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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Yes I'm Alive, and I'm in NSW, Australia!

Only for three weeks though!

I have been contracted to come here and facilitate with a cluster of catholic schools here in NSW from Armidale, to Glen Innes, to Moree and many other wonderful rural towns of the region.

I will blog a little more in depth about my journey here but just wanted to come online to share a resource I made this evening while sitting alone in my motel room (travelling seems so glamorous until you're sitting alone in a room eating a half packet of popcorn with clothes strewn everywhere).

This has been a key concern for the teachers I've been working with and I just didn't feel like I could give concise answers or guidance - so I attempted to put it all in this Google Slides presentation.  I feel like this is something that can be shared, printed and posted up around a school/staffroom/office area for teachers new to Google Drive.

It is almost the end of my first week here.  The lovely teachers of St Joseph's School in Glen Innes took me out to a delicious dinner in the town centre this evening and they have gone from strength to strength in my short time here.  I will post more as I move around other schools and learn about strategies for facilitating, setting up digital immersion classrooms, lesson ideas and anything else that comes up!

Here is the resource I made, with a puku full of delicious grilled veges and parmesan cheese sauce.  YUM!

Monday, 11 January 2016

Reading Log: Telesā - The Covenant Keeper - by Lani Wendt Young

Those full time teachers with 2 year olds will know that you don't really have much spare time to yourself to indulge in hours of personal reading.  So when the opportunity came up to go to Kerikeri with my family for a little summer holiday, I was so excited at the thought that my little one would be having too much fun with cousins, grandparents, chickens, pigs, beaches and picking oranges in the orchard, to worry about me!

In this time, I delved into a book I've been dying to read for the longest time - Telesā - The Covenant Keeper, book one in the Telesā series, by Lani Wendt Young.

It was perfect!  Just the right escape for me during this time.  A perfect balance between romance, action, mystery...written from a female, Samoan perspective...refreshing!

I am desperate to get my hands on Part 2: When Water Burns and Part 3: The Bone Bearer so read before heading back to real life.

I had started following Lani on Twitter before I had read the books and can say that reading her 140 characters are just as interesting as reading her 400 pages.  At midnight as I was reading about Daniel (a beautiful character from the book) under a waterfall, I had to tweet her...and she replied!  Woo hoo!  Life complete!


I am a big supporter of art, literature, content that is told from a perspective outside of the mainstream and this book was no disappointment.  The description of the flora and fauna of Samoa, the food, the characters, the values and beliefs of the people - both pre and post colonial, were so enjoyable to read, all wrapped up in a X-Men-esque, mythological, legendary, powerful, romantic, feminist package.  I loved it.

I thoroughly recommend this book to any 15+ year old female reader in your family.  So what if I'm 28?  I still loved this book too...and I love Daniel.

Reading Log: I am Malala

I read 'I am Malala' to my class of Year 5 and 6 students in Term 4 and they LOVED it.

Sorry to say Roald Dahl and David Walliams...I tried.  But there was a very clear connect between the students and this book.

I read the Young Readers addition, which used simple language to explain complex and intense political situations.

Students were fascinated by the ideas of not being allowed to go to TV...go to the supermarket unattended by a male family member and not being allowed to play music in the car!  They had thoughtful reflections and questions about the events that took place and I really enjoyed discussing some of these big themes with them, such as equality of the sexes and perspectives of religion.

I have one muslim student in my class and we would draw connections to mosques, churches, and Marae.  We would talk about terrorism and at one point - our book was read in conjunction with the Paris Bomber reports and what that meant for families like the girl in our class and our views about what her family is like and what she is like.  We talked about extremists and the idea of freedom.  All from 9 and 10 year olds...most achieving below or well below the curriculum in Writing and a decile 1a school in East Auckland....

I even got an email from the most introverted student in my class late one night saying, "Miss!  Did you know they're making a movie of Malala's life?!  Isn't that so cool!?"  That may have been a career highlight.  That one young female student in my class was inspired by Malala's struggles for equal education for girls around the world.

Of course, being shot in the head and surviving engaged my most 'creative' boys, who listened in awe of each surgical procedure and what that meant for Malala in her recovery.

They youtube'd speeches, shared Ellen's interview and watched the movie trailer over and over again.

I will definitely read this book again and of course - we send Malala our support.  From a class of 24 at Tamaki Primary School in Auckland New Zealand.  Kia Kaha, Kia Maia, Kia Manawanui.

Malala Yousafzai - inspired students in my class to think about deeper world wide issues with her book - I am Malala.