Sheila Dunwoodie: Nurturing well-rounded, respectful digital citizens

Year: 2018 – Province: Quebec

Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM

Sheila Dunwoodie

Margaret Manson Elementary School
18750, boulevard Elkas
Kirkland, QC H9J 4C1

School telephone: 306-731-2262
School website:
Twitter: @MissDunwoodie

Subjects and grades taught: Media and Technology, English, Math, Media, Dance and Ethics, grades 3–6

This well-rounded and energetic educator seeks to help her students be equally so. Sheila Dunwoodie is also a big proponent of physical activity and believes that movement and learning are intricately linked (mid-class dance breaks engage students and help them learn), while charitable projects teach giving and kindness, qualities she exhibits herself.

Teaching approach

Sheila's approach to the digital world is to teach respect first and foremost. High-tech and low-tech happily co-exist in her classroom, where students of all abilities learn to plan, collaborate and problem solve through a marriage of literacy and technology.

STEM in the Classroom

  • Surrounds students with opportunities for STEM learning: Media and Technology students learn in a new creative space (a revamped kindergarten room), working on engineering, architecture and electronics challenges, coding, creating digital music and more
  • Embraces STEM learning in varied forms, including having students make a movie based on a novel they have just read, manage a class Twitter account (to teach both responsible digital practices and how to write concisely) and compete in pass-the-chalk relays to drill math concepts
  • Extends digital and creative literacy beyond the classroom: roving Facebook reporters tour the school looking for news to report, interviewing students and staff, and posting their reports on the school's Facebook page; classes interact and do activities with peers in Nigeria via videoconference

Outstanding achievements

  • Transformed her classroom into a universal-design-for-learning setting, with movable seating, standing and sitting areas, and varied lighting to reduce barriers to learning
  • Organized series of lunchtime workshops for teachers introducing a new technology or taking a new approach in their classroom, bringing in board consultants to help teachers hone their digital skills
  • Spearheads countless school activities, including the annual musical and variety show, career week, annual themed weeks (Holiday Fun and March Madness) and monthly food bank donations

Rave reviews

"There are no boundaries for Ms. Dunwoodie, only hurdles and turns. Her innovative ways set the example to her students on how they can all take their own learning to the next level."