Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Student led conferences...

I just have to share the MAGIC of my day - student led conferences.  For years I have wanted to explore three way conferences and this year I have begun this very exciting journey.  A HUGE thank you to Claire Buist for an initial outline to enable the learners to reflect on their learning and prepare to lead their learning conference.  We have reflected on where we are at, what we can do to help ourselves with our goals, what our family can do to help and what our teachers can do to help.  We also added a reflection on our favourite learning space for different learning areas and times. 
Yesterday we had an awesome time sharing our learning conference with a friend and coaching each other to success.  This afternoon I asked the learners to set up the class ready for the learning conferences...  How cool is this...  Don't you just love the touch of the table cloth and vase?  How cool is it that the learners were able to share their space with their families.  

The MAGIC began with the first learner and carried on through to my last session.  I am in awe of the learners.  I wish I had asked for permission to video at least one of them, but as I didn't I will try and share the MAGIC in written form. 
The level of maturity of the learners amazed me.  The learners invited their family into the class and welcomed them to sit and share their learning story.  I am in awe of the confidence of the learners to share their journey.  They discussed their successes and their challenges and asked for support.  
In a way I felt almost redundant tonight.  I felt like a spectator at times, but I know the hard work that has gone into the preparation is so worthwhile.  The learners are active in their learning journey.  They are empowered to identify their learning journey, their successes, their challenges and encouraged to break the learning into manageable chunks.
I am in awe of the discussions.  I listened to learners sharing the privileges of learning, the benefits of setting up, choosing and working in various learning spaces.  I listened to the learners challenging themselves, challenging their families and challenging me to support and encourage them and also extend them.  
What a true privilege it is to work with such highly tuned learners.  I wish someone had taken the time to sit down with me and discuss my learning style or preferred learning spaces.  I am intrigued with how intune these learners are and I am welcoming another round of learning space ideas.  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The MAGIC of Core e-fellow Master class two…

As with many opportunities, the excitement and learning began well before the main event.  The five of us counted down to our Master Class and re-invigorated and enthused and inspired each other.  Meeting at Christchurch Airport on Thursday morning was magical and our learning discussions f2f ramped up.  We excitedly chatted our way through the first morning sharing our learning journeys and inspiring each other all over again.  The real MAGIC of sharing across the sectors, levels, curriculum areas, and inquiries is in the power of the discussion – how could I use that to empower my learners… We shared our current learning journeys in our classes, our experiences with conferences and educamps and much, much more.  

We toured the South Learning Centre where I was inspired anew by the innovation and openness of shared learning spaces within Christchurch.  The learning space welcomes all and is a true communal space, hosting meetings, browsings, readings, learnings, teachings, and more… 
Back at CORE office we met with Eric Woods from Imaginality and my enthusiasm for augmented reality was again ignited.  I really must follow up on the potential of this with some of my very enthusiastic learners…

A night eluminate session with current and past e-fellows was a great change to gather online.  We were able to hear and feel Dorothy Burt’s passion for the Manaiakalani project.  It was also surreal to link with past e-fellows.
Back at our accommodation the five of us talked, inspired, shared, and chatted into the night.  The connection and power of sharing is tangible. 
Day two started with a fabulous shared breakfast and a wonderful session with Susie Vesper.  I love that no matter how much we think we know, or use, we are only scratching the surface of the wealth of resources and support available.  The key is to see a need or purpose and grab any tool or opportunity to enable more for our learners. 

A real highlight of our Master Classes is the ‘Soul Session’.  DK introduced us to it last time and we were privileged to enjoy another session.

After lunch we were treated to a great session with Emma and Janet around the e-fellowship follwed by a skype with Jane Nicholls on the power of edtalks.
At 2.46pm the ground howled, the table shook and the earth rumbled and hissed and spat… In a nano second I left the table, leapt a heater and cowered in the corner of the room.  This was a very defining moment.  I realised in that moment that I was petrified!  I was shocked at my reaction… I was shocked to realise that all of those who have remained in Christchurch live with this as a part of daily life…

Today as I fly home I am struggling with the turbulence on the flight.  Definitely too bumpy for drinks on the flight… AGHAGH the pilot has just announced that the current cross wind at Dunedin Airport is above the allowable for landing and if we are not successful we are diverting back to Christchurch… my fear is reignited……………………………………..  We have one chance to drop in before we return… Time to shut down the laptop!
Well, here I am, and yes we made it in.  I was petrified, and my stomach was looping the loop.  But constantly, over and over in my mind was this image…

There is only room for one… so I chose faith – faith in the pilot, faith in the plane, faith in everyone involved!  I have been challenged twice in the last few days by Mother Nature.  I am shocked at my lack of resilience.  I am continually learning so much about myself.  I am working to get the balance right..

Two MAGIC days with Pauline!

Following on from the MAGIC of Master Class I had two MAGICAL days with Pauline.  We chatted, geeked, giggled and shared our learning journeys well into Friday night!  We are both on an amazing BYOD journey.  What a lot we have to share.  Our conversation are a springboard, as we hop and leap about all over the place identifying learning opportunities.  We giggled our way through the 'is there learning happening' questions and even talked through the ability of the learner to use a pen and paper when the need arises....
And giggled our way through the wonderful response on Twitter from Jane...
We had a wonderful tour of Burnside High school and worked on the wiki for #educampchch

It will be amazing to be there for the inaugural educamp in Christchurch!  Pauline and I had an amazing time all weekend.  I have so many wonderful ideas to implement.  I am so inspired by Pauline's ability and skill on her ipad.  My short-term goal is to spend more time working on my ipad.  Buzzing with new ideas....  We realised just how geeky we were when it was pointed out to us that we had 6 devices running between us....
We even managed to fit in a little retail therapy... and look at the MAGIC we found...
And even this was serendipitous as it coincided with this tweet from Helen...

MAGIC - it really is the only word for some experiences....

Serendipity of opportunity… Language, Culture, Identity and its place in Raising Student Achievement

Returning to school after a year’s study leave, participating in NAPP with a specific focus on Maori achievement for my inquiry, attending a CORE breakfast session with Deanne and Whare, all of the stars are in alignment for a special learning experience.  Following up from the session with Deanne and Whare, I ran a staff meeting on Tuesday, again serendipity played a part with the meeting immediately following the amazing re-launch meeting for our Kapahaka group.  Our wonderful Kapahaka leader, all of our teaching staff, a large number of parents and a wonderful group of very enthusiastic Kapahaka participants met in the foyer.  I am soooo excited to see the re-launch of our group which has had a two year hiatus.  We have a vision, we have leaders, participants and we have a focus.  We are travelling to Middlemarch to celebrate with their Kapahaka group later this term, we are preparing for Hui Ako next term and late in term three we hope to be ready for the Polyfest.  Exciting times!  We have only a handful of participants from our previous performances and we have a bunch of enthusiastic young members.
Immediately following this set up meeting our staff met and I shared the wonderful presentation by Whare and Deanne.  

Although I was not able to weave into it the MAGICAL stories that Whare and Deanne shared, I was able to share it with a passion and enthusiasm to a very receptive group.  We discussed and shared and celebrated our current successes and looked to our short and long-term future. 
Our short-term goals are:

  • ·         Learn a little reo
  • ·         Research some local history
  • ·         Find out who the Maori leaders are locally
  • ·         Ask questions
  • ·         Ask our Maori mates
  • ·         Use the Maori language in our RE programme across our school – make it visible!

Watch the edtalk here!

We are working to transfer the skills of kapahaka into the class programme. Learning through waiata, participation, through rote learning, learning the waiata, the sounds, then learn the story of the waiata.  We are using the wonderful resource Hei Waiata – Reo Maori across the school.
By learning the language we are linking to using the mental, physical, engagement, participation.
We are embracing multiple ways of learning, and providing everything around a context.
Context where children can

  • ·         See themselves
  • ·         Relate to an experience
  • ·         Feel part of the big picture
  • ·         See something to be proud of

We are working on the concept of identity – as Maori, as a school/kura, as whanau, as me!
We are moving from consultation to engagement!
We are envisioning our starting point, developing a learning joureny, with a progression across the school. 
During the meeting we went for a tour of our extensive Maori resources.  Discussion around the use of Maori readers led to an initiative to have our fluent te reo speakers ‘read’ the texts onto an audio recording for learners to hear and repeat the text.  Initial recordings are very exciting and we are now moving to have the learners working in teams to extend our audio collection. 

I envisage a very exciting, rich, authentic learning journey ahead.  HUGE thanks to Deanne and Whare for the passion to confidently reignite our journey!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Learning Spaces....

I am passionate about 'learners loving to learn' in spaces of their choosing.  I really have to reflect on my own learning experiences recently.  
Yesterday we celebrated #educampdunners in the AMAZING learning space, Te Manawanui, at St Clair School. We had the freedom to move around, to sit in groups, to collaborate, to present, listen, share, learn and grow...

Each space was unique and was chosen to meet our learning needs... How important it is for me to encourage my learners to identify and chose learning spaces to suit their mood, learning task and need.  

On the 16th and 17th of April I had the MAGIC  experience of Ignition2012 in the inspiring learning space of Albany Senior High on the North Shore, Auckland.  Again, we were able to choose our space to meet our needs.  

Ignition, like #educampdunners was an unconference.  

On Wednesday 18th April, Allanah, Barbs, Ingrid and I had a MAGICAL tour of Hingaia Peninsula with Jane Danielson...
I was speechless when I was there... well - as speechless as I can be - and I am gobsmacked when I look back at the photos now...  They say a picture is worth a thousand words... but even a picture doesn't share the MAGIC of the learning journey at Hingaia - if you get a chance to visit - grab it!

Compare this with how I spent the 19th and 20th of April at the NAPP Hui at Holiday Inn, Auckland Airport.  With more than 250 of us seated in groups of 8 around tables crammed into a room with no room to push out your seat.  The Hui was fantastic and the learning journey and networking was MAGICAL.  The learning experience however was incomparable.  I was 'trapped' at my seat.  I was unable to move, relax, or decide on a space or mood for my learning.  

I am not saying that this is wrong.  It is hard to imagine how this would have been possible with such a HUGE number of people.  However, I am saying that the more I learn, the more I reflect, the more I network and discuss, the more determined I am to assist, encourage, model, choice of learning space for my learners.  I am continuing to work with my learners as they reflect and identify their preferred 'space' for individual learning activities.  

What is your preferred learning space?  Does it depend on the learning?  The time of day? The challenge? Your mood?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

#educampdunners MAGIC

The MAGIC of #educampdunners began when Caroline, from Oamaru, arrived at my school yesterday morning.  We spent the day together chatting and sharing, eagerly anticipating educamp.  The MAGIC ramped up when Tania and Victoria arrived and we headed into St Clair school for a quick reconnaissance then off out to STARFISH for pre-unconference dinner! Stimulating conversation, sensational food, good times....
A quick walk along the St Clair Esplanade back to the car saw an opportunity to share Geocaching.  Two 'finds' later and we have two newbie cachers hooked.  As Caroline, Tania, Victoria and I were heading over the hill to Mosgiel we noticed the early hour and took a right turn into the CBD for an adventure, and a Geocache or two... 

The conversation and the MAGIC continued with a little bit of Jazz at Carousel.

Followed by another very successful caching session in and around the Octagon.  Coffee and dessert at Nova rounded off our day... pre-educampdunners...

And so dawned the day - 5 May 2012 #educampdunners.  With 29 of us gathered at St Clair school, the MAGIC of the day began with coffee, conversation, connections and re-connections..

Pure MAGIC to have educators from primary, secondary, and library; Tauranga (virtual chocolate fish to Pascale @phpnz from Tauranga for furtherest travelled), Christchurch, Darfield, Oamaru, Milton, Lawrence,   Invercargill, Dunedin and Mosgiel...

Powerful conversaton continued upstairs in Te Manawanui, with a World CAFE.  Three questions to ponder, discuss, share... 
  • Why are you here?  
  • What are your current successes? 
  • What are your current challenges???

Thanks to the inspiration of the MAGIC folks at #ignition, we followed this up with the 3 concepts or words to describe us, followed by our name as introductions.  Off downstairs for the SMACKDOWN and moving into various discussion groups - ipads, apps, daily5, CAFE, BYOD, mobile learning... 

Followed by yet another little bit of MAGIC for #educampdunners2012 shared onsite lunch!  Almost too good to be true - all gathered together, sharing food, conversations continuing....

As lunch was digesting we shared the pure MAGIC of speed-geeking, reflecting on, clarifying and sharing our tangible takeaways!

Hot on the heels of our speed geeking session was the MAGIC of connecting with our fellow educators at #educamptt The serendipity of two educamps at extreme ends of NZ could not pass without a connection.  This bought back such MAGICAL memories for me of my first educamp experience!  

Continuing the MAGIC, a further two discussion sessions... google docs, apps, my portfolio, Twitter and learning spaces...  Great to welcome so many newbies to the Twitisphere.... 
The conversations continued as we reflected on the MAGIC of the day...

What then, is the pure MAGIC of educamp?
Undoubtedly - it is the people, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata!
29 educators gathered from around New Zealand, across sectors... gathered to share, network, learn, inspire...
The MAGIC lies in the 'wisdom in the room' philosophy, the conversations are led, facilitated, inspired by passionate educators.... The MAGIC lies in the 'rule of two feet' - if you find yourself in a session that is not 'right' for you, move onto a session that is a better fit.  The MAGIC lies in the inspiration of spending time with like-minded educators... The MAGIC lies in the collaboration, the sharing the networking.  The MAGIC lies in the passion and power of sharing.  

Thanks to all involved in what really was a MAGIC day in a stimulating learning environment.  

I arrived home from a MAGICal day, to the serendipity of my postcard arriving in the mail from #ignition2012.  All thanks to Mark Osborne and the team at Albany Senior High for the MAGIC of #ignition and the sheer serendipity of this arriving today... Quite a profound co-incidence... or pure MAGIC - you decide....

I would love to hear what others feel is the MAGIC of the #educamp model....