Rear View Camera

backup_cameraI have a rear view camera in my car. This tool helps me back into a parking space by providing a visual of what is behind me while I am backing up. Today was a very muddy, wet day and, much to my dismay, the camera was covered in mud so it was of no use to me as I was backing into a parking spot. Surprisingly, I backed into the spot effortlessly – even without the camera.

Initially when I got the rear view camera I assumed this tool would do the work for me—I would no longer have to do the “thinking” when I put my car into reverse. What I realized today, when the mud was covering my camera and I was left to back up on my own, was that I had been doing the “thinking” all along, even with the camera. This technology in my car was just helping me back up more elearning-course-authoring-toolsefficiently and see things I otherwise may have missed (i.e., my blind spots).

Many technological tools are like the camera in my car—they don’t do the thinking for students; rather, they help scaffold learning by providing support. Learning tools give us the confidence to practice and ultimately become better and better.
Although the tools are important (i.e., the saw, the paintbrush, the technology), the real magic happens in what students learn to do with the tool.

Over the next few weeks we are in the process of reconfiguring our school library into a Library Learning Commons (LLC). In the LLC students will be given the opportunity to research, build, and create with new and not so new technologies. They will learn skills in collaboration, communication, connecting, reasoning and proving in many areas of the curriculum. More will be shared with you over the next few months. Stay tuned.

These are NOT pictures of our Learning Commons, but images of what other schools around the world are doing with their libraries and computer labs to create these new learning environments. This is 21st Learning and Emily Stowe is a part of this exciting movement in education, preparing our students for an equally as exciting future.

 || click the image to see more ||

Learning Commons

Reading Important? Let Me Count the Ways!

child-reading_2492898bReading is important for so many reasons. It helps build concentration, vocabulary and brain capacity. Reading with your child deepens family connections, introduces children to new knowledge and worlds they may never have otherwise experienced, not to mention it is fun and easy to do. All you need is a few minutes and a good book.

Some tips for reading with your child:

  1. Children are never too old to be read with. Regardless of the age, reading with your child is a great opportunity for bonding.
  2. Check out your local library. It is full of literacy resources and programs for children.
  3. For older children consider reading some of the same books as your children.
  4. Ask your children questions about what they are reading.
  5. Find out about your children’s interests and hobbies. Topics of interest keep children engaged in reading. Comic books and magazines are good too!
  6. Play games together that involve reading. Games like Scrabble, word Bingo and Trivial Pursuit are great learning games and children don’t even realize they are learning to read.
  7. Computers can be great tools for reading and/or creating their own books.
  8. Consider that books make great gifts.
  9. Model reading yourself.

The following tips were adapted from the following website:


What Is Your Job?

steveJobsquoteI recently read a blog entitled “What’s Your Job.” The blog made me to reflect on my job as an educator.  Steve Jobs said it well, ““The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” Teaching is the career that I have chosen because I love what I do. I genuinely want to make a difference in the lives of the students that I work with.  I want Emily Stowe to be a place that everyone wants to be on a daily basis.

It seems like the obvious answer to the question “What’s Your Job” for an educator is to teach children and prepare them for the work world.  For me the job goes far beyond that. At the end of the day my job is to ignite a passion for learning, instill confidence, emphasize good character and provide the skills and rigor necessary for our students to be contributing citizens of the world.

This question also left me thinking about what my job is in supporting families in their child’s education.  Are there ways that we, as a school community, can better support families with the learning that happens at home?  I am certain there are always ways we can grow so I would love to hear from you.  If there are topics you would like to hear more about in weekly blogs or topics that can be explored at the school level, please feel free to send me an email at  Your ideas may provide wonderful inspiration for next steps.

I leave you with one final request.  As parents and community members I encourage you to reflect on what your job is in your child’s education.  What parts of your role are most proud of and where would you like to go next?

20 Ways You Can Help Your Children Succeed in School

44 Proven Ideas Parents Can Use to Help Their Children Do Better in School

Ways to Cooperate with Teachers for the Benefit of Your Child


Try Something New!

why-blogWhy blog? A year ago, if I had been asked if I would consider blogging, I would have likely answered with a resounding, “NO.” Yet, I am often the first person to suggest to others to be adventurous in teaching and in learning…try something new. SO… after the gentle nudging of a respected colleague I decided to give it a try. I do not consider myself a gifted writer by any stretch and for me this was a deterrent. Even so, I decided to put pen to paper and get started.

Blogging my thoughts has been fun. It helps me to share my thoughts with the school community and colleagues. It helps me understand the ways in which my thinking is similar or different to those around me. But for me, the real power has been in the act of writing and reflecting. In an age of information overload, blogging has provided me with an extra filter which helps me slow down my thinking and really consider what resonates with me and WHY.

I am doubtful that three paragraphs of writing could convince you to begin blogging if you are not already doing so, but I am challenging you to think about how you and your child reflect on what you are learning and the power that writing can have in your lives.

Oral Language! How Important?


For more information on Oral Language click this image

Recently I participated in some new learning about oral language.  In our learning groups we summarized that oral language is, in fact, the cornerstone of development and a springboard for all learning.  The more opportunities we provide for students to engage in purposeful talk, the better thinkers and communicators they will be. This is equally important for students in early and later grades.

In the past I would have viewed the classroom teacher’s role to be more integral to the ‘more complex’ parts of literacy such as reading and writing. Now my views on the importance and function of oral language have forever changed. 

 The message – be intentional in the use of oral language with children and its use it as a tool for inquiry and all other aspects of literacy learning.  Here are some tips to support the use and development of oral language:

Set aside 10 – 15 min. to discuss the day’s happenings

  • Talk through activities (ie. baking, repairing, building)
  • Involve your child in discussions
  • Read to your child and talk about what you have read
  • Encourage your child to give reasons and justify their opinions
  • Model and encourage your child to listen to the opinions of others
  • Discuss current affairs (as appropriate) and talk about school topics and assignments
  • Before your child begins a writing assignment have them talk about what they want to write

 Check out this article for more information on oral language in our TVDSB schools:

Beyond the 3R’s at Emily Stowe

AngelTree_copyIn this post I would like to move beyond the 3 R’s and share with you some of the recent amazing acts that have been taking place in our building. Character education is an integral part of our school culture.   It helps to form the foundation of responsible citizenship.  Over the month of December the theme of giving has permeated all we do at Emily Stowe P.S. 

The Angel Tree Fundraiser is a perfect example of the power of giving and the ripple effect it has on our greater community.  Monetary contributions and Canadian Tire money from students, parents and staff have been pouring in!  Donated items were sold at the Angel Tree Bazaar allowing students to purchase gifts for family members at a minimal cost. In turn, the money raised went towards the purchase of gifts for children in our community. Our school community raised $4000, enough money to purchase gifts for 25 ‘Angels’ in our local community through the Salvation Army and provide a significant donation to the Salvation Army. This was the result of the leadership of Mrs. Falkingham and a community coming together.

This week our school participated in the Holiday Brunch.  Food and beverage contributions donated by families in our school filled my office. Without these donations, the brunch would not be possible.  The Legion donated the hall for our functions and  parents and community volunteers donated countless hours at the Legion over three days this week setting up, cooking and serving 530 students and holiday-brunch-jpgstaff members…giving at its finest!

I have not begun to do justice to the amount of giving I have witnessed; weekly volunteers giving of their time running our snack program or supporting students in or outside of the classroom, staff doing all they can to help students receive gifts for Christmas, older students helping younger students in their learning, students donating personal items that they know a child in need could use… the list goes on. 

Giving grows character.  Acts like those mentioned above give more than the obvious.  These are lessons you cannot learn from a textbook. These acts foster self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment.  They build community, inspire and motivate our students to make a difference.  My hope is that giving continues to be a cornerstone of our school culture all year long.  Mrs. Munro

“It is not about how much we give but about how much love we put into giving.” Mother Teresa