The theme this year is celebrating First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature.

Click here to find more information and resources.

Sharing an inquiry project on the district Pro D day

Amy MacLeod, teacher-librarian at Confederation Park and University Highlands, shared an inquiry unit she had done with grade 2 and 3 students at the Let’s Do Inquiry session held on February 20.   This unit on Structures combined inquiry with hands-on science.    The students began with a real life “problem” – how to help a student’s dog, Max, cross from one part of the playground structure to another part.    Students had to think about what they needed to know before they could construct a “bridge” for Max to walk along.  They needed to test their hypotheses about what would work best before designing a bridge for Max.    The slides below come from a power point overview of the project.



Partners in Inquiry session

This week teams of teachers and teacher-librarians from five different schools gathered together to talk about inquiry-based learning.  


Image source:

Discussion started with our own understanding of inquiry which we compared with other definitions.  We looked at different models of the inquiry process from across Canada.   As all inquiry starts with questions we shared different ways of helping student generate “better” questions that will lead to deeper understanding.  All of us left with the goal of scaffolding students’ ability to become competent inquirers!

Family Literacy Day

January 27, 2015 is Family Literacy Day 

Take 15 minutes a day to learn with your family

Family Literacy day Bookmark 2015

Celebrating Library Month

Teacher-librarians in Burnaby were busy in October getting their library programs started for another school year.   Students and staff were happy to come to the library for find resources, to hear about new books and to begin work on projects.   As October is Canadian Library Month a special advertisement was placed in the local Burnaby Now newspaper.  See below to find out how teacher-librarians make a difference for student learning!



School library programs foster a passion for knowledge, inspire a love of reading, and teach creative, critical and ethical use of information, ideas and technology.

This library program mission statement has been developed by members of the Burnaby Teacher-Librarians’ Association and was adopted in April 2014


Infographic adapted by Kathleen Yan and Marilyn Williams from an infographic created by the Scottish Library and Information Council

Growth mindset – everyone can change and learn

The book, Mindset: the new psychology of success written by Carol Dweck,, was recommended as a must read by Dr. Judy Halbert and Dr. Linda Kaser, authors of Spirals of Inquiry.  They were also the keynote speakers at our district professional development day on February 21.  I read this book over the Christmas break and agree it is a worthwhile read.


Here is the description of Mindset from its back cover:

“World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea-the power of our mindset. Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success-but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals-personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.”

 Chapter 7 is for parents, teachers and coaches and is subtitled – Where do mindsets come from?   Your mindset, fixed or growth,  will influence how you focus on the learning process.    Carol Dweck states:  “The great teachers believe in the growth of the intellect and talent, and they are facinated with the process of learning” (p. 194).   At the end of this chapter Carol lists some tips.  Here are two to think about.

How do you use praise?  Remember that praising children’s intelligence or talent, tempting as it is, sends a fixed-mindset message.  It makes their confidence and motivation more fragile.  Instead, try to focus on the processes they used – their strategies, effort or choices.  Practice working the process praise into your interactions with children.

Remember that lowering standards doesn’t raise students’ self-esteem.  But neither does raising standards without givng students ways of reaching them.  The growth mindset gives you a way to set high standards and have students reach them.  Try presenting topics in a growth framework and giving students process feedback.


Burnaby school libraries

Let`s celebrate what is happening in Burnaby school libraries

Take a look!


National School Library Day 2013


and the government of B. C.  has officially proclaimed October 28 as School Library Day. 

Here is the official proclamation of Library Month and School  Library Day



Many Burnaby schools will be participating in DROP EVERYTHING AND READ on October 28 or during the week of Oct. 28th.


The British Columbia Teacher-Librarians’ Association is asking that all schools who participate to add their numbers to the provincial tally at:




Raise-a-Reader – supporting the literacy community across BC

Wednesday, Sept 25 is Raise-a-Reader day across Canada.  The event, sponsored by The Vancouver Sun, started here in Vancouver in 1997.   In the Raise-a-Reader supplement of the newspaper you will find two Burnaby teacher-librarians, Aliana Boden and Jeannine Anstee writing about a favourite book from their childhood.


Aliana Boden, teacher-librarian at Buckingham and Lochdale


As a child, my favourite books were the Lord of the Rings series.  My dad started me off small with the Hobbit, and then we worked up to the epic tale of the battle against Mordor.  He wasn’t a fan of the typical age appropriate picture books, so my bedtime stories revolved around ring wraiths and Gollum.  They were heroic battles, read with passion from tattered tomes.  I dreamt of elves and dwarves, goblin slaying swords, and hairy hobbit feet.  I was positive my dad might have actually been Gandalf, and I named my stuffed animals Frodo (although, I admit that trusty Sam is now my favourite).  Growing up, I was never intimidated by thick novels because I had discovered that there was magic inside of them; a magic I still believe in, and try to share with my students when they come through my library doors.


Jeannine Anstee, teacher-librarian at Rosser


Back in the 1990’s, as a teacher-librarian in Burnaby, I had a class read my favourite children’s book, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  In a phone conversation with my sister I discovered that this too had been her favourite book growing up.  We both agreed it had been the most unique story either of us had ever read when we were young.  I had the class write letters to the author (no emails, tweets or social media then) and I too sent a note relating the discovery of our shared love of

the Newbery Award winning book.  Madeleine L’Engle wrote back to express her appreciation of my sharing of the newly discovered connection between two sisters – her book!  It is this book and this sharing moment between two sisters and an author that I so fondly remember.

Here are some more profiles submitted by Burnaby teachers and teacher-librarians.



From Cascade Heights – Karen Lehnert, on the left, and Heidi Wilson, on the right


From Karen Lehnert, teacher-librarian:

The first time I read Rutgers and the Water-Snouts (1969) by Barbara Dana, I was hooked. Over the course of my grade 4 year during the 1970’s, I repeatedly checked-out the book from our school library. I adored the main character, Rutgers (a bulldog), so much, that I even had a stuffed bulldog with a sweater just like him. Years ago, I began looking for a copy of this book when I came upon a box of my old stuffed animals; there was Rutgers, albeit a little dusty. I started my search at local bookstores to no avail. Even searches on the Internet yielded no results, and none of the local public libraries had a copy. In 2002, I got lucky; it was listed by an online used books store. I bought the book (1972 reprint), and the story still makes me smile, and think about my school library.

From Heidi Wilson, French Immersion teacher:

As long as I can remember, I have always been a reader; so much so that my first words were “Come on read it to me.” What makes my reading adventure different is that I learned to read for the first time twice.  Once as a preschooler and the second time as a grade six student.  In grade six I entered late French Immersion and began a lifelong love of this language and its’ literature.  The book that stands out the most for me is Le petit Nicholas by Sempé and Goscinny.  This book grabbed me at a young age because of the simple illustrations that helped me better understand the hilarious adventures of this little French schoolboy and his friends.  Even though reading in a second language was at first not easy, it was worth the hours spent with my dictionary.  This book truly began my love affair with reading in “la langue de Molière” that I try to convey to my students as a French Immersion teacher daily.

From Heather Roberts, teacher-librarian at Nelson Elementary:

One of my favourite books as a child was Corduroy by Don Freeman. Reading it is one of my earliest memories of reading. This story about a teddy bear wandering around a department store and hoping he will be bought and loved appealed to me as a young reader. I loved its storyline, simple words, clear message about belonging and love, and its happy ending. As I grew older and began reading bigger, thicker books, Corduroy still held a spot on my bookshelf; I just couldn’t part with it. Close to 30 years later, I have shared this story numerous times with students in my library and my own two children. Its simplicity, message and magic still relevant so many years after I first read it. And my copy of Corduroy from my childhood? It is framed and hanging proudly on the wall in my son’s bedroom.

From Stephanie Watt, teacher at Nelson Elementary:

My favourite book as a child was Robert Munsch’s The Paper Bag Princess.  I grew up reading fairy tales and I loved how this book took the regular formula of “…and the prince and princess live happily ever after” and turned it on its head. Elizabeth takes the situation she’s given, fights for her man while being very clever, but realizes in the end that she’s not being treated the way she deserves and dances off into the sunset after calling Ronald a “bum.” I would like to think that The Paper Bag Princess had an impact on the self respect I have and it’s instilled a love for Robert Munsch books that I share with my students year after year.  It’s the first book I read to my class every year in September and I love throwing on a paper bag and dressing up as the princess on Halloween!

 From Liz Cramb, teacher at Buckingham Elementary:     

When I was very young, I became enthralled with a series called the “Famous Five” by Enid Blyton.  The first book was given to me by my beloved grandparents from Brentwood Bay B.C.  My grandfather owned a record store in Oak Bay; around the corner was Ivy’s Bookstore.  That store became my favourite place to go when I had saved up enough money to buy a new book.   Whenever I received a new  book, I would race home, hurry to do my chores, and then escape to my room and curl up to go on the adventures with these five brave children and their dog as I read their story .  They had exotic drinks like ginger beer and went to places I would never have been allowed to explore like caves, lighthouses and circuses. These books were my lifeline to the adventures I could not even dream of having.

 From Brenda Hain, teacher-librarian at Stoney Creek and Parkcrest:

When I was a child, my favourite book was Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman. Perhaps I loved it because it was the first book that I was able to read independently and that made me feel so grown up. But looking back now, I think it was my favourite because I cared so deeply about the baby bird who set off on a quest to find his mother.  The day I developed empathy for that fictitious character was the day I became a lifelong reader.