January 15

Core Competencies and Digital Citizenship: Screen time

Here’s a handy list of book titles that can help launch discussions about keeping a healthy balance when it comes to screen time. Linked images and extension activities. Synopsis provided by the publishers.

Dot’s a spunky little girl well versed in electronic devices. Dot knows a lot. She knows how to tap . . . to swipe . . . to share . . . and she pays little attention to anything else, until one day Dot sets off on an interactive adventure with the world surrounding her. Dot’s tech-savvy expertise, mingled with her resourceful imagination, proves Dot really does know lots and lots. Ironically, there is a little video series to accompany the book.


After the star of this story gets her brother’s hand-me-down camera-phone and a quick lesson in the “selfie,” there is no stopping her! Until, that is, it’s time to call it a day. Turns out, camera-phones and kids alike need to recharge their batteries! Here’s a great ‘Selfie’ Digital Citizenship follow up activity.


Nerdy Birdy and his best friend, Vulture, are very different. Luckily, you don’t have to agree on everything to still be friends.One day, Nerdy Birdy joins Tweetster, and the friend requests start flying in. Vulture watches as Nerdy Birdy gets swept up in his new friendships… Discuss this twitter conversation between the author and the illustrator.


One hot summer night in the city, all the power goes out. The TV shuts off and a boy wails, “Mommm!” His sister can no longer use the phone, Mom can’t work on her computer, and Dad can’t finish cooking dinner. What’s a family to do?  Follow up activities.


When Popcorn, the friendliest chicken at Fiddlesticks Farm, finds a forgotten smartphone in the barn, she sets about making some brand new friends. Soon she is so busy sending messages to them that she begins to forget her old friends. Discussion questions.


In a story recounted through the daily log of Captain Allan Hope, the sailors aboard the Rita Anne become mesmerized and transformed by a mysterious glowing rock, and only music and books can restore them to normal. Teachers Guide also available.


Todd’s parents are always busy. But Todd’s TV isn’t busy. It just sits there. So one day, Todd’s TV decides to lend a helping hand. This is the heartwarming story of that day, and what happened afterward. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry—but most of all, you’ll be giving your TV a break.


Ella is really frustrated. Lately it seems like the whole family has forgotten how to be together. Instead of playing Hangman and making waffles, everyone is talking on cell phones, playing video games, and using the computer. What’s a girl to do?


An oldie but a goodie. In this updated version of the popular turn off TV book, the mouse family is up at night, glued to the TV. But there is many a squeaky squabble because all ten mice favor different channels. History, mystery, how-to, where-to, comedy, drama, sports … This viewer-friendly romp shows how, one night, they all get happy with new favorites they’d hardly imagined.

Indigenous Connections: Many Indigenous stories have themes of connecting with family and nature and would work well to compliment this topic. Some that come to mind are Jordan Wheeler’s Just A Walk about the joy of exploring outdoors,  Susan Avingag’s Fishing with Grandma about the importance of learning from family,  Monique Gray Smith’s You Hold Me Up about the power of relationships and Raven Tales’ Work and Play about doing chores before free time.

The above titles are all available in the Vanier LC. Here are some other titles that may be of interest: Chicken-Clicking by Jeanne Willis, Hello! Hello! by Matthew Cordell, and Doug Unplugged by Dan Yaccarino.












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December 15

Labelling in Japanese using Google Translate

We have begun our explorations of Japanese written language. Students explored using Google Translate to read some Japanese books. We enjoyed comparing the english version to compare our translations. Students then used Google Translate to figure out signs in Japanese for common items in the Learning Commons.

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December 12

Thinking about Kindness, Consideration and Joy

In the Learning Commons, students are contributing to posters that show meaningful ways they are celebrating kindness and growth in their lives. Five stations ask questions that students are encouraged to think about. We tried to avoid the idea of store bought gifts or monetary goals but focused on ‘ideas that speak to your heart’. The completed posters have been hung in the hallways.

  • What brings you joy?
  • How can you show kindness?
  • How can you bring joy to others?
  • What will you try to do next year?
  • What is your winter wish?

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December 8

Creating Winter Trees with glitter everywhere : )

In a collaborative effort, two Grade 3 classes contributed to the making of a set of trees to decorate the Learning Commons. Given time constraints, I hot glued the pine cones into the small dixie cups in advance. Activity  linked to Winter Trees by Carole Gerber.

The first class painted the base and the green tree. This allowed the first coat to dry before the next class added the white paint and glitter.

Rather than each student have to leave the room for clean up, or try to squeeze to use the sink in my office, I put out a shallow container of soapy water and a pile of paper towels.

Update: The class that did the painting decided to gift the creations to the class that did the glitter. Great practice on how to wrap presents. 

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December 5

Quick PicVid Stitch to show learning about Japan

In the Learning Commons Gr 2/3 students tinkered with PicVid Stitch App. We thought it might be a good way to show a number of images at the same time. We looked for pictures in books and items in our library that show what we have learned about Japan.

We are looking forward to experimenting with the Video feature of this app. Students had to figure out camera angles as well as how to export their work to the camera roll and then upload to Dropbox.

Using Pic Vid Stitch to show learning about Japan from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.


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December 1

Sushi on the menu

Students in Grades 2 and 3 were very interested in learning about how Japanese restaurants sometimes have plastic food on display to show what’s on the menu. We created our own Japanese window menu by creating sushi for display.

We used electrical tape, cotton balls, fabric scraps, popsicle sticks and small sized paper plates. Each table group created 2 or 3 plates together using glue sticks. I pre-cut the tape as it can get pretty sticky.

Due to time constraints, I also pre-cut the fabric, but this wouldn’t be necessary in the classroom.  I used a glue gun to ensure the ‘chopsticks’ wouldn’t fall off and to attach the plates to our red background. The font style is Matura Script

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December 1

‘Stepping up’ to Kindness

Students in Grade 3/4 shared Jaqueline Woodson’s story ‘Each Kindness’ and discussed how we show kindness to others. Here is how we completed the activity during a one library period.

The students used card sentence strips which are pre-cut with a writing line. I photocopied ‘Kindness is_________’ in large bold font to help students gage the size of their printing. These were easily trimmed and lightly glued at each end to the cards. I used oversized tape to attach the strips to the steps. They could have been laminated but the heavy duty tape worked well too.

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