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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November 29

New #SOGI Resources

SOGI 1 2 3 was created by ARC Foundation in collaboration with the BC Ministry of Education, BC Teachers’ Federation, UBC Faculty of Education,  and local, national and international LGBTQ community organizations. We look forward to collaborating with school districts across BC, BC Principal’s and Vice-Principal’s Association, BC School Superintendents Association, BC School Trustees Association and BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. We are working together to address the immediate need to support marginalized LGBTQ students by effecting rapid and progressive change in attitudes, policies, and practices toward creating safer and more inclusive school environments for all students.” www.sogieducation.org

Below are some of our more recently arrived resources. Click here for a comprehensive list of  the top 73 additions to our growing collection.

The Boy and the Bindi by Vivek Shraya. (2016) A five-year-old boy becomes fascinated with his mother’s bindi, the red dot commonly worn by South Asian women to indicate the point at which creation begins, and wishes to have one of his own. Rather than chastise her son, she agrees to it, and teaches him about its cultural significance, allowing the boy to discover the magic of the bindi, which in turn gives him permission to be more fully himself.

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November 21

Early Novels for Beginning Readers

Early novels vary widely in not only the reading level but also in the presentation. For newer readers, many books described as early chapter books can be an intimidating challenge. Here’s a selection of high interest, lower vocabulary ‘Chapter Book’ series for new readers.

Criteria for inclusion in this list includes profuse illustrations that match the text, lower vocabulary, clear font, larger print size wide wide spaced lines and words, multiple paragraphs, shorter chapters, engaging covers and a high interest story. There are, of course, lots of others, but these are some favourites in the Vanier LC.

Ella and Owen by Jaden Kent   2017

Galaxy Zack by Ray O’Ryan 2013

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November 17

If I Built a House: Literature link to MakerEd

We like to keep the literature closely linked to our Maker Education activities. Here’s a link to a useful list of books that can easily be linked to a Maker activity. This week we explored Chris Van Dusen’s If I Built a House and designed our own structures with unique features. We have also done this activity with the companion book If I Built a Car.

Like the character in the book, we used a variety of materials to design our structures including Tinker Toys, Lego and K’nex. We will be linking this to our Japan theme next week and some classes will be exploring traditional Japanese home design.

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November 15

Celebrating Fall Books

Students have been sharing several Fall themed books over the last few weeks. Grade 2s in Division 15 used paint swatches that were pre- cut in the shape of leaves to show our learning about fall words. For a list of some of our great new Fall books check here.

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September 20

Indigenous Resources and #SSPBOY Book Pairings

A selection of book pairings, combining Indigenous resources with the Surrey School’s Picture Books of the Year as well as an extension title.

Gifts from the Trees:See also Solomon’s Tree – Spalding, Trees – Lemniscates, If You Hold a Seed – MacKay, Our Tree Named Steve – Zwiebel, Giving Tree – Silverstein


See also The Name Jar – Choi, Granny and I Get Traditional Names – Aleck, My Name is Yoon – Recordist, Sarabelya’s Thinking Cap – Schachner

Power of Real Friendship / Social Media

See also Goodnight Selfie – Menchin, Tood’s TV – Proimos, Doug Unplugged – Yaccarino, Nerdy Birdie Tweets – Reynolds, My Two Blankets – Kobold Continue reading

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