Nov 27
Online Safety and Security

Digital citizenship is an important part of student learning, both inside and outside of school.  Student use and access to technology increases almost on a daily basis, and how students use technology continues to evolve., including learning opportunities both within school and at home.  At school, we support students in displaying positive digital citizenship throughout their day at school, using technology to support learning. 

Some of the key aspects of digital citizenship at EMJ include:

  • Preparing students to act morally and ethically when using all digital resources within the school
  • Ensuring that students understand their roles and responsibilities when using digitally networked resources
  • Sharing in the supervision of all students while online (i.e. – students who are working within their classroom learning environment on networked computers)
  • Emphasizing appropriate code of conduct with all students who are using digital resources
  • On-going discussions and dialogues with students about web-awareness and appropriate use of digital and web resources
  • Providing direct supervision by teaching staff for all students using the internet 

Student safety is an important part of our work together with parents.  As the digital landscape changes for our students, it is important for parents to understand how best to support students in this area. 

Nov 20
2020-2021 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.


For literacy, EMJ's goal is focused around improving the quality of writing. 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. Teacher's 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 developing students' social-emotional and regulation skills. Teachers provide lessons on understanding and naming how students are feeling and what to do when they feel dysregulated, or not yet ready to learn. Developing the vocabulary to communicate how one is feeling is an important self-awareness step for students. Teachers also help students understand how their brain and body respond to stress and strategies they can use to regulate.
Regulation strategies include planned body breaks between learning and sensory activities to help their bodies be ready for learning. When students are feeling stress, they are supported to understand what they are feeling and why. Strategies to 'reset' might include getting a drink of water, moving to a new learning space, or talking with a trusted adult.


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.

Even during these uncertain times, learning continues to be our central purpose at EMJ. Thank you to all of you who were able to connect with teachers this week to celebrate and learn about your child's learning through Parent/Teacher conferences. While we wish we could have met in person, the new process of call-in phone/video was a successful way to 'see' parents and share all of the amazing learning EMJ students have been engaged in. For those who have not yet connected with your child's teacher, we encourage you to reach out to the teacher and plan to connect sometime in the near future.

Nov 13
EMJ Goes Virtual for Conferences and Book Fair

​This year has brought us many new structures and our EMJ community continues to meet these changes with positivity and success. Our November (in-person students) and December (HUB students) Parent / Teacher conferences will not be in person, they will instead be virtual conferences. You will sign up through PowerSchool as you normally would and connect with your child's teacher(s) through Microsoft Teams on a computer or phone.

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, they will share specific information about your child's progress. You can expect to hear about your child's reading, writing and mathematics progress, along with additional areas such as social-emotional learning and subjects. 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.

To prepare for conferences, talk with your child about how school is going for them. What do they feel especially proud of? What has been particularly challenging? It is also a good idea to write down any questions you have for the teacher(s). Each conference time is 15 minutes and the time goes quickly.

To support you in booking conferences, CBE has created the following resources:

How to book a conference

How to join your online conference

If you require assistance to book a conference please contact the office at (403) 777 - 8500.

Important Updates:

Save The Date! November 23 - December 4, 2020
Mark your calendars! The fun and excitement of a Scholastic Book Fair is coming to Ethel M Johnson School! To adapt to our changing 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 November 23 - December 4, 2020. When it's time to shop, November 23 - December 4, visit EMJ's Virtual Scholastic Book Fair site using this link:

EMJ's Virtual Scholastic Book Fair

Sales from this Book Fair provide free books to our library, so share link EMJ's Virtual Scholastic Book Fair with your friends and family.  Happy reading!

Upcoming Dates to Note:

November 2020

  • November
  • November 16 - 20 National Metis Week
  • November 19 Early Dismissal 12:15 pm
  • November 19 & 20 Parent-Teacher Conferences for students attending in-person
  • November 23 to December 4 - Scholastic Online Book Fair
  • November 27 - Cookie Dough Fundraiser pick up (tentative)


December 2020

  • November 23 to December 4 - Scholastic Online Book Fair
  • December 3 and 4 – HUB Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • December 4 No School - Teacher Professional Learning
  • December 18 Last day of classes before winter break


January 2021

  • January 4 Classes resume​​

Nov 06
Classroom Libraries

Classroom and school libraries are a key piece of building equity within a school community. At EMJ, we continue to be supported by our School Council to build a diverse library for all students. Within classrooms, students and their teachers have been discussing what books they want to read. We know that having access to books and promoting new titles builds student engagement and in turn, student achievement in reading. Thanks to fundraising done by you, our EMJ parents, School Council has provided us funds to add new books into both our classroom libraries and the school library. This allows teachers to 'quarantine' books for 72 hours between student use and refresh students' excitement around reading.


When teachers asked their students what books to buy, a lot of students asked for book series. Many students fall in love with reading through book series. The first book in a series introduces readers to the characters and similar to a t.v. show, the story continues in follow up books. This is a great way to draw students into reading more books. Examples of book series by age can be found here.

 Students have also shown high interest in graphic novels. While graphic novels are a newer type of book for many of us parents, they are considered high-quality reading material. Similar to traditional books, graphic novels have complex characters, plots and conflict. Graphic novels are also highly engaging and full of words that students need to actually read. Plus, the words and pictures together help readers understand stories they might not have otherwise understood.


 Ask your child what books or book series are their favourites and why. As the cold weather settles back in this weekend, it is the perfect opportunity to curl with your child and a favourite book!

Oct 30
COVID Update

As you may be aware, updates to the  daily COVID-19 symptoms checklist for children under 18 will take effect on Monday, Nov. 2.  Please read below for important information.

  • The new checklist will apply to Albertans under 18 as well as individuals who are 18 and over and are attending high school.
  • All other Albertans who are 18 and over, including school staff, will continue to use the checklist that was previously posted online.
  • The adult and under 18 checklists have been combined and both are available here in one link.
  • Symptoms of runny nose and sore throat have been removed from the mandatory isolation checklist for Albertans under 18.
  • The core symptoms for children that require isolation are now one (or more) of the following:
    • cough
    • fever
    • loss of taste or smell  
    • shortness of breath.

If a child has any of the above core symptoms, they must isolate for 10 days OR have a negative COVID-19 test result and feel better before they return to school or other activities.

If a child has one of the following symptoms:

    • chills
    • sore throat or painful swallowing
    • runny nose or congestion;
    • feeling unwell or fatigue;
    • nausea,
    • vomiting,
    • diarrhea
    • unexplained loss of appetite
    • muscle of joint aches
    • headache
    • conjunctivitis (pinkeye)

The child should stay home and monitor for 24 hours. If their symptom is improving after 24 hours, they can return to school/activities when they feel well enough to attend. Testing is not recommended. If the symptom worsens after 24 hours, or if additional symptoms emerge, or if the child has any two symptoms from this second list, they are to continue to stay home, and testing is recommended but not required. The child can return to activities and school when their symptoms have resolved AND it has been 24 hours or more since their symptoms started.

These changes in the daily checklist will help ensure the province can focus testing, decrease wait times and get Albertans who are under 18 years of age back into the classroom and participating in activities as quickly and safely as possible, while minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

A letter about these changes from Dr. Hinshaw will be released soon. Translated versions of the new Alberta Health daily checklist for children under 18, as well as updates to other materials to reflect this change, will be posted soon at ​

Upcoming Important Dates:

  • November 1 - Daylight Savings Time 

  • November 3 - Picture Retakes for All and Photos for HUB students

  • November 3 - School Council Meeting - Annual General Meeting

  • November 11 No School - Remembrance Day

  • November 16 - 20 National Metis Week

  • November 19 Early Dismissal 12:15 pm

  • November 19 & 20 Parent-Teacher Conferences (on-line)

  • November 23 to December 4 - Scholastic Online Book Fair

  • November 27 - Cookie Dough Fundraiser pick up (tentative)

Oct 23
Social and Emotional Learning

The social and emotional well being of our students has never been more important than it is right now.  As we continue to navigate an increasingly complex and ever-changing environment, our teachers are continually focusing on the well being of our students.  We understand that our recent global challenges have caused a number of different feelings and reactions from our students, and we are working every day to support each of our students in different ways. 

One of our key school documents is our school development plan, which is a school-specific course of action for the year, outlining which specific areas we are focusing on as a school over the year.  These goals can include both academic and well-being goals.  For this year, our academic goal will continue to focus on writing, and our well-being goal will focus on student social and emotional well being. 


As a school, we look at many different ways to support our students with both self-regulation and the learning of appropriate social skills.  All of our students are at different spots along the journey, so we support each student specifically in relation to their needs.  As our students are in elementary, they are just learning their way socially and emotionally, so we look at any kind of issue as a learning opportunity.  We use a number of different programs and strategies, including the Zones of Regulation and Wee Thinkers, as well as all of our supports within the school (like occupational therapists and physical therapists) to best support the needs of our students.

Oct 16
Displays and Documentation

In a typical year, parents at EMJ are able to be in the school for different events, and see the work that students are engaging in displayed in different ways throughout the building.  The displays that we create within the school are a progression of student learning, and document the learning journey through the eyes of our students.

board 2a.jpg

Our hallway boards are intentionally different from the ones many of us saw when we went to school. Our hallway documentation boards are a deliberate part of our focus on ensuring learning is at the heart of all we do at EMJ.

Teachers and students have been making their learning visible through classroom blogs, classroom bulletin boards and on the documentation boards in our school hallways. Our digital blogs are written by teachers as a way to share the learning outcomes and tasks with parents so that you are able to talk with your child about what they have been learning at school. 

Inside classrooms, the displays aim to decorate the space with each class member's work and/or to act as a learning aid that students can refer to during classroom discussions.

board 3a.jpg
EMJ's documentation boards are meant to be different from the displays we grew up with. These boards make the process of learning visible for our learning community. Many of the questions that students were asking and the 'aha' moments when they answered their own questions are documented through this process. The learning outcomes are directly tied to curriculum, and multiple perspectives are represented to show both the process and products of learning.

Important Dates:

October 2020

  • October 30 No School - Teacher Professional Learning

November 2020

  • November 1 - Daylight Savings Time 

  • November 3 - Picture Retakes for All and Photos for HUB students

  • November 3 - School Council Meeting - Annual General Meeting

  • November 11 No School - Remembrance Day

Oct 09
Learning Intentions and Success Criteria

​Each school year we make a plan for how we will improve teaching and learning at EMJ. This is called our School Development Plan. We plan to continue our work this year focusing on both writing and student wellness. As part of EMJ's continual commitment to improving teaching and learning, we are focusing on making sure students understand what they are doing, why it is important, and what success looks like.


Why is this important? We know that “research says that both learning intentions and success criteria have a significant impact on student success. When students know what success looks like, they are more likely to plan and predict, set goals, and acquire a stronger sense of how to judge their own progress. They are able to recognize that they have something to learn, and what it looks like when they have learned it. When students do not know what they are expected to learn, the chance that they actually learn is reduced.  When students know what they are supposed to be learning, they are three times more likely to learn."

In our classrooms, this involves teachers working with students to make learning intentions clear and visible by creating statements such as “I can…" or “I am able to…" and posting them in places students can continually refer back to. These statements help students understand what they are expected to learn. Teachers also show students what success looks like through success criteria and examples of quality work. Success criteria describes how they will achieve the learning target.


When you read through your child's classroom blog this week, look for evidence of learning intentions and success criteria. Ask your child about their writing. What are they learning to do as writers? What does good writing mean? How will they know if they have created a good writing piece?

As we continue to work on improving teaching and learning, we know the importance of students, teachers and you as parents working as partners in this work. Thank you for taking the time to read EMJ's blog and talk with your child about their learning as another way we reinforce the strong bridge between school and home.

Oct 02
Recognizing Orange Shirt Day

An important part of this week at EMJ was the recognition of and learning around Orange Shirt Day. Each class approached this learning in developmentally appropriate ways to help students understand the history and impact of residential schools and how every child matters. This learning looked different across the school. Kindergarten students were taught how to add sign language to CBE's Acknowledgement of the Land. Students in PLP painted kindness rocks with words representing how children should be treated at school and spread them out in the garden at the front of the school. Across the school students shared different stories such as I Am Not A Number, When I was Eight, The Orange Shirt Story and When We Were Alone. Many classes also reflected on Orange Shirt Day through journaling, art and spending time in circle in outdoor spaces. Ask your child what was most meaningful from their learning at school this week.


As we look back at September and forward into October, we want to say a big thank you to all of our students, families and staff. Parent/Teacher conferences were a huge success despite being held in a new way. Teachers enjoyed connecting with families and working together to ensure students are known and supported as individual learners. Teachers will continue to reach out to families they were not yet able to connect with.
We also wanted to say thank you for continuing to do the daily screening checklist with your child before coming to school. By keeping your child home when they are sick, you are helping our whole school community stay safe. We have had many phone calls about what you should do if your child has symptoms. As always, we look to Alberta Health for direction and their document “If a student has CoVid-19 symptoms" is a great resource to support your decision making.

Sep 25
What's Your 40?

This past week, students at EMJ participated in the yearly Terry Fox Run. This year wa​s a particularly important year for the run, as it marks the 40th anniversary of this important event. Throughout the week, students had the opportunity to learn about the life of Terry Fox, as well as his important legacy for the past 40 years. To read more about Terry Fox, please visit this link (


Although the annual Terry Fox run is typically a school wide, community event, this year we had to make some changes in order to participate. Each class participated independently throughout the day in order to maintain cohorts, and most of our fundraising was done online. To date, we have raised an amazing $330 as a school. If you are interested in contributing, there is a link at the bottom of the blog.


The overarching question for Terry Fox this year is “What's your 40?" tying the number 40 in to different outcomes across the curriculum. Teachers explored this idea over the course of the week, and will continue to look at other heroes over the course of the year.

Ethel M. Johnson School is proud to take part in this year’s 40th Anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope. Please help show your support by donating to:

Students can even get involved by creating their own fundraising page under their school name: Thank you for supporting our school in the fight against cancer and continuing Terry’s legacy!

September 2020

  • September 23 Terry Fox Run
  • September 24 Early Dismissal 12:15 pm
  • September 24 & 25 Parent-Teacher Conferences (not face-to-face, information to come)
  • September 30 Orange Shirt Day

October 2020

  • October 6 - School Council 6:30 pm
  • October 9 No School - Teacher Professional Learning
  • October 12 No School - Thanksgiving
  • October 30 No School - Teacher Professional Learning

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