Jan 14

Verizon Teams Up with Mobile Education Partners

A few weeks ago I was approached by Joanne Peters, a graduate student, who is finishing her Master’s degree in early childhood education. Part of her final project involves raising awareness around the topic of technology in the classroom and tracking the impact.

Joanne believes that “we urgently need to blend our children’s aptitude in technology with stimulating entertainment.” I am happy that Joanne approached me because I couldn’t agree more with her belief. After reviewing the links Joanne forwarded, I feel that it is worth sharing the information that she shared with me.

Technology surrounds students of all ages from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to sleep. The challenge for today’s parents is to manage this technology in such a way that it benefits expanding minds.

Today’s parents need to manage technology in a way that makes it educational and fun at the same time.

Verizon has teamed up with several leading mobile education partners to bring its customers the best educational apps designed to help students get the most out of their education. Leading educational apps are selected based on the recommendations of a panel of reviewers that include teachers, app experts, and parents.

Verizon is bringing education to the forefront.

The user-friendly App Recommendation site may be searched via four main categories: early childhood, elementary school, middle school, and high school. Apps are further divided into subject areas, such as language arts, social studies, and science.

Something I find particularly useful is that a panel of Experts rates each app and explains the educational value of each app while relating the content in each app to the curriculum. Please keep in mind that recommendations are based on American curriculum (state or common core standards)—not Canadian curriculum.

Recommendations are based on Common Core Standards.

Joanne strongly believes that “these days it is really important to incorporate learning, fun, and technology.” I agree with you one hundred percent Joanne. And I think readers will agree too. Verizon’s roster of educational apps will enhance a child’s education by helping him or her learn whether in the classroom, at home, or on the go. When provided with the right tools, children succeed.

For more information on Verizon’s educational resources, please visit Verizon Wireless. While on Verizon’s site, check out iPad Apps for iOS users and Android Apps for tablet users.

And, in case you were wondering… Both MacCheeky picture books are available as digital interactive storybook apps that are aligned to Common Core Standards. Both apps also offer reading strategies (graded K-2) and Bloom’s Taxonomy classification. A Royal Little Pest is available for iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch. A Royal Little Pest: Mine! is also available for iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch. Fingers crossed they soon make it on Verizon’s list of educational apps!

Thanks for stopping by,


Dec 13

Fizbee Sugarplum

Ok, so I definitely don’t win a Mother of the Year award this year. Why, you might ask? Well, each year as the month of December rolls around a happy little elf named Peppy Sparkle Toes pays us a visit. He stays with us all month as our guest. He watches by day and flits from room to room each night, reporting back to Santa—whether we’ve been bad or good.

This year, as December rolled around and the children were all snug in their beds, I crept into my closet and reached into the secret hiding spot to retrieve Peppy. To my utter shock and dismay, my hand felt… nothing! Nothing? Nothing! Oh where, oh where did he go?? I ripped by closet apart. Nothing. I honestly don’t know how I slept that night.

The next morning, December 1, the children came bounding down the stairs squealing: “Peppy!”

They searched high and low but did not find him anywhere. I had a huge knot in my stomach.

“Maybe Peppy got caught in a snow storm,” I tried to fake them out.

Imagining Peppy Sparkle Toes caught in a huge snow storm.

My youngest must have gone to check the mailbox at least 10 times that day. Nothing.

I sent my husband out to search three different stores for an elf that looked remotely similar to our Peppy. Nothing.

I frantically sent out texts to friends and family with a photo of Peppy asking if anyone had an elf that looked anything like our Peppy. To my utter amazement, my sister texted me a photo with the words “Will this do?” It wasn’t Peppy, but it could easily pass for a sibling or one of his kind! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Dianne!

Today, a few days into December, a happy little elf named Fizbee Sugarplum arrived!

The kids meet Fizbee Sugarplum for the very first time.

Fizbee Sugarplum was hanging around the mailbox with the following note attached:

Hi MacArthur Family!
I hope you had a good year. I had a very good year!
I have been given a new job. I am now an Elf Trainer! Yes, this is very happy and exciting news indeed!
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to watch over your family this year. But, do not worry, I have chosen the perfect little elf to watch over you all.
I would like to introduce you to Fizbee Sugarplum. Please be patient with him if he messes up here and there. He is one of our youngest elves. 22 Flowers Crescent is the first home he has ever been sent to watch over. You are his first family!
Wishing you all a very special Christmas.
Peppy Sparkle Toes

The children were so excited to find that an elf had arrived from the North Pole that they got over the fact that it wasn’t Peppy pretty quickly.

Fizbee Sugarplum is ready to report for duty.

Thank goodness for small miracles. Now, if only I could remember where I put Peppy… He’s bound to turn up sometime…

Thanks for stopping by,



Nov 13

Student Writing Contests: Enter Now!

Polar Expressions Publishing is holding its 8th annual . . .
2013/2014 National Student Poetry Contest; and
2013/2014 National Student Short-Story Contest

November 22nd, 2013 (post-marked mail)
November 29th, 2013 (e-mails or faxes)

Each fall, Polar Expressions Publishing holds two contests, which are open to Canadian students in kindergarten through grade twelve. Over $10,000 is awarded in cash prizes to schools and students who participate!

There is no entry fee and no obligation to purchase anything.

Educators may wish to use one or both of these contests as a project in coordination with their English curriculum or students may enter on their own (though school information must be provided so Polar Expressions Publishing can verify that participants are students in order to keep the contest fair).

The top group of entrants in each contest (45% or less) will be published in an inexpensive, soft-cover, keepsake collection to be released in early June. Schools that send in at least five entries will automatically receive one free copy of any collection containing their student(s) work. Polar Expressions Publishing gave away more than $10,000 worth of these books to schools with last year’s contest!

Every participant will receive a small gift once all of the entries have been short-listed.

Students who are short-listed will receive a letter of congratulations and a certificate to their home address, along with a proof sheet of their work by mid-February. They will then move forward to the final round of judging.

For information on full contest rules, topic ideas, contest prizes, and to download an entry form (pdf format), please visit Polar Expressions Publishing.

Good luck!