Monday, December 19, 2011

Transition back in...

"The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention... A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words." --Rachel Naomi Remen

As I transition back to school, I am really focusing on listening!  I have been on an incredible journey and I have sooooo much to share.  I must listen for the opportunity to share, I must be alert for the 'just in time' moment!  A lot has changed at school in my absence and I must listen for the changes.  Listen is my goal, my mantra, my modus operandi...  Those of you who know me well, know that I have challenges ahead... 

Monday, December 12, 2011

The TRUE STARS of Twitter Tour 2011

I was exceptionally fortunate to win a study scholarship for 2011.  Alongside my study I dreamt up "Twitter Tour 2011".  I have just read my very first blog posts for this year and note this entry made in March...

 "This journey for me is about making connections, sharing stories, exploring, and having fun along the way touring our country."

This journey has exceeded anything I could have imagined.  I have had the great fortune to travel around New Zealand and meet the most AMAZING, PASSIONATE, INSPIRING, SHARING educators!  I have been welcomed into schools, classes and homes around New Zealand.  I have tried to leave a little something wherever I have traveled, be it a story, a memory or a giggle.  I am in awe of everyone's generosity of time, ideas, collaboration and hospitality!

I feel VERY rich from this experience and want to thank you all.  It is just not possible to thank you all individually so please feel the gratitude from deep within my heart.  You are all STARS!

I have tried to include all of the stars I have met this year!  If I have accidentally missed you - please let me know, or know that you are a special part of my journey!  And to all of those I have met who are not Tweets, thanks for the rich layer you have added.  Last but not least, thanks to my Twitter PLN - those of you I haven't met. Your posts, ideas, and links 'light up my world'!

As I return to the classroom in 2012, I take with me the rich tapestry of learning from you all.  I am so excited about the collaboration opportunities I have lined up.  I know that 2012 will be an incredible year for all my learners and for me, thanks to the rich learning journey I have been on.

Thank you all.

Geocaching good times - Licence to PLAY

In March this year I had my first experience with geocaching with Allanah at the Jester cafe in Nelson.

I clearly remember the buzz of finding my first ever 'treasure'.  I remember thinking then, that I needed to move from my pear tree, into the ''Apple" tree! (With great ribbing from Allanah, that I wouldn't need my triumverate...)

My next experience with geocaching was in the Waikato with Barbs when I was to be found acting like a troll under a bridge...  The excitement of finding the 'treasure' again was a great buzz and it was even more exciting to find a temporary home for a travel bug named Phillipe...
 I even managed to find a cache in the centre of Hamilton on my own.  I was starting to feel the buzz of this!

In August I finally got a smartphone and caching finally became possible!  When Jo came down for educampdunners we cached around my home patch!  Hmmmm it really is easier to cache where you are not known, it is so much harder to look inconspicuous in your own town.

My next big caching experience was the journey from Cambridge to Rotorua for Ulearn.  Now, this journey should take a couple of hours max... We managed to drag it out somewhat and have a MAGIC day, filled with laughter, challenge and many successes.

We even managed to "Find Nemo", a little travel bug who had an awesome time in and around Rotorua.

Nemo returned to Dunedin with me where he was 'released' by the sea at Broad Bay, to continue his travels.

I cached in and around Raumati beach with Jo and even took in a pilgrimage up the hill and found a cache at the top near Mary.

Caching adventures since then have been very memorable.  Barbs, Jo and I set a target of 11 caches on the 11-11-11 and we managed it with a very memorable 11th find at the memorial. 

 The next day we traveled south for educampinvers and cached along the way... followed by a caching session down the bay to Port Chalmers with Barbs and Jane.

I had an awesome weekend in Queenstown and managed a walk around the gardens and the lakefront and found travel bugs everywhere, arriving into New Zealand for travelling adventures.

Recently geocaching made the front page of the local Star paper with reference to the danger element, referring to a cache in the middle of a roundabout in Mosgiel (which had been removed some time ago) and a cache down the bay with a very dangerous, narrow track out over the sea).  The profile of caching has really been lifted.

Yesterday Claire and I caught up and headed off on a caching drive.  Many hours, much laughter and 13 successful caches later...

Very clever mushroom!  This cache was set up to race Travel Bugs from.
This got us thinking about the fun involved in sending off class travel bugs on and expedition and tracking their progress.  This is definitely in our plans for 2012 with our classes.  

And I thought this Krupp Gun down at Portobello might bring back some great Rotorua memories girls!

 Above and below are the access to the cache referred to in the article with dangerous access.  Maybe the photo doesn't show the full extent of the danger, but it was blowing sooo hard we could hardly stand up and the track across is very steep and narrow.  We will let you know when we conquer it!
 Below is perhaps, my favourite cache of the day!  How clever is this?  This is at a whole nother level I believe.

So now for the BIG question - WHY?

Because it is FUN!  It takes you to places you wouldn't normally go!  It challenges your thinking! It gets you out and about! And above all - it gives you licence to PLAY!  I have some amazing memories of times spent playing with friends this year.

 A HUGE thank you to you all - I just love the licence to PLAY...

This quote is pure magic...

"You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses." --Ziggy
What a fantastic quote.  I know that the rose breeders constantly try to breed the perfect rose without thorns, but is it really a rose?  Is anything as rewarding as overcoming the prickles, the challenges, the thorns that get in the way of your dream?  I just love this saying and I am going to use it with my class at the start of 2012.  It is more powerful imagery than 'glass half empty or half full' and really challenges you to look at the beauty that comes out of hardship...  Rose thorns can hurt, and poison you.  But most things worth striving for come with some risk and some challenge...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Time for an update...

I have spent some time today reflecting on my year...
It was time for an update of my Twitter Tour 2011 Map!  I think I have included most schools now...  What an incredible year this has been... More reflections to come before the end of the year!

View Twitter Tour 2011 in a larger map

Great words to reflect on...

Happiness is a state of being, and comes from the inside of you. By the law of attraction you must become on the inside what you want on the outside.
You are either choosing to be happy now, or you are making up excuses for not choosing to be happy. But there are no excuses for the law!  Rhonda Byrne  The Secret... bringing joy to billions

These are very powerful words and I can really relate to them. Happiness is a state of being. What I need to work on is resilience.  I need to work on the power to get back up again, into my happy place after I get knocked down.   I would welcome any ideas or strategies you use to 'get back up again'.  I need to develop my strategies of walking away and 'not caring'.  I need to focus on what I can change and work around and accept what I can't change.  My Mum has a wonderful verse:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference...

PERFECT!  Wisdom is what I need....

Impressive laptop service - Well done to Tela and the back up crew!

I got my HP Elite Book at the end of 2010.  Yes it gets a lot of use but I treat it with the utmost respect.  In August I noted that the touch pad felt strange... Early in September it developed a little bubble which progressively got worse.
While I was at Ulearn I visited the HP stand and talked with their very helpful staff.  Melissa gave me the 0800 number and told me repairs could be carried out on-sight and I wouldn't have to be without my laptop (that was the reason I had put off contacting tela).
Well, this morning Adam came to my home and replaced the whole top panel on my laptop and it looks better than ever!  Very impressive service guys!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No more excuses...

AK is back!  This morning the alarm went at 5.50 and I was at the gym at 6.15am.  Until the middle of the year this has been a regular event but the last six months I have been very remiss and have not made time for the gym.  The welcome back was amazing.  That alone was worth waking early for.  The session was exceptionally hard.  Time trials - ten minutes on each of the cross trainer, bike, rower and treadmill.  My times were very slow and there is every likelihood that I won't be able to walk tomorrow but I did it!  I feel so great for having made the effort.  I have really missed the exercise and the company.
I am back now - no more excuses...

Always looking for the best...

When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves. -- William Arthur Ward

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The way I try to live my life...

You have not lived a perfect day, even though you  have earned your money, unless you have done  something for someone who will never be able to  repay you. -- Ruth Smeltzer
It is very easy to do something for someone when you know the favour will be returned.  The challenge is doing, giving, or sharing when you know it can't be returned.  That is when you truly understand your power to change!  Recently I was at the supermarket when a young Mum did not have enough money for her groceries; she was only $10.00 short.  She was very embarrassed and tried to phone to transfer money, but nothing worked. The checkout lady put her order on hold and served me.  I was privileged to get cash out and hand it to the young mum and walk away.  When I got to the car I felt quite emotional. I do not know the feeling now of not having enough to pay for thegroceries.  I do, however, remember times when it was very tight.  I was surprised by the emotions that filled me.  I really wonder what we can do to encourage our learners to give away to others.    I think it is important to give and keep on giving, and I plan to build giving into our learning programme for 2012.

Monday, November 14, 2011


"Believe with all your heart that how you live your life makes a difference" - Colin Beavan 

I think this saying encompasses most of what I want my learners to believe.  How you live your life makes a difference to everything: the people you meet; the places you go; the risks you take; the challenges you accept; the way you greet everyone you come into contact with.  The key is believing, and knowing that every difference is up to yourself!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Educamp Invercargill

Today, we are here at #educampinvers. Great journey down, with a few geocaches, including a failed one at Clinton... Maybe we'll stop and find it on the way back if it isn't raining?  (Oh Yes, successful find on the way home)

So here we are in Invercargill...
I just adore the concept of educamps.  We are here because we WANT to be here, talking about what we WANT to talk about, sharing because we WANT to share!  Pure Magic...

Twitter stream hashtag #educampinvers
Google doc for sharing -
We are here from Invercargill, Mosgiel, Dunedin, Kapiti, Hamilton and skyping in from Nelson... YAY  Magic morning sharing and learning.  Awesome lunch with us all together at EAT in Windsor, then back for a tour of Myross Bush School.  It is incredible to see the transformation that has taken place to bring older buildings into a very exciting, stimulating learning environment.  Touring the school with Principal Tim was amazing...

Another magic quote...

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away 
from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so 
that we see ourselves as we really are. -- Arthur Golden

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Reflection on my latest Twitter Tour...

Reflection on this last leg of “Twitter Tour 2011 North Island”
How can I begin to explain the magic of the new connections, how can I begin to mesh it all together.  One true highlight of this journey was finding out that I have been accepted for NAPP (National Aspiring Principal’s Programme for 2012).  This really took me by surprise and is an awesome next step in my journey.   I am really excited about this journey,  and extremely excited to see that I know a number of fellow tweets who are travelling the same journey.  Reconnecting on this journey in 2012 with you all will be magic. 
Back to this tour… what a privilege it has been to have this time of leave.  What a privilege it is to be able to head off into the sunset on an adventure.  What a privilege to meet such amazing people along the way.  You are all very special to me and you have all played a part in shaping me and my views for teaching and learning for now and into the future.  I have loved the opportunity to talk with you all, share your stories and walk in your footsteps for a while.  The holstee manifesto, my motto for now, really is shaping me.  

I am living my life, living it to the full and making the most of every opportunity to reach out.  Thank you to you all.
A special thank you to NZ Discount car rentals 080017951795, Jo Bolton for the magic of a $19.95 a day rental car.  Without your company I simply could not have afforded to on the road for the length of time I have this year.  

Thanks to all the schools, teachers and learners I have met along the way – you make me shine.  Thanks to all the wonderful relatives I have connected with and shared meals with and stories along the way.  I am exceptionally privileged to have such a large, close, extended family.  To everyone I have come into contact with, thanks for the memories….
In closing,
Life is a game - play it
Life is a challenge - meet it
Life is an opportunity - capture it
I am playing it, meeting it and capturing it!

Tuesday - day 14 on the road....

Fortunately I got a decent sleep because at 6.30am I was awakened with two cannon sized party poppers and I was showered in ribbon, confetti and tinsel…… What a wakeup.  

After breakfast and a quick pack up it was off for a last walk around the Cambridge lake and a visit to Sue’s shop where I bought yet another Christmas present to me from Grant…. He really is good at picking things I love!  A great drive to Auckland in time for lunch and shopping, return the rental and off to the airport…..homeward bound finally…

Monday, marvellous Monday...

Up early to head to New Plymouth, arriving about 11.  What followed was a marvellous tour of Pukekura park and the waterfront, so etched in my memory from childhood trips to Taranaki. 

Back to Christine’s for lunch and time to meet yet more cousins and have a wonderful family lunch. 
A true highlight of this year has been reconnecting with so many of my relatives. 
As we headed out of New Plymouth we decided to visit the stunning Te Rewa Rewa bridge.  It sure is worth a visit...

Off we go heading north for Cambridge. It really is a stunning drive up along the water then we headed in land from Awahino.  A very refreshing stop at the Fat Pigeon in PioPio refreshed us and off we headed again.  

A couple of stops to prepare me for the Halloween rematch and off we head, eventually arriving in Cambridge at 5.50pm.  Waiting at the door with my ipad filming for the R and R attack, I am surprised when Simon opens the door and tells me the kids are not there.  Totally relaxed, I stupidly let my guard down and returned to the car for our bags.  As I returned to the door, two little imps launched themselves on my in disguise and bombarded me with confetti and party poppers… and so the rematch began.  Around the yard, over the trampoline – oh what fun. 
Dinner time was a welcome treat for me as I had hid skeletons in their salad, and spiders in their beds.  Much hilarity later and off to bed we went.  

From Mountain to the sea...

Today is my last day here in Taranki with Mum and Doug, so off we go on an adventure.  Driving over to Kaponga, first stop Hollard’s garden – what a sensational garden this is.

It was threatening to rain and I really wondered if we should perseverce past the first walkway… Well, I sure am glad we did.  It is the most magical garden.  Right throughout the garden is the story of the owners and their development of this land from farmland.  It really is a show garden with the most amazing rhododendrons I have seen in  a long time.  So many of the white ones are so highly perfumed and it is quite magical to walk through.  Down the back of the garden the rain really starts to pour down and we sought shelter in the garden gazebo for coffee and cake and a talk to the gardeners.  What an amazing place.  So glad we made the effort.

Onwards we head up Mount Egmont.  This is an amazing scenic drive through stunning bush.   We had a picnic lunch at the Dawson Fall’s carpark then clambered down the hillside to view the magical falls.  STUNNING.  

Back down the mountain just in time to arrive at Stratford for the 3pm showing of the glockenspiel – finally mananged to time it right Regan.  What an amazing clock and a great show.  

On we headed to Eltham for an ice-cream.  There really is something so magical about an ice-cream stop on a Sunday drive. 

Back to Normanby and over to Ohawe beach.  After a walk up the river mouth to talk to the whitebaiters we walked down to the sea.  

Simply amazing.  I just love beach – the different scenes, driftwood, stones, black sand and water… I really do need to put living at the beach on my bucket list.

Finally home for dinner, game of cards and a well earned early night.
The journey from mountain to sea is simply magical….