Friday, 11 October 2013

Thanks, Giving and Goodbye!

With Thanksgiving weekend coming up, I have to stop and reflect about all the things that I am grateful for. There are many blessings in my life, and one of the most important things to give thanks for is my job as St. Monica's school librarian and the fact that I get to make a difference for many of our students.  My last three and a half years at St. Monica have been filled with many ideas and opportunities to make that special kind of difference.

And the rewards for me?  They are plentiful! Every day students tell me how much they loved a book, or read about a cool topic that they want to follow up on.  There are also those amazing days when a child tells me that they love me or that I'm the best librarian/storyteller ever.  And you know, just seeing them focused and listening to a story I'm reading in library period is the best reward ever!

I give thanks for all those amazing things that I get to enjoy almost every single day!   But today I want to offer a special thank you to all the students, their families, volunteers and staff of St. Monica school.  Today is my last day in the library, and I will be moving to another district school next week, where I will share my love of reading, learning, and libraries. 

This will also be my last post to the "Monablog".  I hope you've enjoyed what I've shared with you here, and perhaps you've learned a little in the process.  I give thanks to all of you for allowing me to connect through this library blog, at school on a daily basis, and for being able to enjoy the best job ever!

Keep reading, learning, questioning and trying new things! Best of luck and many blessings in the future. Goodbye and thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to make a difference at St. Monica school!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mrs. Margie Meakin
School Librarian, St. Monica School 

Monday, 23 September 2013

Things are getting a little "batty" at the St. Monica Library!

It all started when my cousin, who is a veterinary technician and works at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) on Vancouver Island, emailed me photo of a "Townsend's" big-eared bat that someone had brought in.

The photos were amazing and I thought the kids here, at St. Monica, might like to see them.  The grade 2 class was scheduled to come into the library that day, so I decided to make it a "Bat" themed library period.

First, I read them one of my very favourite story books about a bat.  It's a fruit bat in this story, but what a lovely tale it is. "Stellaluna" by Janell Cannon, has won awards, was covered on the PBS hit series Reading Rainbow, and has been voted into the all-time top 100 storybooks by the Library School Journal.  It's a beautiful book, if you haven't read it, take the time to do so - it's such a lovely story!

To hear it read out loud, check out: StorylineOnline

When I finished reading the story to the Grade 2 class, I showed them the photos my cousin had sent.  Most of the kids were quite excited to see the photos, and many of them were curious to learn more about bats.
The final chapter in this library saga will take place tomorrow.  When the Grade 2 class comes in this week, I will have another type of Bat to show them.  This past weekend at my cabin, it was getting cold enough to light our wood stove to keep us warm at night.  We started to clean out the old ashes to prepare it for our first fire since last spring, and noticed a little black thing in the bottom.  Lo and behold, it was a dead and dried up bat!!!  What shock that was!! Here was a tiny and perfectly preserved bat!
I was sad that the bat had somehow gotten trapped in our chimney, couldn't get out and died, but kind of excited (and a bit weirded out by the coincidence of it all) that I could bring in this real bat for the kids to see. 
Now, they won't be able to get a really close look and I won't let them touch it (safety and health issues) just to be safe, but they'll be able to get a good look at in a clear, sealed container.  Kind of yucky but cool at the same time!
There's always something fun and interesting going on in the  St. Monica school library!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

An interesting book for teachers, administrators and parents: "Classroom Habitudes" by Angela Maiers

After reading this title I'm sure you are wondering just what a "Habitude" is?  Well, it's a combination of habits and attitudes.  In this book, the author, who is also a teacher, talks about why these "habitudes" need to be taught in the classroom. Here's what she says in her blog:

"Why do we need to teach Habitudes?
As a classroom teacher, I spend many years checking off lists the skills my students needed to be successful. Yet, I wonder, is the checklist we operate from, our scope and sequence of traditional; skills and lessons, enough for our students to invent, create, collaborate, and solve their own problems?
And we need to start teaching them in the classroom…now!"

This book explores "the behaviors, habits and attitudes that we know with conviction, will ensure our students for success both inside and outside our classroom walls."  Not only can these "habitudes" help students in our schools, but many of these "habitudes" can cross over into everyday life and into the business world.

Six of the "habitudes" Maiers focusses on in her book are: 
  • Imagination
  • Curiosity
  • Perseverance
  • Self Awareness
  • Courage
  • Adaptability
Learn more about the author and her educational insights at: Angela Maiers.

And if you would like to listen to Angela Maiers' Tedx Talk titled "You Matter" click here.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Library News for September 2013

Welcome back St. Monica students and families!  The library is full to the brim of great new books we received this month and in the last couple months of the 2012/13 school year.
We’ve gotten in a great new selection of YA (young adult) fiction, lots of fiction for younger grades, beautiful and fun picture books and great new non-fiction resources, many of which directly support the Alberta Education Curriculum and what your children are learning in class.

The Online Reference Centre
In addition to all these print resource we have access to an excellent selection of online resources through Alberta Education’s “ORC” (Online Reference Centre). 
At this amazing website: ,  students will find government and teacher approved online resources that are geared to all the different grades.  Here’s a sampling of what’s available:

Bookflix  | Grades: K - 3 

Use this resource to access interactive fiction and non-fiction books organized according to the following themes: Animals and Nature, Earth and Sky, People and Places; ABC’s and 1,2, 3’s, Family and Community, Music and Rhyme, Adventure, Celebrations, and Imagination.

Muzzy Online  | Grades: K - 6   

Use this language learning program to learn a second language in an interactive way. Each lesson is presented by theme and includes video clips, exercises and games. The languages included are English, Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, German, Portuguese and Italian. 

World Book Student  | Grades: 4 - 9

 Use this general encyclopedia to find articles, maps, pictures, illustrations, current events, audio and video clips, 3-D panoramic photographs, and Web links on a wide range of current and historical topics. A dictionary is included.  | Grades: K - 12   
 Use this resource to locate information on how authors and illustrators write and illustrate their books, as well as links to author Web sites and audio book readings. Coverage includes graphic novels, picture books, historical fiction, adventure stories, mysteries, science fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.
If you or your child needs more information about these resources, please come and see Mrs. Meakin in the library, she will be happy to help you.


Friday, 6 September 2013

Want to discover more about what your child is learning in school this year?

The Calgary Separate School District's Dr. Andra McGinn (Superintendent, Specialized Program Schools / Instruction/ Religious Education) asked district staff to share this information with parents.

There is a great on-line resource available if you would like to learn more detailed information about your child's education.  Check out the Alberta Government's: "My Child's Learning: A Parent Resource."
Learn more about what is covered in each specific grade, read through the question and answer section, access contact information for any other queries you may have, and much more.

Be informed so that you may better support your child's learning and educational growth!

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Welcome back St. Monica Students!!!!

I was walking out of a branch of the Calgary Public Library the other day, at the same time as two young children came running in, laughing and smiling.  That brought a huge smile to my face!!  What a positive experience.  Children, happy and excited to go and use the services of a library, can there be anything better or more heart warning to a parent or a librarian?

Then I remembered that soon I will be lucky enough  to see that same kind of thing happen in our library, when our students are here again this new school year!!  Most excellent!!!  I love seeing their happy, smiling and excited faces as they come in for library period!

Welcome back St. Monica students, so happy you're here!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Are your kids spending a lot of time on the computer this summer?

Happy Summer Everyone! 

I don't normally blog during the summer holidays but I read a great article today that I thought would be interesting for kids at home during the school break.  Instead of them simply playing computer games all day long, they can now learn a new skill and have fun while doing it. 
"Tynker" is a new computer program that kids can use to learn how to create code at home.  It uses a "visual" programming language (making it far more user-friendly for kids) and looks way less scary than typical computer languages such as "JavaScript".

Read more about this cool tool (hey that rhymes!) and having your kids learn awesome new technologies by visiting the MindShift link here.