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!!!