Monday, 25 January 2016

Storybird Awards

Congratulations to everyone who participated! Details of student awards and prizes will be emailed shortly to participating students and parents. Feel free to leave comments on students' stories inside the Storybird platform.

Without further ado, the winners of this year's awards are as follows:

The Insanely Engaging Story Award

Theo A. - Troubles While Hunting

The Movingly Insightful Theme and/or Character Award

Kara S. - Pat's Bad Day

The Exquisitely Poetic Style and Tone Award

Hunter V. - A Love Story

In addition to the above, four honourable mention awards we also give this year:

Best Use of Dialogue Award - Stella L. for One Little Horse
The Epic Story Award - Molly C. for The Wilderness Friends' First Adventure
Most Prodigious Author Award - Emily V. for Greedy Squirrels, among others
Best Use of Text and Images - Justine S. for The Rise of Fireclaw

Congrats again, enjoy your Storybird accounts and keep writing!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Learning Tales - Thomas

Thomas's and Anna's blog can be found at Below is Thomas's last entry.
In case you were wondering, this is not about lego - which you already know.  It is about the most awesome / fun / cool thing of all time, jumping stilts!!!!!!!  Jumping stilts ( J S ) look like this:

...And like I said, they are the most awesome / fun / cool thing ever!!! What is even better, is that I  got a pair for Christmas.  If you don't know what these are, jumping stilts are stilts that have a springy piece of metal on the back of them and with the proper weight you can make the springy piece of metal go down and then release up making you jump really high.  I'd wanted these since June and decided I would ask for a pair for Christmas.  Everything I'd seen on the internet made them look very cool but it said that they took a lot of practise to use.  Since I have used stilts and a pogo stick before and had a lot of practice, I thought I would probably be pretty good at them.  When I got them, I tried them on and I turned out to be right!  It took me about 10 minutes until I was able to jump.  I can't wait until the summer to use them outside.  Maybe I'll even learn a backflip!
Well, that's all for now!

Monday, 11 January 2016

Learning Tales - Anna

Anna's and Thomas's blog can be found at Below is Anna's latest entry.

Hi! My name is Anna and I do level 6 gymnastics. Gymnastics is a sport where there are 4 events. Event number 1 is floor.  Floor is a layer of springy foam covered by thick blue carpet pieces held together by Velcro tape. On floor I have 2 tumbling passes. One of my tumbling passes is a roundoff - a roundoff is just a cartwheel landing with 2 feet. Connecting from my roundoff I have a backhandspring which is where I land out of my roundoff, jump back, land on my hands, fling out of that landing on my feet. The last skill in my first tumbling pass comes from the power out of my backhandspring and I rebound into the air and do a backflip! My second pass is simply running, jumping and doing a front flip. I also have a leap connection which is a sashay split leap (I leap in a split position), then land and jump into a split again but just straight up and down this time. Then I do a 1-½ turn (I spin on my toe for a complete 1-½ spin). The rest is dance. The dancing is a mix between tumbling/turning/leaping to create a routine which is all done to music and practiced and practiced and practiced until it is perfect! 

Event number 2 is beam. A beam is a 4” wide wooden strip balanced above the ground by metal poles that can move the beam up and down depending on the level of gymnastics that the gymnast is in. I don’t necessarily have a beam routine yet but I know all the skills that will be in it… I will have a back walkover, which is like a backhandspring with staggered feet and done slower to show the splits while upside down. I have another turn in this event but only a full turn. I also have a jump connection of split jump, tuck jump (tuck jump is jumping in the air and making a ball with arms out stretched in front of you), then I have a dismount. My dismount is a backflip off the end landing on a mat. 

Event number 3 is vault. A vault is thick and flat on the top with a downward hill on the front and it can be raised or lowered depending on the level of the gymnast vaulting. I don’t exactly know the height for my level so I’ll just continue with what I do with the vault. First there is a springboard in front of it which are 2 pieces of wood, one flat and the other slightly rounded upward.  Between the 2 pieces of wood are 5 springs. So for vault I will run down a long strip of carpet, jump on the springboard launching myself into the air while keeping a strait body I will land in a handstand on top of the vault then pushing with my shoulders and hands I will bounce off the vault landing on the mat on the other side and hopefully sticking (landing on 2 feet and not moving my feet at all) my landing!

Event number 4 is bars. Bars are a set of round wooden sticks about the same thickness of monkey bars except there are only 2 and they are staggered so that one is higher than the other and fairly far apart. For my routine I take a few steps and jump into a piked swing, at the end of the swing I bring my toes to the bar then swing back while pulling my hips to the bar (this is called a kip). I then lift my body above the bar (cast) and as I fall I lean back and swing around the bar keeping my hips to the bar in a full circle (back-hip circle).  Next I cast out of that and put my feet on the bar, fall back again and go around the bar while keeping my feet and hands on the bar and then I end up standing on top of the bar (this is called a sole circle). Next I jump to the high bar and do another kip. I cast out of that and swing down, about ¾ around the bar I then bring my hips to the bar (baby giant), then I cast and swing again this time at the top of my swing in the front (opposite side of the low bar) I let go and do a flat body back flip (called a flyaway), and hopefully stick my landing back on the ground. 

Well that’s my 4 events that I will be competing in Vancouver at the end of this month!
Meaning I have to practice, practice, practice! ☺ 

Until next time,

Monday, 4 January 2016


Ending 2015, my family and I hiked to a waterfall we had visited many times before in summers past (Downstream, 2013). Interesting it is how we often become bored of the things that are familiar. How we perceive them to be the same and overlook them. That is until something as dramatic as water freezing awakens your lackadaisical ignorance. Ha!

Wherever life takes you this year, my wish for you is that you're present. That you deeply experience and appreciate the gifts your life gives; that the words "take for granted" never enter your soul; that the familiar be as wondrous and rewarding as the new.

Happy learning! May the coming year for you be filled with Nature, Beauty and Gratitude!