities click Here.
  • Grade 5 :  History of British Columbia click Here
  • Grade 5 : Introduction to Canadian Government click Here
  • Grade 7 :  Ancient Civilizations:  China click Here

Current awareness re Christmas on Scoopit Newsletter please see here for ideas on Christmas lesson plans, contests etc.

 Student newsletter on Issuu–  check out our wonderful student journalism team 🙂



The Learning Commons team.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16





Book Club Bonanza!

Welcome to a new school year full of literacy excitement!

Starting this October 2014/15  we have 5 book clubs, and potentially more!  Many of the books in these book clubs are in the physical commons or Overdrive E library.  Please contact a librarian to help you find your resources!

Grade 4/5 will be run by  Book club moderator April Mcleod.

This is going to be an exciting year in our Grade 4/5 Book Club.  Last year we had a fantastic response, and we had lots of fun blogging, reading and connecting about great books.  This year will be more of the same as there is an awesome list of books we are going to read and share our thoughts about.  Students will be getting their feet wet in blogging and learning a variety of ways to share about the books we are reading as they do oral presentations, moderate book club meetings, blog, complete a novel in the box presentation, and much, much more. Hope all of you amazing readers in grade 4 & 5 will join us for a great ride of reading this school year!  Looking forward to meeting all of you on October 31st when we will get started with our first novel and play some fun games!  See you soon!

Date:Grade 4/5 Book club will meet for the following dates:
October 31st   Get to know meeting and assign first book
November 21st   Learn about Blogging and oral presentations on “Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH”
December 12th   Present Novel in a Box assignment with the novel “The Giver”
January 30th   “The Roman, the Twelve & the King”
February 27th  “The Hobbit”
March 27th   “Call of the Wild”
April 24th   “Bridge of Terabithia” and Vote on Final Novel
May 22  Year End Wrap up

Books will be assigned starting October 31st with an awesome book called Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH.  We will be reading some classics, an amazing Christian fiction book about the Epic 7 and award winning novels

Link to sign up:

Grade 6/8 Book club will be run by Book club moderator Kari Bell.

Camp description:
Hi, my name is Kari Bell and I will be running a Virtual book club this year that will encourage students to read each day. We will meet every six weeks, via an online forum to discuss the chosen book. The students will also have an opportunity to share their ideas on a blog.

We will meet online at 1:00 Pacific Standard Time (2:00 Mountain time).  Link will be sent to registrants.

Oct 1: Camp X by Eric Walters
Nov 19: Dear Canada:Pieces of the Past.  The Holocaust Diary of Rose Rabinowitz
January 7: The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer
Feb 25: Enigma by Eric Walters

Book one:  Camp X by Eric Walters (Camp X is the first book in the series. Enigma the most recent book is a Red Cedar nominee)

-We will discuss the importance of a plot line and cover literary terms such as: plot, exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution, protagonist and antagonist.
-Bible integration: discussion on loyalty.
-Blog choice: Back cover of a book jacket describing just enough of the plot to get a reader interested but not enough to give the story away.

Book two: Dear Canada: Pieces of the Past.  The Holocaust Diary of Rose Rabinowitz (Red Cedar Nominee)

Bible integration: Discussion about the Holocaust and courage.

Link to register!
Reading Buddies K-3 with Pippa

Students in Kindergarten to Gr.3 and their reading buddies are encouraged to come and join Pippa Davies HCS teacher librarian share the joys of reading picture books, and inquiry based learning.  Pippa will incorporate picture books, puppets and early primary research databases (Pebble Go) to get your younger students reading, listening, learning nursery rhymes and writing their first research project based on learning outcomes in these years. Sessions will be run on  Blackboard classroom on a twice a month basis in the morning. The sessions will run for about half an hour to 40 minutes.  Set up will be the first ten minutes and then half an hour of reading time, songs and puppets.
Grab your coffee and your kids and come and read with Pippa.

 Books read will include favourites like Old Macdonald, Five Little Kittens, Promise is a Promise, Salmon Forest, and authors like Robert Munsch, Eric Carle and Jan Brett as well as some Bible favourites.

Picture books read will include Canadian, American and British fiction and non fiction.
Puppets/rhymes and songs will also be shared.

When: Wednesdays at 11:30am PT
Oct. 8, 29th, Nov. 12th, 26th, Dec 3rd. Jan. 7th and 21st, Feb. 4 and 18th.
Virtual Book Club with Kathy Kanda: Grades 8/9/10.

Join a virtual book club for Middle School students! Our first book choice is Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen which will be discussed at our first meeting on October 20 at 1pm. Afterwards, students will vote on the club’s next book pick and then meet back 6 weeks later to discuss in skype or Google Hangouts. Members will be encouraged to interact about the book in between meetings via a private club blogging site and students will have the opportunity to win prizes at each meeting. Meetings are Oct 27, Dec 15, Jan 12, Feb 2, March 16th

Link to register for the grade 8-10 Book club.

Virtual Book club Chocolate Lily and Kate Greenway Picture Book Critique and Blogging:  Grades 4-9. With Pippa Davies, Jessie Davis (campus) and NDG School in the UK.

Details to follow in January.  This club will be in the spring.

 This information will be stored under Literacy Centre -> Student book clubs!

Bless you in all your literacy endeavours!


Back to School Greetings!

Greetings and welcome back to a new school year with Heritage Christian Schools Blended Learning Commons 😀

We hope your first week back is going well, and you have enjoyed opening that new curriculum!  Or maybe you have not hit the books yet,  but are enjoying the last few rays of sunshine, or celebrating not back to school with a WOW day!  Whatever you are doing we pray the Lord will bring great learning this year, and blessings in your online environment!

We thought we would introduce our learning commons team, and point you in the right direction to get you started in the learning commons this fall.  Shandra Wiebe is our online librarian and she works from Kelowna!  She is your go to lady for all things related to how L4U works and reference retrieval from the catalogue.  Kelly Wiebe is back on track with shipping and she does an awesome job of getting all things shipped to you in fine shape .  Natalie Sing is our curriculum consultant who loves helping families find curriculum to suit their needs, whether it be e books, websites or digital databases.  Jessie Davis is our campus co-ordinator and she is available for campus reference queries and events in the physical commons.  Sherri Funk is our campus reading specialist and she loves teaching music and reading skills.  Erin Duncan is our Forum and Ning moderator, and she keeps the peace in all things social networking.   New this year to our team we have Rachael Freed former HCOS alumni returning as a teacher and kit writer for the learning commons.  Welcome Rachael!  Then of course there is me, Pippa Davies who does a bit of everything in the cloud, but loves helping students, staff and parents find the right information at the right time!.  We all runs webinars related to websites, subscriptions, and research, and we love to co-teach anything in the literacy realm.

  • Learning commons passwords to use both the E library on Overdrive and the campus physical commons catalogue L4U are emailed to you when you enrol with the school, or when you email Shandra Wiebe our online Librarian.
  • Please check your junk mail folder for passwords.  We have found in the past that when you enrol your  L4U generated passwords may often get sent to junk.  We are working on fixing this.  This is only for new enrolling families.  If you are unsure at all please email Shandra
  • Watch the Getting Started video on our website.  Just five minutes long it will point you in the right direction!
  • Our blended commons has a large variety of digital databases and subscriptions and we want you to know about all of them!:D  Please scroll through the alphabetical listing of our subscriptions to find learning resources to meet 21st century learning.  New this year we have Pebble Go and Nallenart L’art De Lire French curriculum.  Your teacher will help you get started by sharing the list of usernames and passwords.  Please make sure you do not share these with other school students.  We are only paying for HCS blended commons families.  Beth Johnson is in charge of signing up patrons for the different databases.
  • If you missed our Training session on using the Learning Commons please feel free to listen to the recording here:
  • Ning is back in the swing! if you have not seen the green icon on our website, and you have a student aged 13 and older please send them my way to join our private social network,  moderated by both Erin Duncan, Natalie Sing and Pippa Davies.  Students, parents and staff meet to share music, photographs, websites, learning experiences and more! All events planned on the Ning encourage discipleship and community, along with competitions and prizes.  If you would like an invite please email Pippa Davies New this month we have a mentoring program for new grade 8/9 students and our older senior students.  For more information check out this group page here.  There are also icebreaker games for you to check out on the events tab!
  • Our summer reading challenge is still open to all our avid readers from K-12 who would like to share their book reviews.  For more information go here or to share your book review go here.
  • Please follow our blog by signing up on the learning commons website.
  • Information on all book clubs will be updated shortly.  But in the meantime here is a sneak peek!

Natalie shares more on the latest in the way of curriculum with her article on Canadian Historical Fiction.  What a great way to meet social studies learning outcomes than by reading great non – fiction books!

Shandra shares some important booking information for kits on L4U.

Lis Johnston, HCOS learning services consultant shares about learning styles in her book review on The Big What Now Book of Learning Styles.

Current awareness newsletter on Scoopit.

From all of us to all of you, cyberhugs and blessings!

The learning commons team!

“The Big ‘What Now’ Book of Learning Styles” – Book Review

This summer I enjoyed a book written by one of our past CHEC speakers, Carol Barnier. ‘What Now’ gives humorous and practical examples of how to discuss various learning styles. All too often as a Learning Services Consultant, I have teachers sharing about children struggling with their schoolwork.  Often the struggle is not necessarily because the child has a learning disability or a cognitive challenge. Perhaps the child is not having his/her learning style considered. It’s easy as a parent or a teacher to teach in the way that we learn.   Barnier suggests, “The goal is to find the key – any key – that will unlock the door to understanding for every child in our care.”

In The Big ‘What Now’ Book of Learning Styles, Carol states that various learning styles, such as auditory, kinesthetic, and visual, all need to be addressed when teaching children. In order to meet children’s learning styles we need to teach using a multi-sensory approach that makes learning more enjoyable and easier to retain. Carol has written a chapter demonstrating how to teach various subjects – Spelling, Math, Writing, Geography, Science, etc. – utilizing the various learning styles. Subject icons before each suggested lesson identify the learning style or styles that lesson will accommodate.

In her last chapter, Carol writes about incorrect assumptions that we have about our children’s learning process. For example, if someone takes time to process, it does not mean that they are lacking intelligence. Also, some students that are active during learning need to be active in order to learn effectively. This chapter also encourages us to be accepting of creative answers from children, who may not always answer exactly the way we want them to, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t answering correctly.

Carol says that when we try to teach children using a style that works best for us as learners (and not the student) it can be “a recipe for frustration”. Perhaps there is more than one type of learning style that work? In order to keep track of what style is effective, she suggests keeping a journal when teaching, and taking notes on what works. Spending time figuring out what type of style(s) work for your learner takes much less time than wasting years on curricula which use learning styles that don’t help your student learn.

Carol presents lesson ideas that are fun and much more interesting than workbooks. She’s a strong proponent of teaching using songs or ditties. These are methods that become more memorable for a child when trying to recall information. She also suggests that when teaching children it’s important to teach them concepts that are part of a scaffold (ideas that build upon other pieces of known information.)

Some other techniques Carol uses are:

  •  Involving the children in the lesson: For example, when children study the planets, have each child be a planet dressed in a color or carrying something that would represent the planet/sun and stand in proper order. Play music or games from the era/area that a child is learning about in geography or history.
  • Ways of doing review: games such as “pairs” where one card represents the word and another the definition, or the practice of requiring a child to respond to a review question before each turn on any given game.

The most important message that can be taken away from this book is that all children can learn. It’s a matter of parents and teachers finding the right ‘key’ to unlock the learning for each child.

Carol completes her book by demonstrating to us how important it is that we praise our children’s work more than we criticize it. We want our children to know that we believe in them and to help them to believe in themselves. Most importantly, I believe we need to teach our children that God created them with the ability to learn and that each of them is special and has a unique learning style.

I hope you get the opportunity to read The Big ‘What Now’ Book of Learning Styles and enjoy Carol’s insights into the different approaches of teaching.


Other Books By Carol Barnier:


If I’m Diapering A Watermelon, Then Where’d I Leave The Baby?

How To Get Your Child Off The Refrigerator And Onto Learning


Book review by Lis Johnston. (Learning Services Consultant)

…take-a-ways from gladwell’s blink…

See on Scoop.itHCS Learning Commons Newsletter

Is there a more beautiful example of a snap judgement?  This is the gift of training and expertise – the ability to extract an enormous amount of meaningful information from the very thinnest slice…

Pippa Davies @PippaDavies ‘s insight:

Paul Kelly shares his review on Blink from his blog Eduglean.

See on


See on Scoop.it21 century Learning Commons

Pippa Davies @PippaDavies‘s insight:

Team Guernsey and Team HCS students will enjoy global book reviews as they share blogging and skype chats, in the coming months to choose their favourite illustrator in the famous picture book awards in England, and in British Columbia!  Go teams HCS and NDG:)  Predict the winners!

See on

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