As I write this, four or five lucky people are waiting to be named as CORE -Education eFellows for 2014. I have had a great year along with Claire, Emma, Heather and Jamie. Josephine and Michael have been wonderful mentors and I am sure will continue to do the same for the next group of innovative educators. So whoever you are, I am so excited for you and can’t wait for the announcement at ULearn tomorrow.
One of the best things about having a passion for anything is sharing that passion with others. It could be sport, computer games, books, films, food or in my case eLearning. Currently I am involved in a PLG (Professional Learning Group) at my school. This entails facilitating a small group and sharing ideas and tools about eLearning. Yesteday we talked about, looked at and shared ideas about the use of blogs in the classroom. However, the very best thing for me was not showing my classroom blog, but having another staff member share his awesome Yr10 Science blog. I was able to help him get started and set it up, but the rest of the success was all due to a teacher’s motivation to try something new and his enthusiastic class. I felt very excited to see how just sharing the knowledge creates new opportunity. I do think there are still many people who see themselves as gatekeepers of knowledge. Those days are done and dusted. The huge increase in MOOC – online courses – has seen knowledge being shared around the world. I am always amazed by the sharing of resources and knowledge in the elearning community through vehicles such as Twitter, blogs and Teacher led events such as educamps. Teachmeets and eduignite type events. Our students are able to find a vast amount of information for themselves. Just check out the sharing on Facebook. ”If you get , give. If you learn, share. I am looking forward to other members of our little PLG sharing their eLearning journeys.
Last week some of my collegues were in New York, Mexico, Thailand, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Queenstown. That sounds nice. I was in Hastings, NZ. Perhaps not one of the more glamorous holiday destinations. Along with my husband and half a plane load of English teachers, I flew into Napier, caught the Airport shuttle and prepared myself to enjoy the excitement of the Hawkes Bay and the annual NZATE conference, this year held at Karamau High School. I have never visited Napier or Hastings and to be honest, anyone who knows me will agree that Geography and basic directions are not one of my strengths. Thank goodness for Google Maps. However, on a cold and frosty Tuesday morning I was picked up along with three other English Teachers and headed to Karamau High School. From the Jazz band welcoming us, the vintage cars, to the organizing committee clad in 1930′s style, to the opening Keynote speaker, this was a fantastic conference. The food was amazing, the keynotes thought- provoking , the knowledge shared by colleagues from around the country was thoroughly professional and it was wonderful to meet up with old friends and make new ones. In this era of fast food, Facebook, reality TV and thirty second sound bites, it was soul food in the form of passionate educators sharing and inspiring us through the three days. It was also energising to discuss literature, poetry, Shakespeare, writing, reading, language etc with like-minded educators. One of the keynote speakers, Joseph Dreissen made me really think about the role of language in children’s lives, as well as the influence and importance of English Teachers. Thank you Joseph for making me feel valued and inspiring me to be a better teacher.
“It’s not just the adage ‘write what you know,’ it’s about gathering up all of the knowledge and experience you’ve collected up to now to help you dive into the things you don’t know.”
I got this idea for a writing starter from a fabulous TED talk by American poet and teacher Sarah Kay. In this talk she talks about spoken poetry and the power it has for teenagers to find their voice. She talks about a writing exercise she uses with her students. As we were struggling for speech topics I decided we would also write a list.
Here is the combined list with help from my year 10 class.
10 Things I know to be True
1)Dogs will forgive you immediately, cats not so quickly
2)Reading is the key to success. (775million people can’t read, 152million children do not attend school)
3)Facebook is not for NCEA credits
4)Keeping in touch with friends is important.
5)Life is hard(so you need to work hard)
6)You can survive a whole English lesson even if your cellphone is on the teacher’s desk.
7)There’s never a bad time to eat chocolate or ice cream.
8)Tomato sauce is one of the major food groups.
9)Two socks go into the wash, only one returns
10)When you can’t find something, your mum always can.
Here is the link to Sarah Kay’s TED talk
Last week I spent a fantastic two days here in Christchurch with four other educators, eFellows for 2013. We come from small and large schools, Primary and Secondary from Auckland to Dunedin. It was great to spend time and start to plan our inquiry which will be a major focus for us all this year. We were very lucky to spend time with Mark Osborne, former Deputy Principal at Albany Senior College and now a Senior Consultant at CORE Education in Auckland. He talked about “being a better teacher every day” This is something for all of us to achieve. He certainly challenged us to think about our teaching and the direction we would take for our journey this year. Many thanks Mark for your leadership and wisdom.