Jan 14
Happy New Year!

It was so great to have students return to in-person learning this week after an extended (and very cold!) winter break.

A new calendar year brings fresh opportunities and a chance to set personal goals for the year ahead of us. EMJ students have been reflecting on their academic achievements thus far and setting goals for their next best steps in learning. EMJ teachers have been working hard to assess students' learning in anticipation of report cards that will be available the first week of February.

January is a wonderful time of year to reflect on how you as parents and partners can positively impact your child's learning journey. Regular conversations with your child about what they are learning at school helps you connect home and school, and also supports your child to review and practice what they have learned at school. By reading your child's teacher's weekly blog you can peek into their classroom and be able to ask your child specific questions connected to their learning at school. ​

A new year is also an opportunity to attend our next School Council meeting. We invite you to join us on Tuesday, February 8th at 6:30 pm online to collaborate on the many ways we can continue to make EMJ the best place to learn together. We look forward to familiar and fresh faces to help us plan the next part of this school year.

Dec 17
Happy Holidays!

As the calendar year comes to a close, I would like to thank all of our families for their support over the last few months.  Although it has been a complex and at times challenging year, I appreciate the efforts that our families and staff have made to make this year a great one for our students.  Things continue to look different, and we are continually shifting and evolving depending on the situation, yet we persevere as a community to do what is best for our students.  Normally we would be wishing our families good cheer in person through various community events, but unfortunately we have not had that opportunity lately.  We greatly miss the consistent interaction we would normally have with our families, and look forward to when we are once again able to come together as a full school community.


On behalf of all of the staff here at EMJ, I would like to wish all of our families the absolute best holiday over the next two weeks.  We hope you are able to take some time to relax and enjoy the company of family. 


A reminder that the first day back for students is Tuesday, January 4th, when we look forward to continuing the great work that is occurring in classrooms!

Happy Holidays from all of us at EMJ!

Dec 10
School Culture

School culture is an important part of the school experience for students.  Students need to feel welcomed, valued, and supported at school, as well as being a part of a bigger community.  At EMJ, the school environment is an important part of our everyday work.  This includes simple things like welcoming students daily, listening carefully to what they say, and taking an interest in what our students are talking about.  This also includes maintaining a positive school spirit within the building.  In a typical year, this is done throughout the year with spirit days, assemblies, and many of the everyday social aspects that school usually provides.  As we cannot do many of the social pieces that we would typically do, we need to look at different ways of building that sense of community.

A big piece of the EMJ identity is our school logo and shirts/hoodies.  Our school logo was created collectively by our students, where many different ideas came together to create one image and statement that embodied what our school stands for.  Our students wear their school shirts with a great deal of pride, and this adds to the overall school culture.  It supports the idea that we are all one within the school.  We have welcomed a number of new students to the school, and thanks to our school council all have received (or will be receiving) a school shirt.


Over the final week before the winter break, we will be doing a number of things to support spirit in the school.  Many classrooms will be celebrating in different ways individually, as well as opportunities to join in on school spirit days throughout the month of December.  We have had jersey day, hat day, and last week had holiday sweater day.  This coming Friday, December 17th we will be having a pyjama day, which will be the final day of classes before winter break. 

Although things look a little different, We Are (Still) EMJ!

Dec 03
Building our Reading Brains

Did you know that reading with and to your child is one of the most important ways you can contribute to your child's brain development? Reading helps build your child's vocabulary, develops their language skills, supports them to understand the world around them, and helps them understand and feel empathy towards others. Reading is a skill that develops over our lifetime.

At school, your child is able to sign out books from the school library each week and select books from their classroom library on a regular basis. Thanks to School Council and events such as next week's Scholastic Book Fair, we are able to purchase new books for students each year. 


But, books are not the only type of 'reading' that help children's brains grow. Listening to audio books or podcasts are also fantastic ways to build your child's background knowledge and vocabulary. As a parent, another way you can help your child grow as a reader is to help build their background knowledge and vocabulary. This can be done by reading books but also by something as simple as conversations at the dinner table. Even 15 minutes a day talking about different topics can help prepare your child to be stronger reader. 

Below are some conversation starters that could be used at the dinner table:

What was the best part of your day?

What was the hardest part of your day?

What's something new you learned today?

What's something that made you laugh today?

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Who is your favorite movie character?

If you could only eat 3 foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Would you rather fly or breathe underwater?

Who is your favorite superhero?

What makes a great friend?

What's one thing you want to learn?

Would you rather be 100 feet tall or the size of an ant?

What would you do if you were Prime Minister?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

If you could do anything you wanted for a day, what would you do?

What's one thing you are scared of?

What's your favorite thing about school?

What's your favorite thing we do as a family?

What are you excited about for tomorrow?

If you could pick a new color for the sky, what color would you make it?

What's your favorite song?

What would you do with $100?

What is your least favorite color?

What are you most thankful for?


EMJ's Winter 2021 Scholastic Book Fair

You can help EMJ raise money to add books to our school library! EMJ is hosting a Scholastic Book Fair for Family and Friends from Dec. 3rd to Dec. 10th. There will be an opportunity for students to shop in person during school hours (Monday through Thursday) and also an opportunity for family and friends to order online (Friday to Friday).

Family and Friends can access EMJ's online Virtual Book Fair starting Friday, December 3 and up until Friday, December 10 using this link: 

EMJ's Virtual Online Scholastic Book Fair or, copy and paste this web address into your web browser https://virtualbookfairs.scholastic.ca/pages/5149076

Scholastic will deliver all online orders to EMJ between Dec. 13th and 16th. We will send the orders home with students unless alternate arrangements are made with the school. Each order will be sent home in a sealed (not see through) package marked with the purchaser's name. 

Shopify URL:  EMJ's Virtual Scholastic Book Fair and Featured Books 

Important Dates:

December 3 - School Spirit Day - Favourite Hat Day

December 3 to December 10 Scholastic Book Fair

December 1​0 - School Spirit Day - Sweater Day (red/green or holiday sweater)

December 17 - School Spirit Day - Pajama Day

December 17 - Last Day of Classes - Winter Break

January 4 - Classes Resume

January 11 - School Council Meeting, 6:30 pm - Virtual meeting open to all EMJ parents

January 31 - No School – School-based PL Day

February 8 - School Council Meeting

February 17/18 - No School - Teacher’s Convention

February 21 - No School - Family Day

February 22 - March 11 - Gymnastics in Physical Education Class

February 23 - Pink Shirt Day

Nov 26
Conferences & Book Fair


Thanks to all of our families that were able to make conferences this past Thursday and Friday.  Our partnership with parents is important, and we greatly appreciate our families taking the time to meet with us to talk about students.  The support of our families is key to success!

The purpose of November's conference is to learn about the progress your child has made in relation to learning outcomes from Programs of Study. Teachers communicate the timely classroom learning goals through their weekly blogs but at your conferences, specific information is shared about your child's progress. You will have heard about your child's reading, writing and mathematics progress, along with additional areas such as social-emotional learning and other subject areas. Learning outcomes come from Alberta's Programs of Study. You can see what your child will learn this year through My Child's Learning: A Parent's Resource.

If you were unable to make conferences, teachers will be reaching out in the next few days.  If you ever have any questions about your child's learning, you don't have to wait for the next conference-you can always connect with your child's teacher directly at any time.

Book Fair December 6 - December 9, 2021
Mark your calendars! The fun and excitement of a Scholastic Book Fair is coming to Ethel M Johnson School! To adapt to our current needs, Scholastic has developed a Virtual Book Fair to provide an opportunity for our students and families to experience the joy of reading together. So save the date! Our Scholastic Virtual Book Fair will take place for students from December 6 - December 9, 2021. For parents, friends, and family, our online virtual book fair will run from December 3-December 10 at this link.

Nov 19
School Development Plan

​Each year EMJ staff work together to create a School Development Plan to guide our collective efforts towards continually improving student achievement. For this school year, we will continue to focus specifically on writing and student well-being as areas for targeted improvement, and we will add a goal targeting numeracy.

For literacy, EMJ's goal is focused around improving the quality of writing, with a specific focus on elaboration, or the expansion of ideas. Students will continue to write daily, for many purposes. Before writing, teacher's lead discussions to build students' understanding of the topic and specific vocabulary to be used. Teachers model how to do each writing task and with students, they develop success criteria. 


Success criteria is connected to learning outcomes from Alberta's English Language Arts Programs of Study. Students use the success criteria as a way to know what they are trying to do as writers and to revise/edit to improve the quality of their writing.


For student well-being, EMJ's goal this year is focused on supporting students with social skill development, while continuing to support students with emotional and regulation skills. Teachers provide lessons on understanding social situations and cues, and naming how students are feeling and what to do in different situations. Developing the vocabulary to communicate effectively with others is an important awareness step for students. Teachers also help students understand how their brain and body respond to stress and strategies they can use to regulate.


This year, we have added a third target for our School Development Plan in numeracy.  Our goal revolves around student's ability to apply strategies for computation and estimation.  Through daily lessons, teachers will be targeting student learning in this area through research-based teaching practices, as well as consistent weekly time set aside for practicing skills.


Over the school year you can expect to see evidence of EMJ's School Development Plan goals and strategies through teachers' blogs and within students' Google Classrooms. You will have already seen many “I can…" statements showing the weekly learning goals students are working towards.  Our detailed school development plan will be available on our website this week.​

Nov 12
We Remember

​On Wednesday, November 10th we held our annual Remembrance Day assembly.  Our Remembrance Day assembly is the most important gathering that we have all year.  Although we are required to hold this assembly virtually as a school due to current restrictions, the incredible importance of this day remains.  It is a somber gathering, where we have time to reflect on the incredible sacrifices that so many people have made over time, and continue to make on a daily basis.  It is a time to reflect on how truly lucky we are to have the level of freedom that we currently experience.  

remembrance day.jpg

As John Diefenbaker said, “there can be no dedication to Canada's future without a knowledge of its past".  Remembrance Day is a time where we can reflect on the incredible sacrifices that so many people have made, and continue to make.  It is a time to think about how truly lucky we are to have the level of freedom that we currently experience.  This freedom has not come without a cost, and it is important to continually appreciate the sacrifices that have been made for that freedom-not just for one day in the year.  As we acknowledge those that have fought for our freedoms in the past, in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation we must also acknowledge our Indigenous veterans that served and contribute significantly to our freedoms.


We are often guilty of worrying about the material things in our lives, and Remembrance Day gives us a chance to reframe our priorities, and think about the sacrifices that others have made ahead of us.  Remembrance Day is a time to reflect, but also a time to be thankful, and think about our own roles and responsibilities. 

Throughout the week, our students had many opportunities to think and reflect on the importance of this day in classrooms.  Throughout this blog post are some examples of the work that students engaged in this week.​


Nov 05
School Council

On Tuesday evening at 6:30, we have our second School Council meeting of the year.  This is a great opportunity for parents to be involved!  These meetings are a chance for parents to hear about what is happening at the school, and to have input into the decisions that are made.  Currently, our council meetings are online through Microsoft Teams, as we continue to follow Covid protocols.  There is no need to download any applications or software; parents simply need to click on the link provided by the school to be a part of the meeting.  Attendees do not need to hold an official position on council, and parents can choose to just come and listen if they would like.  Our council is a very open group of parents, and everything that they do is dedicated to supporting all of our students.  


Our meetings are very positive, with a focus on what our next steps are to work together for our students.  Our council typically plans events for the school, looks after fundraisers, plans the casino, and provides input to school administration on a variety of topics.  Each meeting typically takes about half an hour to 45 minutes, with administration providing school updates and council discussing and voting on new business.  Through fundraising, our council provides many opportunities for our students, including funding field trips, residencies, technology, equipment, and many other initiatives.  Most recently, our council raised funds to replace the picnic benches out in front of the school.

Our School Council are key partners to our school success, and the more parents we have involved the better!  If you would like to be sent a link for our next meeting, watch for an email from the school on Monday!​​

Oct 29
School Spirit

In normal times our school community would be coming together in October for a community event such as a family dance. While CoVid restrictions have changed how we do things, we continue to find ways to build school spirit. Over the past week EMJ classes took advantage of Alberta's plentiful pumpkin harvest, using pumpkins as the inspiration to understand life cycles, to estimate and count collections (pumpkins seeds), to identify and create patterns, and to share favourite picture books.


Thanks to EMJ's School Council, each class also had an opportunity to co-create a pumpkin design. Our hallways are lined with creativity from Captain Underpants pumpkins to collaborative art pieces. This is a yearly opportunity students look forward to and it continues to build a sense of community. Thank you School Council for funding our fun this week! Screen Shot 2021-10-29 at 9.21.25 AM.pngScreen Shot 2021-10-29 at 9.23.26 AM.pngScreen Shot 2021-10-29 at 9.25.43 AM.png

As the cold weather approaches, just a reminder that students will be outside for recess in the morning and following lunch. Please ensure your child has the appropriate outerwear to be outside for 30 minutes. 

Please see below for upcoming dates to note:

November 2 – School Photo Retake Opportunity

November 9 - School Council Meeting

November 11 - No School - Remembrance Day

November 12 - No School – School-based PL Day

November 26 - No School - Parent/Teacher Conferences

December 6 to 10 Scholastic Book Fair

December 14 - School Council Meeting

December 17 - Last Day of Classes - Winter Break


January 4 - Classes Resume

January 11 - School Council Meeting

January 31 - No School – School-based PL Day

Oct 22

Learning and well-being are closely linked. When we talk about well-being we are referring to how children are feeling, their sense of belonging and having a positive self-identity. When a student feels well, they are more engaged in their learning and more able to deal with everyday bumps. At school we continue to focus on improving students' well-being for learning by building students' emotional vocabulary and supporting them to regulate when they are feeling frustrated or upset. Classes also spend time throughout the day on mindfulness.

 Mindfulness is when you are able to notice and pay attention to something. It requires you to slow down, relax and notice how your body is feeling. At school we use a resource called Smiling Minds. It is a resource that supports helps students develop emotion regulation skills and social awareness. There is also a parent portion of this resource we wanted to bring your attention to. The Smiling Mind At Home resource can be accessed online or through their app. Through these online portals you can access meditations and activities you can use at home to support mindfulness.

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 We know that families are under increased stress during this pandemic and we want you to know we are here to support you. Daily mindfulness is just one way we can actively work towards improved mental health and learning. We are committed to continuing to improve student's well-being for learning and plan to discuss this year's goal with parents at our next school council meeting. We hope you find that Smiling Minds offers one way to connect with what your child is learning at school and helps them feel well.

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Alberta Health Services is looking for input to name their new centre for child and adolescent mental health. CBE students, staff and the public are invited to provide their input. #WeAreCBE https://t.co/1zeWF1T8NN https://t.co/kp04beEw67

Kindergarten registration for the 2022-23 school year begins on Monday Jan. 17. Visit our website for more information about programs options and details on how to register. https://t.co/iVWrTRH1xs #WeAreCBE #yycbe #yyc https://t.co/Lpjg4d82AY

A COVID-19 update has been emailed to all CBE families with information on updated guidance and measures the CBE is taking, as well as reminders of health measures in place in schools and workplaces https://t.co/F8ssELP5S3 #yycbe #WeAreCBE https://t.co/QleBc6JeqT

RT @gale_school: Grade 9 blackout poetry is up in the hallway, inspiring those passing by. #WeAreCBE @Area4CBE https://t.co/JGH685kXoO

Today’s Board of Trustees public meeting will be held virtually starting at noon. We invite you to stream the meeting online https://t.co/nvCl1fvF09 #yycbe https://t.co/6gw6Ol244O