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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Montrose School – A Winnipeg Day Book Launch



We had our A Winnipeg Day book launch at Montrose School today!

It went so well. The students had practiced reading their books aloud for the past week or so. They were super, super pumped to share! And so were their parents! 😉

As well we invited our grade 5/6 editing buddies, our grade 3/4 reading buddies and our grade 1/2 peers! It was awesome to see the encouragement, enthusiasm and genuine interest in these young room 122 129 writers.

I started by introducing our mentor text and giving some background into the process. To be honest, I wanted to have the students obviously do this because it would have been more meaningful. I also wanted to have the process of their writing journey around the library! And pictures! And tweets! And fabulous blog entries… I really had to let this go. It was really hard for me. But, I’m proud we did do a Montrose book launch and I secretly thank this blog for keeping me and the students accountable to our promise!! All this lead up and talk of A Winnipeg Day! We couldn’t leave you hanging!! Even with all the June feels in the World!! So, thank you, our Readers.

After this intro. The students shared their magic!! ☺️ I know it’s not about me, but that is exactly what my face looked liked! And everyone else in attendance. We were beaming! Beaming with pride, with love, with respect. ☺️ These Room 122 129 writers; brainstormed ideas together in groups, then independently, then began their writing process while using the mentor text to guide them. They learned how to edit their own work. They learned how to take feedback and edits from others, they learned to re-vise, rewrite, revise, rewrite and be proud of their finished published work.








😂😂😂 Hi Hanna!!




















This is pretty much why I became a teacher. Looking at all these pictures. Talking about these books, the writing journey and to see it followed through into this mini celebration today. I am still in talks with McNally publishing, I hope to meet with them in person soon. If it doesn’t work out with McNally, I may approach other publishers. This is going to be a great, great book. My feels are strong about that!!






I will be sending home all copies of our  A Winnipeg Day. Enjoy! Summer reading to share with all your family and friends!

Let’s see where this journey takes us! I’ll report back to this blog, so as always, please follow along for the fun!



**** Important Side Note:

Monique (reading clinician) and I worked hard to establish the criteria and outline that would guide the students through this writing process. Along the way, as teachers do, we planned and linked to the curriculum (Social Studies and ELA). So for those interested (everybody!!) Here are all of the links we made through this journey of publishing our books.

  • Collaborative groups of students create a “communities” bulletin board display. Students include the location of their local community on a map of Canada and pictures and descriptions illustrating characteristics of the community.
  • Respond to Texts
  • Experience Various Texts ~ Choose to engage in a variety of shared and independent listening, reading and viewing experiences using texts from a variety of forms and genres and cultural traditions.
  • Connect self, text and culture ~ Discuss the experiences and traditions of various communities and cultures portrayed in oral, literary and media texts.
  • Appreciate the artistry of texts ~ Identify and express the feelings of people in oral, literary and media texts.
  • Express ideas ~ make and talk about personal observations and predictions.
  • Consider others ideas ~ Ask for others ideas and observations to help discover and explore personal understanding.
  • Experiment with language and form ~ Use a variety of forms to organize and give meaning to familiar experiences, ideas and information.
  • Set goals ~ develop a sense of self as a reader, writer and illustrator.
  • Clarify and extend ~ Develop understanding. Connect new information, ideas and experiences with prior knowledge and experiences.
  • Textual Cues ~ Use textual cues (such a story pattern) to construct and confirm meaning.
  • Cuing systems ~ Use syntactic, semantic and graphophonic cues (including word order, punctuation, capitalization, intonation, and phrasing sound symbol relationships to identify initial, medial and final sounds, letter clusters, blends, digraphs, vowels and familiar and unfamiliar words) to construct and confirm meaning in context.


There were others outcomes too. Linking the curriculum is so important and teachers do it all the time. The curriculum is so big, I’m always learning ways to really connect it all together. Outlining these outcomes in April, helped to keep me going and on track. Along the way we hit lots more, celebrating learning is very important in the curriculum! I can’t wait for the students to read all these links we made and all of the ways that they grew their brains! It happens all the time. All. The. Time. Sometimes it just feels good to write it down.



Owning my own Professional Development – Making Authentic Inquiry Work

The past two days I have attended a PD called Making Authentic Inquiry Work. It was put on by Natural Curiosity (you can follow them on twitter @Naturlcuriosity). They are an institute based out of Toronto ON and have recently expanded their institute PD’s to all of Canada. This was their first time in Winnipeg and the attendance was great! Good representation of great teachers from all over and not just from Winnipeg either, some from as far away as South America, Wow!

They talked about owning your own Professional Development, so I really tried to be present and make the two days relevant to myself and my students.

The two days were great, it was nice to slow down, listen and collaborate together with others. We were learner citizens – a group of people ready to contribute to part of a community, our classrooms and outside community growth.  We came together, we were like minded, we taught in similar ways and if we were not teaching in similar ways we were inspired to.

When I signed up for this Professional Development I was looking for efficient ways to plan for student learning in inquiries. I wanted to learn different ways to assess student learning and show/report on student learning and growth. Over the course of the two days we were guided through an Inquiry approach on how to teach Inquiry learning. What a concept!! We do, you do.

So what is inquiry? “Inquiry is an approach to learning that is directed by questions, problems, and hypothesis or a challenge that individuals and groups of learners work together to address. At its best the learning is driven by student-generated questions. Students, assisted by the teacher, clarify the questions being asked and determine how to answer them. As knowledge is pursued learning is uncovered.” (Connecting the Dots, Stan Kozak and Susan Elliot).

Through the act of asking questions and seeking out answers, I was able to understand Inquiry in a deeper way. I was able to comprehend the process and how to take my students through the Inquiry process in a meaningful way. I saw examples of classroom Inquiries from around Canada and was deeply inspired.

I also shared Our Winnipeg Inquiry that Room 122 is working on. I got some feedback and suggestions on where to take it next and how to involve students in the process. I was challenged to put aside some of my own interests in where I would would like to take Our Winnipeg and guided to see more opportunity for student voice in the learning. It was fascinating and Room 122 students will all benefit from my teacher collaborations. I am grateful to have had a chance to be a part of them, to learn.

I am a learner.

It was a fulfilling, inspiring and challenging two days of growth. I loved it, but I COULDN’T WAIT to get back to my students! Missed you Room 122!


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Oh Winnipeg Glows – learning from Mentor Texts

Hello from Room 122, this is our first blog post writing together. We are all here on the floor carpet and our minds and hearts are on, ready to share what we have learned. (Mrs. Thomas)

We are starting to learn with and use a book called An Okoboji Day, by Debbie Parks as a Mentor Text. (Hudson)

We are using the book for inspiration. (Giuseppe)

We are beginning to use the book to model how to create our own pages in our own books (Kevin). Today we read the book. We thought about it (Anton). We’re really proud of the learning (Harrison). We turned and talked about it the book and then we were separated into small groups to create our own short page about a place of our choice in Winnipeg. (Meadow and Julia) One of the things that An Okoboji day focuses on is greetings. We brainstormed 22 different greetings (WOWZA!!!)! We brainstormed: Aloha, Hi there, Good Morning, Excuse me and Hey peeps. Then we used those greetings to begin our writing and our Winnipeg Day. (Mrs. Thomas)

Three groups went to the zoo! One group went to 7-11! One group to Great Big Adventures.

After we shared  our writing we commented on what each group could add. (Jory) We noticed things and you could borrow ideas from other groups (Gus).

After we shared our groups writing it was lunch. We will continue writing more later (Luca C).

See you next time, have a good day! (Kevin) Thank you for following our blog, see you next time (Jory and Luca C). Bye, bye (Luca M and Anton).  We wish you had a good day! (Kate and Hanna) Bye everybody we really appreciate it! (Harrison) Bye, bye, see you next time! (Georgia) We’ll see you next time! (Meadow). We hope you comment on our blog!! (Quintin) See you next week (Matteo). We hope you subscribe, thanks (Giuseppe). We hope you could see our blog again (Janna). I would love if you would read it a bunch of times, because that is what blogging is for, to read it many times (Julia).

Bye and be sure to follow us on Twitter! (Hudson)


**This blog was written authentically by Room 122 students with a little support from me. (Mrs. Thomas) ***






Blogging Feels….

I am not a person born in the 2000’s, but sometimes I like to talk like it!:)  And emoticon like it! :0 )

I have been blogging for about 12 days now and I am loving it! So far, it’s just been my own voice blogging… don’t worry, those grade 1/2 student voices are coming soon! They are excited! So excited! They can’t wait to share their learning in this way! So far, it has been fairly easy for me to blog. The blog post topics come kind of naturally. OK, to be honest I was kind of “winging it” with the first one and the next two I had written in my mind over the past few weeks. Today, I blogged about a Professional Development I will attend over the next two days. That one was easy.

As I do with all most new things I try (and totally have my students do ALL. THE. TIME.), I have begun the process of reflecting about my blogging journey. What have I liked, what have I discovered, what have I learned, what do I want to know more about. I plan to start blogging with my students on Thursday and I want them to know I have been thinking about it lots, learning within my blogging. I’m not an expert, not even close.

So here it goes, my reflections thus far:

  • I love how reflective blogging actually is. It helps me to clear my head a little. It reminds me of cleaning the kitchen after the kids go to sleep, when you actually get to think about the funny things they said or appreciate how crazy their hair was when they woke up in the morning. Blogging allows me to think about learning and put different things into perspective.
  • I love how it helps me to set learning goals for myself and my students. It makes me think about what the next steps will be and I’m blogging about them (ie. publishing them) so I think about the chronological order I need to do things in so we can complete our goals and make them happen! Yes, of course I always did plan for my students learning and I set goals for each and every one of them. But blogging allows me to re-visit my goals, it allows people to comment on the process, it enables parents and grandparents (and my parents; Hi Dad!!) to get excited about the learning that is and will happen in our classroom. We are able to recognize our own learning faster, see it and make next steps quicker. It’s the year 2016 and I am embracing this new way of communicating our “inquiries”, committing to our learning, listening to your comments about the process and living the benefits that come from all of this. 
  • I can’t wait to see what we have achieved! I can’t wait to look back and see the journey of the learning, the thinking, the guiding, see everything!! This blog is a digital memory box of our classroom. And it’s only just beginning!!
  • I want to introduce you all to the volunteers who tirelessly come in and read with Room 122 students each week.
  • I want to link articles that I read/watch/see so you can read/watch/see them too.
  • I want to know how to get headers at the top of my blog so I can categorize information (Upcoming events, Volunteers we love, A calendar, About Us, etc.)
  • I want to add more media to my posts and make them more interactive.
  • I want to get followers commenting more – Be a digital volunteer! Students love hearing the comments.
  • I want to continue to be honest and have you hear my own voice and the voices of my beautiful students.


We continue to move forward, thanks for following. Bet you can’t wait to hear/see what Room 122 students have to say in their first blog post!! Watch for it!






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