Thursday, October 25, 2012

Goals and dreams...

You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.  
 C. S. Lewis

Isn't that a wonderful quote.  I am dreaming and setting new goals right now...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Strength and comfort

I know there is strength in the differences between us.  I know there is comfort where we overlap.  Anti DiFranco

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Feeling the passion of 'What Ed Said'

I have been carrying key notes of this post around with me for a while now and finally I find time to reflect on it!  Ten ways to differentiate learning
I really do value this thinking and these ten steps and I want to reflect on what they mean for me.  I think I embrace new learning and ideas when I personalise it - so here goes...

  • Let go - allow the learners to lead and learn and teach.
  • Change your expectations - this one challenges me - my expectations are very high and I always expect the unexpected.
  • Change the sequence - I liken this to Tara's concept of problem posing rather than problem solving, mix it up and flip it around.
  • Use technology creatively - make the technology sing... use, create, innovate;
  • Care about what matters to them - getting to know my learners all over again each term - keep up with where they are at and what motivates them;
  • Assess for learning - learning is a journey, set goals, reflect and learn along the way
  • Embrace inquiry as a stance - inquisitive learners are questioning, challenging and reflecting and questioning all over again;
  • Don't be the only teacher - we have a range of experts across all levels and I learn with, alongside and from my students daily;
  • Focus on the learning not the work - Learners know the journey and the multiple paths to success, 
  • Encourage goal setting and reflection - in everything we do we attempt to set a goal, challenge ourselves and reflect on our journey...
I am so inspired by this list. Thank you for sharing Edna Sackson - you are inspiring... 
I am working my way through the ten things series...


Embrace relational uncertainty.  It’s called romance. 
Embrace spiritual uncertainty.  It’s called mystery. 
Embrace occupational uncertainty.  It’s called destiny. 
Embrace emotional uncertainty.  It’s called joy. 
Embrace intellectual uncertainty.  It’s called revelation. 
Mark Batterson

Clarity, Focus and Purpose...

Sometimes something happens in your life that really brings things into focus.  For me right now, this is #Ulearn12.  The entire experience, connecting, networking, sharing, learning, really brought a clarity to my purpose and direction.  I always say I am a mash-up of everything I experience. This past week has added an incredible richness to my tapestry of learning and teaching.  Many of the changes I have made are outside my teaching and learning journey, they are personal, physical, relational and monumental.  Having just completed my second session at the gym this week I have a new vision and clarity for where I am travelling.  

I have always focused on the journey as opposed to the destination and I am on an incredible journey.  The richness of interacting with inspirational educators is so important to us all.  I liken it to being plugged in and charged up for a week - charged mentally, emotionally, spiritually and strategically.  The challenge is to return to the world we live and work in and 'keep the passion'.  I am frantically chunking my new learning to make everything count.  My class are buzzing, they are benefiting from the MAGIC I have experienced.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pre Ulearn12 MAGIC at Matarangi

Before heading into the most intensely inspiring week of the year Barbs, Allanah and I are chilling in and around the Coromandel.

I will attempt to share some of the MAGIC since I arrived and the pre Ulearn holiday began…

Barbs picked Allanah and I up from the airport and we headed off to Pizza Box where we had lunch with Rachel.  We then meandered our way towards Matarangi caching as we went.  Oh the adventures, the giggles, the fun!  Gorgeous New Zealand scenery, great company and a very relaxed timetable – what more could we ask for? 

Finally arriving at Matarangi the true MAGIC of my beach adventure became apparent – Barbs house is “ON THE BEACH’.  I really don’t know if I have every stayed this close to the water…  What an amazing time…

I just had to swim in the ocean.  Although it was cold to get in, once I was in it was MAGIC.  I just loved it. 

There really is nothing better than watching a sunrise over the water or swimming in the ocean at daybreak or dusk.  

I swam in the ocean many times.  I gathered treasures on the beach.  We cached and coffeed, talked and toured.  We had a wonderful shopping time in Whitianga where I bought a dress for Katie’s graduation, a top and gorgeous purple sandals.  We travelled to bays, and took photos too numerous to mention.  We even fitted in time for a visit to Lost Springs Day Spa!

We had pizza on the beach with ginger beer!  We saw horses galloping in the sand.  We saw the Pohutakawa bursting into flower.  New Zealand - you really are a beautiful place.  

The true MAGIC in the adventure though, undoubtedly, was the wonderful company.  I think back to a time before I knew either of these two and I count my blessings for the richness you add to my life.  

Sunday, October 14, 2012


MAGIC – on the way to Ulearn again…
Here I am in Seat 13C bound for Auckland.  I can hardly believe that it is 365 days since Ulearn in Rotorua.  There sure has been a lot of water under the bridge since then….

·         I graduated with my Master of educational leadership;
·         I completed my e-learning papers out of Tasmania;
·         I got awarded a Core-ed e-fellowship;
·         I got accepted for NAPP;
·         I continued to enjoy my study leave right til the end of 2011;
·         I printed my Twitter Tour blog off as a hardback book;
·         I celebrated Christmas with my amazing family;
·         And in February I returned to school after a truly MAGICAL year.

When I returned I likened the time in class with my learners as being the sheen on my bubble.  I really do love being back with our learners.

As 2012 dawned I set about creating MAGIC out of the amazing learning journey that was 2011.  One Sunday Jane came out to school and chatted with me as I talked about my dreams for a class that fitted the needs of my learners today.  I dreamt of possibilities and together we have worked to realise many of these possibilities and more…

The most significant change has been co-constructing the learning with the learners.  We have worked to create a modern, flexible learning environment that meets our needs.  We reflect on space, light, sound, feelings and which space works best for us at set times… We have amazing conversations about the art of learning. 

BYOB was a dream I had in 2011 and it is now a reality.  My biggest fear was issues of equity.  These fears have proved unfounded as all learners have SIGNIFICANTLY greater access to online learning than I imagined possible.  Key to the start of the BYOB journey was surveying the learners and the families and engaging them in discussion and planning for our journey.  I was amazing and delighted by the challenges issued from the families and the learners.  Together we are working our way towards a blended learning environment.  Reflection on the success of BYOB from the learners clearly place it as given greater access to online time for those without their own device and ubiquity of learning and access for those with their own device.  There are so many highlights to this journey but I would like to highlight a few:
·         ANZAC visit to the local RSA with learners photographing, recording, interviewing, blogging – but really taking the learning to their extended families in a way that really hadn’t been possible until now;
·         Significantly increased engagement in reading by struggling readers engaging with their device through e-books, wiki, blogging and discovering…
·         AMAZING improvement with basic facts and maths concepts – due to access to online support and engagement;
·         Being party to learners responding with wonderment and awe as they record moments to create from, blog about or share with others;
·         Celebrating the journey of discovery as we work out new ways of doing things;
·         Independence of learning and learners – as all are challenged to contribute to learning pathways;
·         Daily discovery with our digital footprint and citizenship;
·         Working with learners to learn from and tidy up online oops;
·         Seeing learners beginning to develop their e-portfolios;
·         Greater reflection on successes;
·         Although I am not app focused and do not see apps as ‘the way’ to learning, I delight in the sharing and discovery as learners collaborate at their ‘app fests’;
·         Learning, unlearning and relearning with our devices;
·         Increased family involvement in the learner’s online world;
·         Significantly increased blogging and distance collaboration;
·         Development of responsibility for own device, learning and collaboration;
·         Google docs and forms as accepted collaborative behaviour;
·         Responding to the work of others in unprecedented ways;
·         Truly BYOB with iPads, ipods, androids, tablets, laptops,

Woohoo – what a list!  I am delighted that I took the time to record some of the MAGIC of the journey that is BYOB.  I guess it is only fair that I record some of the main challenges.

·         Technicalities – thanks to Dave this has been completely doable;
·         Trail blazing – as the only class that is BYOB it has been very important to learn from the journey ready to roll out to senior school next year;
·         Remaining steadfast to my pedagogical beliefs – it is only a tool and it is only used if it is a better, creative or innovative way to enhance our learning;
·         Making the most of this amazing journey – I look back on my timeline and realise I am only about ¼ of the way into what I planned for my first year…
·         Moving to a fully blended learning environment;
·         Continuing to challenge the learner to go beyond the horizon….

Alongside the BYOB and the learning spaces, finally running student led conferences as opposed to parent/teacher interviews has been the realisation of a long held dream.  I would now really struggle to return to the interviews.  The journey of watching the learner identify their successes and challenges and openly discuss what they need to do to meet self-set goals and the support they need from family and teacher is inspirational.

I sometimes think I learn best when I am the silent observer. 

This is only really possible when a class is in sync!  When our guidelines are in place and as a team we work to these guidelines anything is possible.  What then are our guidelines? Two very simple words thanks to Andrew Churches – RESPECT AND PROTECT!  We respect and protect ourselves, others and property (including intellectual).  With this as our mantra anything really is possible. 

So, back to the flight, here I am winging my way to Ulearn12, with a MAGICAL holiday on Matarangi beach with two very special people for a few days. 

I am eternally grateful for the privilege of being a teacher in New Zealand. 
I am eternally grateful for the privilege of networking and collaborating with the most amazing educators around New Zealand thanks to the power of Twitter.
I am uber excited to be heading to my favourite place in the whole world – the beach.
I am uber excited to be able to share a little of the MAGIC of my journey in my presentation MAGICAL mash-up at Ulearn!

Life is GOOD, very, very good. 

I am also incredibly excited to have launched a new blog this morning AK-MAGIC dedicated to the moments of MAGIC everywhere and anywhere.  

Monday, October 1, 2012


"Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones." 
- Phillips Brooks