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Friday, October 30, 2015

More than Ten Books to make your student WONDER

This past week I have been poring over some amazing books that we purchased for our physical commons!  These books, many of them Canadian will invite wonder, encourage imagination and allow your students to start making and creating, and learning more about God's diverse world.  They will also work really well to fit into our new learning outcomes 2016.

Elementary school

An Inuksuk means Welcome by Mary Wallace.  A central image in the Inuit culture is the inuksuk which frames this lovely book in an acrostic.  Readers will learn seven words from the Inuktiat language as they spell out Inuksuk.  The richly textured paintings will have you in awe! K-3

Good Morning Canada by Andrea Lynn Beck.This book invites students to reflect on their beautiful country with gorgeous illustrations and multicultural symbolism. Gr 1-3

Journey by Aaron Becker.  This luminous colourful book brings flights of fancy to any young reader.  As students journey through this book they will encounter their own amazing adventure as the book does not have any text.   Gr K-4.

The Legend of the Beavers Tail by Stephanie Shaw.  This lovely story encompasses the message "pride goeth before the fall" as Beaver learns that bragging does not beget friends. Gr 1-3

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires.  This beautifully illustrated book is a wonderful story about the art of making, the process of project based learning and how growth mindset is so integral in the early years.  I read this one with my reading buddies and they were all happy to go and MAKE something. Gr 1-5

Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beatty.  This engaging picture book tells the story of Rosie who dreams of being an engineer.  Rosie constructs inventions from odds and ends and afraid of failure hides them away.  But a visit from a great aunt shows Rosie that she does not need to fear failure.  K-4

The Elders are Watching by David Bouchard and Roy Henry Vickers.  This beautiful book created to enhance the natural beauty of our land and waters, brings a plea to respect the natural treasures we have been blessed with in British Columbia.  Gr 5-7 and High school.

Pirate, Viking and Scientist by Jared Chapman.  This inter-disciplinary picture book teaches science concepts in an engaging story as Pirate learns some fun terminology, creates a hypothesis and observes his experiment. Gr K-2.

Middle School

Fatty Legs and sequel A Stranger at Home  by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton.  These chapter books deal sensitively with the topic of residential schools and social justice.  Both of these books inspire great conversation in the classroom, and are based on true life. Gr 4-9.

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson and David Shannon.  The story of Hiawatha with enclosed CD sharing music by Robbie Robertson.  This journey of Hiawatha as he moves towards peace is brought to life with stunning oil paintings and lots of details.  With Hiawatha and the Peacemaker young people can as Robertson said learn about the real Hiawatha.  And given that Robertson includes the fact the Peacemaker had a speech impediment, I think people within the special needs community will find this book an invaluable addition to their shelves.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Inspiring the next generation!

Recently I was tapped via Twitter to find my writing, presenting groove again. It's not that I have lost my interest in sharing the love of all things learning commons. It is just that I have a new love, my grandchild, Isabelle Grace.

 At two months old she is cuteness personified, and yes I am in love again just like a new mommy. But it is different. It is a love which is imbued with pride for how my daughter is raising our little munchkin. When I look at the unconditional outpouring of love I am reminded of how much how our Heavenly Father loves us! I am so encouraged by the bond that is developing and so excited to see how the next generation develops.

 So what are the future ideas which this new generation will seek to discover and learn in the 21st century?  With our new learning outcomes changing in the next year in British Columbia, and moving towards inquiry based learning, the learning commons is once again at the forefront of inspiring educational principles. How do we move ahead under the Lord's leadership?

 1. The learning commons continues to draw students towards discipleship, and collaboration with its MakerEd theme meeting all project based needs, and multi-sensory learning in a fun, engaging way. Character and true grit/perseverance, collaboration and curiosity make learning so much more inviting. Virtual book clubs encourage students from Grades K-12 to find their literary voice!  Students mentor younger students on the Ning, and in forums, helping prepare them for future digital leadership.

 2. Our students need to be prepared for a new "techie" society in Canada, that requires not only great multi tasking ability, but also a scientific approach to innovation and change.  Bring back the HYPOTHESIS! Lets make math and science exciting, and use apps, and concrete tools like Lego Mindstorms, Knex,  video, MakeyMakey, LittleBits, 3D printing and Keva Planks! Lets design our own curriculum with the student in mind, so that we can meet many literacies and learning styles.  We are blessed to do this in distance education!

3. The learning commons has always been a place of safety and peace, where students are allowed to find themselves. Free of assessment the teacher librarian may help students find the gifts, passions of their heart.  Too often tests have been the focus in education, and have not served the best interest of our students. Lets get involved in making assessment more creative and innovative by setting new standards which encourage creating, evaluating and analyzing, so facts get remembered for the right reasons.  Really the learning commons has always been a catalyst for Makerspaces.


4. Lets make learning equal in the digital divide. Lets provide open access to our learning commons so that all students will benefit from digital access. But also let us find ways to bring out humanity and the inner beauty of our students, by encouraging the different literacies, enhancing student voice and letting go of the need for speed via digital devices. Use technology when it helps a student overcome the barriers of distance, or serves a greater purpose.  Overdrive E library has been a revolutionary innovation in the learning commons for removing digital inequalities.  As textbooks, movies and audiobooks become streamed we can capture all learners with engaging resources. Subscription databases such as Ebscohost, Discovery Streaming, Learn 360, Reading Eggs, MathSeeds, Dimension U all allow students in remote parts of BC and the world to find information that is accurate, engaging, fun and digitally relevant.

 5. The learning commons gives purpose to students need's, and finds ways of matching up student interest and ability, with the talents of a nurturing and inspiring librarian. Lets find materials that enhance the classics and literacy again, including ways to read Shakespeare, Dickens and Plato! From graphic novels, read aloud days, reading buddies, poetry slams, writing workshops, drama and film making, video games, and scavenger hunts to find that special book, lets make learning FUN!

How can we help prepare your students for the future?  Please comment as I love to glean from you.

Pippa and the learning commons team.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

whats Love got to do with IT?

This past month we have been exploring the Love of Jesus Christ at church (Peace Portal Alliance in South Surrey).  I was struck this week with our pastor Scott Dickie's passion for the demonstration of LOVE in our community.
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 Int.  

If we truly believe that Jesus died for us and his love and mercy endures forever why do we become so stagnant in our personal lives.  Why do we hold onto our idols and fail to turn to Him when we need Him MOST?  I think we hold on to the lie that we cannot do more than what we are doing because we are too busy, too tired, have too many of our own problems, or we are just one person and cannot initiate change. We leave the missionaries to do the job of helping others.  Yet our own community is failing to see the need for church and Jesus in their life.  Is it because we have left this to others to serve in our own community.  How can we hack our own community to see what needs matter most?

 I know that the message this morning at church impacted my own sin of holding onto my future financial plans instead of TRUSTING how God could use me to further HIS goals.  I always find at this time of year with taxes, and financial planning it is so easy to put one's owns needs ahead of God's plans.  God is gracious to clean my slate as soon as I run to HIM.

God has called us to serve one another in LOVE and disciple our next generation.  We are called to work things out for His Glory.

Our school's vision is to raise disciples and spread the Gospel into the homes and lives of our young people.  Are we working towards that end in our learning commons?

 How do walk alongside broken people in our work, in our community centres, in our 'makered' workshops, book clubs etc.  Are we serving a LIVING GOD, one who can produce CHANGE?  I think it is only when God changes our hearts that we can truly repent of our sin, give glory to HIM and start afresh in our community sharing our stories.

I know God wants my whole heart.   Going to give that extra piece I was holding back to Him!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Inspired to Lean in and Learn #FETC!

This past week I was privileged to enjoy some professional development at #FETC in Florida with thousands of other amazing #edtech leaders and our HCOS curriculum consultant Natalie Sing!

Here are some of my take-aways!
1.  Gamification of learning is a popular educational route and as IMT is big at HCOS it was interesting to hear Jane McGonigal, Director of Game Research, Institute of the Future share emerging technologies in this regard.   Do games make us better?  Here is a short video on her reasons for gaming!

2.  Augmented reality is here to stay!  Lesley Fischer presented on this topic with excellence.  Top apps that caught my attention:
3.  Other notable apps shared by different leaders!
4.  Maker Movement!  I was thrilled to listen to Sylvia Martinez author of Invent to Learn.  All I have to say is READ her book, and see how she is inspiring younger makers with the Superawesome Sylvia shows!  This young entrepreneur takes making to a new level.  Martinez has so many amazing things to share including the process, the plans, some ideas for establishing a #makerspace, and the encouragement to take risks and make mistakes!  We are very blessed to have our own makerspace this year in the learning commons, and are eager to learn from maker teachers/library staff in our schools who are running Lego-Mindstorm camps, Makey Makey camps and other 3D printing learning.  Here is Sylvia sharing on makered in your school.

5.  Innovation- Inspiring learning from David Sengeh, Innovator from IMT Lab and his inventions for comfortable prostheses.  His advice for innovation in education was to encourage the why questions, motivated from empathy, compassion and a desire to help others in community.  I loved his message of Hack your own community to discover how to help others!  Here is his TED Talk.

6.  Change- Preparing for change requires listening skills, surveying your patrons, a planning process, patience and remembering who you are serving.  Important tips to remember before implementing change from Google guru Rushton Hurley.

7.  3D printing is happening in your neck of the woods.  Watch for all kinds of applications as students connect real life applications, and become engineers and designers.  Makerbot is the printer we purchased for our learning commons and I was pleased to glean more about these machines from the keynote CEO of Makerbot. Making 3d in your classroom has never been more fun!  Our learning commons team is learning the ropes via your students as they make. :)

8.  Global collaboration and open access!  Stuff of which our learning commons thrives on!  I loved sharing on Twitter and met some other amazing educators in the process.  I also met the CEO of AT&T while flying to Florida and gleaned some wonderful tips re innovation! Professional development is a wonderful process to be appreciated and shared! #longlivelearning


Monday, December 1, 2014

Reading for the Holidays!


Our learning commons has some amazing teacher/student professional development/non fiction in HCS Overdrive E library.  Just grab your passwords and come and enjoy some great thinking material.

Some of my favourite reads include:

The Conviction to Lead by Albert Mohler
Humilitas by John Dickson
Spiritual Leadership by Richard Blackaby
Start With Why by Simon Sinek
Half the Church by Carolyn Custis James
Good to Great  by Jim Collins
A Whole New Mind: Dan Pink
The Element : Ken Robinson
Daring Greatly Brene Brown
The Greatest Gift Ann Voskamp

For our teens:
Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo
The Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Stephen Covey
365 Days of Wonder J Palacio
No Compromise:  The Life Story of Keith Green
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

Christmas materials ; from devotions, Advent books,  to fiction classics, something to read by candlelight!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Makered in the Learning Commons

Themes come and go and this year is no different in the learning commons at Heritage Blended Commons.  Stepping into maker spaces and all things #makered has been another pivotal moment for  advocacy in the learning commons, and completes part of our vision statement for the year 2014/15.

The learning commons has purchased Makey Makey kits, a Lego Mindstorm classroom set ( for 24 students), and Knex Kits along with a 3 d printer with the Mini Makerbot as the front runner!  Our campus learning commons champion Jessie starts our first Makered club this week, and 20 excited campus students will work with Makey Makey, and Knex kits to discover Motion and Aeronautics outcomes.  They will also learn how to make a video based on their innovative findings!  As a virtual media specialist I so want to be a fly on the wall!!

So why makered and why learning commons?  The whole vision behind a learning commons is the creation of a welcoming space which encourages all literacies, and fosters relationship.  Makered allows for digital, science, and computer literacy, not to mention hands on learning in the learning commons.  Students will work in teams building collaborative working relationships.  During the process we hope they will take risks, and learn to become inventors, as they coach each other in the learning process.  Every teacher wants to empower their students and we hope this will bring new passions, leadership, discipleship and excitement around science and technology.

During the last two years we have fostered the creation of a virtual commons, using Ning as a playground for building, and in doing so created a philosophy behind the experiential building centre. We host competitions and share our students artistic, writing, and musical gifts.  Now we hope to further this into the physical realm with hands on learning.

The learning commons vision has never looked more exciting!

If you have not discovered the upside of all things #makered you might want to read the following articles:

What's the Maker Movement?

The Makey Makey Might Change the Game.

Seven Hands on Projects That use 3D Printers.

Or watch this intriguing video!

We are thankful for a new invitation to bring students into relationship via multiple literacies in the learning commons!  Now more than ever a learning commons is a place to play, read and build!