May 13

Binary Coding with Beads

Students were excited to learn more about binary code. After discussing the numbered data language and looking at examples we blended in our ‘I Am a Maker’ theme and created stands of beads with our message in binary code. The activity was completed during one Grade 4/5, 40 minute learning commons prep class. The strands are hanging on display in the LC with a chart and informational sign.

I found an easy to read chart and we used perler beads as they are inexpensive and have large holes. I chose plastic craft string for ease of threading but any slightly stiff thread would work. Students tied a black bead at the beginning. This holds the beads on but also delineates the start of the message so it can be read correctly.


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April 29

Keeping the Literature in Maker Education

The Maker Movement can be a great way to approach literature study by using meaningful, high interest problem based and project based learning.   As Teacher-Librarians incorporate Maker Education activities into the Learning Commons, there are endless opportunities to use literature to facilitate this hands-on learning.

Reading can spark interest and provide context for projects in the same way that Maker activities can create enthusiasm for further literature explorations. It is not the case that designated time spent in the elementary Library Learning Commons must be either literature based or have a Maker focus. The two can be complimentary and interwoven.

Here are a few book titles and projects that might help to spark ideas:


Wondering if building a clear plastic green house might speed up bean germination? Does the shape or size of the structure affect the rate of growth? Using recycled materials such as clear plastic cartons or create a frame with popsicle sticks and kitchen wrap.

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April 20

Inclusive Resources to Celebrate Diverse Families

As we celebrate including all students in class themes and activities, it is important to recognize and incorporate resources that reflect our student’s diverse families and caregivers. Here’s a list of just some of the titles available at Georges Vanier that we find useful around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Family:

Diverse Families:

All Families are Special – N. Simon

Families – S. Rotner

Families, Families, Families – S. Lang

That’s My Mom – H. Barkow

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April 18

Making the Elizabeth Tower and Digital Creation

Students in Grade 4 used popsicle sticks to create their interpretation of the Elizabeth Tower in London. After learning about the tower, they worked in five groups to plan their design and to create their structure using popsicle sticks and hot glue. The towers were painted and clock faces added along with a Union Jack flag.

The grade 4/5 class photographed the towers (with permission) and used Superimpose app to show our connection with countries around the world. Text added using Pic Collage app.

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April 7

Woot! Lots of learning at the Book Fair

Many thanks to all of the families who visited the Book Fair. Students had lots of fun choosing which books they would like to see added to the Vanier library collection. Students learned about customer service, money math, scheduling, and retail tidying up. Student leaders were exemplary in their commitment and showed a great sense of school spirit and responsibility. Proceeds from this fun literacy event go towards adding new books to the Vanier Learning Commons. Continue reading

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March 30

Superimpose: Making Venetian Connections

We began a read aloud of Geronimo Stilton’s Mystery in Venice and discovered that students were intrigued by the idea of streets of water. After researching, students built 30cm long cardboard gondolas and with a few props, used Superimpose App to digitally create images of themselves as gondoliers.

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March 28

Digitally showcasing MakerEd Mighty Women

Students used their learning about their Mighty Woman to place their dolls in a setting. The images showcase the research, costume design and sewing of the clothes. They  photographed the characters on a solid colour and used Superimpose App to layer the images. The digital creation was then imported into PicCollage and text was added. Students then uploaded their work to their FreshGrade digital portfolio. Here’s some of their wonderful work. 


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