Win a New Reading Device this Holiday!

This Christmas holiday the learning commons is hosting a device raffle to promote our e-book and audiobook collection!  Each time you borrow a book from Overdrive eLibrary your name will be entered into a raffle, and the grand prize is a Kobo eReader!  The more books you read the more times your name will be entered!!

  • Library patrons can join in anytime between December 7th and December 31st, 2017 just by clicking on an e-book and borrowing it in Overdrive
  • Prize:  Kobo Aura eReader
  • The prize winner will be announced the first week of January 2018 on this blog!
  • For more details on using Overdrive go here.

Happy Reading!!

Blessings from the learning commons team!

April is Poetry/Writing Month!

Welcome to National Poetry Month!  To celebrate the love of writing we have a poetry competition happening on HCS Ning for students in both elementary and high school.  To find out more about the poetry competition check this group page here.  If you are not a member of Ning contact Erin Duncan our Ning moderator for your invite.  Ning is open to all students 13 years and older.

Coming soon in May we are also hosting a digital writing workshop with Shelley Wright.  Stay tuned for more information!

Spring is here and it is such a wonderful time to explore poetry and creative writing with your students. What a wonderful way to connect with the poets of the past and present and to learn more about creation, love, joy, pain, praise and hope through verse. Poetry can be everything from silly to serious! From structured to free! Enjoy exploring Poetry for your students and maybe even for yourself 😉

We have many great resources in Overdrive for your poetry studies:

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Curriculum Resources:

Writing Poetry with Elementary Poets by School Rules

Writing Poetry with Children by Evan Moor

Poetry Patterns and Themes by Evan Moor

Easy Teach Poetry Unit by Created by MrHughes

Poetry Writing Handbook by Greta Barclay Lipson

Poetry Writing and Literary Devices by Endeavours in Education

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Poetry Books:

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat by Coral Rumble

Black All Around by Patricia Hubbell

Evangeline and other Poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Fredrick by Leo Lionni

Going Home by Marianne Berkes

Hungry for Math by Kari-Lynn Walters

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson

Nina and Nolan Build a Nonsense Poem by Lisa Bullard

The Noon Balloon by Margaret Wise Brown

Ocean Soup by Stephen R. Swinburne

Other Goose by J. Otto Seibold

Our Big Home by Linda Glaser

Over in the Jungle by Marianne Berkes (and Over in Australia and Over in the Forest)

Paradise Lost by John Milton

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Sylvia Long

When We Very Young by A.A. Milne (wonderful for early learning)

Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman

Wired by Anastasia Suen

Our Weblinking Library  has many links for learning more about poetry! There are links on Poetry, Poets, Writing Poetry, Poetry Forms and much more!

Learn 360  and Discovery Education have a variety of videos available at all levels for learning about poetry and poets.


Natalie and the learning commons team

READ A THON Winners!!

We are SOO excited to announce this year’s Read-A-Thon winners! We had 165 eager Readers who read a ton, tweeted some and shared selfies!  Check out this Storify to see some of the selfies and tweets.

A Huge thank you to parents and teachers for encouraging your students in their literacy goals!  Congratulations to all students who participated and completed literacy goals!  Mrs Wiebe will be sending your gift certificates shortly.  A participation certificate will be coming your way via email from your teacher.


Drum Roll for the list of winners:




















On behalf of the Elementary and High School top winners, Varenka and Timothy the Learning Commons will donate $500 to Out of Ashes Children’s Home in Africa, Kitale located here at this website address:


Your Learning commons team!







Read-A-Thon time!

Hi all learning commons peeps!!!!

Hey Avid Readers, we have enjoyed reading your tweets and seeing your pictures! We are looking forward to seeing more selfies and reviews, so dress up as your favorite character and take a picture!  You can email it to Pippa, or Shandra at

At the end of Friday, you need to tally up your reading minutes and fill in the Minutes Completed form.

Deadline to submit minutes is Wednesday, February 12th, 2015. If you don’t submit this form, you are not eligible for the prize draws.

We will announce the winners on Monday, February 16th!

Here is the Certificate which you can print for your students. Certificate


Pippa and the learning commons team

Ten reasons to Listen to Audiobooks!!

The top 10 reasons to listen to audiobooks this month from Overdrive Blog!

June is Audiobook Month! Audiobooks are enjoyed by millions of people around the world but if you’ve never listened to one, now is the perfect time to try them. Just like eBooks are a great complement to printed titles, audiobooks are excellent for when you aren’t able to physically read a book.

With that in mind, we’d like to offer our top ten reasons to listen to audiobooks this month.

1) Multitasking– If it were up to us we’d spend just about every waking moment reading. Unfortunately that’s not possible. However, there are countless times during the day that you can use audiobooks to keep “reading with your ears.” Many jobs come with mindless hours of data entry or filing, so make those hours fly by with an audiobook!

2) Beating traffic- If I actually thought about the amount of time I used to spend sitting in traffic mindlessly flipping through channels on the radio I might start crying. Thankfully, now I spend all that time enjoying audiobooks through my car’s Bluetooth.

3) Narrators & author readings bring characters to life in ways your mind may not be able. In fact, audiobook lovers will often search out titles based entirely on who is narrating the book. A good narrator can create an entire world with just their emphasis and vocal talents.

4) Exercising –As a fan of distance running I can tell you that I’m always searching for something to listen to so those miles and hours don’t seem so daunting. Insert audiobooks. What better way to enjoy a jog, walk or trip to the gym then 1hearing a new book! Audiobooks help pass the time and they let you work out your mind as well as your body!

5) SYNC- SYNC is a program that lasts all summer long where you can download two free audiobooks every single week! Just like titles you borrow from your library these audiobooks are free, and they are also yours to keep! Discover new audiobooks all summer long at

6) Better comprehension– A quick Google search will yield countless articles about how audiobooks are a wonderful tool to improve reading comprehension for young readers, students with disabilities and foreign language learners. While audiobooks can indeed help you learn a new language, they can also help you absorb a particularly difficult title in your own tongue as well. Listen to the audiobook version while reading the eBook and you’ll better understand the flow of the story and sentence structure than with the book alone.

7) Bed time stories- One of the best parts of being a kid is having someone read you a story as you drift off to sleep. It puts your mind at ease and is a peaceful way to end the day. With the OverDrive app you can experience that joy once more! Listen to an audiobook in bed and set the sleep timer so you don’t miss anything after you doze off and relish the nostalgia of a new age bed time story.

8) Chores – Whether you’re 8 or 80 you likely have some chores you need to accomplish every day. Regardless if its yard work, cleaning or running errands you can pass that time much more quickly by putting an audiobook on w/ your headphones or through Bluetooth devices.

9) A new perspective– One of the best things about reading is that it enables you to create new worlds in your mind. You’re able to travel endless distances without leaving your couch. What’s great about audiobooks is that it allows you to do the same but with a narrator emphasizing different details that you may not have. This new perspective can expand your imagination further than you thought possible.

10) Tackling long titles and TBR lists– It seems like every day there’s a new “must read” title released and it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the books you want to read. Let audiobooks help you catch up by allowing you to “read when you can’t read.” At bedtime, in traffic, and while performing mundane tasks are just a few of the times you can enjoy audiobooks. Not only will it provide you entertainment, but you’ll find that you’re finishing more books than you ever before.

Adam Sockel is a Marketing Communications Specialist at OverDrive and a big fan of lists.

Check out our great list of audiobooks on our E library site!



Get a Read on This: Libraries Bridging the Digital Divide: Andrew Roskill at TEDxCharleston – YouTube

See on Scoop.itLibrary Web 2.0 skills

A serial entrepreneur and a digital community advocate, who is founder and CEO of BiblioLabs, a software and media company focused on helping libraries provi…

Pippa Davies @PippaDavies ‘s insight:

How do we make libraries better?  We need software that is easy to use, engaging and immediately accessible.  We also need to be actively advocating for our libraries!  Enter the learning commons which does just that.  As we move into a new age of libraries it is good to evaluate what we are doing right and what we need to improve on.  Of course no ways can we compete with Google and Amazon 🙂  But we are FREE!  and that you cannot BEAT!  So in terms of economy we are bridging the digital divide in terms of poverty!

See on

Congratulations to the following winners in our Missions Based Readathon!

Highest minutes per class winners – Prize $20 Amazon Gift Certificate:

Mikayla Watson Gr. K
Zane MacDonald Gr. 1
Jaden Myles Gr. 2
Aiden Watson Gr. 3
Kinley Friesen Gr. 4
AngusTrombley Gr. 5
Chloe Urbanowski Gr. 6

Highest Reading Score for Grades 7 – 10 Winner

Kennedy MacInnis Gr. 10

Prize $100 Amazon Gift Certificate:

Kiev McDonald Gr. 6 – Highest reading score for Elementary Grades 1-6

Kona Mcdonald Gr. 7– Highest reading score for High School Grades 7- 10

Winner of the Fundraising – All schools, Prize $50 Amazon Gift Certificate

Jeremiah Cooper – HCS, he raised $205.00

Cultivating Reading With Book Clubs @HCS!

Heritage Christian Schools Learning Commons strives to put literacy on the front line for all its students.

Statistics show that:  role modelling reading as parents ;  encouraging trips to libraries ; sharing great audiobooks or telling stories ; reading to your students more than once a day ; and encouraging literacy participation in Read-A-Thons  will really help your student flourish in their literacy skills!

Our HCS distance learning and campus students in grades  4-9 may be found collaborating in virtual classrooms, and in the campus commons sharing about their reading, and blogging book reviews.

During the fall of 2013 the grades 4-8 students have read books nominated for the Red Cedar Awards.  All book clubs including our campus book club are collaborating on the  HCS NDG blog.  The most popular reads were CatBoy by Eric Walters and Racing Home by Adele Dueck (both books may be found on our E Library).  We are very excited to follow up this collaboration with an Author event starring Adele Dueck sharing from her award winning book in May.  More details of this classroom will be made available closer to May!  Stay tuned if you have a student in these age groups, and would like to hear more about how an author writes a children’s book and some of the challenges.

Our next event in our book clubs for this spring involves critiquing children’s books,  in regards to their pictures and their themes.  Our book clubs, including the distance learning students,  and our campus book club are teaming up with a British school,  Notre Dame Catholic School in New Guernsey England,  to contribute to the BC Chocolate Lily Picture  Book awards, and possibly the Kate Greenaway Awards (British awards) which take place late in June.


Some of the questions we will be examining include the following:

1.  Does the story have rhythm?  Is it a pleasure to read aloud or do you stumble with the words?

2.  Did you enjoy the story?  Would a small child enjoy the story?  Why or why not?

3.  Do the images match the theme of the story?  Could the images tell the story on their own?

4.  Is it a circular story? Does it bring you back to the end or does the ending take you somewhere else?

5.  Does the character grow or change in some way by the end of the book?

6.  How much of the text is telling you the story?  Do you feel like things are being explained to you a lot?  Can you see the images in your head when you read?

7.  Is the language suited to the story?  Does it start off well?  Are there any sensory details that add to the text?  Are the nouns and verbs strong?

8.  If there is a rhyming text does the rhyme add to the story? Is it a strong story without the rhyme?  Does the story have substance or is the author relying on the rhyme to get through?  Is the rhyme innovative?

9.  Is this book unique in some way?  What makes it special?

After our blogging all book clubs hope to participate in a collaborative classroom event on Blackboard where we will vote on the winners! We might even post our library staff sharing the books via video to our blog!   Join us in our blogging adventure and encourage literacy:)!

 Blessings from the learning commons team!

January News!

English: .. Dansk: Naturhistorisk Privatunderv...

Welcome to Winter in the learning commons;)

 This month we are focusing on some of the wonderful curriculum we have in our blended learning commons.  As research beckons, book reports get published and science experiments presented,  we thought we would invite you to try some amazing curriculum and learning resources.
Shandra Wiebe shares more about some of our science curriculum  found in the physical learning commons.  Click here.  To check out science non-fiction on the E Library  click here.  Feel free to add your suggestions, as we want to grow this area?

Are you interested in science lab reports?  Find some rubrics here.  General science websites are found here.

For information on assessment from a Christian worldview go here, and here.

New in social studies on the E Library we have activity guides, and books on ancient Egypt and Rome.  Grade 7 students we appreciate your opinion on these items and if you want us to order more?

Reading Promotions

Missions Read-A-thon starts this February and if you have a student in grades K-9 you might want to encourage them to take part in this exciting literary/missions event.  Please contact Shandra Wiebe if you have any queries in this regard.

Events happening on the E Library include the Device Raffle.  To learn more how to take part read this article. The only requirement to win an e reader is to read something on HCS E Library.  Contact Pippa if you need help setting up your device.

Social MediaNatalie shares more about using Google Plus for our community,  and how social media can work for you here.

Events on the Ning!  Currently we have The HCS Schools Innovator of the Year Awards.  Check out more about this new and interesting challenge for all students grade 4 and up here.

Current Awareness  Newsletter.  To learn more about upcoming Olympics fun, coding lessons, homeschooling goals and Valentine’s Day check out our latest newsletter.Blessings from all in the Learning Commons!

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Library Resources


Teaching science can be challenging and trying different curriculum can be costly. The Learning Commons has many excellent resources for various grades. Below is a sample of some of the items we have available. To find our resources in the library catalogue, go to the Topic Search tab and then choose:
500 Natural Sciences/Mathematics, which is broken down into sub-topics. ie. General science books are in 500, Astronomy is 520.
Books on the body are also found in 600 Technology, sub-topic 610 Medical Science, Medicine.


Science Readers and Teacher Editions for grades 1 through 5. The Reader is colorful and engaging!

We have a number of books by Jeannie Fulbright that are very informative and you can download student booklets from her website:

Exploring creation: with human anatomy and physiology
Exploring creation with astronomy
Exploring creation with botany
Exploring creation with zoology 1: flying creatures of the fifth day
Oceans and Aquatic Animals Unit Study: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day

The biblically based “God’s Design” series was designed by homeschoolers for homeschoolers!
Elementary and middle schoolers will love the exciting, easy-to-understand, and easily taught lessons in the God’s Design textbooks by Debbie and Richard Lawrence. All twelve books in the God’s Design series are very comprehensive, richly illustrated, and cover material that is often left out of other curricula. You’ll love the flexibility of this popular series, which is designed to be used with students ranging from first through eighth grade … all at the same time!

Best of all, God’s Design textbooks help you teach science from a biblical, creationist perspective, emphasizing God’s handiwork in the world around us. Using the God’s Design curriculum from AiG will help strengthen your student’s faith by showing how science consistently supports the Bible’s written record. Students will learn to think critically and logically examine arguments presented by all sides in the creation/evolution debate.

Dr. Ruth W. Keller – Real Science- 4-Kids
Many kids – and the majority of homeschool teachers – find science to be one of the most difficult subjects to teach and to learn. Real Science-4-Kids makes it easy through our unique Building Block approach which allows your child to start with the basics of chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, and geology in the first grade and then build on that foundation. Just like building a house, these learning blocks help your child’s knowledge expand exponentially.

Biology: Level 1
Chemistry: Level I
Physics: Level I
Teacher’s Manual: Chemistry, Biology, Physics: Level I

Christian Kids Explore Biology
This user-friendly, unabashedly Christian, one-year science curriculum for elementary students includes teaching lessons, gorgeous coloring pages, hands-on time, memorization lists, review sheets, creative writing assignments, and an awesome supplemental book list! Written for 3rd through 6th graders, it can easily be scaled down for younger students, making this an excellent choice for teaching all your elementary-aged kids together. The schedule of 35 weekly lessons calls for teaching twice weekly, allowing a family time for projects, exploration of resource books, field trips, etc. The conversational style gives students the basic information they need, making this an ideal first course in life science; especially useful for those following a classical approach!

Science for Grades 8 – 12:

Matter and Motion – Grade 8
Biology – Grade 10
Apologia –

Apologia Science publishes award-winning, creation-based science textbooks whose goal is to inspire an appreciation for science and a passion for learning. Our academically rigorous, college preparatory books are written in an easy-to-understand, conversational tone directly to the student, unburdening the parents from the burden of direct instruction. Ideal for those who love science and those who aren’t so sure, our Jr. and Sr. High science texts make comprehension easy, education solid, and God’s work in Creation clear.
Advanced Chemistry in Creation
Exploring creation with biology
Exploring creation with general science
Exploring creation with physical science
Exploring creation with Physics : Multimedia companion CD
The Human body: fearfully and wonderfully made!

We also have unit study kits and many more resources available. We have creates specific searches for kits and subjects in the 001 Resources Topic Search. Spend some time in the Topic Searches and you will find a treasure of resources!

Visit our How to Use the Library page for tutorials and general information:

Shandra Wiebe
Library Resource/Tech Administrator

New E Books and e Reader Promotion!

Hello learning commons friends,

Image representing Overdrive as depicted in Cr...

Our HCS e library on Overdrive is really a happening place,  and statistics over the past few months show that many more of our patrons are reading via e reader, laptop or device of their choice!  With instant access and a growing fiction and non-fiction collection,  Overdrive has a lot to offer our patrons both young and old.  Find a book to complement a project, book club, online course or just leisurely reading. 🙂

The recent student request option has seen several items purchased for our learning commons.  Please check to see many of these books now in the e library.

To see the latest purchases click here. If you do not have your passwords please read on.

Other new collections to the e library include Bible Studies and Devotionals and Missions.  For instant access to our e library don’t forget the Overdrive image widget on the home page which takes you directly to our site.

Device Raffle_Facebook graphic

For the month of January and February we will be offering this raffle promotion, with a prize of a Kobo E reader, and black protective leather case.

What is required ?  Read an E book during the month of January and February 2014.  The winner’s name  will be shared on the blog in March, and your prize will be shipped to you.

If you are unsure how to borrow e books,  and do not know your username and password, please contact Shandra and she will email you your passwords.  Pippa will help you with getting the technical aspects and downloading of software,

Happy Reading in the New Year!


The learning commons team.

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Read-a-thon Winners for 2013!

Announcing the winners of the 2013 contest! Thank you to all who participated!

Grade K
Eric Metz K Sylvia Gibbs 1600 Top Class Reader

Grade 1
Isaac Visscher 1 Steve Codling 4375 Top Class Reader

Grade 2
Haye Porritt 2 Veronica kayban 5130 Top Class Reader

Grade 3
Seth Hulka 3 Janine Hanson 7250 Top Class Reader

Grade 4
Lauren Huguet 4 Ryan Titley 2630 Top Class Reader

Grade 5

Kiev McDonald 5 Nicole Terpstra 6480 Top Class Reader
Colton Penner 5 Lonnie Penner 7444 Top Elementary Reader

Grade 6
Jonathan Green 6 Sylvia Gibbs 3259 Top Class Reader

High School
Grade 7
Victor Penner 7 Lonnie Penner 10393 Top Class Reader
Alia Riesen 7 Lorena Von Riesen 10, 450 Top High School Reader

Grade 8
Alexander Miller 8 Pat Mackesy 5440 Top Class Reader

Grade 9
Kayley Lahaie 9 Lori Taetz 6695 Top Class Reader

Random E-Reader Draw

Stephen Stoltz 3 Nola Morgan

Top Class Readers Win a $20 G/C

Top Elementary and High School Readers win an E-Reader!
*Top readers cannot win for both categories.

Please print off the this certificate for your students: Certificate 2013

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