Playdough Play

I love seeing playdough play in action! I have been making individual playdough for students each month, and having that individual, accessible play option has been particularly helpful this year!


  • Develops fine motor skills, and strengthens fingers and hands
  • Fantastic tool for creative play
  • For sensory play you can add in colours, scents, and loose parts of various sizes, shapes, and textures
  • Calming for many students
  • Versatility – see below for some photos of examples of playdough play in action


It’s so incredible what students can make with playdough!
This student made a unicorn after we read Thelma la licorne.
So many possibilities!
Check out these amazing textures!
This was some fun small world play.
Students love using playdough to practice their skills with scissors.
Plastic tools like rulers and cutlery work really well.
Here’s a fun example of loose parts meeting playdough.
Cookie cutters make a great addition to playdough play.
Playdough is a fun way to make letters. Inspiring Elementary Learners made Alphabet playdough mats that are on my post about Favourite Resources for Kindergarten French Immersion, but I couldn’t find any of my photos of those in action as I was putting this post together. 😅
Playdough pairs really well with vocabulary cards, like these ones from Mme Andrea.


What are your favourite playdough activities and recipes?

NCTCA 2021 Teachers’ Convention Notes

Last week I enjoyed two days of professional learning at NCTCA 2021. I gained so much new learning and many new connection from those days, and I am so grateful to the organizers of this virtual event and all of the presenters you will read about below!

Day 1: Thurday, February 4th

Connecting the Dots: Current Events to Future Opportunities with Anna Maria Tremonti

Sketchnote of Anna Maria Tremonti‘s session on Connecting the Dots: Current Events to Future Opportunities

Rising StrongTM After Setbacks with Kimberly Knull

This session was based on the work of Dr. Brené Brown, who has some phenomenal TED Talks, books and now the Unlocking Us podcast that I listen to regularly.

Minimalism in the Classroom with Julianne Harvey

Sketchnote from Julianne Harvey‘s session on Minimalism in the Classroom

Engaging in Numeracy and Connections in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Traditional Games with Melissa Purcell

During her session, Melissa Purcell shared the following resources:

Day 2: Friday, February 5th

Play is the Key to University with Judy L Arnall

Sketchnote of Judy L Arnall‘s session, Play is the Key to University

Here is a link to the Brain Story certification course mentioned above.

Amplifying Black Voices – A Conversation with the Black Teachers’ Association

Members of the Black Teachers’ Association shared some important insights and things to reflect on. I encourage you to click on their handles after their quotes below to connect and continue learning from them:

Immersion française au Canada: Soutien aux familles non francophones avec Marylou Gammans

Sketchnote from Marylou Gammans‘ session on French Immersion in Canada and supporting non-francophone families

I shared this sketchnote with my school colleagues, and added the following resources to my Google Classroom:

Ordinary Canadians – Extraordinary Leadership with Peter Mansbridge

Peter Mansbridge just had a book come out called Extraordinary Canadians, and he has been podcasting.

Were you at NCTCA 2021, or another regional Teachers’ Convention? What did you learn about?

STAYLIT 2021 Sketchnotes and Quotes

On Saturday I had a fantastic time at STAYLIT 2021. It started off with this lovely breakfast thanks to my partner Jesse. He always supports me in bringing my brave and I am so very grateful for that.

Dr. Jody Carrington’s Keynote

Sketchnote of Dr. Jody Carrington‘s STAYLIT 2021 keynote.

Innovatively Staying Connected with George Couros

Sketchnote of George Couros‘ session on innovatively staying connected

The Importance of Showing, Not Telling with Laurie McIntosh

Sketchnote of Laurie McIntosh‘s session on The Importance of Showing, Not Telling

All for One with Shelley Moore

Sketchnote of Shelley Moore‘s session, All for One

Bringing the Joy Through Love and Pain with Jessica JanzenOlstad & Ronnie Olstad

A Story of Survival and Freedom with Jesse Thistle

Jesse Thistle shared breathtaking examples of vulnerability and courage from his story, which he shares in his book From the Ashes. He highlighted the power of hope, purpose, and love.

Host Jesse Lipscombe

I had a fantastic day of learning, and I am already looking forward to Together Braver in May!

If you were at STAYLIT, what were your takeaways?


On Friday I get the opportunity to share my passion for sketchnotes at a professional development day with some of my Kindergarten colleagues – yay! Here is a sketchnote that I made about sketchnotes for the occasion:

How meta is this?

Be sure to check out Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt (@inquiryteacher) and Sylvia Duckworth for great sketchnote inspiration!

I made this timelapse of the process, which is one of the cool features of the SketchBook app I use:

Timelapse of a sketchnote

I’m looking forward to Saturday’s STAYLIT 2021, and I will be creating a post of my Sketchnotes from the day that will be shared next Thursday. In the meantime, here is a link to my post about RELIT 2020.

Do you have any questions about sketchnotes?

I’d love to see any sketchnotes that you create, so please feel free to tag me!

Bonus Sketchnotes Added Friday

Felicia Ochs gave an outstanding mindfulness & self-care session!
Shelley Claypool & Tana Glesman gave this fantastic session on Speech and Language in the Classroom.
Natasha Lang gave this great session on Foundational Reading Skills.

Emotion Activities for Early Years French Immersion

I wrote a post last month about Social Emotional Learning in the Early Years that started with “It. Is. Everything.” It’s so foundational that I am revisiting this now to share some more resources and ideas I have been using.

Tourbillon d’émotions

Last week we read Tourbillon d’émotions (The Way I Feel) with my students. We practiced the vocabulary and I invited students to share examples of times they have experienced various feelings. We also made faces using items in our individual loose parts bags such as buttons, popsicle sticks, and Q-Tips to show various emotions.

We made emotional faces using various loose parts from our individual loose parts bags.

Later last week we read Thelma la licorne (Thelma the Unicorn) and talked about how the characters felt during different parts of the story.

This year I printed the black & white outline versions of Mme Andrea’s emotion vocabulary cards to create some vocabulary colouring books for students.

What are your favourite emotion activities?

Name Activities for Kindergarten

Our names are important. They are part of our identities and our stories. They are generally one of the first words we learn to say, read, and write.

Mon nom est Tonnerre

Last week I read the book Mon nom est Tonnerre (“Thunder Boy Jr.” in English) with my class. After having a conversation about why our names are important, we each decorated the first letter in our name and put them up on our alphabet wall using this great freebie from Mme Caroline.

Our alphabet wall with decorated letters on Mme Caroline’s templates. I was asked about the bulletin board paper, and it’s Better Than Paper by Teacher Created Resources. This one is the Rustic Wood pattern, and I have the Clouds pattern up on my other boards. I put it up in September 2019 and it has lasted really nicely so far.

Name Activities & Resources

Ripped paper name art

What are your favourite name activities in Kindergarten?

Monthly Self-Portrait Printable in French for 2020-2021

As I wrote in my earlier post about self-portraits, they are one of my favourite things about teaching Kindergarten. I love seeing them throughout the year, and as I learned March-June of this year, it works for remote learning as well as in-person.

Here is a set of monthly printable pages I made for drawing self-portraits dated septembre (September) 2020 through juin (June) 2021.

I like printing them individually to put up on the wall and then into a scrapbook, but I have also seen people print then all at once into a book – whatever works for your class!

This week we did the Mat Man guided drawing from the Handwriting Without Tears and danced to the song Tête, épaules, genoux, orteils. I slowed it down to half-speed in the YouTube settings to make it easier as we’re first practicing.

What self-portrait activities do you enjoy doing with your class?

My Favourite Teach-shirts

I am an avid collector of teach-shirts (or I guess you could call them teaching shirts). Since I have been asked a few times where I order them from, I wanted to put together this post for anyone interested. These are some of my favourites because they are comfy, fun, and provide some good reminders.

Andoveco French Shirts

I love Andrea’s French teacher shirt designs so much that I have three of them on t-shirts:

Dr. Jody Carrington Bring. Your. Brave. Shirt

This shirt is so soft, and better yet it is an important reminder to keep doing things with my whole heart when I can’t predict the outcome. This summer I was lucky enough to win a VIP ticket for Relit 2020 from Laurie McIntosh that included this shirt in a box of goodies. Check out my blog post about Relit here.

Zen Lion Design Coffee, Teach, Sleep, Repeat Shirt

Teaching, coffee, and leopard print are some of my favourite things, so I was thrilled when I came across this cute shirt. I ordered mine as a t-shirt.

PicklesDesignShop Ça va bien aller Shirt

I treated myself to this beauty as a back-to-school gift, and I am looking forward to wearing it.

School Shirts

I have a t-shirt, hoodie, and long sleeve with my school name on it. I like to keep one at school in case I need an extra layer, want to add a bit of school spirit, get juice on my shirt from helping with a fruit cup, etc.

What are your favourite teach-shirts?

First Day of Kindergarten: Handprint Poem Printable

On the first day of Kindergarten, along with getting to know each other, where the bathrooms are, handwashing, safety guidelines, a first day self-portrait and photo, and time to play, I also like to read a story and have students make a handprint keepsake.

In the past I have used Le bisou secret (The Kissing Hand) and made handprints and paper puppets. This year I will be using Bienvenue (All Are Welcome) , and making a class book about what makes us feel welcome and we will be tracing our handprints onto this poem printable I made.

What do you like to do on the first day of Kindergarten?

Relit 2020 Bring Your Brave Sketchnotes & Quotes

On Saturday I had the amazing opportunity to take part in Relit 2020, organized by Dr. Jody Carrington‘s team. I learned so much, and it was such a great way to recharge and get pumped up before officially getting back to work this week. I won a Very VIP ticket, so I want to say thanks again to Laurie McIntosh and Dr. Jody Carrington for everything!

Thanks for the Bring Your Brave Relit 2020 goodies – I absolutely love this shirt!
My setup for the day – thanks for lending me your desk Jesse!

Bring Your Brave by Dr. Jody Carrington

I shared my sketchnotes and some of the quotes that resonated with me on my Twitter (@Madame_I_Am) before sharing them here today.

Sketchnote from the Bring Your Brave session by Dr. Jody Carrington.

Empowering Kids to be Brave by Naomi O’Brien and LaNesha Tabb

Sketchnote on Empowering Kids to be Brave by Naomi O’Brien and LaNesha Tabb.

Walking Kids Through Grief & Loss by Jeremy Allen

Sketchnote on Walking Kids Through Grief & Loss by Jeremy Allen

Brave-Maker Strategies by Dr. Jody Carrington and Laurie McIntosh

Sketchnote on Brave-Maker Strategies by Dr. Jody Carrington and Laurie McIntosh

Surviving the Toughest Year of Your Career by Joe Dombrowski

Sketchnote from Surviving the Toughest Year of Your Career by Joe Dombrowski

Hosted by Jesse Lipscombe

I am so glad that I take part in it, learn from the speakers alongside some new and renewed online educator friends, and I am so looking forward to Stay Lit in January 2021!

What have you been doing to get relit for the upcoming school year?