Create, Be Curious, Learn, have Fun and GLOW

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Followers! I’m excited about 2017! For many reasons and lots having to do with the happenings in Room 129!

But first, a little pep talk to welcome you back to the blog and remind you to BE MORE AWESOME and let’s explore 2017 together!


I have to apologize for my lack of blogging. There are a number of reasons for my absence and it’s not because I haven’t been thinking our this blog. I think about this blog a lot. If you look at my picture stream in my phone – I take a lot of pictures of the cuties in Room 129. I have ideas for blogs, I just haven’t made time to sit down and write them. Some of that has to do with the busy time that is the month of December (and November…). Some of that has to do with Winnipeg School Division wanting me to transfer this blog over to a WSDedublog, which I will do in 2017. Some of it has to do with being bombarded with Seasaw (http://web.seesaw.me/seesaw-for-schools/)  and other forms of Digital Portfolios for students. I’m trying to figure out what is the best and most efficient and practical way to communicate and share learning digitally online for 6 and 7 year olds.

I love this blog. I love blogging. The purpose of starting this blog was to communicate with and inspire parents, grandparents, family near and far, friends and even my family (perhaps my most loyal followers, my mom, dad and grandparents!). So often these 6 and 7 year old students go home after a busy day of learning and forget to share what they have learned with their parents. I thought if parents had talking points or pictures that they could talk about or ask deeper questions about, it would ignite lively dinner time conversations, encourage interesting bedtime discussions and just connect student’s home and family with their learning. I also thought it may extend student’s learning by allowing opportunities for families to find their own connections through books at home and there own opportunities to investigate inquiries together as a family. Last year when my class was learning about Winnipeg, families really took it upon themselves to get out and explore Winnipeg! They visited many different places In Winnipeg and shared stories of experiences in Winnipeg that may have gone unshared. We looked at the history of Winnipeg and each student wrote amazing books about A Winnipeg Day. I was fulfilled as a teacher to hear about all of these vast experiences that families were having together that were prompted by learning done in school. I would see grandparents in Superstore and they would tell me the difference the blog was making in discussions with their grandchildren. They were sharing and making history together.

So, in 2017 we will continue our blogging. The blog will remain OhthisclassroomGlows and hopefully I can copy my blog history to our new url with Winnipeg School Divisions Edublog (I’m sure we can).

2017 will also have us reveal two new opportunities to share our learning. We will start our OhthisclassroomGlows twitter account. Twitter is different than blogging and the way Room 129 will be using to twitter will be to help us connect with authors of books we love, people around Canada (maybe even our Prime Minister). In the past we were using my laura_thomas_99 twitter handle. We connected on twitter with the Mayor Brian Bowman’s office last year and have followed Barbara Reid and a few other authors connecting with them. I think moving forward it is best if we have a classroom twitter handle and my own professional twitter handle separate (although feel free to follow me on both!). In the year 2017 I know it is hard to believe. but twitter is a way, possibly the best way, for people and students to connect with many interesting people around Canada and the World. It is quick and easy and opens up opportunities to exchange knowledge and information. And don’t worry President Elect Donald Trump will not be followed by OhthisclassroomGlows. There are things that I don’t like about twitter and I’m sure we can/will have a discussion about those. Room 129 will be using twitter to connect with people that they are interested in or that link to our classroom learning. I monitor all of our social media regularly. Twitter can be a really positive way to extend our classroom discussions and a very exciting way for classrooms to participate with others in meaningful, relevant and very currant ways. The link below shows some of the benefits.

15 Ways To Use Twitter In Education (For Students And Teachers Alike)

Something that I am very excited about starting is our brand new OhthisclassroomGlows instagram account! Personally I love Instagram. I love it for many reasons and use it often with my own family. It is like an online digital portfolio of the past few years. Our family trips, funny moments, embarrassing moments, life experiences and all the monumental, memorable moments in between. They are documented. For me. For my family. For my friends near and far. But a lot of my Instagram is just for me. One of my favourite things is how easy it is to look back on our previous years. See how my kids have grown. I have hashtags in place that connect their birthdays all together (some of you may have no idea what I am talking about when I say hashtag to connect all of their birthdays 🙂 and that’s okay! ).

I created an OhthisclassroomGlows Instagram account over the Christmas break https://www.instagram.com/?hl=en . I encourage you to follow us, as I will be using Instagram often in 2017. I am going to challenge myself to try and Instagram a picture each school day. I will be showing our followers through pictures; our good moments, funny moments, interesting moments, our learning, our art, our math, and it may be through an amazing Instagram filter, but I promise you it will be real life in Room 129! My hope is that through our Room 129 picture of the day you will see a glimpse or moment that you can talk with your child about. Two of our students have parents that live outside of Canada (Shout out to Keito’s dad who follows our blog regularly and Jenna’s dad from the Philippines). Grandparents and family that live far away will be able to see what we are up to. It’s an exciting World where we are all able to connect together in such meaningful and fairly easy ways! I can’t wait for you to follow our journey. (side note: Our account is private and I will be monitoring and adding only followers I myself or student’s in Room 129 know). If my 61 year old mom and 72 year old father in law and my 86 year old grandma can figure out how to use Instagram (although they had a fair bit of help with start up – but now they follow along fairly easily!) I know that you all can do it! Perhaps you will be inspired by our Instagram account and will create one for yourself!

So why all of this technology? Why all this social media in 2017?

Because….it’s nice to have options. Because…it’s nice to have balance. Because… it’s nice to share. Because… it’s great to inspire others. Because… learning is meaningful when it is connected to real life. Because… it’s 2017 and I am teaching to the future. Because…. I want you to be a part of our learning. Because… students will learn that their learning matters to themselves and others. Because…so many conversations will be started and continued thanks to these interactions on social media.

There is a balance to technology and social media. I am well aware of the stats and the research into too much. I read articles about putting your phone down more, being more present. I am NOT the mom in the park so interested in getting a good Instagram photo I forget why I am at the park 🙂 . Balance is important. So let’s try. See what happens. Take a chance. Share more of ourselves. I am so excited to have more conversations with you about this.

I’m going to link a few articles that I have read. Maybe I will write an article one day about our Grade 1/2 experiences with social media. In my research into this I did not find many articles talking specifically about early years, so there is a bit of a gap when I was looking at articles related to all of education (K-Gr. 12).  Not all of the information in these articles is pertinent to Room 129’s inquiry with social media. But they are interesting.

~ We were made to be awesome! Let’s get out there! Let’s do this 2017!! ~  


https://www.edutopia.org/blog/guidebook-social-media-in-classroom-vicki-davis   (I love edutopia)




25 top ways teachers use Twitter in the classroom



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Creating Highly Effective Teams at Montrose School

This blog is a place for me and my students to express our thoughts, share our learning and communicate information with you our loyal followers. As part of this blog I like to share my ongoing learning journey. This will include writing about Professional Development that I attend, interesting books that I am reading and it may include compelling podcasts that I listen to or inspiring TedTalks that motivate me.

On Monday and Tuesday this week, the staff at Montrose invested some of our PD time into learning about highly effective team building and how to collaborate efficiently within that team. As you know Montrose has had some changes to staff and I am very proud that we are taking the time to really get to know each other and putting TEAM as a priority for Montrose (Because there is no I in Montrose 🙂 lol).

We had Danielle Fullan Kolton come and lead our PD. She has vast experiences from being involved in all walks of education. She spoke with us about strategies we can use to help us work together efficiently. We took personality tests (Obviously, I did the test for my husband too). The personality test was given to shine light and help us to see what our own work style preferences were. We were challenged to think of ways to work through differences of work style with colleagues and given words and phrases to help us in difficult situations.

The part of the day I found most interesting was talking about the Saboteurs of listening. I think everyone struggles with these saboteurs at one time or another. These are not just privy to the education profession. 🙂 We all can be over taken from these saboteurs – one of the biggest ways to overcome them is to be aware.

Here they are in short form:

  • Injecting a narrative from our own experience to identify with the speaker.
  • Searching for something to disagree with.
  • Channeling our inner judge.
  • Pretending to agree with others just to placate them. (Kumbaya moments).
  • Being distracted by cell phone or checking e-mail.
  • Telling yourself a story about how/why someone is feeling/acting and responding based on incorrect assumptions and conclusions instead of facts.

I am  We are all guilty of these at some point in our professional or personal lives. What I appreciated about this PD was the reminder to check ourselves. Danielle clearly mapped out for us how to check ourselves and spoke to how we can gently remind others to check themselves too. Working with different people and different personalities is difficult at times, especially in stressful points of the year (report cards, year end, annual reports, etc. etc. usually the word reports = STRESS! ).

Luckily there are team remedies to help us make a big difference in our collaborative outcomes:

  • Stop talking
  • Be a learner
  • Step up
  • Step back
  • Talk about how you are talking
  • Embrace diversity

One of the points that really stood out for me was; “effective dialogue and collaboration require a specific set of skills, the most important of which is listening. There are no short cuts in collaboration”.

Montrose School is a school with a lot of energy. I am so happy and proud to be a part of a school where we value each other and each others opinions  and we expect everyone to have an opinion. We want to hear it. We are a high impact team and we are only going to get stronger.

The second day of our Professional Development was about mindfulness; as a person, educator and Montrose Teacher. We had Keith Macpherson come and work with us about the topic of  mindfulness. He is wonderful. It was an emotional, fun and very challenging experience and day. I learned a lot about myself, my priorities as an educator, mother and partner to my husband. I looked inside myself to see and understand what I can do FOR myself to BETTER myself in all aspects of my life.

Although I found these days to be a great learning opportunity, I really missed my class so much. It was so nice to see their smiling faces today. I know the school year is just beginning and it is hard to be away and out of “routines” especially in the beginning.  But, I really feel these two PD days have allowed for myself and all of Montrose School staff to get off on the right foot with a good solid ground beneath us.

~ Here’s to being mindful and present this year. I plan to explore mindfulness with my students this year and I can’t wait to have them share their strategies for mindfulness with you.






Today we celebrated #InternationalDotDay . Peter H. Reynolds is the author of The Dot. The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.

Today we were inspired! We read the book The Dot together and then we talked about what happened at the beginning, what was the turning point for Vashti, and what were the lessons that we can take away from the book.


We then took a page from The Dot where Vashti made dot art with negative space. Students were inspired to make positive and negative space dots. I also challenged them to try to create their art using only 100 dots. They turned out so well! Our bulletin board will be up until Meet The Teacher for you to check out in person! 🙂

We then looked at other dot art to inspire us. We looked at Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte. We estimated he used over 1 000 000 000 dots for his art!


We also went outside and found dots in nature. SO MANY DOTS IN NATURE!!!








I was very impressed to see that lots of the siblings (and parents) got into the Dotty spirit too!



We are all on a creative journey. I challenge you to Make Your Mark.




Oh, this class LOVES art!

Today we had our wonderful Art support teacher Ms. Cathy Woods in to help teach us some art techniques. We looked at our shoes (our lovely NEW shoes!).

First we did a Blind Contour sketch. This required students to look at their shoe and draw it WITHOUT looking at their paper. It was so hard! But they did it! And none  most of them did not even look like shoes! 🙂

Next students did a Look Draw. The students studied their shoe and very quietly noticed important details about their shoe. It was amazing, for about 10 minutes if you walked by Room 129 there was silence – no one was talking at all. Everyone was so focused on their own look draw.

Ms. Woods is so great at teaching these techniques and she is so responsive in the classroom to the students. It really is nice working with her and having her use her great knowledge of art to help teach these skills to all of us.

I live tweeted “The Art Lesson” ! First live tweets of the year! Sometimes I do that :).

Artists at work and at play. Have your child teach you about Blind Contour and Look Draws and practice at home as a family. First full week and we are learning so much!

Check out these awesome pics!










Our Buddies!

This year we are trying something new at Montrose School. Montrose School loooooves traditions, but sometimes it’s nice to try something new! So we have a new locker system. The Grade 5/6’s are partnering with the Grade 1/2’s! Now this partnership will extend farther and deeper than just the lockers…. there will be great things happening between these students this year!

Today we decided a Get To Know You Better was in order. We got EVERYONE together (Those Grade 5/6’s sure have grown… but I did notice that I am still taller! Whew!).

Everyone partnered up with their locker partners (easy) and those that don’t have a Grade 1/2 locker partner – joined in with a group. It went so well. Those 5/6’s are really the sweetest! They really care for and enjoy the 1/2’s. I saw so many sweet smiles, gentle snuggles and happy laughs. We read together, chatted together and really became comfortable with our buddies. The Awesomeness was pretty strong!





Buddies – we love you already. Thanks for being so great!


*********SIDENOTE TO PARENTS*********

You made it! We did it! Hooray! The first week of school is done! Complete! Gosh it flew by! I have to say this class is amazing. Their parents are so encouraging and supportive already (THANK YOU!). And the vibe around Montrose school is one of excitement and engagement.




Look at those students!! That’s a lot of AWESOMENESS in a picture!! We’ll keep being AWESOME – You keep following  our blog!

~Until next week….


The Important Thing About Room 129

Posted on our classroom door is a quote from The Important Book, by Margaret Wise Brown. It reads:

The important thing about you is

that you are you.

It is true that you were a baby,

and now you are a child,

and you will grow,

into a man,

or into a woman.

But the important thing about you,

is that YOU are YOU!

We used this book as a mentor text to write a page about our classroom. Can you believe it is the first day of school and this is what the students came up with!! They are pretty outstanding!

The Important Thing About Room 129

The Important thing about Room 129 is that we have books. It is true, we have a library full of Barbie books, Shopkin books, Hockey books, Mighty Robot books and so many other books!

The important thing about Room 129 is we have two maps and even the Flags around The World. You can look and find places in Canada or look and find places around the World.

The important thing about Room 129 is we have a calendar. We added the months of the year and days of the week to make it our own.

But the important thing about Room 129 is we have children. We are learners and children who play, we write, we read and we have jobs to do.

Wow! I’m pretty happy to be the teacher in Room 129!

~ Hello new followers! Welcome! I hope you enjoy reading and seeing our learning!


Oh, I am ready!

The day is almost here. The First Day of School. The anticipation, the excitement, the new hair do’s 🙂 !!

Room 129 is ready and waiting for the adventure to begin!




Here is a little pep talk to get us started!

Can’t  wait to get started! Let’s be awesome together!


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