Kindergarten - Grade 9
K - 9
Grades 10 - 12
10 - 12
Learning Support Services

May This School Year Be a Happy Year

On behalf of my wife, Claire, and myself, I want to welcome you to the new school year. I am blessed to have a wonderful partner in this adventure called life, and Claire patiently abides by me as I work from home (our little trailer right now as we build a new home) or pack my cell phone wherever we go (which allows me to work a bit more flexibly). Shortly after taking this picture on a lovely, lonely beach north of Sayward on Vancouver Island, I answered a call from a parent wanting information on her children’s options for education. This flexibility is one of the tremendous opportunities that Distributed Learning gives to students, families, and educators alike. I encourage you to take advantage of it.

The pages of this school year have not yet been written. And last year’s pages have begun to collect dust. So move on. Capitalize on what has worked, leave what hasn’t. Plan for success, plan for work, plan for play. And keep your expectations reasonable. Looking forward, we face the temptation of trying for perfection. Looking backwards, we then realize our lack of success in achieving that perfection. So, why not avoid that temptation of setting ourselves up for failure. Rather, let’s write this year one page at a time, pages written well enough, and pages filled with contentment, joy, satisfaction, love, camaraderie, grace, patience, a few tears and lots of smiles.

My hope and prayer for this year is that students, parents, and staff members will find lots of happiness here at TLA. Whether you are using our Home program, our Blended program, our Online program, or a mix of two or three of these programs to complete your education this year, set happiness as a key goal. Ideally, you want to begin and end each of the pages of the year on a happy note, and when that isn’t possible, realize that whatever is robbing you of your happiness ends that page with a “To Be Continued” which means that tomorrow holds out the promise of happiness returning.

Welcome to 2017/18

Welcome to TLA!  My name is Mary-Anne VanderHorst and I work as the Graduation Counsellor and the 10-12 Vice Principal for our online and blended programs.  If you are interested, I have included some more information about myself at the end of the post.  For now, we will stick to the important details!

I will use this space to post important and interesting information throughout the year.

Please connect with me if you are ever needing advice about courses or your educational program now or after high school.

Here are a few important details on how to get off to a great start.

  1.     If your son or daughter is unable to login, please contact our tech department by filling in a help desk ticket here.
  2.     Have your son or daughter complete our newly improved Intro to Online and Blended Learning course here.I highly recommend this course for anyone who has never taken an online course!  The course will allow your child to become familiar with TLA’s systems as well as gain some very valuable tech skills. By completing this course your son or daughter will earn 2 credits. The Intro to Online and Blended Learning course also has some great tips on how to be a successful online and blended learning student – all the more reason to complete the course!
  3.   Create a weekly schedule for yourself.  Print your weekly schedule and have it posted by your workstation. How will you spend your time each week?  You should be adding to your weekly schedule when you will work on each of your courses.  No schedule often means no work gets done.
  4.  Take some time to become familiar with your courses.
  5.  Add your online and blended course due dates to an agenda or wall calendar.  This will help you stay organized and will be a good reminder about upcoming due dates/deadlines. Perhaps divide your course into three equal sections and plot out how far you need to be at the end of each term.
  6.  Add your teachers to your TLA webmail chat.
  7.  Set up a comfortable, well lit work station for yourself.


If you want to know a little bit about me: 
I studied at TWU and obtained by BBA.  I then went on to UBC to and obtained by BEd.  My husband is a Math and Science teacher.  I have 4 kids, 2 boys and 2 girls.  We all love soccer, track and field, hiking, camping……pretty much most outdoor activities.  One of the highlights of this summer was our trip to Whistler.  We hiked the short trail to the Whistler train wreck (very cool) and we hiked Joffre Lakes (beautiful).

Welcome to the 2017/18 School year!

Welcome back to school!  The LSS department is excited to embark on a new school year with each of you.  We are please to introduce two new teachers: Elda Egan (Prince George) and Kerry Watson (Courtney).

As our learning services department continues to grow, we are happy to offer two new programs this school year.

SEL (Social Emotional Learning): SEL class is now full, but we are taking a wait list to open a second session. This program is designed to assist and increase confidence and esteem for students at risk in the areas of communicating with others, building friendships and developing emotional regulation skills and strategies.  Please contact your LSS teacher for more information.

LSS Support Block: We are pleased to provide an academic support block this year, taught by Mrs. Virginia Hooper. The block will not only provide academic support but strive to support students in developing executive functioning and organization skills.  Please contact your LSS teacher for further information.


Lindsay Sanderson

LSS Vice Principal

TLA End of Summer Update

Hello TLA Families,

Warm greetings to you all as we approach the end of summer. What follows is a short update on our various programs and departments.

What’s New:

OverDrive: We are working on populating and rolling out a digital library using OverDrive. This is a system that many public libraries in BC currently use. We are adding a combination of curriculum-type resources as well as fiction and non-fiction ebooks and audio-ebooks at a wide range of reading levels. There will be a system in place to put holds on books, to request books we don’t have, and to sign books out through our single-sign-on login system. This year it will be a work in progress as we build the library and you all become more familiar with how to use it.

FreshGrade: Many of you already use FreshGrade to communicate with your teachers. FreshGrade is a made-in-BC success story, an educational app that is used to connect students, teachers, and parents. You can see more at We are making our systems more fully integrated with FreshGrade, such that all of our K-9 teachers will know how to use it if you want to use it as a communication and portfolio tool. We have wonderful training videos for parents available.

TLA Website: stay tuned, sometime next week we’ll be rolling out an updated website. Apologies for any outdated information that is on our current website.

New Teachers: we welcome the following new teachers to TLA:
Kerry Watson: LSS teacher on Vancouver Island
Libby Voth: teaching two-day Blended grade 6-7, and Blended Humanities 10
Elda Egan: K-9 and LSS teacher based in Prince George
Rebekah MacEwan: Blended Drama and Theatre Production

We bid farewell to the following teachers this year: CJ Scott, Melinda Johnston-Harder, Megan Mackenzie, Jan Fung, Bev Thiessen, Velda Chan and Bev Ellis. Seems like a lot, but with a staff of around 90 this amount of turnover is normal for us. We thank these teachers for their years of service and dedication to TLA’s home learning community.

K-9 – Vice Principal Steve Borley:

We have created and are offering Online courses down into grade seven now. Your child has access to STEM 7, Humanities 7, PHE 7, Textiles 7, Foods 7, 2D Studio Art 7, and Intro to Agriculture 7 courses starting this September. Further, we have created and are offering Blended courses as low as grade one – your options include STEM, Humanities, Visual Arts, and Physical and Health Education.
We welcome three new teachers to the K-9 team. Libby Voth is teaching Two-Day Blended 6/7; Elda Egan is teaching in the Home and LSS realms in Prince George and area; and Virtue El-Aleyrt is teaching all Blended programs and courses in Kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2 except PHE.
With these additions to our staff, we currently have room in all regions and programs for new enrollments. If you have found TLA to be a good school, please spread the news. Thank you.

Home: our K-9 Home program has space available in all areas of the province.
Online: We offer many grade 8 and 9 online courses, in addition to new grade 7 online courses such as: STEM, Humanities, PHE, 2D Studio Arts, Textiles, Foods. We now have Intro to Agriculture as new grade 7-9 online course. Our website update is going to make these course options clear – currently the grade 7 courses are not listed on our website, but they are available.
-There are still spaces available in some of the one and two day blended programs.
-There are spaces available in all of the blended courses.
-“Programs” are the one and two day programs where the teacher is also the Home teacher, partnering with the parent on the whole program. “Courses” are courses that form part of a student’s program, while they still maintain a separate Home teacher.
-Blended Physical Education schedule: we are having to wait until August 29th to determine our gym schedule at William of Orange. Sorry for the delay, we have to wait until William of Orange settles on their needs first.

10-12 – Vice Principal Mary-Anne VanderHorst

Online: Our Online courses all have space available. New offerings include Mandarin 10-12, Tourism 12, and an updated Marketing 11 focusing on Sports and Entertainment. We may also add Outdoor Education 11 and 12.
Innovations: Erin Philps is taking over from CJ Scott in running our 10-12 Innovations program, a project-based cross-curricular program. Contact for more info.
-Large enrolment in at the grade 10 level has required us to divide the Humanities 10, FMP 10, and Science 10 classes between Tuesday and Wednesday. We sincerely thank families who have been flexible with the day change. Some switch requests are still pending and we may be contacting other grade 10 families with regard to the day change.
-Low enrolment in a few classes has required us to cancel AWM 10 and AWM 11.
-Blended Physical Education schedule: we are having to wait until August 29th to determine our gym schedule at William of Orange. Sorry for the delay, we have to wait until William of Orange settles on their needs first.
-Friday’s Art and Drama classes are now starting at 9:30 instead of 9:00am.

Learning Support Services – Vice-Principal Lindsay Sanderson

Our Learning Support Services department is at about 98% capacity. If you know of families considering TLA’s DL program for a child who has special needs, please advise them to apply as soon as possible.
New LSS programs for the 2017/18 school year:
-We are offering an LSS support on Monday’s at TLA Main office. This is for students in Grade 8-12 that may need additional academic support, as well as to encourage and support the development of executive functioning skills. Please contact your LSS teacher if you feel your child would be interested.
-We are offering a Social Emotional Learning class this year. The class runs on Tuesdays. Our first class is now full (Tues morning). We are taking a wait list to open a second class on Tuesday afternoons. Please contact your LSS teacher if you are interested. Students interested in attending SEL must be able to sit and work independently for a minimum of 15 minutes.
-We are hoping to organize several field trips for LSS students this year. Please look for more information from your LSS teacher this fall.

TLA Orientation and Blended Open House:

5:00-7:00 PM on September 7 at TLA Hawthorne (5741 176th St. Surrey) we will have a Blended Open House – a chance to meet the Blended program teachers and hear about their plans for the year.

7:00-9:00 PM on September 7 at TLA Hawthorne and Online (meeting link here) we will host a general TLA K-12 welcome and orientation. Primarily meant for new families but all are welcome.


Gabe Linder

Coming in Fall 2017 : Little Bits drop-in times at the library

I’m very excited to be planning a number of new drop-in events that will be happening throughout the year at the Library Commons here at Hawhorne!

One regular drop-in time will be for gr.3 – 9 students to use Little Bits.  Imagine a set of electronics as easy to play with as Legos. Have you seen these amazing electronic building blocks!?

Image result for little bits

“TED Fellow Ayah Bdeir introduces littleBits, a set of simple, interchangeable blocks that make programming as simple and important a part of creativity as snapping blocks together.” :

See them in action:

We will be having drop in times a couple times a month for students to come in and work with these Little Bits blocks to invent and learn more about how circuits work.  Who’s excited?!

Childhood Regained by Jodie Renner


We have a new anthology of short stories in the library just in time for planning for the 2017/18 school year!

According to Jodie Renner’s website, “CHILDHOOD REGAINED – Stories of Hope for Asian Child Workers, SCHOOL EDITION is a perfect ready-made resource for
your unit on world issues and global awareness. The package has all you’ll need – stories, comprehension questions and answers, student activities, factual information, glossary, related ministry expectations, and more. This collection of compelling stories about child labourers in South Asia makes an excellent additional resource for Grades 4 to 10 Social Studies programs, to complete expectations revolving around human rights and global issues that need our attention.

These eye-opening but hopeful stories and a poem bring to life some of the situations faced by millions of young children working long hours with little or no pay in factories, mines, quarries, and commercial farms in Asia.

These captivating fictional stories have been researched and written by talented authors around the world and organized and edited by a former middle-grade teacher and teacher-librarian. Told through the voices of Asian child workers in various situations, they are the perfect medium to engage your students and help them gain awareness of the situations of many of their peers across the globe.”

In the TLA library, we have the main book with ALL the stories but we also have the Student Edition for grades 4 – 6 and the Student Edition for grades 6 – 8 where the stories are seperated into grade-appropriate interest levels.  We also have the Canadian Teacher’s Guide to loan.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Here’s a great unit to keep kids’ interest as we start seeing more signs of spring that make it hard to concentrate!


More specifically : Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

This unit is not your basic read and answer compehension questions.  There are lots of ways to delve a little deeper into the novel and complete some unique assignments along the way.  This unit has the potential to be a combination of Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies.  These subject areas are listed separately in the unit, however, planning ahead to determine which projects and activities work best together is recommended.  You could easily study candy and chocolate all day for a couple weeks at least!  Yum!

Check it out here.

Ask your Home teacher to request some of these additional resources from the TLA library after checking out the unit study link above!

Rookie Read-About Science: Beans to Chocolate From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate  Make It: Chocolate (library bound)Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory 40th Anniversary EditionWho Was Milton Hershey?Candy Experiments



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 internmentthefamousfivethelastspikeinthecprtheoctobercrisis


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.