TMC7 Campbell & King

I spy a creative way to explore social emotional learning in the classroom 

by Mira Campbell and Anna-May King

The authors found after returning to in-class learning post pandemic that students were lacking in social and emotional skills. Thus, they planned a collaborative mindfulness project in the library learning commons to help address these concerns. Their paper takes readers step by step through the process of creating student books, “I Spy Ways to Calm Our Brains”. The videos of the big reveal when students received their own copies will be all the inspiration you need to get started. 

Mira Campbell has 16 years of experience as an educator. She is currently the Teacher-Librarian and Special Education Teacher at FH Miller Jr. PS. Mira is also a Digital Lead Learner Mentor with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and a Book Creator Ambassador. Connect with Mira on Twitter @CampbellMira

Anna-May King is a Primary Teacher at F H Miller in the TDSB. This will be her 3rd year at FH Miller. Prior to that, she spent some time teaching at the Canadian International School in Vietnam. She is an experienced teacher of 13 years with the TDSB. Her mission is to instil a love for learning (specifically reading and writing) in her students. 

Read the paper.

Videos referenced in the paper. 

Video 1: Mira and Anna-May were inspired by this video, by teacher-librarian Tina Zita.


  1. Mira and Anna-May,
    What an absolutely delightful collaborative project! Tina Zita is an incredible educator and inspiration, and you took it into a wonderful direction. I never thought about taking a photo of the too-large items and shrinking them digitally so they'd fit on an I Spy page - brilliant! Great suggestion about the brightly coloured background paper and placement order - your tips on page 5 are so handy! I adore the idea of filming the students explaining the significance of their selected objects. Another great tip you provided (on page 8) was editing out your voice and keeping the repeated portion done by the student - why hadn't I ever thought of doing that? Those final project books must have been $$$$ but look so professional and gorgeous! How many periods / minutes / hours did it take to complete? How did the TL and classroom teacher divide up responsibilities? Thank you for sharing!
    Diana M

    1. Thank-you so much Diana! Your thoughtful comments are really appreciated! The book printing process can be a little expensive, but they are treasured keepsakes and we have a whole collection in the library. We print through Pikto in Toronto. If you wait for a sale and keep your page numbers down, it's reasonable. These hardcover student books were 50 pages and about $40. However you can do softcover ones for $18 approximately. Due to the cost, we decided to foam core mount the student's double-page spread
      as an end of year gift instead of printing the books for each student. However, several parents bought a copy of the book.
      This project definitely took some time. It extended over a month with about 12 periods (about an hour) and then we had a couple periods in May which included the Virtual visit. We did the grand reveal in June on the last day of school.
      I am really lucky to work with Anna-May! She is an incredible educator and created a welcoming and safe classroom community which set the stage for us to do a project like this! She did most of the communication with parents including the introductory letter and following up on items we needed. She also did lessons throughout the year on mindfulness and they created anchor chart on strategies to calm their brain in class before we started the project. Throughout the project, we both worked with individual students and recorded them explaining their chosen items. We each worked with individual students to co-create the poems. It was a true partnership project. I took the lead on creating the Book Creator eBook and printing the books.
      I hope I answered your questions!
      Thanks again for commenting! We really appreciate it!

  2. Love the video, students love to create and retell stories! These flat boards offer so many points of access to young learners! 👏🏽

  3. Thank-you Doni! We really appreciate the comment. We wanted to make sure every student could be successful and have an entry point!


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