Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 1 of the school year...

Yahoo, the students arrived today.... Where did the day go?  It seemed to disappear in a whirl!  We had a fantastic reunion and really did have a lot of fun beginning to get to know our new environment and one another. We had an awesome scavenger hunt with some very tricky close up photos to be located and extended by sketching.  This was an awesome way to find our way around the class and work out where everything is!

We had our first early morning jog followed by fruit and water break while we chatted on the deck!  ( An idea I picked up from Jo at Raumati Beach!
The highlight of the day for me was sharing a story about a teacher (me) who was reported to have 'stolen' an apple, the story grew and mistrust of teacher grew.  https://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=0AbVguMMOMFz2ZGhjOGJtcnNfNDJjeGNwZHFjZw&hl=en_US Ideas shared by Caroline in the Back to School Google Form. 
We went over to the Recreation Ground across the road and played with the feathers from a feather pillow in a swirly whirly wind!  After a good play and photo session I asked the learners to gather up all the feathers to return to the pillow.  Of course after about 10 minutes it was obvious we would never gather in every feather! The lesson is that once our words are out, it is difficult, if not impossible to gather them back in.  We need to be very careful about what we say!  This was a great lesson and very well reported on the blog by Laura and Anahera.

As I reflect on our first day, I am celebrating many moments of joy.  I am reminding myself to break sessions up into small chunks with many little chats and lots of action in between!  I am reminding myself to plan less, well plan to do less of the plan, and do what we do do well!
A great first day!

A new start, a new year...

As I was preparing for a new year I was reflecting on how fortunate I was to be returning to the class to trial some of the ideas I have seen on my travels.  I am most excited about the learners redesigning the learning space.  Jane popped over to my class on Sunday and chatted with me about my plans and dreams for the start of the year.  By the end of the day Jane had put it up on edtalks and there it was. I don't know how Jane made it all happen in such a short time but she did!
I am very excited about the journey for the learners!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

5 things my teacher should know about me...

Tonight I was checking in with my friend Twitter when I noticed that I had been tagged by Allanah in  http://allanahk.edublogs.org/2012/01/28/what-i-want-my-teachers-to-know-about-me/ and challenged to reflect and add my thoughts to this meme, on what my teacher should know about me!  Without a great deal of thought I churned out this...

Here are the 5 things my teacher should know about me:
* I like fun, and laughter and giggling – I know that I can learn in a fun environment;
* I like to be challenged and supported – make me take a risk, make a mistake and learn from it PLEASE!
* I like to have choice about working in a group, in pairs or at times I like to work alone;
* I like to know that I am a part of all that I learn and I can add to the learning of others;
* I like to have choice over how I share my learning, sometimes I write, or sing, or draw, or talk, or act and sometimes I like to dance on my chair!
YAY – I like learning!!!

Haha - how ironic is this post!  I LOVE learning!  This is a stark contrast to my own primary education!  I did not have a FUN learning time at primary school.  I have memories of struggling, been laughed at (by my teacher) for my reading inadequacies... I did not LOVE learning at all, until the MAGIC of year 8 at a little country primary school when we got a new Principal!  He inspired, challenged, motivated us and made me want to learn.  He believed in us, trusted us and let us LEARN!  

I can so clearly remember the feeling of being ridiculed for struggling to pronounce the word HUGE, (which I pronounced shuge)!  I remember that as clearly as I remember being trusted to collect and write up family recipes as a camp fundraiser in year 8.  I think we remember the really really good, and the really really not so good!  

Reflecting on this - I challenge myself to make MAGIC with my learners!  I want to challenge them, inspire them, encourage them to take risks, empower them, support them and learn with them.  And I want it to be a MAGICAL journey!

Thanks Allanah for making me 'dig so deep' tonight!

In keeping with the meme I invite @MsBeenz, @janinejNZ, @JazzRolton, @KiwiNomad08, @dragonsinger57 to join the journey!  (Please make sure to link back to http://allanahk.edublogs.org/2012/01/28/what-i-want-my-teachers-to-know-about-me/ so we all get to share all the MAGIC!)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Me Manifesto - 30 Goals Challenge 2012

Today I begin the 30 day challenge http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/30-goals-2012/
Today the goal is to create a Me Manifesto!  This instantly appeals to me having long being a fan of the Holstee Manifesto!
I have this on my wall and as a screen saver and often reflect on and share the words.  Then in November I met the Sandbox Manifesto with Angela Maiers!  The whole notion of play in learning resonates so well with me.  Those of you who know me will know that fun and play is a big part of who I am!  
So, to see the word Manisfesto in the challenge was awesome, and to see the word Me with it was a challenge.  What is my manisfesto?  Firstly, what exactly is a Manifesto?


A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifesto

So this is to be my declaration of my beliefs, my passions, my objectives, what makes me tick!  It is what I believe about life and learning, it is what I am about!  And it is my intentions!

My Me Manifesto:
  • Learning must be FUN - There must be fun in my day and in my learning!  
  • MAGIC must be present - by this I mean there must be a certain enchantment or WOW factor or mystery and intrigue!
  • Honour all learners - Each learner must be honoured, accepted, respected, and challenged
  • Challenging "Our task, regarding creativity, is to help children climb their own mountains, as high as possible. No one can do more"   LORIS MALAGUZZI   Using James Nottingham's Challenging learning philosophy I aim to challenge my learners into, through and out of the learning pit.
  • Collaborative - I am really focusing on distant collaborative learning to connect my learners with a range of expertise and interests.
  • Authentic - I believe that all learners need a real purpose and authenticity for their learning.
  • Extended family involvement - it is crucial for me to have extended family involved in goal setting,  learning, reflecting and celebrating.
  • Differentiate learning - allow learning to travel different routes, have different learning journeys
  • Personalise learning - teaching and learning must meet the needs and aspirations of the learner
  • Allow for learning spaces - spaces must be created with and by the learners to allow for challenge and success
  • Team - learning is a team effort with everyone needing their own PLN (personal learning network)
  • Integrate play - play is integral to all experiences and I like the Google adage of 80% work and 20% innovation in a week!  For my programme, the innovation often comes in the 'play' time of Funky Friday sessions where creation and innovation rule!

That was an awesome path of self discovery as I reflect on what is key to my teaching and learning philosophies.  I am sure I have missed some key points but I am happy with where this is for now!  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Truly give

I have had the most amazing year and now I am very excited about the return to the classroom.  I have spent a lot of time in my new class and I am really getting the feel for the wonderful learning opportunities and spaces that will develop this year!  I read this quote this morning and think it applies so much to teaching...
You give but little when you give of your 
possessions. It is when you give of
yourself that you truly give. -- Kahlil Gibran 
As teachers we really do have to 'give' of ourselves.  It is such a pleasure and a privilege to give of ourselves as we are surrounded by growth and learning and living and FUN!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

A nice quote to reflect on...

The heart is like a garden. It can grow 
compassion or fear, resentment or
love. What seeds will you plant there? 
-- Jack Kornfield I am just back in from a walk around the garden after returning from two weeks summer holiday! My garden has grown some pretty special weeds in that time, but there are also flourishing lillies, courgettes, peas, sweet peas and so many wonderful things flowering and producing! I love the analogy of a heart like a garden - and I am looking forward to getting rid of the weeds!