Chinook and Winter

Chinook and Winter is the title of my children’s illustrated book published by Pemmican Publications.  A teenager, who is only in grade 12 now, created amazing illustrations for this book. She is very proficient with the Wacom Bamboo tablet.

What she and I both discovered is that is you want something, you have to be willing to go after it and not get discouraged. She is a self-taught illustrator who draws every day.  And it took me a long time to finally find a publisher. Both of us are determined!

Anyone in Alberta looking to publish should try looking at the Writers’ Guild of Alberta webpage:  They have helpful suggestions, and they list publishers.  If you want – go for it!

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Would you like a cuppa?

School renovations has forced a big, bright learning commons to move into a small, cold, windowless room. A well equipped, vibrant place has been reduced both in books and students. What better way to cheer hardcore patrons than offering a warm cup of tea. The few brave souls appreciate fellowship and comforting warmth in the middle of the day. As one young fellow said, “I LOVE period three!”

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Literary advisers 

What better way to select readable material for the school body than to engage a literary adviser! At our high school, Tegan Milne was the perfect choice. She reads all genres at varying levels. She also keeps a journal of all the material she had read. She will play an integral role on our reading committee this year. I don’t know how we missed her other years!

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Our learning commons, along with the rest of the school, is undergoing renovations. Our huge commons where students worked, played and interacted will be severely reduced. It makes me very sad to lose such a valuable space. But what makes this worthwhile is that the staff is being made aware of a learning commons in the new high school redesign. They are talking about a lc and how it can inspire learning. After so many years of my single voice, there are many voices. There is great potential for student learning within a learning commons philosophy. I think these renovations are just what is needed!

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Top Hat Teen Reads

We have had a top ten book list for over 10 years now.  The original idea was to get students reading.  The response was fantastic. Students and teachers were reading and promoting not only the top ten books, but all books. After ten years, we have expanded to include three high schools, the public library and the college library.  It is a joy to work with librarians from all venues and to have input from both staff and students to select a variety of books to appeal to all

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Learning in a Learning Commons

A Learning Commons is not just books.  That is evidenced by our recent addition. We have worms! The YES Club, Youth for Environmental Sustainability, just started vermicomposting. These young people are passionate about learning and the environment. They have plans to sell the compost and raise funds for solar panels for our school.  Remember, a small group of people – they can change the world!

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Learning Commons in 2016

The Learning Commons is a space to connect, learn, connect and explore. Education is on the cusp of change. Are we going to encourage and accept the change? Or are we going try to block the gushing flood waters with a single sand bag? Watching my seven year old grandson create worlds in Mindcraft has me in awe. Long have I known that education as we know it must transform, but seeing a child discovering and learning makes me realize that it will change in ways I can’t even begin to realize. Let’s use a common space to catch up to our students needs and interests 

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