Thursday, April 20, 2017

40 years on...

40 years on from the time when Mr V flicked the 'learning switch' within me,
Six months on from tracking my form one and two teacher down in Niue, where he now resides,

and today we met up again!

Wow, what an incredible privilege to meet again face to face!  Our email exchanges over the past few months have paved the way and we recognised each other instantly. 

I was transported back to the very enjoyable time of learning... the time of photos taken on Keith's camera around Allanton, developed in the converted cupboard at the top of the stairs from the staffroom.  I can still close my eyes and reimagine the smell of the chemicals, and the trays, and tongs, and the importance of the procedure and process.  I still feel the overwhelming sense of trust Keith had in us, respect and trust.  

The photos may have faded, but the memories and the history is strong... 


Agh, the times of going door to door around the community, gathering favourite family recipes, typing them up, and using the banda machine to copy of recipe books to sell to raise funds for school camp. There were enduring elements of trust, fun, choice and self direction in Keith's programme.  

I have always attributed my love of photos to Mum and her 'box-brownie'.  Just today, I realise, that Keith, you probably enhanced this. As we have moved to the digital error, I take countless photos... something like 20+ a day on average... and have treasured memories of most of life's journeys.  I am always capturing perspectives through the lens, and think I always will.

Our relaxed chatter over lunch was a real privilege after a 40 year gap.  So much to catch up on, so little time.  A precious reminder - take and make time for the important things in life. Who has had a significant impact on your life?  Do they know? If not, maybe now is the time to tell them...

Today though marks a very special day for me... I am an educator, I am a connected educator, I am a facilitator, ... maybe, as Mum calls me, I really am a 'facilitator of happiness'!!!

Happy to have reconnected today, thanks Keith!

Forever grateful that I took the time to write about my 'learning switch' flip,
Forever grateful of the chance connection to locate you via email in Niue,
Forever grateful for the passion for learning, that you modelling, and the empowerment and agency you gifted us...
Forever grateful that I held the dreams you gifted us, and went on to become a teacher...
Forever grateful for the power of technology, when used for good, to connect us online, to enable the face to face connection,
and even more grateful that this face to face connection will endure future online catch ups....
Until you return later this year.... lunch is on me next time!

Thank you for the trust, respect, passion, love of learning, inspiration and genuine care...
The world is a greater place when people inspire others... You inspire me, and in turn, may I be half as inspirational to those I walk alongside....

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Independent Reading Activity with Instructional Series

How are you using the Instructional Series?
I would like to share how I have been working with classes to use this site for a follow up independent reading activity after an Instructional Reading Session. 

On an iPad, using Safari (yes truly Safari), type in http://instructionalseries.tki.org.nz/  
Use the filter function to the level of books your learner is working with. I have filtered to purple.  If you click on the word purple you will see the titles that are available to listen to independently or with a buddy or group. (using ear buds, or using as a listening post with a splitter.)



On the top right of the iPad, click on the upload icon, then click on 'add to Home Screen'

Click on the Add button on the top right.


This appears as an icon on the iPad to books in the Instructional Series filtered to Purple. 




The critical step now, is to add a purple sticker or dot to this iPad, so learners know if they are on purple this is the iPad for them. 

Repeat filtering to other levels, and adding other dots.

I would love to know how this works for your learners.  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Makamaka - Saddle Hill

Growing up in Allanton under the shadow of Saddle Hill, Makamaka as I now know it, I have often wondered of the stories and legends.  

Saddle Hill's twin humps are named for the body parts of the famous taniwha (mythical monster) Matamata. The large hump is his belly - Puke Makamaka - and the smaller is his knee - Turi Makamaka. Another tradition identifies the Hokonui hills as his resting place. Both use the taniwha's restless movements as an explanation for the land forms and river courses of the area. Matamata is identified with Kati Mamoe chief Rakitauneke and the Otakou chief Karetai. (I saved this some time ago, and unfortunately I did not copy the source, and now cannot locate it. If anyone is able to help with this please let me know.)


"The Taieri was once the abode of a taniwha (water monster) which had its home up the Silver-stream Valley near Whare Flat. Its nest was a swamp, Waipotaka (round pool), but it was of a restless disposition so it journeyed down stream to the place where the town of Mosgiel, and the woollen factory, now stand. The hollow where the town exists was formed by its weight. Mosgiel did not meet the monster's demands so it tripped down the Taieri River. Wriggling and wriggling it made all the sharp bends between Allanton and Otokia. This part of the Taieri is called Te Rua taniwha and its former resting place at Mosgiel is Te Konika o te matamata. When the taniwha died it became Saddle Hill near Riccarton with two main humps named Puke Makamaka and Turi Makamaka." source http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-TayLore-t1-body1-d21.html 


Slow down and listen...

I started the day with a very slow walk.  After an epic day of walking yesterday, and a very sore knee there really wasn't an option for anything else.

Yesterday was a HUGE day.  My early morning walk was listening to podcasts, my late afternoon walk with Susan was all about chatting and catching up on each other's lives.  My evening walk was a stroll along the beach with Grant, after our picnic tea.  

This morning's walk was again listening to podcasts but it was different.  It was SLOW, slightly PAINFUL, with a very sore right knee and it was reflective.  As I first listened to 'slowing down' I had a new insight into my reflection on my practice. It really is fact that we learn far more by reflecting on our experiences than we ever do while experiencing something. I also learnt a lot about the power of procrastination.  On this, my first week back at work for 2017, much of my week seems to have been procrastination.  This podcast helped me realise the potential of incomplete tasks, and the value of leaving something and coming back to it with fresh eyes!  If we complete a task, we often do it rapidly, settling for our first idea.  If we procrastinate for too long we are often pressured into completion of an idea that is not well thought out or developed, but if we procrastinate, re-visit, reflect, we can often be more creative and complete work that is innovative.  

For me as a Professional Learning Solutions, Ministry Accredited Facilitator, there is a huge a amount of food for thought in this podcast.  How do we deliver professional development, and support transformational change that allows for a degree of procrastination? My initial thoughts are this:
We need to:
  • Develop a relationship with the people we work with, a deep, trusting relationship.  This takes time, and brings the tension of beginning the work, developing the relationship. Increasingly I think we need an intricate mix of blended ways of working. Our relationship begins to develop with the very first contact, the phone call or email, and continues well beyond our last session.  
  • Foster collaborative ways of working.  As the relationship(s) develop, we are increasingly compelled to collaborate.  
  • Be transparent in our ways of working, actions, processes, activities, goals.
  • Model and encourage reflection.
  • Inquire into our own practise and share our learning journey.
  • Explicitly identify, acknowledge and value ways of working and being. 
  • Be vulnerable.  Share our own learning and vulnerability.
  • Identify, acknowledge and build on capabilities and capacities.
  • Foster sustainable change.
I am very excited about the year ahead.  Unlike my teaching colleagues I do not have a class to prepare for.  I have something unique to us in our role as facilitators, something I am beginning to identify more and more as a unique privilege.  I have the privilege of meeting new educators, with a passion for learning.  I have the privilege of walking alongside them in an inquiry, unique to them, their context, their place, their journey.  I have the privilege of being able to bring different perspectives, resources, ways of working, to support and extend the incredible journey educators make daily to improve outcomes for all our learners, the future of our world.   

So, off now to work on my own inquiry... time to really reflect on my incredible PPLP session with Margaret and prepare for gathering evidence as my own inquiry grows this year.  Indeed an exciting time ahead.... 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Stop, Listen, Go...

For over one year now I have committed to walking 10,000 steps a day.  Yes, I have missed the odd day, and yes it has transformed my life.  I am fitter, happier and healthier.  I absolutely love the opportunity to get out and walk.
For most of the past year I have listened to music as I walk.  While I was walking around Naseby tracks and trails I began to notice that I would return from a walk and I could not tell you much I what I saw, heard, smelt or felt during the walk.  This got me thinking, was music distracting me from the act of walking?  Was it blocking the reality of walking?
I tried a couple of walks in silence.  I sure did notice more.  I noticed the colours, the sounds, the smells and the feel of the breeze, or sun.  However I got back from these walks totally recalling the walking, the length, duration, steps, and some of the JOY of walking was missing.  I persevered and found that walking in silence wasn't necessarily working for me either.
Yesterday I caught up with Rowan and she talked about podcasts.  For the longest time I have been meaning to download podcasts, and last night I did.
Today I listened to a podcast as I walked.

WOW

I walked far further, and jogged far more than I realised.  I was in the moment of walking, jogging, listening to inspiraitonal talks from the TED Radio Hour.
Today I listened to "Being Happy" and "Headspace".  Both of them delighted and inspired me. This also got me thinking.  Maybe the secret is in mixing up my walking.  Maybe I can walk in silence in the beauty of the tracks and nature, listen to music in the busy town streets, intersperesed with listening to podcasts.  My takeaway from today is that whatever I am doing I need to focus on what I am doing.  Being fully present to what I am doing.  "Stop, listen, go", a very cool phrase from my podcast from the Ted Talk "Want to be happy, be grateful".



I am really excited about the potential for learning, thinking and reflecting while walking...