Thursday, October 06, 2011

Reflecting on my Goals

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."
~ Mary Anne Radmacher
I recently attended an EARCOS workshop with colleagues to begin the process of developing an action plan to assess the impact our technology initiatives are having on our school community. While this was a worthwhile event for our team, the biggest ‘take-away’ for me was the personal spark for reflection. As we worked through the steps in creating our action plan, one of the guiding questions stood out - What do you expect to see? A simple little question that stopped me in my tracks.

At the beginning of this school year I set some goals for myself to try and create a classroom that resembled a collaborative problem solving studio. I had some ideas in my head about what I might do and a vague sense of what this would look like, but I didn't develop any concrete plans or devise a way of assessing my progress. What did I expect to see? It's a great question and one I didn't really ask myself when I first started to think about changes I would make in my practice.

So, what do I see everyday? Am I really looking? Or have I fallen into the busy trap of doing what needs to be done in order to ‘complete’ units in time to be in step with my colleagues. It's time to take stock. What have I done? What do I plan to do? How will I know if my classroom is becoming more like my vision of a collaborative problem solving studio? What do I expect to see?

I decided to make a list of the types of things I would hope to see if I walked into such a learning space.
  • Animated students working together in small groups on a variety of projects and investigations
  • Students writing on their blogs about their inquiries, collaborating with students from other countries
  • Purposeful noise - the kind of buzz that is generated by happy people engaged in meaningful work
  • A sense of freedom and flexibility as everyone used the space and resources as needed
  • Me, the teacher, working with a group of students as a collaborator
  • A welcoming space, one where students would invite visitors into their conversations, keen to share and open to learn from their experience
Do I see these things? Without any evidence or collected data it is hard to say. From my subjective viewpoint, these are the things that are working. I know I try to dedicate time for students to pursue inquiries of personal interest, but to be honest, it is the first time I steal from when interruptions (holidays, evacuation drills, assemblies...) make it difficult to get to all of the learning engagements I had planned (I know - the 'I have planned' part is a part of the problem!). I am trying to use technology to make effective use of our time in class. I have joined the Flipped Class Network and have just completed my first 'flipped' lesson (awkward and way too long, but my students liked it!). My students are using their blogs to write about their learning and to host our first attempt at digital portfolios. How well am I doing at writing comments on all of my students' blogs and monitoring their progress with their digital portfolios, well - this is definitely an area for improvement.

What's not working? I am going to restrain myself from going on and on here, but... I still have students waiting for me to tell them what to do. Many of my students still ask for 'permission' to do the things they need to do for their own learning ("Is it alright if I do this on the computer?" "May I work at the round table?"). Most of the activities in our class are still initiated by me and many of the students are still focused on the 'amount' they need to 'do'. I still struggle with realistic time lines; my class is not an island, but one of five and we work collaboratively with the other classes. How do you allow for individual and authentic learning experiences when you are tied to shared assessments and a common schedule? I still catch myself saying things like, 'Only five more minutes until French - finish up!'

What did I expect to see? How will I know? I've decided to embark on a bit of a project after our mid-term break. With my students help we are going to take a picture of our class every 20 minutes during the school day over the course of a week. What will we see? It will be an interesting analysis and will hopefully help me to become more objective when assessing the progress (or lack thereof) I am making in trying to achieve this shift.

Stay tuned - I'll share when the project is done.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A New Year ~ A Wealth of Possibilities

I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.
~ J. B. Priestley

There is something so exciting about the start of a new school year. The anticipation of meeting new students and new colleagues. Reuniting with friends and catching up on all that has transpired over the holidays. Pulling together all you have read, viewed and thought about over the break. Writing the first word on a clean page in a brand new day book. The first blog post. I love being a teacher!! In what other profession can you continually transform what you do and put your learning into practice immediately?

And yet, there is a a twinge of fear alongside the anticipation. What if I can't keep up? What if I forget and slip into my old comfort zone? How will I possibly balance it all - as a mother, teacher, wife, friend, colleague? There is always so much going on in education - trends, research, articles, blogs, websites, social networking, SOS marches, authentic assessment, problem based learning, inquiry, flipped classrooms, standards, outcomes - ahhhh! It can easily become overwhelming. I think it has become more important than ever to focus on what is personally important to you as an educator and filter the vast amounts of information that are tweeted into our lives 24/7. Find your own passion and you will be better prepared to help students uncover their own.

I have spent a good deal of my holiday trying to uncover my own passion, by paying attention to those ideas that spark the immediate 'of course!' or 'great idea!' reaction. This was a technique learned years ago while reading Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach - learning to pay attention to what speaks to us - not necessarily what we think it should be. After doing this for a few weeks I was able to see that the lines of thought I followed and the articles and posts I took the time to really read all shared the following characteristics.

It's all about the students and learning.
We all know this, we all say this, but we don't always act as if this is the case. At least, I know I don't. Pressures from schedules and expectations from others make it far too easy for me to slip into a mind set of "I need to get this done." rather than stopping and asking, "Is this really best for my students?" Thus one of my goals for the upcoming school year is to be an advocate for my students. When decisions are to be made regarding curriculum or events I will ask myself first - "How will this impact students? How will it affect their learning? Their voice?"

When I slip (as I know I will!) I intend to go back and revisit the following:
12 Most Important Things to Know About Kids Today, Angela Maiers
Authentic Enquiry Design Principles, from Learning Emergence
Wood, Chip. "Changing the pace of school: Slowing down the day to improve the quality of learning." Phi Delta Kappan. 01 Mar. 2002: 545. Retrieved with Proquest using eLibrary.

Building a professional learning network is crucial.
Finding a group of people who share your passions is an inspirational and motivating way to learn. They 'get' you - they understand your challenges because they've been there, too. I have always loved collaborating with colleagues, but like all teachers, finding the time to get together with educators from outside of my school to share ideas and experiences is difficult. Hello - Twitter! This simple micro-blogging programme has changed my life and the way I view professional learning networks. There are other social networking programmes, including the very latest - Google+, but it is Twitter that has shown me the power of an online PLN. This year I plan to turn to my network (both online and in person) whenever I discover something and want to share or when I hit a snag and need support.

Need convincing, check out these:
Twitter as a PLN, an article from What's New in the World
 23 Resources About Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), Teacher Reboot Camp

Technology is changing the how, why, what and where of education.
I love technology - I will happily and enthusiastically admit it. I love the 'cool' and 'wow' factors of something new and different - it's exciting! Yet...that is not why I believe technology is a vital element of education today. You simply cannot ignore the changes that technological advancements have brought about - our students live in a 'wired' world. If we continue to approach teaching and learning as we did in the past we are doing a disservice to our students, ourselves and ultimately, the future of our planet (okay - a little heavy for a back to school blog post!). Technology allows us to differentiate in ways that only a decade ago were impossible. Our students are now able to create and share with a global audience. They are able to collaborate with students from around the globe. Thus, another goal for this year is to remember the age we live in and act accordingly.


Flynn, William J. "FIVE TRENDS THAT ARE CHANGING THE EDUCATIONAL LANDSCAPE." Catalyst, The. 01 Apr. 2010: 29. Retrieved with Proquest using eLibrary.

What does this mean for the upcoming school year?
I stumbled across a wonderful description during my summer reading in a blog post by Shelley Wright discussing flipped classrooms. She described the classroom as a 'collaborative problem solving studio' for students ~ I love this idea. For me, it pulls all I am passionate about together - student learning, professional collaboration and technology. This year I will strive to create such a space with and for my students (as well as myself) to learn. If you have time, stop by @ 6C's Class Blog.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

PYP Exhibition

I have finally finished my PYP Exhibition Journal! I have embedded it here along with the small booklet that I produced for visitors at the exhibition and the short movie trailer that I created for my class blog. The original journal was created in pages and has links and videos embedded in the file. To see a copy of this with the links activated, go to my shared documents in iWork where it has been uploaded.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Holidays - time to explore

Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.
~ Arthur Koestler

I love being on holiday! I enjoy the down time with my family and travelling to new places, but I think what I love most of all is simply having more time. Time to explore, to learn, to experiment. As a teacher I am constantly being introduced to new ideas, yet I have little time to play with these ideas and figure out how I might be able to use them with my students.

My first experiment of the holiday was with Storify. This online platform allows you to easily pull together items from social media (such as articles, images, video, blog posts and tweets) to tell a story. Below is my first attempt ~ next step... How will I use this with my students?

My second exploration is with the use of QR-codes. I was first introduced to this 2 dimensional bar code at the ADE Institute in April. While I thought this was an interesting way to present information, I really hadn't had much time to look at these images or consider how to use them. I'm still not really sure, but I have had fun generating some QR-codes and then using my phone to scan the ones I have made or found. The code below was generated with Kaywa, an online site that will generate the QR-code and you can download the reader at this site as well. There are many free apps that will do this as well - they turn the camera on your phone into a scanner that can read the image. I am using i-nigma and it seems to work very well.


And why is it important to take time to explore? I think the following video sums it up well.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Apple Software: Discovering Pages

Before moving to Hong Kong in August 2010, I had spent the previous 5 years working in a PC environment and had, I admit, acquired the Microsoft Word habit. While coming to an 'Apple School' felt like returning home, some habits are hard to break. As my computer came with Microsoft Office installed, I continued using Word for the majority of my documents. I spent most of my time learning how to use the iLife applications and had not given the iWork tools much consideration. That changed after attending the ADE institute in Ho Chi Minh City last month.

Through casual (and continual) conversations with many different people, I was learning about some interesting features of Pages, and so during the conference I began to use this software. Flash forward to today - I will never go back to Word - I am a Pages convert!! I love that Pages allows you to choose straight up word processing or a layout design from the same template menu. While the templates are varied and easily modified (great for busy teachers!) I also love the range of options in creating your own designs. But, I think the single most important feature that made me switch and become an advocate of this particular piece of software, is the Share feature.

Now, when I complete a document that I want to share with collegues, students or parents, in a click of one button I can upload this to This allows me to embed documents easily into class blogs or share a link with different groups of people. I know there are other ways to do this, but with Pages I can continue to revise the document on my computer, hit Share, and it will replace my original document, but keep the same URL! I love it!! I am using this to share my PYP Exhibition Journal with colleagues as well as develop material for my class, such as this recent Math Menu during our study of fractions.

I know most people in the Apple community are aware of the features of Pages, but if you are a secret Word user like I used to be, it's time to come out of the closet and take the plunge. It's worth it!

Students & Collaboration

We learn more by looking for the answers to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.” ~ Lloyd Alexander

The following is an excerpt from my PYP Exhibition Journal.

If the first week of our PYP Exhibition was marked by excitement, I would say week two will be remembered for its sense of purpose. Students have now settled in and become focused and independent, using the investigation planner as we had hoped. While creating lines of inquiry and identifying concepts and skills might have have been new to them, their familiarity with the investigation planner, as well as the many opportunities they have had throughout their years in the PYP to collaborate, have prepared them well for this experience.

As a teacher it is gratifying to see students rise to the challenge and tackle a complex problem, applying their skills appropriately and building on what they know. The hardest part for me is to step back, to remember that I do not need to intervene immediately (or at all!) if there is a problem. I know as adults the urge to ‘help’ is almost overwhelming at times, but by allowing students to find their own answers and solve their problems independently we are empowering them as learners. They might opt for different solutions than the ones we would have found, but it will be their decision.

It is that sense of pride and accomplishment that we want for our students and ironically, we cannot give it to them. I love being a teacher!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Embarking on a learning journey with my students

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. 
~Alvin Toffler
Being an educator, I often hear people describe themselves as learners as well as teachers. I've said it myself (usually during one of those workshops where you have to write something that describes who you are or explain what kind of food you would be). Though, when I sit down and really think about myself as a learner, the picture I have is one of an adult, involved in 'adult type' learning activities ~ taking a course, reading professional literature, learning new skills, discussing educational issues with colleagues, or attending workshops and conferences. While my students are aware of these activities, I don't know that they would necessarily make the connection that this is their teacher as a learner. How can I really show my students that I value learning? 

I work with Grade Six students who are in the last year of the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) at our school. As a culminating activity, the students engage in a collaborative inquiry and present their findings to the wider community during our PYP Exhibition. This is a BIG event ~ for students, teachers, parents and the school. While I have worked in PYP schools before and had experience with the Exhibition, this is my first year at CDNIS and my first experience as a homeroom teacher in the final year of the PYP. A wonderful opportunity to join my students as a co-learner!

During this final investigation, the students will keep a journal to record and reflect upon their learning throughout the inquiry process. I too am going to keep a journal that I will share with my students. It is my hope that sharing in this common activity will provide a basis for authentic conversations about our learning. 

Writing a journal (as I am discovering) is a time consuming process and so I have decided to share excerpts here for the next six weeks as I will not have time to write additional posts in this blog.

PYP Exhibition Journal: Tuning-in

While this first week of May has been our official start to Sharing the Planet, the tuning-in phase has, in reality, been an ongoing process throughout the year. Beginning in September, students were encouraged to become more aware of events that were related to this theme. Each student has found articles and shared them with the class, prompting discussion of a variety of issues, from marine conservation, to wheelchair access in parks, and waste management in Hong Kong. We developed a Newsflash format that encouraged students to analyze perspectives, make connections to their own lives and communities, and consider possible action. 

As students have been considering issues and problems related to Sharing the Planet for such a long time, it was inevitable that many of them had already decided upon topics to investigate. While I was pleased that so many of my students had become more aware and concerned about a number of important issues, I didn’t want them to close doors to potentially rich fields of investigation. But how could we encourage them to consider alternatives?

At a recent educators’ institute, I participated in a quick activity that was devised to form small working groups based on common interests. It involved each person writing their own idea on an index card and then walking about the room and exchanging these cards with each other (without reading them). After a minute we would stop, find a partner, and discuss the ideas on the two cards we held (neither of which were our own). We were asked to consider the merit of the ideas and if they would be good topics of investigation. We then had to give each card a score, with the total of both cards being 7. We repeated the swapping and meeting with a new partner five times, in the end arriving at a score out of 35 for each topic. 

Why not try this with out students? Well we did and it was a wonderful vehicle for discussion, generating a list of varied issues or problems to investigate.

Developing central ideas a good idea
Watching my students struggle to write a central idea for our unit was a revelation. I have great students who work hard and have fun at school, but I had never seen them so engaged and with such obvious higher level thinking demonstrated in their discussions. The criteria they used to guide their writing and also to critique the other groups’ ideas kept them focused on the task and provided a basis for authentic and meaningful discussion. What is challenging? Why is this relevant? Is this value free? Globally transferable? Is this worth knowing? Having the students discuss these open ended, yet vitally important ideas, not only gave them ownership over the process, it encouraged them to articulate and extend their current understanding of the concepts embedded in the transdisciplinary theme, listen to different perspectives and come to an agreed upon statement. Higher level thinking - you bet! 

Why haven’t I done this with students before? It is an oversight I will not make again. If we are truly looking for ways to promote student led inquiry, why not give them a voice in this most important step of the process?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Becoming Focused: My ADE Reflection

Inspiration: the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially  to do something creative.
When first invited to the Apple Distinguished Educator’s Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam a number of emotions raced through my mind  - excitement, anticipation, joy, curiosity, anxiety, and then, yes I admit it, fear. What would be expected at such as institute? Would I have to present something? What on Earth could I possibly contribute that would be new or interesting? Why me?

When you envision an educational institute about teaching and technology, you might imagine a room full of teachers being taught by a knowledgeable expert on how to best use a particular tool in the classroom. Well, I quickly realized that this is not what the ADE Institute would entail. Instead we were put into the role of 21st century students and formed an authentic learning community ~ coming together to collaborate and create. We were encouraged to leave our comfort zones and explore in unfamiliar ways; learning about each other, the tools we were using, our environment and ourselves throughout the experience. It’s not that easy to collaborate with people you do not know; to cooperate and let go of how you would plan to approach a task. The achievement or product that was created at the end of the day does not come close to capturing all that was learned. In fact, I believe it was the least important thing. When I transpose these feelings to what occurs in my classroom, I have a much greater appreciation of what my students encounter on a regular basis. I also have some pedagogical questions about my practice. How can I help students to capture what they have learned about themselves, about the nature of collaboration and cooperation? Am I doing enough to shift the emphasis away from the product and put it squarely on the process? How can I support student innovation and creation? Do I give them the freedom to learn? Do I give them the time to reflect on this process?

I now know that I need to become more focused as an educator. What do I believe? What is important? How will I share this with others? While I have gone through exercises that are similar, I’ve never been afforded so much time to really consider these questions in a guided and supported fashion. The idea of creating the ‘brand of me’ was intimidating at first; I’m a teacher not a PR person. Yet working through this process and developing a focus was an incredibly valuable experience. Sometimes as a teacher you feel a pressure to try so many things, it is easy to lose sight of what is important to you. I have reconnected with my values and passion and these will continue to drive the choices I make and the explorations I undertake.

I really had no idea I would (or could!) grow so much professionally in such a short period of time. What a privilege it was to be surrounded by innovative and articulate ADEs; all of them ‘out of the box’ thinkers who were passionate about learning and teaching. Every single person I met had a story to share and I came away richer from each encounter. And now to reflect upon the experience, it is difficult to know where to start. This institute was about learning, about making connections, about exploring what we do and who we are, but it was more than the sum of these parts; it was a call to action.

As an ADE I want to consider my next steps as an author, an advisor, an ambassador, and as an advocate. I feel more capable now to tackle my professional blog (yes - this one) and am making a commitment to its development. I am grateful that I will have a focus for this space and hope that through this continued reflection and connection with others I will become a more innovative educator. I feel more confident in my ability to share what I believe to be important or worthwhile and more at ease in celebrating my mistakes as learning. Thus liberated, I am committed to exploring how to facilitate a change from the traditional constructs of schools to places that foster creative thought, ethical reasoning and celebrate learning.

Lastly, I must thank the many people who made this incredible ADE Institute experience possible. Adrian and Melissa – your attention to detail and thoughtful approach to planning for our time in HCMC was amazing. From the venue, to the activities and even the restaurant choices made this a time to remember. To all of the members of the advisory board – your guidance and assurance were invaluable ~ letting me know that, I, too belonged here. To our keynote speakers, Rebecca Stokely, who created a team out of a group of strangers through her warmth and humour; Joseph Linaschke, whose stories and art have motivated me to try and make pictures for myself and with my students; and Chai Yee Wei, who made me see that anything is possible when you are focused and doing what you love. Lastly, to every member of the ADE class of 2011, thank you for your openness; sharing in your creativity and passion has been an inspiration.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Obituary Writing: the ultimate reflection

One's philosophy is not the best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

"Joss Paper" by Sjschen, Wiki Commons, CC-SA 3.0
This post doesn't really have anything to do with teaching, it is more about the nature of reflection itself. We are celebrating the Ching Ming Festival today in Hong Kong which is also known as Grave Sweeping Day (or Burn Down Lamma Day depending on your source). It's a time when Chinese families show respect for their ancestors by tidying up their graves, clearing away weeds and making offerings food  and wine. It is also common to burn offerings such as joss paper, also known as ghost money, so  ancestors may enjoy it in the afterlife.

What does this have to do with reflective practice? Well, nothing really, except that it prompted a conversation about rituals and death among some friends and colleagues. This was my chance to try once again to promote the idea of holding an Obituary Party. Okay - I know you have just paused and said to yourself, "A what?!?" I have seen this reaction before, in fact, it has happened every time I try to introduce the idea. The premise is really not that crazy. Imagine a group of friends sitting together enjoying each others' company and discussing what they hoped to achieve in their lives. It would be a supportive audience - a mutual sharing of ideas and strategies to help one another achieve their goals. An obituary party takes this concept and stresses the urgency of making choices that will ensure we achieve these goals; of committing to a life well lived. When you face the fact that you have a limited number of days on the planet, you are more keen to make each one count.

I know - I never get many takers and often find I have inadvertently upset and offended people. I am not a morbid person.  I do not worry about death nor am I overly anxious or obsessed about how I live every minute. Who wants to dwell on dying? I think an obituary party would help people to dwell on living, unfortunately most people I meet disagree. I think my vision of this party is different from theirs. I know this when the response is something like, "That is so creepy. I don't want to think about it." or "I don't care what kind of music they play at my funeral, I'll be dead!" That is when I realize that most people hear obituary party and start thinking 'funeral planning' and that is not what I am talking about (although - there is nothing wrong with planning your own funeral, but that is a topic for another day!).

Even when I am successful in explaining what an obituary party would entail, and what it would not, it amazes me how superstitious people can be about death ~ even now in the 21st century. Some people I have spoken to about the idea don't want to participate because they are worried this is 'tempting fate'; that by writing their own obituary they might hasten their own demise.

I see it as the ultimate reflection; the biggest picture thinking you can do as an individual; the epitome of backwards by design (how's that for a connection to teaching?). Really, at the end of the day, how do you want to be remembered? Are there certain accomplishments you would like to be associated with? Qualities that you want your name and memory associated with? I believe if you can get past the superstitious aversion to writing your own obituary, it is a chance to truly plan to live your life to the fullest.

What would you like your descendants to say about you as they sweep your gravestone?
Happy Ching Ming!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A gift of time

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw

My colleagues and I enjoyed a most fabulous gift this week - a gift of time for learning and collaboration. I've yet to meet an educator who does not appreciate the value in professional development of teachers and the importance of self-assessment of our practice. Yet, so often this important work is an 'add-on' to a schedule that is already full. I feel very fortunate to work at a school that supports teachers in their own learning and strives to find innovative ways to use technology to improve our practice and thus ultimately the learning experiences of our students.

We were provided with an entire day to work as a grade level team with members of our Learning and Teaching Technologies department to discuss the big ideas from an up-coming unit of inquiry. We explored the enduring understandings and concepts until we shared a common understanding and were then able to create resources that would support student engagement as they tuned - in to this unit of inquiry's key concepts.

This was such a worthwhile exercise! As we began our day there was a lot of head nodding and agreement that, yes this is the big idea, the key concepts and the lines of inquiry make sense. Being very busy people, it would have been easy to have left the discussion there and gone back to our own classes believing we all were about to guide our students' to a deeper understanding of this transdisciplinary theme. Fortunately, we did have the time, and through the sharing of our ideas, our own understandings ~ and misunderstandings ~ came to light. Hearing different perspectives and articulating your own beliefs to others clarifies for us as teachers what is really important and worth while for students to learn. It is only by taking the time to have these conversations that we can develop a curriculum that is meaningful.

There is much talk of 21st Century Learning and the need for education to change to meet the needs of our children and for our society's future. And yet, for most of us, we are still working in traditional systems that support traditional ways of thinking. How can we transform our schools into authentic places of inquiry and learning if we do not provide teachers with the opportunities to grow as learners themselves?

Why do I find this one small example of collaboration important? Using Aristotle's idea that "we are what we repeatedly do,"  one can conclude that, "[Collaboration] is not an act, but a habit." Instead of scheduling collaborative meeting times, how can we change what we do to become collaborative? How can this become a habit? What other habits might we develop as we move toward a 21st century learning environment?

Teachers need time to explore these ideas and reflect upon what this will look like in practice to bring about meaningful change in schools. At a recent workshop on curriculum, we viewed the following RSA video of a talk by Sir Ken Robinson. It has inspired me to look more critically at the habits I have developed as a teacher.

It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day events when working in a busy school. It's important to take the time to reflect on why we do the things that we do. Authentic collaboration with others enables us to better explore the question, What's important in a 21st century education?

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Creating a new blog is always exciting, but it can be a bit overwhelming, too. Where does one start? What will be the focus? As a teacher it is so easy to become frazzled with the many demands on our time - authentic assessment, differentiated learning engagements, 21st century learning, empowering students, inquiry based learning, setting smart team goals, articulating professional growth plans, collaborating on unit development - and on and on and on it goes, until sometimes we are spinning so quickly we forget what we were doing in the first place!

I have always been impressed with the teachers I have met who are able to retain a sense of calm amid all of the buzz. These ones who have time to talk and help, even when the pace at school is hectic. I have been very fortunate to have worked with many wonderful educators and it is through my interactions with them that I have learned the most about teaching and learning. Attending workshops and staying up to date on research are important, but I have come to realize that taking the time to reflect about what we do and why we do it, and sharing this with others, is perhaps the most valuable of all professional development opportunities.

And that is why I started this blog. I hope it becomes a place where we can share our reflections about our practice and learn from each other. I'm not sure what format would best support this type of blogging - so any ideas are most welcome!

To get the ball rolling - what (or who) inspires you?