January 24

Exploring design, Books of the Year, #KindnessCounts



This week we figured out that one whole division can fit into our co-operatively designed castle. We also explored castle design with a variety of websites. Next week we will try our hand at creating a ‘virtual castle’.

Other students have also been enjoying the nominations for the Surrey Schools’ Picture Book of the Year. Check out Spike:Ugliest Dog in the Universe by Debra Frasier. Spike’s message fits in perfectly with our #KindnessCounts ideas; A kind heart is a beautiful thing. We also enjoyed  The Black Rabbit by Philippa Leathers, and loved Michael Hall’s It’s an Orange Aardvark which was great fun to read aloud.

Don’t forget to follow our Vanier student Twitter account @VanierLC and check out our #KindnessCounts tweets.

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January 17

Cat Says Meow, Co-operative Building and #KindnessCounts

This week in the LC we had a wonderful surprise arrive in the mail from Michael Arndt – a signed copy of his wonderful book Cat Says Meow and other animalopoeia.

c0ver *Pictures reproduced with kind permission from the author.


Students had great fun learning about onomatopoeia  and exploring all of the cleverly designed pictures. Our favourite was the cow but the pig was a close second.



Students in several classes enjoyed sharing this great story and it really sparked their imaginations. They couldn’t wait to get started designing their own animal creations. We used Doodle Buddy App to come up with the shape for the animal and imported that image into PicCollage. We chose this app as there are a wide variety of fonts to choose from. Students explored with other ideas as they worked: adding the names of the animals into their images. We could also have extended the activity as a way to show learning about animal habitats or behaviours.

I shared some of the creations on twitter and as it was such a great project that I would definitely do again. The students were so excited when they saw that  Mr. Arndt had replied to our tweet and said he thought their work was ‘Cool’.

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The contact with the author of the book was an extremely meaningful learning opportunity for the students. The students were deeply engaged in the project, highly motivated to create and keen to figure out how they could show their ideas. They were showing the author what they could do, and they wanted it to be their very best. I am indebted to Michael for his support of our Vanier authors and illustrators.

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We also created a fantastic cooperative learning, problem solving, research background, think outside the box, respect each other’s work, get creative castle. Check out our process:

Cooperative castle building from crosland_a

And of course #KindnessCounts at Vanier. Check out our nominated Acts of Kindness

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January 10

Book of the Year, Imagine a day, Coding and Kindness

Lots of great things have been happening in the Learning Commons this week. Kindergarten to Grade 2 students have begun enjoying the nominations for the Surrey Schools’ Picture Book of the Year. Students used Balloon Stickie App to label images from the book.
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Ms. Dhaliwal and Mrs. Lutz’s classes worked on ‘Imagine A Day’ by Sarah Thompson. Students created their own imaginative ideas, designed a background using Color Effects App and added text using Pic Collage App. They blogged their fantastic creations.

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Many classes also experimented with coding and blogged a screen shot from the Hour of Code.

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And finally, #KindnessCounts. Students have been nominating their peers as recipients of the Kindness Counts Trophy. Accounts are tweeted in the student’s own words and photos are posted on the @VanierLC twitter account. Check out last week’s Kindness Stars on Storify.

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December 18

#KindnessCounts and a Christmas Video

This week we in the LC we found a great new use for an old trophy. We are celebrating kindness and recognizing students who do something kind for others. Kindness Counts recipients will be celebrated on the @VanierLC twitter account.

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Here’s a fun holiday video featuring book characters from Amulet, Wimpy Kid, Pete the Cat and Geronimo Stilton (and Ms. Crosland too).

Happy Holidays from the gang in the Vanier Learning Commons from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.

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November 23

Many Languages, One Voice / Keynote App

Students in the Learning Commons have been learning how to use Keynote App to share their learning about The Body and Extreme Weather. Division 7 and 8 have been blogging their presentations.



Some classes have been learning about postage stamps. We are learning how to identify country of origin and explore ways to categorize and organize our collections. Some classes have been given mini albums and starter sets of stamps. Sets will also be available for students who choose to attend a lunch time club. Meeting dates yet to be decided.

We are lucky to have so many students from around the world at Georges Vanier. We decided to celebrate that with a video based on the book “Whoever You Are” by Mem Fox. Many thanks to all of the students who participated.


Many Languages, One Voice from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.


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