Favourite Language Arts Links

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



Blessings
Pippa


Monday, December 1, 2014

Reading for the Holidays!

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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!

Blessings
Pippa

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!
Blessings
Pippa


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Graduation and Beyond

Today I sat down and reconfigured my blog.  Now that I have a work blog I find it hard to get back and just blog for the sake of blogging, personal blogging, sharing my vulnerabilities.  But my life has changed and my children are graduated and moving ahead with their lives.   I am feeling nostalgic and want to move ahead with them...to reach out and study something new, exciting and invigorating, to follow, and perhaps not to lead. Oh to be a student again, to listen, inspire and create!  Having adopted a learning commons vision over the past three years in our district library,  it was good to learn, inspire and lead.

Creating vision takes time, as does encouraging your team to stay inspired, motivated and working towards that vision.  At times I remember feeling that roadblocks were an important part of the process; sometimes painful, but mostly gratifying at the end.  Staying committed to the culture of building a learning commons, has required faithfulness and resilience.  Ideation is second nature to me, and so dreaming BIG for my team was, and still is, really important.  But there is that still small part of me where I long to let go, and just be a follower and not a leader.  Grace and surrender are an essential part of learning.  And then there is time to just rest, read and dream.

Sometimes I think I am an adrenaline junkie,  or maybe simply attention deficit?  I do know that staying the path is important, as is listening to the inner child.  I am trusting that one design leads to another in our learning commons, that change will keep happening for the right reasons and not because I need change for change sake.  I am excited about the next step, about learning whatever it takes to keep building, following, and leading in the learning commons!



Friday, May 23, 2014

Blessings!



Today I am encouraged!
Ten years ago I started working at HCS schools.
I initiated relationships and learned how to be a follower and a leader.
I discovered the joys of learning and working from home.
I homeschooled my son for 7 years and watched him grow, struggle and lean on the Lord.
I saw families united, and I watched families struggle with divisiveness.
I saw children fail, and I saw children thrive and blossom.
I saw grief, and I heard laughter, singing and joy.
I learned the value of praying as an individual, family and as an institution.
I learned the value of community.
I learned how to listen.
I am still learning how to evaluate, assess and encourage.
I still make mistakes.
I am still growing in the wisdom of the Lord.
I am still on the path towards maturity in Christ.
But I am encouraged.
I find joy, peace, love and inspiration in my daily walk with God.
I am blessed!


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Reading Strategies

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Students who school at home have a distinctive advantage over students who learn in brick and mortar when it comes to reading. They have the most obvious motivator: TIME! But there are other strategies and skills which need to be in place before reading can take hold. Sharing strategies implies that you have a core foundation of skills. But in order to become an effective reader all students need to acquire a sequence of skill sets before they can read.
  • Sequencing skills
  • Making judgements from images and spoken word
  • Noticing details
  • Deciphering story structure: i.e. beginning, middle and end
Open ended story telling comes from teaching children to read using: previewing/prediction skills; asking open ended questions about the story sequence and characters; details in the story and the main ideas; as well as drawing conclusions.  Story telling should be an interactive process,  with your youngster sharing the story more than yourself.

Check out these great video clips on establishing pre -reading skills from the A.L.A.  Encouraging your pre schooler to think out loud, or responding to open ended questions will help them become engaged with the words and images on the page.   Role modelling the joy of reading will enhance parent/child attachment, and he or she will be more motivated to see reading as a delightful opportunity to engage with you,  and with the written word.

Read to your younger children on a daily basis,  or share your favourite audio books from our E library if you are needing a break :) To discover the importance of why reading aloud to older children is also valuable read this great Mindshift article. 

Next encourage your student to recognize letters and print.  Once your student has learned the alphabet using supplementary aids like Reading Eggs (subscription with our school), Starfall  or reading games with ABCYA they are on the way to retain fluency and learn some reading comprehension skills.  Start them on a sequenced set of readers which will help them retain and learn basic vocabulary and simple sentences.  If your student does not develop these early sequential phonemic skills, talk to your teacher for ideas on how to help improve your student's reading skills which will lead to better strategies.

Once your student has these basic skills include lessons for your primary student to start learning the strategies required to become a good reader.  Lesson plans on this Teacher Vision page along with this Reading Rocket's page will help teach semantic mapping skills, story structure and summarizing ability.  Encourage your fourth grade student to decipher fiction from non fiction using Scholastic's BookFlix, another wonderful subscription from our school.  For all subscription usernames and passwords please check with your teacher.

Do you have a favourite reading tool which you have found to really enhance the process?  Please share with us!

God Bless
Pippa