May 2

Storytelling, Deconstruction, Photography.

Primary students so enjoyed listening to Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie story that they asked for me to read it again. Instead I asked them to tell it to me as I turned the pages. I secretly recorded their story. So much fun!

Primary Students tell ‘Watch me Throw the Ball’ by Mo Willems from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.

We have been figuring out how best to open up a CD player and check out all the parts. We hope to arrange the pieces in the shape of a knight’s armour.







Our ‘Stuff the Learning Commons’ is in full swing. Some primary students have been using the stuffies to practice using the camera, framing a photo and uploading to DropBox.








We are also changing the way the books are sorted in the Learning Commons. The switch to grouping the intermediate fiction by genre has been a total success. Now we are simplifying the spine labels to make it even easier for students to find the books they love!


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April 18

Zoomy Digital Microscope, Deconstruction and Fair Winners


In the Learning Commons we shared a great story about the changing seasons called ‘And Then It’s Spring’ by Julie Fogliano. We examined some signs of spring with our cool Zoomy Digital Microscope and took a close look at the dandelions growing in the playground. We examined roots, pollen and petals of a variety of spring plants.


We also started to deconstruct an old CD/Cassette player to see if we could get a better understanding of how it worked. Our plan is to use the parts we salvage to design a knight’s suit of armour. We learned that different shapes of screwdrivers have special names and we soon figured out that those screws can be tricky to take out. We used team work to just about open the case and peek inside. We problem solved what went well with the activity and what didn’t go so well. To be continued…


And what a fun time we all had at the Book Fair! There were lots of great books and we were able to choose many to add to our library collection. Here’s a few of the new titles. We also raised some funds to support Learning Commons initiatives as well as order additional titles. And, 25 book prizes were awarded.  Yahoo!

Next week we will be starting our ‘Stuff the Learning Commons’ activity. Let’s see if we can stuff the LC with warm fuzzies! Students are invited bring in a plush toy to display in the library. We will have the toys at school for about 2 weeks. Please label with masking tape with student name and division. No sentimental favourites just in case! (And we don’t really have space for the fair ground style giant stuffies) This activity helps students create ownership of the space and students will be creating videos with the toys.

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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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