Sunday, March 31, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

Raise your voice...

"Raise your words, not voice.  
It is rain which grows flowers, not thunder."  Rumi

Friday, March 22, 2013


So here I am up in the air again...

This time I am flying to Christchurch for a drive to Hanmer for our staff retreat.  I must share my first muck up!  I did not bring a printed out photo of myself doing something I love.  I think that was perhaps the only mandatory requirement and I overlooked it!  I could beat myself up about it, or I can laugh at myself and problem solve that with my new family…. (Truth be known, I’ve been beating myself up about it, now I am ready to let it go and problem solve or be creative about it.)  I have plenty of digital photos with me…. We will find a way…

So, what are my goals for this retreat?
I want to:
·      Meet as many of my colleagues as possible and establish a rapport
·      Discuss, reflect, listen, identify – the CORE ethos
·      Learn the CORE song
·      Share my mihi
·      Socialise
·      Explore Hanmer with colleagues
·      Soak in the hot pools
·      Run
·      Celebrate
·      BE…..
Are these goals manageable?  Yes, I think they are very manageable… I am ready to engage and be a part of this new family of mine!

NAPP – Coaching and Mentoring Through Partnership…

What an incredible privilege to be in the room with the 2013 NAPPsters… 
I have an incredible amount of empathy for the NAPPsters and relate to the infowhelm they are currently experiencing! It is so clear in my memory from the journey I walked in 2012!

I am loving the opportunity to refocus my thinking and re-live the coaching session…

I am enjoying listening to Jill Lunn sharing the power of the listening and coaching in the journey. 

It is always a challenge to take an idea further through listening and reflecting.  To take a situation from clutter to clarity, identify the three main areas of concern, and prioritize them.

When you have prioritized your situation make sure you repeat the mantra “I need to be IN the change…” The answers are within us and with the support of a buddy we must take time to find them out.  This aligns beautifully with the wisdom in the room philosophy of educamps.

I am enjoying the opportunity to re-look at the Coaching and Mentoring Through Partnership by Jan Robertson…
·      Why partnership?
·      Active listening…
·      Reflective interviewing…
·      Self-assessment
·      Goal setting
·      Setting objectives and goals
Sticking with the WHY? Focus clearly on the why… enabling deep reflection…

As always I am relating this session today to my current situation.  How can I use the coaching model to focus my inquiries this year?  How can I share this with my schools? When I develop a page on the VLN for my schools I can share links to Jan’s coaching model.  I can actively listen to educators sharing their inquiry.  I can assist with reflective interviewing and walk alongside my schools as they set manageable objectives and goals. 

My session sharing with the NAPPsters was around the use and maneagability of the online environments they must work in.  Ironic that this was to be without access to the internet.  I was able to share my passion for everbody having a voice and making sure our voice is heard.  Again I shared the clip Obvious to you, amazing to others…

I encouraged all to get onboard early with comments, interact and engage to establish conversation and collaboration.
Above all, the challenge is to make the journey manageable.  Make it a part of your life, a manageable part of your life.  Keep up with the required components.  I shared my favourite life quote – "If you learn, teach; if you get, give!"  Building on this I encourage the group to share their current expertise in online learning environments within the group and support each other to success!

Relating this to my current role, I know how powerful it is to maintain touch with the required components.  As soon as you tick of items on your to do list you are so open and ready for challenge and opportunities.  I am absolutely a ‘glass half full’ girl and I know that the world is full of MAGICal opportunities.  To engage in these opportunities requires an openness, and a willingness to show your passions, experiences, expertise and indeed your vulnerabilities!  I am incredibly privileged to be in such a supportive environment where I can do all of this.  Yes, I get embarrassed when I muckup, as I inevitably do from time to time, but if I treat every muckup as a chance to grow and learn and laugh at myself I will be richer for each experience.  

Stadium to surf

How much fun did Jane and I have in the Stadium to Surf run?
It was truly MAGIC!  Gorgeous course, mostly around the water!  I loved it, and I loved the superhero ending...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

iD Fashion Show

On Friday the 15th of March I had the privilege of sitting in the front row by the catwalk for the iD Fashion show.  It was AMAZING!  I loved it from start to finish!  My absolute favourite was Rakel Blom "the world through my eyes", followed by Tansy Morris and Tamsin Cooper.
I loved it!  
I hope this lets you see some of the MAGIC of the show....

"Park with excellence until you are excellent"

After a MAGIC day with Kevin I got thinking about how I can shape up my learning journey for the year.  I got thinking about "parking with excellent until I am excellent".  I got thinking about exactly how this happens within my new organization.  All strengths are shared and all benefit from the wisdom and learning journey of others. 
I got thinking about my inquiry for the year.  After spending time hearing about the e-fellows amazing session with Mark Osborne I want to know so much more about teaching as inquiry.  I want to spend time reading, reflecting, questioning and really understanding an area of ‘crisis’ in my journey for me to focus on.  I want to grow into my role helping others come to their understanding of their individual teaching inquiry.
Pauline and I spent Friday night sharing our previous two days and building our learning buzz.  Late into the night we discussed the ten trends and focused on the matrix.  

Really focusing on specific trends, we looked to offer some challenges to ourselves. 
As a conversation on twitter developed I was curious as to my exact start date with Twitter and found I was able to download a full archive of my 9000+ tweets… fascinating reading indeed.  How clearly I remember the day, 16 February 2010, sitting beside Claire at our e-teach session, my fascination growing as she tweeted and interacted with others outside our group, our room, our country.  I was fascinated and was extremely privileged to have Claire sit with me and mentor me into Twitter.  From that moment forward there was no turning back.  It was like coming home to the ‘missing link’, the ability to connect synchronously and asynchronously with those beyond my face to face world. 
I owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to Claire for the incredibly start.
I have never looked back.  I continue to connect, collaborate, network and share with my PLN enabling me the richest possible learning journey.

Flying home again… Why is it that I blog in the air… Maybe it is because I have the quiet, peaceful time between land and land to gather my thoughts.  Whatever the reason, I do take some amazing sky shots.  Tonight the light is stunning.  It makes me think about all the degrees of light on our learning journey.  There is the scorching bright light (sun) when we are intensely involved in learning; the bright rays shining as our learning reaches out; the light areas as our learning illuminates new pathways, the blue sky as the potential for our learning to transcend; the clouds as the challenges and pitfalls to our new learning; the shadows as the opportunities to think about our immediate impact with new learning; the dark areas as untouched but ever present opportunities, and all of the shades between light and dark as degrees of engagement with new learning.  My immediate challenge is to ensure I multitask less and focus more.  I must take the learning from Kevin Honeycutt and turn off the channels I am not using and sharpen up the focus on the channels I have open.  

Working with children on blog commenting...

Today was a very special day for me.  It was my first day this year working with children.  I always knew that I would find it difficult to be away from the learners and I knew I would miss my kids and class a lot! 

I am loving the new role and everything about it and today my two passions combined - blended e-learning facilitation and working with kids.  

I spent the morning in a class working on what makes a great blog post and allowing the learners to create someway of memorising the five steps to a great post!  

  1. Greeting
  2. Praise 
  3. Comment
  4. Question
  5. Closing
I was absolutely blown away by the range of options and ways of internalising the 5 steps from 5 year olds to 12 year olds...  Kids are so jolly inspirational...

One delightful learner decided to work with me to record the journey...

...and did I mention it's a stunning drive to the school too!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ellerslie Flower Show MAGIC

Excitedly I counted down to the Ellerslie Flower show.  Having read the mixed reviews in the Press I was keen to get there to see for myself.  It was exciting to arrive to no queues but sad for the organisers.  As I share this, I ask you to think about the MAGIC that is Ellerslie and consider travelling to Christchurch for the show in 2014.  It really is an incredible show, with something for everyone.  Enough said... sit back and enjoy! (I did take a few photos... so it is quite a long clip... just over ten minutes...)

MAGIC MAGIC day part two

I have to start this post with the MAGIC of this...

I am still in awe of the privilege of yesterday... No matter how many edtalks I have watched, reflected on or workshops or keynotes I have had with Kevin, the real MAGIC was in being alongside the engaging with the student learner... The power of the connection, passion and MAGIC in the room was tangible...  

I was privileged to view the varying levels of engagement... those uber keen to be upfront, those wanting to hang around the upfront kids, those hanging back and those firmly staying in the audience...  The real MAGIC was in the ultimate respect for each learner to be where they were with the challenge and welcome to engage and push themselves.  To see what is really possible when you reach your learners is what I miss now that I am not in class.  The opportunity to walk with your learner...

How do we make sure all our learners have the opportunity to share their talents?  This kid is oozing talent.  Imagine the inspiration he can be for others... Imagine what is possible building a culture of performance...

For me, now is the time to walk in the path of adult learners... I am very excited about this opportunity.  I am inspired to ensure I do all in my power to listen to the educators I work with, and ensure they have their chance to shine and share!  I really feel this clip can never be shared too often...

What a privilege to work with Kevin.  Check out his website here and look out for his return visit to New Zealand in June!  
What a privilege to meet Joanne in Christchurch at the weekend and hear the buzz from the session with Kevin.  Then to catch up with Karen and feel the vision and the opportunities.  

A HUGE thank you to Karen for letting me celebrate the journey.   I am in awe of the learners.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Not sure how I can do today justice.... 
I kept a bucket load of notes in the wonderful evernote only to be let down with it disappearing when I did the required change of password...
So I have MAGICal memories as opposed to notes...
The day began at a high school in Christchurch with Kevin Honeycutt!  Session one was with an auditorium packed full of year 11-13s.  I was in the unique position of being able to sit on the side and watch the faces, the expressions, the body language of the learners as they engaged with Kevin and climbed onboard his story.  I saw the pain in their connections and the joy, I saw the learners seeing themselves in Kevin's story.  I felt the buzz, the connection, the celebration and acknowledgement of their potential....
Starting the day with the message "want to be great, then make no excuses, work hard and make a better song"!  What a powerful message.  We all have MAGIC inside - we must choose how to use it, how to maximise our potential...
What opportunities do we give our learners, or do we take ourselves to share our voice?  Why not try  The power of this is revolutionary...
The seniors were mesmerised... 
The session peaked with learners taking the stage to play the drums on the ipad, to collaborate and make music...
At the end of the hour they did not want to leave.... How often does that happen I wonder?  What does it take to hook and engage our learners?  How can we use these tools as onramps for all our learners?

The juniors arrived and again I watched them arrive, eyes widening viewing the 'tools' on display on stage... 
For me, as a primary teacher, it was fascinating to view the distinct differences between the senior and the junior group!  I am in awe of Kevin's was to 'read' and engage with the audience... The juniors laughing and learning and engaging with the challenge "how do you want to spend your heartbeats?"  
I am feeling the realisation of the learners, identifying themselves in the story... as the question is asked - do we take the time to think before we post online?  I love the chance to view this story....
Are we teaching our learners to think before we put our finger back in the danger zone?  Are we teaching them to think before they post or txt?
Are we challenging our learners to identify their legacy?
Are we being what our learners need?
Are we there for them?
Are we rewindable?
Are we free of judgement?
A jamming session with the juniors ending with woof whistles and cheers and a reluctance to leave the auditorium by this next bunch....

The third session of the day was incredibly powerful!  A group of music and drama students came together for a much more intimate, hands on session...  Ohhhh truly a goosebump session!  There were really three groups within the session: the singers and band, the backers and dancers, the audience... Each group had its ultimate respect and together the auditorium rocked out an incredibly powerful, extremely emotional version of 'Stand by me'!  

I will link this later...
I love the learning of iteration - a new version of a new version of a new version!  The learners are so engaged in this message... "What is my potential?" 
"Park next to excellent until you're excellent."  
... part two tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Learning, growing, sharing, connecting and paying it forward...

The beginning….
I really want to share a little of the story of a new beginning…
When I accepted this chance as facilitator I believed it to be a dream come true and I eagerly anticipated a steep learning curb and a challenging adventure.
I hoped for support and guidance along the way but I could never have imagined how amazing it would feel to join this team…
I want to share a little of what I have learnt that I will take with me wherever I go in the hope that sharing it will embed it in my practice and in the hope that someone, somewhere will pick up something useful…
·      I do not feel as if I have been employed or offered a job, I feel as if I have been adopted into a family.  Taking this into a class setting, what can we do to make sure all our learners feel this way?
·      I have been immersed in new learning, discoveries and challenges with the caring, gentle support of team members and leaders.  How can we use the expertise within our school communities to ensure that we support new members?
·      I have been given the chance to tell my story, to share my passions, hopes and dreams, to celebrate who I am and what I have to offer.  How do we make sure every learner tells their story and shares their passions?
·      I have been privileged to hear the stories of others, to share their journey and get to know them as a person as well as an educator.  How do we really reach our learners, before we teach our learners?  How do we encourage them to share and listen and dig deeper to get to know others?
·      I have been supported by buddies who mentor me, model practice for me, walk my journey and support me, but also let me be me.  How do we walk with our learners but really let them be who they are to be the best they can be?
·      I have felt an overwhelming ‘tender loving care’ for me as a person in my new role.  How do we create a ‘tender loving caring’ environment for ALL our learners?
·      I am privileged to be operating in an extremely high trust environment.  How do we ensure our learners are challenged with high expectations and high trust to be the ‘best they can be’?
·      I feel as if I am plugged into a direct source of professional learning and development. I am loving the learning journey.  How do we ensure our learners ‘learn to love to learn’ to quote the famous Kevin Honeycutt?
·      I am hearing, feeling and learning the story of our priority learners.  How do we sensitively reach our priority learners and strive to provide on-ramps to learning success for them?
·      I am aware of the extreme privilege of my journey.  I am in awe of the opportunities around me, and before me.  I am living the dream…  How do we create a classroom environment where all our learners live the dream?
As I journey into this role I am in awe of the opportunity I have to facilitate, learn, share, grow, connect, network, be…
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all of you who are supporting, encouraging, challenging, nurturing me in my new role...  I will pay it forward!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Engaging with a blog....

In response to recent discussions on Twitter I would love to share some ideas that worked for us with our blogs...

"A blog without comments is like a day without sunshine" and I believe a blog is to be interacted with...

So here goes, sharing of ideas I have read, heard about, tried, thought about....

The absolute guru of blogging and comments for learners is Linda Yollis.  I have used so many of her wonderful ideas with great success...

How to comment

Learning how to comment

How to compose a quality comment

For me, it has been really essential to spend time with the class looking at how, why, when, where and what to comment on and interact with.  I have started the year by looking at a blogpost and modelling commenting, replying to a comment and continuing interaction.  

Celebrate each post, each comment, each view.  Load your blog up with widgets to enable you to see your visits, where they are from, etc with: statcounterClustrmaps, flag counters, feedjit.  None of these will increase your visits or comments, but they make interesting viewing and can really encourage your learners and families to interact.

Writing tasks for independent time are reading blog posts and comments, adding comments and responding to comments.  I have found it invaluable to look back on comments and posts and continue to model commenting.  

Family sessions are essential.  We must allow time for learners to teach their extended families how to view and interact with blogs.  We found it invaluable to have the learners run the session, working with their families in class.

Learners can wear a lanyard or bracelet home to notify their families that they have a blog post that needs viewing and commenting on that night.

Notices on the class blog can alert families to special posts, or better still families can all subscribe to the blog and receive updates automatically.

Grandparents and extended families overseas can be encouraged to subscribe and interact.  

Communicating with experts in any learning journey can allow opportunities for linking to the blog.  

Speakpipe is a great way to allow families to record their message.  It is great to listen to a response to a post.  We found it valuable to experiment with recording messages in class also.

As part of the process of 'earning' their own blogs, learners were encouraged to read posts and comment on a given number each day.  Not only did this ensure that the posts were read, it also ensures that learners are regularly commenting at school, which makes it easier for them to support their families at home.

Use labelling carefully.  Encourage every learner to tag every post with their name and subject making it all easily searchable within the tag cloud.  

Check out our last year's class blog to see some of these ideas.  Check out the side bar and the links we use.  

It is not easy to get comments because everyone is busy.  I think he key for us was to ensure all comments were read and responded to when necessary.  Learners love receiving comments and are very open and honest commenting on each other's posts.  

Quadblogging has been invaluable for us to have an authentic interactive audience for our blog.  It is also incredibly valuable to have a buddy class within your school environment.  Not only can this strengthen relationships it sets a benchmark and challenges others to interact.  I like to think of it as an upward spiral of interaction.

Given that we are wanting people to interact with our blog, the challenge is on us to share interesting posts.  We must share, reflect on our work and encourage others to interact with our learning journey...  We must seize the opportunities to share our learning journey with our families when they are not present.  Best examples of this are class outings, camps, beach trips, swimming lessons, athletics... the list is endless.  Every experience we have is an opportunity for learners to 'record' and share with a wider audience.  Once parents begin to see their learner's life through the blog you are well on the way.  Remember, it does not come easily... You have to work at it, persevere, encourage, engage, connect, collaborate and continue to publish to your blogs.

Another fabulous forum is sharing links to blog posts on twitter.  Your PLN are your best audience and you will find that people are only to happy to engage with your blog.  The key is that blog commenting is a two way street.  To expect comments, you must be prepared to post comments.  Using the hashtag #commentsforkids is a really useful way to encourage comments.  

I guess, for us, our blog is a way to connect with each other, to create, collaborate and share, to comment and interact with our audience.  It is a place to showcase and reflect on our work.  It is a way of taking down our classroom walls and inviting an authentic audience to engage and interact.  

I remember attending a CORE breakfast listening to DK talk about a blog as an intersection, a crossroad, a meeting place... Your blog can be all this and more...

Good luck with making your blog MAGIC!