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

Digital Unit Study Kit Guides Now on OverDrive

BIG NEWS.  We’ve made some more changes on OverDrive, making our HCOS Digital Unit Study Kit Guides by Rachael Freed (now Rennie), even easier to access.

To quickly find all of these digital kits on OverDrive, visit this link


To navigate to the Unit Study Kits from the main page, click our “Curriculum” Menu:

Unit Study Kits from Curriculum Menu

You will see all of the curated lists here that align with BC’s standards.

From there, SCROLL DOWN, and you’ll see all of our Unit Study Kits, LIKE THIS:

Unit Study Kits


If you want a quick view of what’s in each collection, click the + sign on the right of each list.  To see all the Unit Study Kits for a particular grade, click, “view more“:


We’re continually making improvements to serve you better, and are open to your comments and suggestions anytime.  Please feel free to send me an email,


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.

Big Changes on OverDrive!

Good News! We now have the capacity for many more menus on OverDrive, and we’ve made some major changes, investing significant time making improvements to the way you search our collections.

First of all, take a look at our all-new “Curriculum” tab…




New Curriculum Tab

All the subject lists by grade reside here!  So, instead of searching through all the titles in our former “Grades 2/3 Titles for BC’s New Curriculum” curation, for example, you’ll now see a screen that looks like this:




New Collections Lists

New to our “Collections” tab are CORE COMPETENCIES curations and much more!  Take a look at some of the new collections we’ve been working on.



The new capacity for multiple lists in this “Collections” tab opens up many new opportunities to share curated lists with you to meet your needs.

We’re incredibly excited to be launching these improvements to serve you better!  There are still a few tweaks and additions that we’ll be making over the next few weeks, and so if you have any suggestions for us, or if you are having trouble finding what you’re looking for, your Learning Commons Team is here to support you!



New Unit Study Kits and More!


New Grade 8 Socials Digital Unit Study Kits


We have three new Socials Unit Study Kits for Grade 8:

Coming Soon! Crusades Digital Mini-Unit Study Kit

To cover content and curricular competencies for Gr. 8 Socials, students are required to complete the Middle Ages kit AND the Renaissance kit, and EITHER the Reformation Mini Kit or the Crusades Mini Kit (coming soon).


More Learning Commons News

We look forward to hosting our Mystery Read-a-Thon later this month, as well as two webinars on Intermediate resources on Overdrive and a STEAM session! If you have a special request for a new webinar topic, please let us know and we will look into finding an expert to share!

Our Learning Commons has purchased a set of Dash robots for our younger K-Gr 5 students. Our STEAM mentors and teachers are excited to launch these this year at community centers near you. We also have one set available for usage from L4U. See this post for more.




Overdrive and L4U Intermediate Resources


What? Discover how to use Overdrive and L4U to find Intermediate Resources. Pippa and Cynthia will walk you through the joys of reading using audio and eBooks including some of the amazing digital kits we have on Overdrive.

When? January 16th at 3 pm

Where? Zoom classroom

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

Or iPhone one-tap :
Canada: +16475580588,,794363237#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
Canada: +1 647 558 0588
Meeting ID: 794 363 237
International numbers available:

Register at this poll here.


Coding and Tynker: Discovering the Design Process


What? Not sure what ADST is? Curious about the Design Process? Wondering how to help your students learn these skills? Join us today as we take a look at ADST, the Design Process, how it relates to various skills, coding, and more. Mark Lamden (one of our HCOS STEAM Mentors) will walk us through these topics, and introduce us to some of his own courses which have been created to help families tackle ADST successfully.

Who?All individualized students and online students/parents or staff are welcome. There will be a time for Q and A after the session.

When? Jan 30th @ 3 pm

Where: Zoom classroom

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

Or iPhone one-tap :
Canada: +16475580588,,185297414#
Or Telephone
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location)
Canada: +1 647 558 0588
Meeting ID: 185 297 414
International numbers available:

Please register at this poll here.


New Year New Goals!


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Happy New Year!

January and Winter are here, and the research, reading, and learning are happening!  January is traditionally one of the busiest times of year for reading and research!  Let us know if we can help you with any of your research or project queries.  We love to find the very best bibliographic resources to help your student shine!

We look forward to hosting our Mystery Read-a-Thon later this month, as well as two webinars on Intermediate resources on Overdrive and a STEAM session! If you have a request for a webinar on some new learning please let us know and we will look into finding an expert to share!


Thank you for participating our new physical commons survey.  Here are some of the results.


  • 92 % Believe the learning commons should be a place to borrow a variety of materials
  • 83% believe that the learning commons serves as a place of research and reading.
  • 63% believe that the physical commons serves as a place for Maker ed learning.


  • Natural Light
  • Open Plan Layout with a few traditional office/collaboration/reading rooms.
  • Innovative Out of the Box style architecture


  • 88% Books
  • 76% Electronic access and wireless support
  • 72% Library staff
  • 61% Robotics and Maker Kits!



The learning commons has purchased a set of Dash robots for our younger K-Gr 5 students.  Our STEAM mentors and teachers are excited to launch these this year at community centres near you.  We also have one set available for usage from L4U.  See this post for more.



Mystery Read-A-Thon

Jan 22- Feb 9th.  Register by reading the post above.




Overdrive and L4U Intermediate Resources


WhatDiscover how to use Overdrive and L4U to find Intermediate Resources.  Pippa and Cynthia will walk you through the joys of reading using audio and eBooks including some of the amazing digital kits we have on Overdrive.

When?  January 16th at 3 pm

Where?  Zoom classroom

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

Or iPhone one-tap :
Canada: +16475580588,,794363237#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
Canada: +1 647 558 0588
Meeting ID: 794 363 237
International numbers available:

Register at this poll here.


Coding and Tynker:  Discovering the Design Process


What?  Not sure what ADST is?  Curious about the Design Process?  Wondering how to help your students learn these skills?  Join us today as we take a look at ADST, the Design Process, how it relates to various skills, coding, and more.  Mark Lamden (one of our HCOS STEAM Mentors) will walk us through these topics, and introduce us to some of his own courses which have been created to help families tackle ADST successfully.

Who?All individualized students and online students/parents or staff are welcome. There will be a time for Q and A after the session. 

When?  Jan 30th @ 3 pm  

Where:  Zoom classroom

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

Or iPhone one-tap :
Canada: +16475580588,,185297414#
Or Telephone
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location)
Canada: +1 647 558 0588
Meeting ID: 185 297 414
International numbers available:

Please register at this poll here.

Blessings for a healthy, happy and peaceful New year!

From the Learning Commons Team!

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!

New on the Book Shelf in OverDrive!

We have some awesome new materials on OverDrive just in time for reading in front of that warm, cosy fireplace!  So head over to OverDrive eLibrary and immerse yourself in some awesome stories!


“The War That Saved My Life” by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley

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#1 New York Times Bestseller
Newbery Honor Book
Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award (Middle School)
Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Books of 2015
New York Public Library’s 100 Books for Reading and Sharing

An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds set during World War II, from the acclaimed author of “Jefferson’s Sons” and for fans of “Number the Stars”.

Ten-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother, Jamie, is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.

This begins a new adventure for Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take in the two kids. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the hands of their cruel mother?

This masterful work of historical fiction is equal parts adventure and a moving tale of family and identity—a classic in the making.

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“Seeds of Time” by KC Dyer (BC author)

Thirteen-year-old Darrell Connor is a troubled girl, still haunted by the motorcycle accident that took her father’s life, and part of her leg, three years ago. She is not pleased when her worried mother sends her to board at Eagle Glen School for the summer.

But there is a sense of mystery at the school that appeals to Darrell, and as she investigates, she finds adventure and begins to form a few tentative friendships. When she stumbles upon a passage through time, she begins to wonder – is it possible to change her own past?

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“Nativity” by Cynthia Rylant

In the spirit of her acclaimed “Dog Heaven” and “Cat Heaven”, Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant illustrates the nativity story in her powerful folk art style.
Cynthia Rylant takes the beloved text of the nativity story, as told in the King James Bible, and lovingly illustrates it in her simple, but bold, style that has been called “stunning” by “School Library Journal”. As she did with the creation story, Rylant has created a sublime take on a classic story that will appeal to readers of all ages.

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“The Trumpeter of Krakow” by Eric P. Kelly

For well over thirty years, Eric P. Kelly’s Newbery Award winner has brought the color and romance of ancient times to young readers. Today, “The Trumpeter of Krakow” is an absorbing and dramatic as when it was first published in 1928.

There was something about the Great Tarnov Crystal….Wise men spoke of it in hushed tones. Others were ready to kill for it. Now a murderous Tartar chief is bent on possessing it. But young Joseph Charnetski is bound by an ancient oath to protect the jewel at all costs.

When Joseph and his family seek refuge in medieval Krakow, they are caught up in the plots and intrigues of alchemists, hypnotists, and a dark messenger of evil. Will Joseph be able to protect the crystal, and the city, from the plundering Tartars?

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“The Second Mrs. Gioconda” by e.l.konigsburg

Why did Leonardo da Vinci lavish three years on painting the second wife of an unimportant merchant when all the nobles of Europe were begging for a portrait from his hand? In E. L. Konigsburg’s intriguing novel, the answer lies with the complex relationship between the genius, his morally questionable young apprentice, and a young duchess whose plain features belie the sensitivity of her soul.


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“Planetary Science:  Explore New Frontiers” by Matthew Brenden Wood

What do you see when you look up into the sky at night? The moon, stars, maybe even a comet or asteroid? You can also see other planets! In “Planetary Science: Explore New Frontiers”, readers ages 12 to 15 embark on a journey through the solar system and beyond, exploring planets, moons, dwarf planets, exoplanets and everything in-between. For many ancient cultures, planets were mysterious objects that moved against the backdrop of the heavens in strange but predictable patterns. Ever since Galileo Galilei first used a telescope to explore the moons of Jupiter, we’ve known that the planets are much more than mysterious points of light in the night sky. With the creation of incredible technologies such as space probes, giant ground-based telescopes, and Earth-orbiting observatories, we’ve learned that Mars once had water on its surface, that Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has been churning for centuries, and that thousands of exoplanets circle distant suns. “Planetary Science” is also exciting because of what we don’t know. Was there ever life on Mars? Is Planet Nine lurking in the outer reaches of the solar system? Will we ever find another Earth? How far can we go? In “Planetary Science”, readers examine the latest information on Pluto, the discoveries of the Mars rover Curiosity, and the incredible catalog of distant planets uncovered by the Kepler Space Telescope. They learn about how planets are formed, and why they travel on their orbits. Planets, those pinpricks of light you might spot on a clear night, come closer through informative illustrations, links to online primary sources, illuminating sidebars and fun facts, and hands-on, in-depth activities, such as building scale models of planets, hunting for alien worlds through citizen science, and crafting a comet in the kitchen. “Planetary Science” also promotes critical thinking skills through inquiry, discovery, and research by encouraging readers to explore questions that remain unanswered, such as whether Mars once had life or the possibility of a ninth planet hiding in the furthest reaches of the solar system. With discoveries being made almost every day, it’s an exciting time to be a planetary scientist!

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“Plastic Ahoy:  Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch” by Patricia Newman (Gr 4-8)

Plastic: it’s used to make everything from drink bottles and bags to toys and toothbrushes. But what happens when it ends up where it doesn’t belong—like in the Pacific Ocean? How does it affect ocean life? Is it dangerous? And exactly how much is out there? A team of researchers went on a scientific expedition to find out. They explored the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where millions of pieces of plastic have collected. The plastic has drifted there from rivers, beaches, and ocean traffic all over the world. Most of it has broken down into tiny pieces the size of confetti.

For nearly three weeks at sea, researchers gathered bits of plastic and ocean organisms. These samples helped them learn more about the effects of plastic in the ocean. Follow along on the expedition to find out how scientists studied the Garbage Patch—and what alarming discoveries they made.

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“The Truth About Stories” by Thomas King  (Gr. 9-12)

In his 2003 CBC Massey Lectures, award-winning author and scholar, Thomas King, illuminates North America’s relationship with its Aboriginal people. He is also winner of the 2003 Trillium Book Award.

“Stories are wondrous things,” declares King in his 2003 CBC Massey Lectures, “And they are dangerous.” Beginning with a traditional Native oral story, King weaves his way through literature and history, religion and politics, popular culture and social protest, gracefully elucidating North America’s relationship with its Native people. Native culture has deep ties to storytelling, and yet no other North American culture has been the subject of more erroneous stories. The Indian of fact, as King says, bears little resemblance to the literary Indian, the dying Indian, the construct so powerfully and often destructively projected by White North America. With keen perception and wit, King illustrates that stories are the key to, and only hope for, human understanding. He compels us to listen well.

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“DK findout! Coding”  Series DKfindout!

Discover the amazing power of computer programming, and how it is all around us, with this exciting book full of amazing images, fun quizzes, and incredible information.

Learn why we use code, how computers interpret code and the history of coding from Ada Lovelace and early programming languages to today’s Python and Scratch. Supporting STEM education initiatives, this book will get kids excited about programming and eager to go from browsing to building.

Filled with colorful images and quirky facts, “DKfindout! Coding” is engaging and educational.

Learn more about computer coding – or anything else – at, a free educational website for kids to have fun with information and expand their knowledge.

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“Explore The Ice Age with 25 Great Projects” by Cindy Blobaum

Brrr…does it feel cold? Get out your gloves and get ready to experience the Ice Age! In “Explore the Ice Age! with 25 Great Project”, readers ages 7-10 discover what an ice age consists of, why we have them, and what effect an ice age has on living organisms and ecosystems, paying particular attention to the most recent Ice Age, which is the only one humans were around to witness. About 12,000 years ago, glaciers up to 2 miles tall covered up to one-third of Earth’s land! Explore how these moving mountains of ice changed almost everything on Earth, including shorelines, weather, plants, animals and human activities, migration, and more. Learn the science and techniques of archeological and paleontological digs to understand how we know so much about a time that happened before recorded history. Science-minded activities lead readers to discover what a world covered in ice means for the earth’s crust, its atmosphere, and what happens when the planet begins to warm and the ice melts. Projects include creating mini glaciers to move mountains and create beaches, and recreating the lifestyles of Paleolithic people to discover what they ate, how they hunted, how they made tools and clothes and their history in art. Don’t wait for the next ice age to get started! Cartoon illustrations, fun facts, and a compelling narrative make “Explore the Ice Age!” an essential part of any STEM library.

New Overdrive eBooks for ADST and the Core Competencies


New Applied Design Skill and Technologies (ADST) eBooks!


ADST came into effect with BC’s New Curriculum in 2016 and in grades K – 5 is meant to be addressed “in combination with grade-level content from other areas of learning in cross-curricular activities to develop foundational mindsets and skills in design thinking and making” (BC’s New Curriculum).   

ADST Big Ideas for Grades K – 3:
  • Designs grow out of natural curiosity;
  • Skills can be developed through play; and
  • Technologies are tools that extend human capabilities.
ADST Big Ideas for Grades 4 – 5:
  • Designs can be improved with prototyping and testing;
  • Skills are developed through practice, effort, and action; and

The Maker Education, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math), and Project-Based Learning models offer excellent avenues for integrating the required ADST skills into our grades K – 5 teaching and learning.

To find relevant K – 5 ADST resources on OverDrive, select “Teacher Resources” from the Collections menu on the main page …

Teacher's Lounge from main page

… then select, Creative Thinking Competency; MakerEd/STEAM Education:

Creative Thinking Competency.jpg

From here, you can filter your results to only see juvenile titles, which will weed out some of the books for older students for you.


ADST Resources for Grade 6 – 9 on OverDrive

Did you know we have over 120 books in our ADST collection on OverDrive?

In Grade 6 and 7, students can choose a minimum of 3 specific disciplines such as Computational Thinking, Computers and Communications Devices, Digital Literacy, Drafting, Entrepreneurship and Marketing, Food Studies, Media Arts, Metalwork, Power Technology, Robotics, Textiles, and Woodwork. 

In Grades 8 and 9, students have the option to focus on one or more of the aforementioned areas of learning, provided that the culmination of the learning in these areas equates to a full year course.

To find ADST Resources on OverDrive, select “More Collections” from the main menu …

More Collections

… and then scroll down the page until you find, ADST – Applied Design, Skills, and Technology:



For more information about ADST and resources available to you through our Learning Commons, please refer to this page.


New! eBook Collections to Address the Core Competencies of BC’s New Curriculum

We are very pleased to announce all new Core Competencies Collections on OverDrive!

What are the Core Competencies all about?  Here is a brief description:

Communication -The communication competency encompasses the set of abilities that students use to impart and exchange information, experiences, and ideas, to explore the world around them, and to understand and effectively engage in the use of digital media.  View the Communication Profiles and Illustrations »

Thinking – The thinking competency encompasses the knowledge, skills, and processes we associate with intellectual development. It is through their competency as thinkers that students take subject-specific concepts and content and transform them into a new understanding. Thinking competence includes specific thinking skills as well as habits of mind, and metacognitive awareness.


Personal and Social – Personal and social competency is the set of abilities that relate to students’ identity in the world, both as individuals and as members of their community and society. Personal and social competency encompasses the abilities students need to thrive as individuals, to understand and care about themselves and others, and to find and achieve their purposes in the world.

To view our Core Competencies Collection on OverDrive, first select “Teacher’s Lounge from the main menu …

Teacher's Lounge from main page

Then, select the Core Competency of your choice:

Core Competencies

From here, you will be able to sort and filter your results from the options on the left of the page.


Drum Roll, Please! Our Next “Techie Tuesday Webinar” is October 3rd at 3:00 pm!

“Unit Study Kits:  What They Are and How to Use Them” with Pippa and Cynthia

Webinars are a quick and easy way to receive a lot of valuable information in a short amount of time – in a live, virtual setting where you can also get all of your questions answered.  During this “Techie Tuesday” webinar, Pippa and Cynthia will walk you through Unit Study Kits:  What They Are, and How to Use Them.


What:  Pippa and Cynthia will share about our  HCOS Unit Study Kits – Digital & Physical curriculum to help your students learn from an inquiry base.

Who may attend:  Students K-12 and parents, staff

Where:  Zoom classroom


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

Or iPhone one-tap :
Canada: +16475580588,,249449622#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
Canada: +1 647 558 0588
Meeting ID: 249 449 622
International numbers available:


List of Kits (Both Unit Study and Supplemental Kits) Available in L4U

Unit Study Kit Description:  These kits are available in digital format (using OverDrive eBooks, etc.), or in physical format (Heritage Christian Online School couriers these kits to your home and will arrange for courier pick up as well – all free of charge for HCOS students).  These resource kits, created by our staff, outline lesson plans and activities for your students.  Significant effort has been made on your behalf to include quality resources and hard-to-find supplies, in order to address learning standards efficiently and effectively.


Kits include all or some of the following:

Several informative books on the unit study topic

Hard-to-locate reusable resources such as prepared slides, battery holders, and spring scales

A game, activity or DVD to make learning fun

Related websites to extend learning

A parent activity guide which breaks the content into a variety of lesson plans. The guide can also be accessed on the website and has live links to other websites


October ThankFALL!

September flew by with a great start to a new school year!   We hope you are enjoying the crisp Autumn air, after the hot and fiery summer!  We pray your students have settled into a good school routine with their learning, and we look forward to connecting with you this year.  As you start the school year, we want you to know that we are here to help and guide you in your school choices for curriculum.  We pray that your students will feel encouraged, inspired and confident as they seek to find new challenges that suit their purpose and gifts.  We also pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families!

There are numerous ways to get in touch with us!

  • Instead of Lunch ‘n Learn workshops, we now have Techie Tuesdays.  Check out our fall lineup of virtual workshops on Zoom.
  • Let us know if you have a special unique gift you would like to share with our families.  We will host you in a workshop or you can share an article to our blog.


Hello, My Name is JD Robot!  Check out our newest friend in the learning commons!


There are new eBooks in OverDrive, and check out this article on “Read an eBook Day

Have you checked out our OverDrive Grade Level Lists recently?  These resources link directly into Overdrive if you are already signed in:  KindergartenGrade 1Grade 2Grade 3Grade 4Grade 5Grade 6Grade 7Grade 8Grade 9.

If your student is struggling to find his or her passion, check out our thematic lists to find project ideas!

New professional development in The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity by George Couros.

Books about Thanksgiving on Overdrive!


Many of you have been patiently awaiting our Grade 8 Unit Study Kits.  Good News!  The first of our Science Kits is available now!  Check out our Gr. 8 Cells Digital Unit Study Kit.  Our Plate Tectonic kit is almost here.  Check the website this week!


Help, I Still Need Curriculum!  by Cynthia Duncalfe



See our updated newsletter on the latest web links in our Learning Commons, including STEAM, Maker ideas and farming, plus harvest lesson plans.


Click on this page for some ideas for integrating Indigenous Peoples content into your curriculum.  Your teacher now has a spreadsheet of all the correlations to resources in our learning commons.  Contact your teacher for this spreadsheet.


Wanting ideas for getting your students to start writing?  Try Kidblog, a subscription which allows you (as teachers or as parents) to set up a roster for your students to write and, if you wish, to interact with other students.

A great way to teach science:  Mystery Science!!  Contact your support teacher to be assigned the mysteries, and enjoy a great family-friendly site for K-5 science.


It’s been a busy time in the learning commons – we can tell by the bare shelves that homeschoolers everywhere are hard at work!  Many new families have joined us – Welcome!  We are happy to help you navigate the websites and learn the ropes!  And YES, we still have lot of unit study kits available to book throughout the year.

Read More!

Blessings from the Learning Commons team!



Read an eBook Day is Monday, September 18th

Tell your story


Share your #eBookLove on social media for a chance to win a Kobo Aura ONE thanks to our friends at Kobo.  Simply share a post, picture and/or videos showing off your #eBookLove for a chance to win this incredible device. OverDrive will notify the winners and share their posts throughout the week of the 18th.

RAEBD flyer 2

Read an eBook Day was created to promote the joy of digital reading and modern storytelling.  Visit Read an eBook Day website to get book recommendations, hear interviews with authors by our Professional Book Nerds podcast, and post comments about their eBook experiences. We hope you’ll join the conversation by sharing what you’re reading, stories about why you love eBooks, and by using the hashtag #eBookLove on social media for a chance to win content credit and devices!


New eBooks on OverDrive for STEAM and MakerED

Need some inspiration?  We have lots of new eBooks on Overdrive for STEAM and MakerEd.  To find these excellent resources, first log-in to your Overdrive account, and then click this link.  To see our new titles first, sort by “added to site”.





Adventures in Coding
Hello Ruby Series, Book 1

Cover of Adventures in Codingby Linda Liukas

Meet Ruby—a small girl with a huge imagination, and the determination to solve any puzzle. As Ruby stomps around her world making new friends, including the Wise Snow Leopard, the Friendly Foxes, and the Messy Robots, kids will be introduced to the fundamentals of computational thinking, like how to break big problems into small ones, create step-by-step plans, look for patterns and think outside the box through storytelling. Then, these basic concepts at the core of coding and programming will be reinforced through fun playful exercises and activities that encourage exploration and creativity.

In Ruby’s world, anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Cover of The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring

The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring: The Accidental Invention of the Toy That Swept the Nation

(With Audio Recording) by Gilbert Ford

With magnificent dioramic illustrations, Gilbert Ford captures the joy, creativity, and determination behind the invention of an iconic, one-of-a-kind toy: the Slinky!  One day, a spring fell from the desk of Richard James, an engineer, and a dreamer. Its coils took a walk…and so did Richard’s imagination. He knew right away that he had stumbled onto something marvelous.

With the help of his wife, Betty, Richard took this ordinary spring and turned it into a plaything. But it wasn’t just any old trinket—it was a Slinky, and it would become one of the most popular toys in American history.

Cover of Rosie Revere's Big Project Book for Bold Engineers

by Andrea Beaty
Embark on an adventure of personal creativity and invention with fan favorite Rosie Revere! This activity book features art from the picture book Rosie Revere, Engineer and will inspire young readers with activities of all kinds. Kids will have the chance to design a better bicycle, build a simple catapult, construct a solar oven, and more! This empowering activity book will teach problem-solving and creative-thinking skills crucial to STEM fields while also providing opportunities for its readers to try new things and, sometimes, to fail. As the picture book so brilliantly showed hundreds of thousands of young readers, flops are an inevitable part of success and something to be celebrated rather than feared. Created by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts, the same New York Times bestselling team who brought us Rosie Revere, Iggy Peck, and Ada Twist, this activity book will be perfect for old and new fans alike!

A cool idea with a big splash   You know the Super Soaker. It’s one of top twenty toys of all time. And it was invented entirely by accident. Trying to create a new cooling system for rockets, impressive inventor Lonnie Johnson instead created the mechanics for the iconic toy.   A love for rockets, robots, inventions, and a mind for creativity began early in Lonnie Johnson’s life. Growing up in a house full of brothers and sisters, persistence and a passion for problem-solving became the cornerstone for a career as an engineer and his work with NASA. But it is his invention of the Super Soaker water gun that has made his most memorable splash with kids and adults.

Cover of Design Thinking

Design Thinking
Series: 21st Century Skills Innovation Library: Makers as Innovators

by Kristin Fontichiaro

Learn how to think critically about the design of things you want to make. Readers will learn to analyze the efficiency of their plans, while still feeling encouraged to push forward with new ideas. Photos, sidebars, and callouts help readers draw connections between new concepts in this book and other makers-related concepts they may already know. Additional text features and search tools, including a glossary and an index, help students locate information and learn new words.



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