February Scholastic Orders

The deadline for Scholastic orders from February AND March flyers (when they come out) is Friday, February 24.

Here are some links and suggestions for the February flyer :

Grade 6 & 7

Story of the My Life Biography Pack : 5 biographies for $10 !  Here are four of them:

Byrd & Igloo: An Arctic Adventure by Samantha Seiple (October 01,2013)I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition)This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs

Grade 4 & 5

Favourite Authors Value Pack : 5 for $10  – These are some of my favourite authors!  Gary Paulsen, Avi, Kate DiCamillo, etc.  Looks like a great pack of books!

This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing DinosaursCatch You Later, TraitorListen, SlowlyRaymie Nightingale Save Me a Seat

Grade 2 & 3

Check out the Mystery Money Cash Register for $14.99. Often families want to borrow money resources but unfortunately, plastic coins are now a consumable item.  This is a really inexpensive option to purchase through this month’s Scholastic flyer.

Kindergarten & Grade 1

If You Give… Pack – $9.99 // This is a classic series that started with “If You Give A Mouse a Muffin” by Laura Numeroff.  She’s written many books in this series.  There are absolutely tons of fun activities to go with these Laura Numerof books.  Here’s a link to my favourite site – Teachers Pay Teachers – lots of freebies there.

If You Take a Mouse to SchoolIf You Give a Pig a Pancake If You Give a Moose a Muffin

Animation, movies, and computer resources: we have it all!

We’ve recently had a number of awesome resources returned to the library  and what better place to show them than here on the blog!?  If you’re interested in borrowing any of these, please let your Home teacher know and I will set them aside for you!


The Animator’s Survival Kit : A Manual of Methods, Principles, and Formulas for Classical, Computer, Games, Stop Motion, and Internet Animators by Richard Williams

animator's survival kit

Stop Motion Animation : How to Make and Share Creative Videos by Melvyn Ternan

stop motion

Learning Blender : A Hands-on Guide to Creating 3D Animated Characters by Oliver Villar

learner blender

(also another book to borrow from us about Blender – Game Development with Blender by Dalai Felinto )


Movie Making Course // 2nd edition Expanded and Updated for the Digital Generation by Ted Jones

movie making


3 Adobe “Classroom in a Book” official training workbooks :

adobe photoshop adobe plash adobe pro

  1. Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 edition
  2. Adobe Flash Professional CC 2014 edition
  3. Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2014 edition


Canadian History Through Comic-Style Books

japanese internment thefamousfive thelastspikeinthecprtheoctobercrisis


Here’s a new spin on Canadian history!  These defining moments in Canadian history are explored through comic-book style illustrations and story.  I LOVE these books for their engaging spin on specific events in our history and as described in this review, “Although the format of these books lends itself toward high interest-low vocabulary students, the material is presented in a manner that can lend itself to stimulating higher level discussions and debate.”.

Check out a sample of the books here.

Genre Spotlight : Biography

My son is now seven years old and if you were to ask him what types of books he likes, he’d be quick to say that he likes “true stories” aka. biographies.  Yes, there are lots of children’s picture books in the biography genre and we’ve learned about all kinds of interesting people in history through this medium.  It’s great to expose kids to many different literature genres at a young age – you never know what they will be interested in!

I loved focusing on one genre a month when I was a classroom teacher so I thought I could bring some of my genre-teaching enthusiasm to the the Library Commons blog for a couple weeks.  This week, I want to share some library’s resources for teaching about biographies.

One way to incorporate biographies into home learning is to find the biography of a person who has been prominent in studying the same topic your child might be studying in science or art.  What a great cross-curriculuar opportunity!

For example, is your child interested in inventing things or are you teaching about sound & light? We have a new Thomas Edison Biography Book Kit in the TLA library right now including a book with 21 Edison invention-related activities (request the kit for a month loan by emailing your Home teacher). Kit includes 1 picture book, 2 DVDs, 2 easy-reader books, 1 novel, and 1 activity books with 21 projects.

    Thomas Edison Interactive DVDEdison : The Wizard of Light    

At an additional cost of $1.60, you could purchase and print a copy of this Thomas Edison foldable activity for grades 1 – 3.

We have lots of biographies on the shelf at a variety of different reading levels.  Here are just a few:


Wondering if we have the biography that you’re looking for?  Search our library system here.

Historica Canada has created a huge series of biography videos that are about 45 minutes long and can be found on their website : https://www.historicacanada.ca/content/biography-series .  We also carry a series of books called The Canadians which feature the following Canadians: Gabriel Dumont, Tom Longboat, Wilfried Laurier, John A. MacDonald, Lester B. Pearson, Laura Secord, Emily Carr, Crowfoot, and Alexander Graham Bell.


Now you’ve chosen to focus on biographies, what now?  Here are a few ideas that I found online that you could use with any biography:

Create a lapbook with this unit for $2.40 from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Research a person in history and write your own biography for them!  Scholastic’s Writer’s Workshop on Biography

Keep track of all the biographies you read by filling in a Biography Report free from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Read a biography and create a graphic novel of this person’s life using some of these free comic templates from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Compare and contrast TWO biographies of the same person using these graphic organizers for $4.00 at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Add some visual arts to your project and create a biography bottle!

Image result for biography bottle

Learning about Residential Schools through memoir : Two new novels in the library

“On June 11, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued an apology to former residential school students on behalf of all Canadians. His statement recognized that the primary purpose of the schools had been to remove children from their homes and families in order to assimilate them into the dominant culture. Such a policy, he said, was wrong, and had no place in this country.” pg.2 of They Came For The Children – The Truth & Reconciliation Commission Of Canada

Because this is a piece of Canadian history, it is an important subject to learn more about.  I have realized, through reading this article by The Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada, that there is so much about residential schools that I had not yet learned.  As a parent and teacher, I highly recommend reading the article afore mentioned which can be found here but for students, an excellent way to approach this subject is through memoir.

Front Cover

Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton is the true story of Margaret Pokiak’s experience in a residential school in the 1940s.  Margaret was eager to learn to read and chose to leave her village in the high Arctic in order to do so.  “At school Margaret soon encounters the Raven, a black-cloaked nun with a hooked nose and bony fingers that resemble claws. She immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. Intending to humiliate her, the heartless Raven gives gray stockings to all the girls — all except Margaret, who gets red ones. In an instant Margaret is the laughingstock of the entire school.”  (exerpt from this review)  Fatty Legs is a short chapter book and complemented by many archival photographs which makes Margaret’s experience and time period more tangible to the reader.  Many reviews of the novel can be found here.

Fatty Legs was published in 2010 and since then, many teachers have used it as a novel study for grades six and seven.  If you search “Fatty Legs novel study”, lots of ideas and documents can be found.  I discovered a webinar with the authors that was very interesting to listen to here.  Additionally, on this website, there’s a part two portion of the webinar where a teacher talks about how she’s used Fatty Legs in the classroom.  This would be easily adapted for teaching at home.

If you decide to read Fatty Legs, I’d recommend also reading A Stranger At Home.  This is the sequel to Fatty Legs in which Margaret returns to her home on Banks Island two years later.  Excited to return home and with no plans to go back to her school, Margaret is expecting a great welcome but instead, her mother greets her by shouting, “Not my girl!” upon seeing Margaret.  She has lost her name, her language, and even her taste for her native foods.  Through relearning her family’s customs and heritage, Margaret discovers what it means to be true to herself and to the ways of her people.  Again, this is another story highlighted with archival photographs and artwork that paint a picture in the reader’s mind.

Front Cover

As highlighted in the October TLA Newsletter and my previous blog post, these novels would be a great addition to Righting Canada’s Wrongs : Residential Schools.

Righting Canada’s Wrongs : new series of books in the library

NEW to our library, the Righting Canada’s Wrongs series is a new hardcover book series that focuses on discrimination and justice in Canadian history.  Titles include Residential Schools, The Japanese Internment, and The Chinese Head Tax.  These books are based on events in Canadian history where governments “have acknowledged and apologized for racist actions and policies”. The books are written at a grade 4 – 6 reading level but will interest students in older grades as well – likely, even parents!   They combine historical information with documents, photos, and first-person accounts which make them very engaging.  

The publisher has a fantastic website where you can check out the titles available, watch videos related to each book, and download a free user guide pdf!  http://www.lorimer.ca/rightingcanadaswrongs/rcwhome.html


Scholastic Orders Through the TLA Library

The blog is back up and running and I’m planning weekly Friday posts!  Check back every Friday for the latest and greatest at the TLA library!

This week, I’m excited to share that we will now be doing Scholastic orders for local TLA families.  When I was a brand new student teacher, I was introduced to Scholastic flyers in my school where I was doing my practicum.  I LOVED these flyers!  So many books!  So many great deals that you can’t get anywhere else!  I am now glad to bring Scholastic Reading Club to TLA.  Scholastic gives “bonus bucks” to teachers who order through them and all these “bucks” will pour directly into purchasing new resources for our library.  It’s win-win!


Scholastic just ships to schools so in order to get your books, you must be willing to pick up at TLA Hawthorne!

Our first (and only) order going in before the new year will be Friday, Nov. 25. You can order from BOTH November and December flyers. Here are all the flyers here: http://www.scholastic.ca/clubs/

Grant money cannot be used for these purchases as you must pay online. Information about paying online can be found here : http://www.scholastic.ca/clubs/parentpay/  I’ve paid online myself and it’s fairly straightforward.  You calculate the amount you owe using the order form in the flyer (it gives you the amount to pay with taxes for BC).  Then you enter the amount into Parent Pay.  I will get an email saying you’ve paid but you will still need to submit your order via email (or drop off at TLA Hawthorne).  Just email rshulba@schoolathome.ca if you have any questions.

My personal picks for November/Decemeber are the following :

From pg.6 in the gr. 4/5 December flyer : Brian Pack 

Image result for hatchet, brian's hunt, brian's winter by gary paulsenImage result for hatchet, brian's hunt, brian's winter by gary paulsenImage result for hatchet, brian's hunt, brian's winter by gary paulsen

If your child in gr. 4 – 7 has not yet read, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, this is a must buy/borrow!  It’s one of my favourite books.  13 yr. old Brian is stranded in northern Canada wilderness and has to survive with just his hatchet.  THEN, because your reader will love it, there are multiple Brian books that play out different endings to Hatchet.  In addition to the Brian Pack, Gary Paulsen has written, “Brian’s Winter” & “The River”.

From the last page of K – Gr.1 November flyer Deck the Halls : A Canadian Christmas Carol

My family owns the Porcupine in a Pine Tree book in this series and love it (can be found for $4.99 in the Holiday Gift Books flyer)!  I’ve definitely added this bargain priced hardcover book to my personal order for my kids!   Here’s an exerpt from Scholastic.ca :

  • Join Porcupine and his familiar Canadian character friends as they decorate for Christmas! That means loons donning skates, polar bears cozy in slippers and sled dogs chasing around the room! All the while, the beavers are busy building a secret surprise…what could it be?  This hilarious, tongue-in-cheek re-telling of the popular Christmas carol will have the whole family singing this holiday season!


And, these picks will be available to check-out from our TLA library in the new year :

Making Canada Home : How Immigrants Shaped This Country

Making Canada Home(exerpt from Scholastic.ca) Making Canada Home chronicles the country’s major waves of immigration, from welcoming early European arrivals to becoming a modern-day safe haven for refugees. The book also acknowledges times when Canada has not been especially welcoming. It explores how each period of immigration has shaped the laws, values, and face of Canada on the way to today’s multicultural society.  A great tool for discussions on Canadian history and immigration!

DEAR CANADA SERIES //  These Are My Words : The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens

(photo and exerpt from amazon.ca)

Acclaimed author Ruby Slipperjack delivers a haunting novel about a 12-year-old girl’s experience at a residential school in 1966.  Drawing from her own experiences at residential school, Ruby Slipperjack creates a brave, yet heartbreaking heroine in Violet, and lets young readers glimpse into an all-too important chapter in our nation’s history.

Project-Based Homeschooling parent resources = some summer reading!

Student resources are slowly beginning to be returned this month and as a librarian, I can’t tell you how fun this part is!  I’m getting to see a lot more of what the TLA library has that has simply been in homes all year.  A couple books have come back today that I wanted to highlight here.  These ones are for parents!

Who hasn’t heard the buzz words : “project-based learning” and “problem-based learning” around schooling these days?  It’s part of the core of our Innovations program at TLA and the new BC Ed Plan encourages it!

If you’re asking, “What IS this project-based learning?”, here’s a great book that we have in library and can be checked out for a 3 week loan in the summer: Project-Based Homeschooling – Mentoring Self-Directed Learners

 Read all about it on their Project-Based Homeschooling website.

Another teacher/parent resource that we have on our shelves is Problems As Possibilities : Problem-Based Learning for K – 16 Education.

If you have other great resources for parents on this topic, please comment to share with us!

New Book Series : Early Canadian Life

We are excited to introduce a new series of books to the TLA library which will be ready to be checked out for the 2016/17 school year: Early Canadian Life.  This social studies book series could also be a great addition to reading novels about pioneers such as Little House on the Prarie or Sarah, Plain and Tall.



As described by Valerie Nielsen in CM Magazine:

     “With pioneer life ensconced as a topic in the early years’ social studies curriculum, it is not surprising to find the Weigl Educational Publishing firm coming up with a series of information picture books on life in early Canada. Each of the glossy hardcover books in the series is 24 pages long and examines the differences between life today and life in pioneer days. The text is made up of short, easy to read paragraphs interspersed with photographs (most from the National Archives) captions and small nuggets of information encapsulated in a “Did you know?” frame in every chapter.

     Each book begins with an introduction which is designed to give children a sense of how different (and indeed, how difficult) it was for the early settlers in Canada.

     Following the introduction, each book is made up of nine chapters plus a glossary and index on the last page. Words defined in the glossary appear in bold text throughout the volume. Chapters are short (just a double page spread), and many contain a vivid first-hand account of life in earlier times.

     Each book in the series concludes by presenting a “Then and Now” Venn diagram which helps readers compare and contrast past and present aspects of the topic being discussed. Students are invited to copy the diagram and see if they can come up with other similarities and differences between present day and pioneer times.

     The “Early Canadian Life” series…are likely to catch and hold the interests of contemporary youngsters. These books should prove a useful resource for primary teachers and a valuable addition to [learning about] pioneer life for seven to ten year olds.”