Let’s encourage our kids to be creative …

Here’s something very creative – it could become my favourite rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus.

Kiwi Christmas Day

The best kind of Christmas Day is one where no one gets upset or has a hissy fit; where people chill out; and where family get together.

The kids, me, my ex-husband/kids father, and his other son – sharing the cooking and the eating. All very peaceful. Just as it should be.

Then a walk on the beach in the sun.

First view of the beach and there are many people around - not crowds - it's not that kind of beach - but lots - either paddling, swimming or just doing the traditional Christmas Day walk on the beach.
First view of the beach and there are many people around - not crowds - it's not that kind of beach - but lots - either paddling, swimming or just doing the traditional Christmas Day walk on the beach.
Some freak of weather means that details of Kapiti Island stand out very clear to the observer (but not necessarily to the cell phone camera!).
Some freak of weather means that details of Kapiti Island stand out very clear to the observer (but not necessarily to the cell phone camera!).
There's even someone flying about in a biplane!
There's even someone flying about in a biplane!
A view of the beach looking south.
A view of the beach looking south.
And looking north.
And looking north.
And finally a small pohutukawa tree I spotted on the way home. This is the NZ Christmas tree and tradition says that if it is in bloom before Christmas Day then we'll have a long hot summer.
And finally a small pohutukawa tree I spotted on the way home. This is the NZ Christmas tree and tradition says that if it is in bloom before Christmas Day then we'll have a long hot summer.

End of year posts

I’ve just made a final post to my class blog – next year I’m in a new classroom with a new number and and year level. The new teacher who will be in the new Room 10 probably won’t be taking over the blog – although she’ll take over the Room 10 wiki later in the year.

In the mean time I’ve created a new class wikiand class blog. Next years students are going to be using edublogs for their ePortfolios so I’ve changed the class blog to Blogger.

Saying goodbye to Room 10 hasn’t been as painful as I thought it would be.


Watch the video and Join1Goal … education for all.


New Classroom

Today we moved into our new classroom – I shot some video footage of the different stages of turning the Library into Room 10. Enjoy

They say a change is as good as a holiday …

I’m not really sure who they are but I suspect they are sort of right.

I guess it depends on what we do with the change or even how we approach it but if we do it right it’s great.

The change for me is moving into a new classroom (ex-library) and up a level – from teaching Year 3&4 (Grade 2&3) to Year 5 (Grade 4). Our “middle” part of the school will have 3 vertical teams each with 4 classes and each class teaching a separate year level – Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 & Year 6. It’s the first time we’ve done something like this at our school but I think it’s exciting.

Because we are a full primary school (Y0-Y8) our Year 6 students are in a bit of a limbo – other primary schools that only go to Year 6 have leadership roles which the Year 5&6 students take up – but in our school those roles are given to the Year 7&8 students. By having vertical teams we should (theoretically) be able to see some of our Year 5/6 students being given opportunities to show leadership within our teams.

I was initially apprehensive of moving up to Year 5 – my previous experience teaching in that level wasn’t so great – but it was in our old format and I was job-sharing and once I realised that it was going to be different then I began to be quite excited by the prospect. Although I will only have 3 students moving with me (the rest being shared out among the other Year 4 & 5 classes) I will still have a core who’ve been through our fantastic year and who’ve done much of the eLearning experimenting/experiencing with me (including my fantastic student who featured in my Ulearn09 presentation). These 3 students will be my ‘experts’ for the first term.

My new classroom is going to be fantastic – we move in on Monday and when we visited the empty library today the kids started planning out where desks and “learning space” (not my term!) could be. We’ll have a week and a half in there before we break for our summer holidays. I shot a short video of the library before the books were packed; after they were packed and the shelves moved; I’ll shoot one on the weekend when my son and I move some of the gear over and then another short one with the desks and kids in there. Then I’ll merge them all and post here.

I’m looking forward to next year – it’s going to be another exciting, fast moving, thrilling eLearning journey for me and my class.

And my motto for next year?

I have two (which I am going to turn into posters for the classroom):

  • Learning is about taking a risk
  • Learning is about flying high
  • Both inspired by an old book (late 70’s publication) I have called “Skies Call 2” full of skydiving photos taken by Andy Keech that has some truly spectacular photo shots. (The one below features on the cover of the book.)

    My class will be the Room Nine High Divers. We’re going to dive into learning, take risks, enjoy new challenges and soar to new heights.

    National Standards

    There’s a lot of talk happening about National Standards – probably more people are talking about them than about anything else introduced over the last few years. We’ve been working with Murray Gadd and he likened the National Standards to signposts and tied them in with Literacy Learning Progressions and the new National Curriculum.

    Here’s a clip from Core-Ed featuring John Hattie.

    8 keys to success

    We watched this video today at our cluster lead teachers meeting.

    ULearn09 – the recap

    I’ve had a busy holiday period – week 1 was NZEI Annual Meeting and week 2 was ULearn09 in Christchurch. I arrived home last night and am now trying to sort out all the new ‘stuff’ I’ve come away from ULearn09 with.

    We (my colleague Mariee and I) flew from Wgtn to Chch in the evening. As we were waiting at the airport someone said to me “Aren’t you KiwiJoe?” And so ULearn09 began even before we’d left Wgtn. On the same flight in (and out) as us were some teachers from another local school.

    We landed and took a taxi to our hotel room where we checked in, dumped our bags and went back out straight away to catch up with those who were still at the twitter dinner. Some were still there but most had left still it was great to finally meet Chris, Kirsten, Myles, Dorothy & Jenny and to see some old faces – Barbs, Allanah, Rachel (and I’ve probably forgotten someone!).


    First up was the opening keynote (preceded by an address by Anne Tolley) – Gary Stager who talked about 10 things you can do with a laptop – he also had some pointed things to say about National Standards!. We sat with Kirsten and Kelly and took collaborative notes and tweeted during the keynote.


    Then it was time for Breakout 1. I went to “Juniors can do IT” with Rachel. (I took notes using etherpad until my battery died.) Although geared for younger children than I teach I came away with some ideas that I will use this coming term as part of our topic work.

    Breakout 2 was “Software for learning” facilitated by Fiona and Rocky. This wasn’t what I thought it was going to be BUT it was very helpful in thinking about mindshifts and how ICT is used in classrooms and how it connects to the NZC. We looked at the 5 stages of embedding ICT into the classroom and we talked about how to support teachers in all the various stages. The thing I’ve come away with is a reminder that even when you’re the school ‘expert’ you haven’t finished learning!

    Mariee and I relaxed during Breakout 3 – we wandered around the exhibition hall and chatted to various people at the Bloggers’ Cafe (including Simon who had me sold on a new piece of technology – actually I bought 2 new things to use in my classroom! – A new Creative video similar to the Flip called Vado & an Easi-speak microphone).


    Wednesday evening we had a reception at the venue then “The Randoms” (some of us) went out for dinner at the Dux de Lux with some of us going on to The Base afterwards.

    (We called ourselves the randoms because we’re all here in ones or twos and are all on twitter so planned to spend time together around meals.)


    An early start for me with a 7am Twitter breakfast. Great to relax over an excellent breakfast with the others!

    I missed Thursday’s keynote as I was a little ‘keyed up’ before my two taster breakouts. I presented a taster session on Twitter followed by one on eLearning & using blogs/wikis in the classroom. Both sessions went well and there were 15-20 people in both sessions (some there for both).



    Breakout 5 was “Why wait? Start using wikis and blogs now!” by Kelly. I really went along to support her as it was at Christ’s College which is a mac environment but I found myself being challenged with new ways of using my wiki. Thanks Kelly!

    We had an early finish on Thursday as we all had to get ready for The Dinner. We were bussed out to Westpac Arena and what a spectacular night.



    First breakout of the day was “How Moodle can work in the classroom” presented by Mel and Richard. While they both work in the secondary field, and we DON”T have moodle at school both Mariee and I came away with some ideas to work on over the next term.

    And our final breakout was with Maria from Watchdog talking about Google Apps. Mariee and I are keen to do some collaborative work between our classes using Google Doc.

    One of the very best things about ULearn09 was the networking – I was able to meet a lot of people f2f for the first time, even though I’ve been talking with them for many weeks/months/years. These are the people who help me do my “stuff” – they’re my PLN and I’m a better teacher because of them. Thanks to: Kellie, Fiona, Paula, Jamin, Allanah, Michael, Dave, Simon, Helen, Erin, Justine, Jane, Clair, Lenva, … just to mention a few. There are new people – who I met at ULearn09 – who will be part of my ongoing PLN as well.

    And I suppose I should mention the other thing I brought home with me – my presenters cup!


    And my final word – for now (LOL) – I was interviewed by the media team and finally figured out that the video is on Blip.tv.

    Just another example of how handy Twitter is …

    I’m a tweeter – I love checking out to see what my PLN is up to. Today I noticed a comment from one person (@jshe) to another (@teachernz) referring to yet another person (@digitallearnin) and when I checked out the last person’s twitter feed I noticed a comment to yet another person (@Kelliemcrobert) who had posted a tweet some six hours previously.

    Screen shot 2009-10-03 at 4.18.20 PM

    I followed the link in that tweet and ended up at http://nps-ict-pd.wikispaces.com and followed the Web2.0 link. From there I scrolled down the page and saw this:

    Screen shot 2009-10-03 at 4.19.57 PM

    I clicked on the Trading Cards link and arrived at a blog link at Big Huge Labs.

    Screen shot 2009-10-03 at 4.20.33 PM

    And straight-away had an idea for my topic next term when we are going to be looking at a “Celebration of Inventors”. There’s no way I’d have come up with THAT idea all by myself.

    To quote an old deodorant advertisement … “I can’t live with out my Twitter PLN!”