Thursday, April 20, 2017

40 years on...

40 years on from the time when Mr V flicked the 'learning switch' within me,
Six months on from tracking my form one and two teacher down in Niue, where he now resides,

and today we met up again!

Wow, what an incredible privilege to meet again face to face!  Our email exchanges over the past few months have paved the way and we recognised each other instantly. 

I was transported back to the very enjoyable time of learning... the time of photos taken on Keith's camera around Allanton, developed in the converted cupboard at the top of the stairs from the staffroom.  I can still close my eyes and reimagine the smell of the chemicals, and the trays, and tongs, and the importance of the procedure and process.  I still feel the overwhelming sense of trust Keith had in us, respect and trust.  

The photos may have faded, but the memories and the history is strong... 


Agh, the times of going door to door around the community, gathering favourite family recipes, typing them up, and using the banda machine to copy of recipe books to sell to raise funds for school camp. There were enduring elements of trust, fun, choice and self direction in Keith's programme.  

I have always attributed my love of photos to Mum and her 'box-brownie'.  Just today, I realise, that Keith, you probably enhanced this. As we have moved to the digital error, I take countless photos... something like 20+ a day on average... and have treasured memories of most of life's journeys.  I am always capturing perspectives through the lens, and think I always will.

Our relaxed chatter over lunch was a real privilege after a 40 year gap.  So much to catch up on, so little time.  A precious reminder - take and make time for the important things in life. Who has had a significant impact on your life?  Do they know? If not, maybe now is the time to tell them...

Today though marks a very special day for me... I am an educator, I am a connected educator, I am a facilitator, ... maybe, as Mum calls me, I really am a 'facilitator of happiness'!!!

Happy to have reconnected today, thanks Keith!

Forever grateful that I took the time to write about my 'learning switch' flip,
Forever grateful of the chance connection to locate you via email in Niue,
Forever grateful for the passion for learning, that you modelling, and the empowerment and agency you gifted us...
Forever grateful that I held the dreams you gifted us, and went on to become a teacher...
Forever grateful for the power of technology, when used for good, to connect us online, to enable the face to face connection,
and even more grateful that this face to face connection will endure future online catch ups....
Until you return later this year.... lunch is on me next time!

Thank you for the trust, respect, passion, love of learning, inspiration and genuine care...
The world is a greater place when people inspire others... You inspire me, and in turn, may I be half as inspirational to those I walk alongside....

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Independent Reading Activity with Instructional Series

How are you using the Instructional Series?
I would like to share how I have been working with classes to use this site for a follow up independent reading activity after an Instructional Reading Session. 

On an iPad, using Safari (yes truly Safari), type in http://instructionalseries.tki.org.nz/  
Use the filter function to the level of books your learner is working with. I have filtered to purple.  If you click on the word purple you will see the titles that are available to listen to independently or with a buddy or group. (using ear buds, or using as a listening post with a splitter.)



On the top right of the iPad, click on the upload icon, then click on 'add to Home Screen'

Click on the Add button on the top right.


This appears as an icon on the iPad to books in the Instructional Series filtered to Purple. 




The critical step now, is to add a purple sticker or dot to this iPad, so learners know if they are on purple this is the iPad for them. 

Repeat filtering to other levels, and adding other dots.

I would love to know how this works for your learners.  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Makamaka - Saddle Hill

Growing up in Allanton under the shadow of Saddle Hill, Makamaka as I now know it, I have often wondered of the stories and legends.  

Saddle Hill's twin humps are named for the body parts of the famous taniwha (mythical monster) Matamata. The large hump is his belly - Puke Makamaka - and the smaller is his knee - Turi Makamaka. Another tradition identifies the Hokonui hills as his resting place. Both use the taniwha's restless movements as an explanation for the land forms and river courses of the area. Matamata is identified with Kati Mamoe chief Rakitauneke and the Otakou chief Karetai. (I saved this some time ago, and unfortunately I did not copy the source, and now cannot locate it. If anyone is able to help with this please let me know.)


"The Taieri was once the abode of a taniwha (water monster) which had its home up the Silver-stream Valley near Whare Flat. Its nest was a swamp, Waipotaka (round pool), but it was of a restless disposition so it journeyed down stream to the place where the town of Mosgiel, and the woollen factory, now stand. The hollow where the town exists was formed by its weight. Mosgiel did not meet the monster's demands so it tripped down the Taieri River. Wriggling and wriggling it made all the sharp bends between Allanton and Otokia. This part of the Taieri is called Te Rua taniwha and its former resting place at Mosgiel is Te Konika o te matamata. When the taniwha died it became Saddle Hill near Riccarton with two main humps named Puke Makamaka and Turi Makamaka." source http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-TayLore-t1-body1-d21.html 


Slow down and listen...

I started the day with a very slow walk.  After an epic day of walking yesterday, and a very sore knee there really wasn't an option for anything else.

Yesterday was a HUGE day.  My early morning walk was listening to podcasts, my late afternoon walk with Susan was all about chatting and catching up on each other's lives.  My evening walk was a stroll along the beach with Grant, after our picnic tea.  

This morning's walk was again listening to podcasts but it was different.  It was SLOW, slightly PAINFUL, with a very sore right knee and it was reflective.  As I first listened to 'slowing down' I had a new insight into my reflection on my practice. It really is fact that we learn far more by reflecting on our experiences than we ever do while experiencing something. I also learnt a lot about the power of procrastination.  On this, my first week back at work for 2017, much of my week seems to have been procrastination.  This podcast helped me realise the potential of incomplete tasks, and the value of leaving something and coming back to it with fresh eyes!  If we complete a task, we often do it rapidly, settling for our first idea.  If we procrastinate for too long we are often pressured into completion of an idea that is not well thought out or developed, but if we procrastinate, re-visit, reflect, we can often be more creative and complete work that is innovative.  

For me as a Professional Learning Solutions, Ministry Accredited Facilitator, there is a huge a amount of food for thought in this podcast.  How do we deliver professional development, and support transformational change that allows for a degree of procrastination? My initial thoughts are this:
We need to:
  • Develop a relationship with the people we work with, a deep, trusting relationship.  This takes time, and brings the tension of beginning the work, developing the relationship. Increasingly I think we need an intricate mix of blended ways of working. Our relationship begins to develop with the very first contact, the phone call or email, and continues well beyond our last session.  
  • Foster collaborative ways of working.  As the relationship(s) develop, we are increasingly compelled to collaborate.  
  • Be transparent in our ways of working, actions, processes, activities, goals.
  • Model and encourage reflection.
  • Inquire into our own practise and share our learning journey.
  • Explicitly identify, acknowledge and value ways of working and being. 
  • Be vulnerable.  Share our own learning and vulnerability.
  • Identify, acknowledge and build on capabilities and capacities.
  • Foster sustainable change.
I am very excited about the year ahead.  Unlike my teaching colleagues I do not have a class to prepare for.  I have something unique to us in our role as facilitators, something I am beginning to identify more and more as a unique privilege.  I have the privilege of meeting new educators, with a passion for learning.  I have the privilege of walking alongside them in an inquiry, unique to them, their context, their place, their journey.  I have the privilege of being able to bring different perspectives, resources, ways of working, to support and extend the incredible journey educators make daily to improve outcomes for all our learners, the future of our world.   

So, off now to work on my own inquiry... time to really reflect on my incredible PPLP session with Margaret and prepare for gathering evidence as my own inquiry grows this year.  Indeed an exciting time ahead.... 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Stop, Listen, Go...

For over one year now I have committed to walking 10,000 steps a day.  Yes, I have missed the odd day, and yes it has transformed my life.  I am fitter, happier and healthier.  I absolutely love the opportunity to get out and walk.
For most of the past year I have listened to music as I walk.  While I was walking around Naseby tracks and trails I began to notice that I would return from a walk and I could not tell you much I what I saw, heard, smelt or felt during the walk.  This got me thinking, was music distracting me from the act of walking?  Was it blocking the reality of walking?
I tried a couple of walks in silence.  I sure did notice more.  I noticed the colours, the sounds, the smells and the feel of the breeze, or sun.  However I got back from these walks totally recalling the walking, the length, duration, steps, and some of the JOY of walking was missing.  I persevered and found that walking in silence wasn't necessarily working for me either.
Yesterday I caught up with Rowan and she talked about podcasts.  For the longest time I have been meaning to download podcasts, and last night I did.
Today I listened to a podcast as I walked.

WOW

I walked far further, and jogged far more than I realised.  I was in the moment of walking, jogging, listening to inspiraitonal talks from the TED Radio Hour.
Today I listened to "Being Happy" and "Headspace".  Both of them delighted and inspired me. This also got me thinking.  Maybe the secret is in mixing up my walking.  Maybe I can walk in silence in the beauty of the tracks and nature, listen to music in the busy town streets, intersperesed with listening to podcasts.  My takeaway from today is that whatever I am doing I need to focus on what I am doing.  Being fully present to what I am doing.  "Stop, listen, go", a very cool phrase from my podcast from the Ted Talk "Want to be happy, be grateful".



I am really excited about the potential for learning, thinking and reflecting while walking...

Saturday, October 29, 2016

TEDx Christchurch - WOW

WOW what a day... Here we are in Christchurch at TEDx...
I am, as always, totally in awe of the power of the story.  Today is my first ever TEDx of seven device free.  I am taking notes, in the dark, in a little lined notebook.  It is my first attempt to capture TED talks in a sketchnotey type of way.  I am loving it.  It is focusing me in on the CORE of the message.  I am loving it...
So, at the end of the day, or sometime over the weekend, I will upload my sketchnote, and my key takeaways.

My first absolute highlight was seeing our Gemma on stage, and hearing Gemma.  WOW Gemma, you are amazing.  Your sound captured us, heart, mind and soul.  You looked a taonga, in the CORE korowai.  Your voice is a beautiful gift you shared with us all...

Photos to come... 

Friday, October 28, 2016

TEDx Christchurch - Grant Ryan

Grant Ryan



"Grant is a two-time TEDxChristchurch alumnus and a hopelessly addicted inventor. He has founded a number of companies including GlobalBrain.net (sold to NBCi), Real Contacts (sold to Intel), SLI Systems (listed NZX) and Eurekster, YikeBike and Pure Pods. He is now having fun trying to help make NZ predator free with The Cacophony Project. He has also served on the board of the New Zealand Government's $140 million Venture Investment Fund, $430 million Foundation for Research Science and Technology. Grant has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Ecological Economics from the University of Canterbury."

WOW!!! LOved this talk! Dreaming of a predator free NZ!!!!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Day 3: Social Media

“Being ‘networked’ or having digital connections in today’s online world is increasingly important both personally and professionally. Many of us rely on social media to keep in touch with friends and family; to learn, to create and share; to promote our skills, products and services or to carry out key aspects of daily work.“
Video: Networked organisations

In this CORE EDtalks video, Karen Spencer talks about how networks enable us to collaborate, connect across teams, offer open pathways to learning, maximise virtual platforms and encourage self-selected networking and personal growth: Networked organisations.

I can not imagine trying to ‘go it alone’. I am so reliant on Social Media, that it is almost impossible to imagine a time without it. My daughter shared an image of a phone booth with me on facebook today, and it was tagged, mobile phone of our youth. I recalled a story of my car breaking down when I went on holiday with a friend in my recently purchased car at the tender age of sixteen. After taking it to be repaired I had to use a phone booth, make a collect call, and ask my Mum to put the money in my account for me to pay the bill. She had to drive to the nearest town to do this, and I had to go to the bank in the nearest town to withdraw it the next day. How unbelievably archaic does this all sound in our instant, mobile society.

So, a little off track maybe, but oh so relevant to the changing times, and the benefits on offer through social media.

How are you connected? How are you social online?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Day 2: ‘What is ‘web 2.0’?

Today’s learning focuses on the use of Google Apps for Education, or Google Cloud is it now becoming known. I think back to 2008, when the amazing Dave Young supported me to get every learner with their own email to access our class wiki to allow for a fully blended learning experience. This was difficult and technically challenging. I am forever indebted to Dave for supporting me to accomplish this, and forever have the learner in the centre of anything I was doing. I often hear, where is the learner, what difference will this technology make, why are you doing this, and similar challenges in my mind as I explore new options with learners. As the web becomes increasingly collaborative, we are privileged to explore and offer future focused opportunities for all learners. For me, Simon Sinek’s golden circle, somewhat modified, is always at the centre of my thinking.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

CENZ16_Starter Kete - Blogging challenge!

So, I have been wondering how I can really focus on what it is to be a connected educator. On my flight home from WOW (World of Wearable Arts Awards) in Wellington, I decided to work my way through each day of the starter kete and blog my journey. So here goes…



“Connections change teaching practice.” I have believed this for the longest time. Being connected with educators locally, nationally and globally, I have the potential to be a far more future focused, reflective educator than I do alone. “As educators grow into connected learners, they not only start to ask more critical questions of each other related to practice, but they also begin to actively listen and closely attend to varied perspectives that may help the community of learners to move forward.” 

What a surprise for me as I read through this day one, to find Claire and my edTalk, Something to tweet about.

Reflection on Day 1. My life as an educator changed significantly on the 23rd of February 2010 when I joined Twitter. Up until that day, I felt my professional development had been very much limited to face to face conversations, conferences and reading. From the day of joining, I found Twitter offered me an opportunity to connect and network with educators who were grappling with similar challenges, exploring possibilities and pushing boundaries. I am forever grateful to Claire Buist for introducing me to Twitter. Since joining my twitter PLN has grown to include educators across the world. Many of these educators have been hugely influential in my educational pathways, and have supported, challenged and encouraged me. Many of these educators I now have the pleasure of calling colleagues and friends. Many of these educators have enriched my life in ways too numerous to detail. 

I cannot help but encourage you to explore day one and connect and find or extend your PLN. 

This sketchnote from the amazing Sylvia Duckworth, a twitter colleague and friend, captures the MAGIC of Twitter for us!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Blogging today with a fantastic group of learners...

I am very excited to be here writing with a great group of Year 6 learners.  We have just started our first blogs and are learning about the responsibility of our own space online. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A day all about learning for ME!!!

Enjoying a webinar in the comfort of my home on the first day of Spring, and Random Act of Kindness day.

Say what?  Do you Speak Ed Tech?  ISTE Webinar

Jen LaMaster, Assistant Principal, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, from Indianapolis, sharing this morning.

  1. Set a vision - the foundation!
  2. Know your trends - and filter!
  3. Resources - Focus on your vision and trends!
How does your learning fit in with the Standards:
  • Empowered Learner
  • Digital Citizen
  • Knowledge constructor
  • Innovative Designer
  • Computational Thinker
  • Creative Communicator
  • Global Collaborator

Trend 1 - Re-thinking content delivery

Trend 2 - Analytics and

Trend 3 - Mobile, Mobile, Mobile Assess, Evaluate and Use - assess your learning needs, evaluate what tech etc you need and use.

Trend 4 - Coding and Creating - looking at coding and ability to modify.

Trend 5 - Makerspace - be kids and learn through play.

Trend 6 - Virtual reality,

Trend 7 - Wearables - sports trackers... Knowing when and why of turning off.... (Interesting after reading the article in the ODT yesterday around fitbit use... Using trackables for learning, and to expand our instruction...

Trend 8 - Gamification - learning through play!  Bringing play back into the classroom!

Trend 9 - 3D Printing

Trend 10 - Active learning Spaces...

Set your vision, know the trends that will suit your purpose...

Avoid tech trends that fizzle out - how? The visioning is so important here.  Have a very clear vision of what the needs are and what you want to achieve.

Okay, so after after this webinar I am reflecting on the trends identified here, and CORE's ten trends...
CORE Education's Ten Trends 2016

Lots for me to reflect on and revisit here..

Next up on my day - feeding me - with PLD...
Strategic Roadmap webinar with the CLA team...

The strategic thinking roadmap – supporting the development of your digital technologies action plan
3 21st Century Imperatives - at the heart of the why?
  1. Pervasiveness of technology in our lives!  (Nigel Latta's show was a wonderful insight into screenagers in this light). 
  2. The science of learning - 7 principles of learning.
  3. The changing nature of teaching and learning.  
5 Key concepts
  1. Always start with your purpose and principles
  2. Link your planning to teaching and impact on learners
  3. Champion inquiry and innovation
  4. Planning needs to be informed by research and data
  5. Ensure a school-wide commitment to continual professional growth.
8 Essential Planning Strands - Weaving the Strands
  • Powerful pedagogy
  • Intentional leadership
  • Innovative learning environments
  • Purposeful curriculum
  • Learning partnerships
  • Robust digital infrastructure
  • Expanded teacher capacity
  • Coherent digital services
Reflective questions - pdf or available on each of the eight planning strands

WOW what a mind blowing day of learning!

And to cap of a totally MAGIC day I get to have an amazing session with Hazel.
A reflection on my recent times and thoughts is a whole new post.... and this one needs revisiting and fleshing out, but for now, I want to share the MAGIC of my day! 





Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sunday 3rd July - Sailing towards Juneau - Cruising up the inner passage

A late breakfast after the sea settles.  A trip to the gym – WOW, this has to be the best view ever in a gym – right at the front, running up the Alaskan coastline.  






 We went to a couple of Presentation shows and have now booked all our shore excursions. A late lunch in Lido, then my first nana nap of the journey, a very welcome catch up on my sleep deprived schedule.  Formal attire tonight and a sumptuous dinner in the Manhattan lounge followed by Marquee Showtime which was stunning, then Jimmy Maddox, Piano Man playing Beatles medleys in the Piano Lounge. 





Highlight of the day – the waters settling as I really was unsure how I would cope if they stayed rough!

Saturday 2nd July - Vancouver

Up early, showered and off for a walk to the beach by Stanley park where we met Cathy, Richard, and their gorgeous boys Eddie and Jackson.  We had a wonderful catch up and Starbuck’s breakfast on the beach!  A walk along the beach and it was time for us to depart to board our cruise.









Love the community gardens dotted around downtown Vancouver











 WOW this boat is a little bigger than I was anticipating. All boarded and settled into our room by 1.30pm.  Our room is HUGE, with awesome balcony. Up to Lido lounge for lunch and a realisation that there is a serious danger of food coma!  Practice drill at 3.30pm, then 5pm, we are off!  Dinner in the Lido Lounge then to bed… WOW – some rough kind of sea we are on. I woke off and on throughout the night with the rocking and banging.  I am finding it very difficult to walk and keep the squeamish feeling at bay. 

Today’s highlight, the enormity of this vessel and the voyage we are embarking on.

Friday 1st July - almost on holiday...

Up very, very early to get our cab out to Denver airport!  Arrived, checked in, through security all very smoothly, then for the delay.  Our flight was delayed 2 and ½ hours and we couldn’t make our connection at Seattle.  I spent the time working, answering emails, and blogging.  Eventually, we flew up to Seattle.  Smooth flight.  We landed to find we had been put on an Alaskan air flight, arriving into Vancouver by 5pm.  Despite checking that our bags would come with us, they didn’t make it.  Would you believe we experienced that feeling again, as the empty baggage carousel showed our fate. 

Francoise was amazing, at the baggage counter and yet again, we completed all the missing baggage paperwork.  AGH…… In a cab and off to our hotel in time to meet out dear friends Irene and Jim who we haven’t seen since Italy 2013.  WOW what a reunion, and what a party to welcome us to Vancouver on Canada Day.  We watched the parade for a time, then had a delicious dinner before going to Canada Place for a stunning firework display.  100,000 people out partying and celebrating!  WOW.
















Back to our Hotel, Blue Horizon to be reunited with our bags which were located in Seattle at 11.56pm.

Today’s highlight, definitely reconnecting with Irene and Jim.