How many words does a selfie say?

Here we go, prompt number 4 in the #edublogsclub challenge. I’m chuffed to be able to keep up so far!

This week’s prompt asks us to write a post that includes an image.

Arena di Verona, July 2016

As soon as I read it this above image came to mind. I’m going to keep this simple so you won’t be reading anything about photo etiquette or copyright law. If I use someone else’s photo I always state my source if I can find it, or at least credit where I got it.

This above photo was taken as part of our ‘selfie’ collection from our European trip in 2016 with the edition of a prisma transformation. Taking a selfie every now and again makes us laugh so hard and keeps our two daughters back home entertained. You can see we aren’t very good at it – well at least I’m not. I just don’t get it but it makes for quite interesting and always hilarious attempts. I keep most of them and this happens to be one of my very favourites.

It captures everything about the moment my husband and I were standing outside the Arena in Verona, Italy. We had just purchased tickets to see Aida that night in the Arena. It was a beautiful hot day, reflected with my fiery red hair and in the yellow flame-like images under the arches. The purchase made us very happy and was a welcome distraction from having arrived from Rome the night before without our luggage! (A good thing I had a lipstick in my handbag – that was about it, given we were only flying from Rome. Who thought to pack some knickers just in case! I always do for other inter-Europe flights).

It doesn’t matter now because the luggage did arrive an hour or so before the opera so we got to dress up and off we went! It turned out to be one of the highlights of the 4-week adventure.

This photo for me says it all, and together with my travel diaries always makes for wonderful memories. From an art teacher’s perspective, it is also quite interesting in design elements and principles, colour, shape, texture and composition, all because I’m not so great at taking selfies. Funny.

Aida -travel diary

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

My learning spaces – everything, in every place

Prompt 2 of my newest challenge, a blog a week for the #edublogsclubs is all about our work environments. Since I am not in any one school and juggle quite a number of ‘different’ work, my learning spaces vary dramatically depending on the tasks at hand.

In any one week, I can go from a secondary school classroom, a boardroom, a meeting room, a conference centre, my dining room table, my home office space, a favourite coffee shop, university grounds, and even in my spa! I love the freedom of moving around for different learning activities. You see, as I mentioned in my first challenge post, there is learning in everything and I’ll add now – in every place.

Coffee shop treat while reading on critical pedagogy

In my final year of high school, many, many years ago, each of my subjects was allotted to a different study area in the house (much to my mum’s disgust!). It was almost like a switch on, switch off ritual while I was studying and as each exam was completed so the books and study guides disappeared from each place (to my mum’s relief!).

As an Education Consultant, my learning spaces vary from staffrooms to auditoriums, from conference centres to classrooms and school libraries. My audience numbers vary dramatically for 4-5 and up to 300 at national conferences so my learning space has to work accordingly. I like to do a lot of hands-on and movement activities with my participants, but I also need them to sit quietly and reflect, or to work more collaboratively on certain tasks.

Developing coaching relationships

The learning spaces for workshops with teachers may vary but there is nothing like a nice round table where teachers and learning support staff can collaborate to make learning for students with special needs and indeed all students, more accessible.

Collaborating

When teaching and learning with students the spaces outside of the classrooms are just as enticing and so again the learning spaces change. Last year I really loved how my tutorial room had whiteboard walls!! Visual Art spaces are also enticing and prompt creativity even in everyday manual tools which are an artform in themselves.

Paintbrushes

As a part-time PhD student, I do much of my study and writing at home – and this is where I still tend to move around depending on what I’m attempting to do on the day. We have a very large dining room table and even swapping chairs along and around it help me to focus within the space. It is also a good excuse when my desk cannot be seen for the papers, books and stationery it sometimes holds.

My desk area

Dining room table

And of course, there’s also that learning space inside our heads – thinking! As an A grade procrastinator, I actually do much of my thinking while cleaning, cooking, driving and, yes, even while enjoying the spa -though this presents a problem when trying to write things down in my notebooks!

Ahhhhh…spa!

Finally, I’d like to also add that for me learning spaces are not only the physical places one inhabits but they can also be found within the pages of a lovely notebook or scrappy bits of paper, on a computer screen or in a painting.

Travel diary

There is learning in everything; in every place.

Thanks for reading 🙂

My Blog Story

I’ve just joined a new little family #Edublogsclub and set myself yet another challenge of writing a weekly blog based on a prompt (just don’t tell my PhD supervisor!).

I began blogging about 4 years ago as part of my new adventure out in the big wide world. I wanted to try my hand as an education consultant after 30 years in schools. Consulting wasn’t new to me. I had been representing my schools at conferences and through a number of professional learning education agencies for years. I just felt I could do more as a free agent. So along with other social media platforms including twitter (@JoPrestia) I started this blog.

My twitter page

I like to think out loud through writing so thought this could be a great way to do it. I blog about everything educational including adventures in the classroom, relief teaching, conferences, coaching, consulting work in schools and with teachers, teaching and learning with pre-service teachers, my PhD & family and friends.

There is learning in everything.

I’m proud to say I have a little following and every now and then I get feedback. However, I don’t write to get comments or praise (though it is nice!). I just write because I like it. It helps me think – in writing.

I also love reading other blogs, mainly educational, including fellow PhDs and a myriad of great teachers who provoke my thinking. I love the Thesis Whisperer and Pat Thomson for my PhD advice, and others I enjoy reading, including @debsnet, Chris Munroe, Mark Weston, Jon Harper to name but just a few. I don’t always read posts immediately. Instead, I have long binge sessions regularly where I try to catch up. I also stumble on many great blog posts via twitter and my facebook page.

Bed chat

I try to use my time wisely though I am an A grade procrastinator! Sometimes I’m even shocked at how I get everything done! Even now I’m sitting in a nail salon waiting… so taking the opportunity to begin composing this blog on my iPhone. When it rains…

So that’s my blog story… never ending…

(What you have just read was finalised in the comfort of my own work space at home and my trusty mac!).

Thanks for reading 🙂

So what if the beach was a whiteboard?

In today’s classrooms on at least one wall, there exists a whiteboard – used to be a blackboard but those days are long gone. I’m wondering then if maybe it’s almost time to sign off on whiteboards. Yes, I know we have those interactive numbers in many schools but even so…I’m not convinced they are being used to capacity.

Since it’s supposed to be summer in Melbourne – I say ‘supposed to be’, cause I’m currently at the beach in a lovely new house on holiday, just a few minutes walk from the beach, and it’s freezing… aside from that… what if the beach was a whiteboard? What might this look like?

This post was initially prompted and began swirling in my head by a couple of photos sent to me in November when most kids were busy studying for upcoming exams. It was cemented in me last night when walking along the beach here and happening upon some wonderful sand drawings.

sand drawing

What prompts children (and adults) to write and draw in wet sand? Have you ever thought about it?

I bet you’ve done it.

Thomas was prompted to write in the sand while studying for his English exam. Yes, really. He scraped out quotes from his novel as a way to remember them. Funny. No one encouraged him to do it, in fact, he was on his own down at the beach and then…he picked up a stick.

He tells me he actually planned to walk down to the beach so he could write them in the sand.

Thomas’ sand quotes

Why?

“I didn’t have a whiteboard. I usually write them on a whiteboard, rub them out and write them again.” At the beach, he didn’t need to rub them out. It was expansive enough to just move on to another space and repeat.

Really?

Thomas purposefully adapted his preference for learning and used his immediate access to the sand in order to learn.

As he stands back to admire his writing, passers-by are curious.

“It’s okay,” says Thomas, “I’m just revising for my English exam.”

Clever.

Really?

Is that what it is?

Clever?

Thomas doesn’t think so – for him, he was just studying, thinking, adapting to his environment, taking advantage of what he had – a stick, a voglia, (desire) to explore learning, sand, prior knowledge and experience.

So what if the beach was a whiteboard?

How might you use it for learning?

Thanks for reading 🙂

“Cook dinner, don’t just supply the ingredients” (Tomlinson)

You know when you hear something that really gels with you? It’s that moment when culture meets a light bulb moment and suddenly you know. You know this is something that just has to be said.

That light bulb moment

That light bulb moment

The other day it happened to me, sitting in the ACEL conference listening to Carol Tomlinson talking differentiation. Now this was not the first or even second time I’ve had the pleasure to hear her speak in person. I had even heard the differentiated story she told, but it was the first time I connected with it in a new way.  It really brings to the fore the idea of readiness to learn. In order to learn, one must be open to learning. So when we teach, how do we know whether our students are ready to learn? How do we know if we are ready to learn from them in return?

Tomlinson at ACEL conference 2016

Tomlinson at ACEL conference 2016

Tomlinson compares the ingredients for dinner with that of curriculum. As ingredients, they stand alone but have very little to offer unless combined with other ingredients to make a meal. In fact, depending on the ingredients one can make a myriad of meals using them in different combinations. Let’s take similar ingredients to those that Tomlinson uses in her comparison:

 

Ingredients

Ingredients

The above, when combined, will make a meal (or 5 if you live at my place – if you want a list, I’d be happy to forward one) – the same as all the components of teaching. Teaching isn’t just one ingredient but should be a whole lot of ingredients which are combined to create a great learning experience. In combining the ingredients, however, one doesn’t necessarily have to use them all in every meal but they can be used in different combinations. Teaching is like this too. These ingredients on their own are not very inviting – but in combinations can make a number of really appetising meals.

So let’s compare this idea to teaching. What are some of the ingredients in teaching and learning?

Relationship? I suggest kilos and kilos of it. In fact, in my opinion, there is very little, if any teaching or learning that happens without this ingredient.

Curriculum – knowledge and skills?

Assessment – formative and summative?

Differentiation?

Environment – inviting and safe?

Emotional Intelligence?

Curiosity?

Imagination?

FUN?

Communication?

Collaboration?

Policy?

What else would you add?

Share the commitment to teaching and learning

Share the commitment to teaching and learning

In teaching and learning, there may be any combination of the above and more. Each class would need more or less of these depending on the needs of the students in that particular class. Even if one is teaching the same content to the same year level in two different classes, the ingredients would not be identical in both type and quantity. So when planning your next ‘cooking’ session with your class think carefully about the ingredients and combine them in such a way that really gels with your class. Take the time to ask your students, ‘What would you like for dinner?’ It will help you to become a much better cook, I guarantee it and ultimately they’ll enjoy the meal a whole lot more.

Dinner's READY!!!!

Dinner’s READY!!!!

 

 

Thanks for reading 🙂