Monday, 18 December 2017

Annual Christmas Party

First of all, the picture above is a perfect example of why I am not a photographer!!  Nonetheless, the picture above includes all of the people who came out to our YouLearn K-9 Christmas Party last Wednesday.  Students and parents participated in crafts, watched Charlie Brown Christmas, decorated gingerbread men, received gifts from Santa and went skating.  Thanks to all of the families who came out to celebrate the season with us. 

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Yukon Glassblowing!

Hello Home Learners!

We love featuring the awesome events that are happening with our students, and last week the Yukon group got together and learned all about Glassblowing!  Almost 30 students attended the event!

Isabelle Corriveau shared some amazing photos with us. Thank you for taking them, Isabelle!
And thank you to Nadine, the YHES, and Arts in Schools for arranging for the field trip!

Monday, 11 December 2017

BC Was Awesome and Quest Out West

Hey everyone! I hope your Decembers are going fantastically.

I came across these series of videos from Vancouver Is Awesome.

They are short youtube videos that describe awesome events, people, or places in BC.

I watched the Ogopogo video. If you don't know, Ogopogo is the local version of the Loch Ness Monster. Ogopogo lives in Okanagan Lake near Kelowna.

**Content Warning** Please view these videos before sharing them with your children. Make sure the content is appropriate for the age and maturity of your student!

I also LOVE these TV episodes about Wild Foods. Tracey Bonneau is a Sylix (Okanagan First Peoples) presenter. Any episodes that feature The Grist Mill and Gardens is in our school district! Many of our students live in Keremeos.

If you know of any more awesome resources, let me know and I'll update this list!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

YouLearn at the Nutcracker

Taya, Nutcracker Rep, Laura, Kelan and Michaela
On Friday, December 8th, seventeen YouLearn students, three staff members and two parents attended the Nutcracker ballet at the Kelowna Community Theatre.  The Canadian School of Ballet, with guest artists from Kelowna Ballet, provided us with a holiday treat that we will not soon forget.  The sets, costumes and artistry were all top notch.  (The head piece for the rat costume is pictured above.)  One of YouLearn's students, Lillian Calver, was one of the dancers from Kelowna Ballet.  Congratulations on an excellent performance, Lilly. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Holiday Reading! (By Sarah Wilkie)

Are you in the holiday spirit yet?  Have your decorations been up since mid-November, or do you identify more with the Grinch??  :)

Maybe you want your heart to grow three sizes today (we have How the Grinch Stole Christmas in our library, if you’re scratching your head at all these Grinch references!) or maybe you’re just like Buddy the Elf, and you know to spread Christmas cheer, you need to sing loud for all to hear!

Regardless, we’ve got some great books for you to check out.  If you’re coming to YouLearn for the Christmas party (’s THIS Wed., Dec. 13 at 11:00), why don’t you pick up some books for your holiday reading.  We’ve got The Usborne Book of Christmas Art Ideas if you’d like some do-it-yourself craft ideas.  Have you ever wondered how people in pioneer times celebrated Christmas?  Check out A Pioneer Christmas : celebrating in the backwoods in 1841.  This book also has games and activities, so you can have a pioneer Christmas of your own!

If your idea of a cozy Christmas holiday is curling up by the fireplace with a good novel, check out our selection of elementary fiction, as well as our new Young Adult section.

Sarah Wilkie
Education Assistant

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Awesome Homeschool Art Resource + Free Nutcracker Activity

Hey all!
We are on the countdown to the break now; students and parents alike are looking for more indoor activities, and so I wanted to share one of my favourite homeschool art resources!

Deep Space Sparkle is the website of a former art teacher who builds the most incredible art curriculum for homeschool families.

She has a list of free activities, but she also offers artist studies, projects based around literature and books (K-4), and video lessons where she shows step by step how to do things!

She has a lot of 'freebies',  but she also has a la carte purchasing, and a Sparkle Club where you have access to everything for 6-12 months.

This week she released a Nutcracker Freebie. It looks really gorgeous, and with the upcoming trip to The Nutcracker for our South Okanagan families, this looks like a really great project.

She has also released a Mola Stocking. Molas are beautiful fabrics used by women in Panama, and the stockings are a bright and lively way to decorate during the cold white winter months.

Be sure to send in your photos so we can display them on our website!

Monday, 4 December 2017

YouLearn Library (By Sarah Wilkie, EA)

If you haven’t been into YouLearn in Oliver in a while (or ever!), you may be pleasantly surprised by our great selection of elementary chapter books.

We have many books in the very popular Magic Tree House series, including some of the Merlin Mission books.  You may have read some of these books already, like Dark Day in the Deep Blue Sea or Sunset of the Sabertooth, but did you know…

...some of these great stories also have a companion book if you want to learn even more about the subject?!?  For example, Sabertooths and the Ice Age goes along with Sunset of the Sabertooth, and Sea Monsters goes along with Dark Day in the Deep Blue Sea. Each of these companion books has fun facts, photos, illustrations, and much more!

We are always improving our collection - as a matter of fact, we have several Magic Tree House books on order right now!  Check out our collection at YouLearn library, using the search term “Magic Tree House”.  If you see something that catches your eye, let us know!  We’ll make sure the book gets to you!

**Edited to Add By Sarah Moore**
The Magic Tree House website also has a series of missions (comprehension and reading games) that is free to all students! You can sign up here.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Awesome Digital Resources! FREE!

Hello parents and learners! I hope your November is off to a great start.

We got some staff training today on amazing FREE resources our district has purchased for our students.

I'm particularly excited about National Geographic Kids, and the World Book apps.

Unless you are on school property (a District 53 wireless network) you are going to need a specific password to access the content. You can contact your teacher for the most up to date password, or you can email me and I can get it to you.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Discount on EPIC!

Epic has just sent us a discount code to access their Children's Book Library for $5.99 a month. There are thousands of books available on Epic, it's kind of like Netflix for books! (and cheaper than library fines, if your family is anything like mine!)

Here is the flyer for your discount code. If you need any help, let me know.

Weekly Check-In (Oct 16-27)

First off, I want to say thank you to all of you who are reading and using the resources I'm sharing. If you have any particular resources you are looking for, units you're teaching, or subjects that your learners are passionate about, let me know and I'll see what I can find!

I know I missed last week's check-in. We had a Provincial Professional Development Day. I went on an amazing 5 mile hike with a Okanagan Indian Band knowledge keeper who shared his experiences growing up and took us all around some traditional and contemporary lands. He showed us ancient petroglyphs, and we saw all kinds of wildlife including mountain goats. It was a fantastic experience for me, that left me encouraged to do more to incorporate indigenous content into my teaching.

  • Story Starters: Some of you may be familiar with the upper intermediate (grade 6-9) story starters I'm using in our Google Classrooms. I have a great story starter link for K-5. Scholastic has this website which gives random story parts within a genre. 

  • Wonderopolis is a website which gives you a new "I wonder" (submitted by students!) every day. It's like a mini-mythbuster to start your morning. 

  • Being that it's nearly Halloween- here are some Pumpkin Math resources 2-5. (They're FREE!)
  • Here is some Pumpkin Literacy resources for K-3. Let me also give a huge shoutout to (Canadian) This Reading Mama- her resources are always top notch and 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Global Read Aloud is here!

Hello friends!
As promised, we are participating in the Global Read Aloud this year. I will be reading "The Wild Robot" which you can listen to on this page. I'm going to keep updating with all the links to the chapters as we go!

In order to access the Google Drive folder you need to sign in with your address. If you need help resetting it, you can email your teacher or Sarah Moore.

The Wild Robot review

The Wild Robot Audio Files
Chapters 1-4 (Uploaded)
Chapters 5-8 (Uploaded)
Chapters 8-12 (Uploaded)
Chapters 13-17 (Uploaded)
Chapters 18-21 (Uploaded)
Chapters 22-25 (Uploaded)
Chapter 26 (Uploaded)
Chapter 27-28 (Uploaded)
Chapters 29-30 (Uploaded)
Chapters 31-35 (Uploaded)
Chapters 35-40 (Uploaded)
Chapters 40-44
Chapters 45-49
Chapters 50-54
Chapters 55-59
Chapters 60-64
Chapters 65-69
Chapters 70-74
Chapters 75-80

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Famous Canadian Inventor: Reginald Aubrey Fessenden

Each month I'd like to highlight a famous Canadian, specifically looking at how they overcame challenges and used Core Competencies to complete their work and enhance the world they lived in.

For October I've chosen Reginald Aubrey Fassenden. He invented the technique that allowed radios to work. Specifically he was able to attach sound waves to electrical modulations in order to send sounds across a distance.

You can read more about him at a Canadian appreciation site hereHere is a Canadian Heritage Minute about Mr. Fassenden.

You can watch some videos about how radio works here and here. Here is a very in depth video about how radio works.

So which Core Competencies did he use?

Communication: He was able to share his ideas with others at his workplace. He was also able to ask questions about the technologies that existed so that he could add his ideas to them (specifically morse code!)

Creative Thinking: Fassenden had to use the creative thinking skills he had to dream that you could send sound, music, and voice across electronic waves.

Critical Thinking: Fassenden then had to think about technology that would allow him to transmit sounds, and had to combine several different existing technologies and create some of his own!

Social Responsibility Although his end goal was to profit from his invention, he did create a new form of mass communication that would ultimately help the world.

Have a suggestion for a famous Canadian? Or can you think of other ways Fassenden used the Core Competencies to do his work? Comment below!

Friday, 13 October 2017

Global Read Aloud

This time of year many of us look forward to the crisp fall days, the warm sweaters, and cuddling on the sofa with our kids and a great book.

In many classrooms around the world, this is also the time of year that Teachers start thinking about the Global Read Aloud. Global Read Aloud was designed by Pernille Ripp, and I'll let her tell you about the purpose.

"But I don't have a classroom! We are a homeschool family!" I hear you cry, but my hope is that we can start building our school community by participating in activities like this.

One way we can do that is by letting students participate in our (safe, secure, and private) school writing program- Write About. Write About is a great platform for sharing writing with other students, but it's also a great way to learn about Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship.

If you're interested in participating in the Writing Activities, go to Write About and click Register. The Teacher Code is SM8934. Then they sign in with their email accounts.

You do not have to participate in the writing activities to listen to the books this year! I'll be sharing audio tracks of me reading the books through our blog here, starting October 16th!

Weekly Checkin Oct 9-13

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! It's always nice to celebrate family, and to reflect on how fortunate we are to have all that we have. Being thankful is an important character lesson that we pass on to our children, and I am glad we have a national day of celebration for it.

  • When I think about Thanksgiving, I am always reminded of the Little House on the Prairie books, and of Anne of Green Gables. I'm not sure what it is about that time period, maybe just that things seemed simpler and it was easier to be thankful for things we take for granted. I came across this article about Anne and the money that would have been used when she went down to the shop. It might be of interest to you and your learners to know that the year that Anne of Green Gables was published was also the year that the Royal Canadian Mint began operations! 

  • Speaking of amazing young women of literature some of you may know that I grew up in southern California. Every year we went to an outdoor play. "Romona" was based on a book by the same name. The author of that book was Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885), who was a renowned poet (and friends with Emily Dickinson). She was so moved by hearing a speech by Chief Standing Bear about the treatment of American First Peoples that she wrote a research book, and a fictionalized tale of a girl (Romona) who is half Scottish, half Native American, and has a life of hardship and racial discrimination; you can read the book here free!  It's Helen Hunt Jackson's birthday this month!

  • iBooks Author (Free!)- Your learners can share their learning in beautiful and creative ways including pictures, text, videos, links, and more. You can create a family cookbook, your learners can create their own textbooks on a subject they are obsessively interested in, and you can also use it as a digital scrapbook. Next time you're looking for an end project, and don't want another essay, posterboard, or lapbook, try this out! (Video Tutorial) It works on Mac and iOS devices.
  • Finally our Global Read Aloud begins Monday. You'll be able to access a week's worth of recordings at a time here on the blog.  We're reading The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown. 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Weekly Check In Oct 2-5 + Thanksgiving Craft!

Thanksgiving is here, and that means we've all survived the first few weeks of school.

It also means we get time to sit with our families, enjoy good food, and maybe catch a game.

  1. School Wide Write has started. You can find out more here
  2. A mom shared this resource with me and I wanted to share it out to you all. Lego Challenge Cards give your learners something to do when you just can't open another workbook. For extended learning ask your student to sketch their idea first, then build it, then compare the two. Ask them to reflect on the following:
    1. Were they successful in building their sketch?
    2. What changes did they have to make and why?
  3. EverFi has an awesome course on Digital Literacy for grades 6-8.  It's called Ignition and it takes students on a journey that teaches about digital footprints, internet safety, bullying, conducting online research, and digital time management. If you're interested in your student participating email Sarah and she can get you set up. 
  4. EverFi also makes a module for learning about Money Management. It's called Vault and it mainly geared for grades 4-6. If you're interested in your student participating email Sarah and she can get you set up. 

Our Thanksgiving Craft:

In our classroom this week we've made Nutting Baskets. We took jute string and pipe cleaners and wove baskets to forage nuts and berries.

You can make your own by following the instructions in the Pioneer Thanksgiving Book.

Encourage your learners to do as much on their own as they can. Sometimes we can jump in too quick (with both help and criticism!). Learning to unravel and redo the weave a little tighter, or to critically evaluate our own work and decide if we are happy with it, or want to try again is an important skill for every person to develop, and these types of activities and crafts are a great way to do it.


Extra shoutout to Aidan who brought hazelnuts in to share with us.

The Dot & Augmented Reality

Have you heard of Augmented Reality? It's the real world, plus a little bit more.

In this picture you can see how Ikea has utilized Augmented Reality to show you how their furniture would look in your current space.

The big hit app of last summer was also an Augmented Reality. Pokemon Go allowed you to interact with the physical world by catching Pokemon, visiting gyms, and Pokestops. The catch was that you had to actually be moving through your location and exercising.

So how can you use Augmented Reality in your home?

We used it as a companion activity to our Read-Aloud- The Dot by Peter H Reynolds

Vashti is a little girl who is very sure she isn't good at Art. Her art teacher disagrees, and asks her to just try her best and sign her work. Vashti does it, hesitantly. The next day, after her artwork is displayed for the whole class to see, she decides she can do better than her first try. She tries over and over, getting better as she goes.

I encourage you to read it to your students (of all ages!)

After we read the book we created our own dots, and then using the Quiver app, we made our Dots come to life!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Elementary Write!

Every year we host an (Almost!) Elementary Wide Write. As a staff we have decided to focus our students on building their reading skills for K-3 and writing skills for 4-7. In order to best help writers grow their skills and talents, we have to know where we are starting from!

Please return to your teacher by: OCTOBER 23

What is it? The (Almost!) Elementary Wide Write has writing prompts for grades 2-7. Our young writers will take time to brainstorm before writing. After they've done their writing, let your learner know they have some time to go back and edit their work, checking for common punctuation, spelling, and grammar.

What are we looking for? In creating this year's (Almost!) Elementary Wide Write, we've also added information for our parents on the writing process. We are specifically looking for the pre-writing, drafting, and revising skills that our young writers have developed.

What do we do with the information? Your teacher will use the (Almost!) Elementary Wide Write to help their learner develop specific writing skills. If a student is struggling with grammar, but not spelling, then the teacher can give extra support to their family.

If you have any questions, please contact your teacher!

Monday, 2 October 2017

Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back

In countless cultures around the world, the moon can remind us of history, stories, ancestors, conflict, peace, provision, and togetherness.  China has a long history of moon mythology, stories, and interpretations.

For the Ojibway and many other First Peoples, the moon held practical and symbolic references.

I'd like to invite our students to participate as we create our own moons of remembrance to celebrate our lives: learning, triumphs, happy times, struggles, successes, and relationships.

Over the course of our school year, I'll read the story of the month's moon. Invite your learners to listen, and then help them brainstorm what they want to remember from the past month. They can add their 'story' to your home by drawing a representation of their month. Hang them on your learning wall as a visual timeline of your school year. You can also print the turtle below as a large poster and have student cut and paste little representations over each number.

If you want to follow along, or enjoy the beautiful illustrations, you can buy the book from Strong Nations or Amazon.

Our first month is Moon When Acorns Appear. 

Friday, 29 September 2017

Free App Alert!

10 Monkeys has alerted us that their Addition and Subtraction games are free (on iOS) for a limited time!

If your learners like this app, let us know!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Weekly Check-in Sept 25-29

We're at the end of our month, and it has flown by!

September 30th is our 'claims' day, and Learning Resource Funds can be paid out starting next week. That also means that your K-9 teacher has 3 weeks from Sept 30th to have evidence of learning on file for each of their students. Please remember to update your Fresh Grade or Google Folders with the latest awesome learning your students are doing!

Our K-9 Teachers met this week to discuss a variety of topics including online resources, the curriculum changes, and how to better support you and your learners. One area we all agreed is that we are privileged to work with our families and are excited to see the growth and changes that our students are in for this year!

Speaking of the new curriculum, we now have three overarching pieces- the Core Competencies, that are the starting point to good citizenship and a healthy productive adult life! They are Thinking, Communication, and Personal & Social Responsibility. You can read more about them here.

Every week I'll try to post some interesting links or ideas on how to "name and nurture" the core competencies in your learners. This week I have a really interesting link for learning more about the Personal and Social competencies. The New York Times has a feelings quiz. You look at snippets of faces (just the eyes!) and try to guess what the person is feeling. It's a great way to talk about feelings, but also about how we communicate with body language!

Secondly I wanted to share an awesome App resource with you. This is called Wizard School, and despite the name, it has nothing to do with Hogwarts (or wizardry at all!) One of the biggest fears parents have is letting their children interact online with strangers. In my (very humble!) opinion, we need to be explicitly teaching our youngsters about how to interact safely, rather than keeping them from interacting at all. This app allows your child to interact with contacts you approve (grandparents, family, friends, etc) and sets up an anonymous email system so your child can't be identified or tracked by anyone not on your contact list. They can send and receive messages, create videos and cards, and learn awesome new facts, all of which you can monitor easily!

Finally I wanted to share a First Nations resource with you. This is a list of traditional foods and the ways various (mostly coastal) First Nations used them. It's an awesome resource for seeing what you can find locally, as well as learning about sustainability and living in harmony with nature. I printed and laminated my own set, they are constantly used in my home and classroom.

That about does it for this week. If there is anything you'd like me to review or find resources for, or you have an awesome resource, app, website, or idea, please let me know so we can share it out to the other families! Have a GREAT October!

Monday, 25 September 2017

Weekly Checkin Sept 18-21

We made it to the end of another week! Soon the leaves will be falling and we'll be heading towards the long dark winter days, so get outside while you can! 

There are a couple of edu-awesome things I wanted to tell you about, so please let me know if you are interested in more information about any of it. 

  • The CBC is having a Writing Competition. The theme is to write the first page (300-400 words) about what Canada will be like in another 150 years. You can win all sorts of great prizes. Find out more here.
  • Terry Fox Run- It's that time of year when schools and communities are having a Terry Fox Run to raise funds for cancer research. You can participate in a Virtual Run with me anytime next week from your own location, or find one here.  Send pictures (through Fresh Grade!) and maybe we'll put them on our school blog!
  • Mystery Science is an AWESOME resource for science experiments and inquisitive minds. All the hard work is laid out for you, resources, supply lists, activities, and awesome videos for curious scientists are available in a variety of science topics. You can read more here:
    • I have purchased it for our students, so if you want the login, let me know and I'll send it to you!

Have a great weekend, and I look forward to connecting with you next week!

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Parent Guide to New Curriculum

Image result for BC New Curriculum

You have heard for many years that BC's curricula is undergoing changes.  Some of the changes will be subtle while others will be transformational.  The new curricula for grades K-7 was rolled out last year (2016-2017) while high school curricula will be implemented next year (2018-2019).  While I am tempted to outline many of the changes here, I do not want to overwhelm you and will point you instead to a ministry document created specifically for parents that describes the rationale for the changes as opposed to the changes themselves.  I encourage you to read the document as it gives some useful information on the changes.  Please click to link to the Parent Guide.

Monday, 19 June 2017

One-to-One Reading Volunteers

Seated Left to Right - Liz Archer, Kathy Malmberg, Ingrid Plattmann, Arleyene Farnworth
Standing Left to Right - Leza MacDonald, Linda Hudy, Sonia Mason
Missing: Brenda Zakall
This past Monday, the One-to-One Reading Program volunteers got together to review the year and share their stories.  The overwhelming message from the volunteers was that they enjoyed their time with our students and found significant growth in each child's ability and willingness to read aloud.  Thanks to all of our students who participated in the program.  Special thanks to Sonia Mason who organizes all the training and schedules reading sessions.  We are extremely grateful for our volunteers who made this program a success.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Butterfly Release

Kelan and Laura Harty Free the Butterflies

Butterfly in the Wild
Several of our students were given Painted Butterfly kits this spring.  The project begins with a plastic container that holds a milky substance in which several small larvae can be seen crawling around.  The larvae eat the substance in the container and grow rapidly into caterpillars.  Eventually, the caterpillars climb to the lid of the container, hang upside down and form a chrysalis (cocoon).  Within a few days, they emerge as butterflies.  The culmination of the project is the release of the butterflies which is capture in the photos above.  We had a kit in our learning centre and it was fascinating to see the daily transformation of the larvae into caterpillars and the caterpillars into butterflies.  Thanks to all students for participating in this project.

Friday, 2 June 2017

YouLearn Yukon Visit

Yukon YouLearn Families in front of the White Pass & Yukon Route Train

This past week, YouLearn teacher Ernie Millward and principal Glen Heinrichs (me) had the privilege of visiting our YouLearn Yukon families.  We enjoyed the tremendous northern hospitality on display at each family home.  Everyone opened up their homes and hearts to us and shared their learning journey of the past year.  We are grateful for the many resources that were returned to us and that everyone is returning to our program next year.  A highlight of the trip was the train ride from Carcross to Fraser with a stopover in scenic Bennett.  Everyone had a great time spending time together and it was an added bonus that we had our own rail car!  It has been our privilege to partner with all of you in your child(ren)'s education.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Drumming Worskshop

Silvy Clarke at the Drumming Workshop in Kelowna

Once again, YouLearn students in the Okanagan (Oliver & Kelowna)were privileged to participate in a drumming workshop led by Bobby Bovenzi.  Bobby lives in School District 53 and is a sought-after drumming workshop leader who travels throughout the province.  Students learned a variety of drumming patterns on a great variety of percussion instruments.  One of the highlights was the re-creation of a frog pond complete with rain, frog calls, and a magic flute.  Bobby makes drumming a great deal of fun and gives everyone the confidence to believe they have rhythm inside them that longs to be let loose.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Too Early for Post-Secondary?

Recently, my children started migrating home for summer from their post-secondary institutions.  Three of my children are in post-secondary, two of my in-law children are studying and one child and one in-law have completed their post-secondary programs.  It got me thinking about post-secondary.  All of my kids are either in, or have completed, post-secondary programs.  I think there are some obvious reasons why this has happened.  
1.  My wife and I have always valued education and attended post-secondary ourselves
2.  We set up RESP's for them which instituted an expectation that they would go to college
3.  We made course choices in high school which led to post-secondary
I am sure there are many more reasons but I want to encourage all parents that the seeds of post-secondary are sown early.  The years fly by quickly!  Do your best to prepare your kids to have the option of post-secondary when the time comes.  

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Spark: Exercise and the Brain

I recently finished the book Spark.  This book has been on my "need to read" list for a long time and I finally got around to reading it over the Christmas break.  It is a fascinating read and it clearly makes the case that physical activity is not just good for the body, but good for the mind as well.  In fact, the author would argue that physical exercise is crucial for growing your brain.  Physical activity actually increases your brains ability to function and increases its capacity.  As the weather gets nicer, I encourage all of you to get active (parents and students) to benefit your body and your mind.  I would also encourage you to find this book at your local library or buy a copy.  I am sure you will find it very interesting.  

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Celebrating BC Education

Image result for PISA study

The most recent PISA study was recently released (Programme for International Student Assessment).  The study always assesses Math, Reading and Science of 15-year-olds across the globe with a different emphasis on one of the three subjects each time it is administered.  The test takes place every three years. In 2015, the latest administration of the test, the emphasis was Science.  As a country, Canada ranked seventh internationally in Science.  However, if BC were ranked internationally, it would be third (behind only Singapore and Alberta).  In Reading Canada is ranked third internationally while BC is first internationally.  In Math, Canada is ranked 10th internationally while BC is ranked 9th internationally.  As far as the 10 provinces go, BC is first in Reading, and second in Math and Science.  I point this out simply to celebrate the many good things we do as an education system in our province.  If you would like to look at the study more in-depth, go to:

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Social Responsibility

The final core competency in the BC ministry's redesigned curriculum is Social Responsibility and also falls under the heading of "Personal and Social".  This competency is comprised of four components:
1. Contributing to Community and Caring for the Environment
2. Solving Problems in Peaceful Ways
3. Valuing Diversity
4. Building Relationships
This competency has a 5-point scale which is described using "I" statements found here.  Statements range from "With support, I can be part of a group" all the way to "I build and sustain positive relationships with diverse people, including people from different generations".
In addition, the ministry is building a repository of examples that illustrate the levels of the Social Responsibility competency.  These illustrations can be found on this page and can be viewed by clicking on the green lettering.  Some are pictures and some are videos but all serve to illustrate each level of the competency.
Once you have explored this competency, why not take some time with your child to make an assessment of where they might fall on the 5-point scale?  Most of you will find these embedded in your PLP (click on the triangles).

Saturday, 18 February 2017

SEL at YouLearn

YouLearn's Kozy Korner
Our school district has several initiatives in place.  One of the most far-reaching of these is "Social and Emotional Learning" (SEL for short).  I say far-reaching because it spans all schools and all grade levels including YouLearn.  To that end, YouLearn has created a space in our school where students who are struggling with their emotions can find space, time and some tools to help centre themselves.  This space is pictured above.  Some of the items for student use include:
- a mindful board which allows students to draw with water alone
- a small sand box with a small rake to create designs
- detailed colouring books with markers
- a chalk board filled with positive messages
- an electronic photo frame with peaceful scenes and positive messages
- a bubbling, gurgling water feature
- electric candles and plants
- access to an iPad filled with applications that are designed to calm and centre students
- comfortable chairs and headphones
- a CD player with several CD's of nature sounds and soothing music
It is our hope that students find our school to advance them academically as well as emotionally and socially.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Personal Awareness and Responsibility

I like the image above that intersects self-awareness with self-management to describe self-competence.  This is the aim of the second of three competencies under the heading "Personal and Social". This competency is made up of three parts:1. Self-Determination2. Self-Regulation3. Well-BeingThis competency has a five-point scale which is described using "I" statements found here.  Statements are as simple as "I can show a sense of accomplishment and joy" to "I can use strategies to find peace in stressful times".In addition, the ministry is building a repository of examples that illustrate the levels of the Personal Awareness and Responsibility competency.  These illustrations are found on this page and can be viewed by clicking on the green lettering.  Some are pictures and some are videos but serve as practical examples that demonstrate each level of the competency. Once you have explored this competency, why not take some time with your child to make an assessment of where they might fall on the 5-point scale?  Most of you will find these embedded in your PLP.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Mindset Makes the Difference

Which mindset do you possess?
A book that has a profound impact on our approach to learning and challenges is Mindset by Carol Dweck.  She contrasts the fixed mindset in which the learner believes their intellect and skills are finite as opposed to the growth mindset which believes that effort and persistence can cause us to exceed expectations.  One of the most important words in developing this mindset is "yet".  Instead of saying: "I can't do fractions!", say: "I can't do fractions YET, but I can try!"  She challenges parents and educators to foster this mindset by praising effort and tenacity, which are viewed as limitless, rather than intelligence and talent, which can be viewed as finite.  
I was sent a video of one of our Yukon students, Anna Gishler, who was competing in gymnastics in Las Vegas.  I am confident she had to have a growth mindset to learn all of her moves.  You can see one of her routines here.  My fixed mindset says I cannot do what Anna does; yet with time, practice, persistence, why not?!  
Have a growth mindset in everything you do and I am sure you will surprise yourself with all you can learn and accomplish.  

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Positive Personal and Cultural Identity

The first competency under the heading "Personal and Social" is title "Positive Personal and Cultural Identity".  As the heading suggests, this competency is highly personal.  Each student has a unique identity which includes many elements.  The goal of this competency is to value the elements that make each child unique and celebrate them.  This competency is made up of three parts:
1. Relationships and Cultural Contexts
2. Personal Values and Choices
3. Personal Strengths and Abilities
This competency has a five-point scale which is described using "I" statements found here.  Statements are as simple as "I can describe my family and community" to "I can reflect on my strength and identify my potential as a leader in the community".
In addition, the ministry is building a repository of examples that illustrate the levels of the Positive Personal and Cultural Identity competency.  These illustrations are found on this page and can be viewed by clicking on the green lettering.  Some are pictures and some are videos but serve as practical examples that demonstrate each level of the competency. 
Once you have explored this competency, why not take some time with your child to make an assessment of where they might fall on the 5-point scale?  Most of you will find these embedded in your PLP.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Yukon Students Making an Impact

Liam Gishler

Two of our Yukon YouLearn students have been making an impact in a couple of significant ways.  
Liam Gishler is a young entrepreneur who has been making and selling a variety of wood products including candle holders, pencil holders and cheese platters.  His work has been featured in a CBC article found here and he was even interviewed on the radio.  Please read the article for more information about Liam's journey.
Liam was inspired by his friend Huxley who did something similar a few years ago and also had a CBC article.  He was dubbed the "wood block king".  In addition, Huxley was reading in a Social Studies book recently and noticed that agriculture in Yukon had been misrepresented on a map.  He wrote a letter to the publisher and received a response letter in which the company states "it certainly seems we presented the wrong information".
Well done, boys.  You are an inspiration!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Critical Thinking

The third competency falls under the "thinking" category along with creative thinking.  It is called Critical Thinking.  This competency is made up of three components:
1.  Analyze and Critique
2.  Question and Investigate
3.  Develop and Design
This competency has a six-point scale which is described using "I" statements found here.  Statements are as simple as "I can show if I like something or not" to "I can make choices that will help me create my intended impact on an audience or situation".
In addition, the ministry is building a repository of examples that illustrate the levels of the critical thinking competency.  These illustrations are found on this page and can be viewed by clicking on the blue lettering.  Some are pictures and some are videos but serve as practical examples that demonstrate each level of the competency. 
Once you have explored this competency, why not take some time with your child to make an assessment of where they might fall on the 6-point scale?  Most of you will find these embedded in your PLP.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Yukon YouLearn Year-End Celebration

Sleigh Ride at Dusk

On December 30th, the Yukon YouLearn families gathered for a year-end party.  Thanks to Kim Pearson for organizing this event.  This is her report:
"It was a winter wonderland! A beautiful day for a sleigh ride! Families came from near and far to enjoy some time together in the busy holiday season. The kids did some sledding down the snow hill, roasting hot dogs over the open fire, lots of playing and, of course, the highlight of the day was the horse-drawn sleigh ride through the fields and into the trails. We warmed up in the lodge and enjoyed the cookies and hot chocolate to end the day."

Here are a few more pictures of the event.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Creative Thinking

Creative Thinking
The second core competency of the Revised BC Curriculum is Creative Thinking.  This competency has three main components:
1. Novelty and Value
2. Generating Ideas
3. Developing Ideas
This competency has a 5-point scale which is described using "I" statements using the document found here.  The "I" statements are as simple as "I get ideas when I play" all the way to "I can persevere over years to develop my ideas".
In addition, the ministry is building a repository of examples that illustrate the levels of the creative thinking competency.  These illustrations are found on this page and can be viewed by clicking on the blue lettering.  Some are pictures and some are videos but serve as practical examples that demonstrate each level of the competency.
Once you have explored this competency, why not take some time with your child to make an assessment of where they might fall on the 5-point scale?  Most of you will find these embedded in your PLP.