Category Archives: connection

Global education and connection


We all as humans, want and need connection to flourish. Dr Brene Brown in ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ talks about the fundamental importance of connecting to others. In a school setting, we connect all the time with students  and colleagues, but our world now is not just confined to our school, or our neighborhood or our city or even our country. We should be bringing the world into our classroom as it has immeasurable benefits, not from a connecting point of view, but so many others.

But how do we facilitate that? It is something in the past I have said I want to learn more about and get involved in. A beginning step for me has been connecting via a blog with our sister campus, sharing year 2 thought about the shortlisted books we are sharing each week and getting their response and ideas. Also I have organised a bookmark exchange with a school in Dubbo – my year 3 and 4 classes made a bookmark to send to Dubbo, after learning a little about where Dubbo is and how the children there live that is different to our lives. Fairly simple examples, but it is a start.

I subscribe to Ted Ed blog, and their post from a couple of days ago feeds into the idea of connection and how you make this happen in a school setting –

TED-Ed Club Facilitator on student individuality, academic freedom and global connection

Now I am over getting Book Week and author and illustrator visits organised, it is time to see what I can uncover about connecting classrooms with the rest of Australia, and the world! Will keep you posted !

Been flat chat – but now I’m back


Well it has been a long time since my last post. Sounds a bit like the beginning of a confession you hear in the movies!

Talking about movies, and stories, which is one of main professional foci, I went to see The Hundred Foot Journey‘ last weekend and it is one of the most uplifting, feel good movie I have seen for a while (and I have seen a few with my son working at a cinema and free tickets coming my way fairly often). It is a  story centered around an Indian family who moves to France and opens a restaurant across the street from a Michelin-starred French restaurant. It is 100 feet from 1 restaurant to the other. They move because their restaurant in India was destroyed by fire in a political attack the mother of the family, the cook of the family, is killed.  Sp they need to start again and land in France when their van breaks down. Beautiful scenery, characters that you really feel for and really good looking main actors all contribute to a film I would like to see again.

Another film I have recently seen is Word and Pictures and being a teacher, movies with teachers in are often fairly unrealistic, I think, or a bit sentimental. This one is about 2 people that are angry, lost, alone – one because of alcohol and the other because of a slowly worsening disease which renders it very difficult to do what she loves doing.  They have a competition to see if words or pictures are the more powerful with their year 12 classes they are teaching. Left this one feeling a bit sad, but things sort of work out for them in the end, or at least you can see light at the end of the tunnel in their lives.

Lastly, I want to now see The Lunchbox, about a wife trying to get some attention from her husband and is doing it by sending him delicious meals via dabawallas. The twist is that these carefully prepared meals actually get delivered to this other man, an older man who is lonely and they strike up a friendship.

Life is too short to focus and worry about all the bad things happening in the world. I say let’s highlight good stories, relationships, events and fill ourselves up with positive energy,  which we can pass on to others.

Using PhotoStream to help build a community of readers


In a previous post (14/April – The Book Whisperer), I shared how I had read a book by Donalyn Miller, called Reading in the Wild.

She lists 5 things that lifelong readers (or wild readers, as she calls them) do.
One of these is to be part of a reading community, where you can share what books you have read – to inspire others  – and hear about what others in that community are reading – to be inspired  – and to add to another of Miller’s lifelong readers’ behaviours – add to your reading plan, which is the list of books you want to read.

As I no longer have the year 5 and 6 classes for a stand alone library session, one of the things that I feel they are missing out on is this ‘reading community’. So how to achieve it when I am not seeing the classes regularly in the library to talk about books I have read and give the students a safe forum to share their reading as well.

Miller uses GoodReads, an online reading community, to connect her middle school students to a wider reading community. With primary age children, this open access to the www could be a problem in terms of keeping an eye on what they are accessing.

So, one of my colleagues came up with the idea of using PhotoStream. As all the year 5 and 6’s have their own iPads, this is a great way to use it.

I set up a photo stream, 5J Reading, and individually invited each class member, by email, to join the stream. So only people who are invited can access it.



I took a photo of a Tashi book I had just read to my year 1 classes and wrote a few words about why it was such a good story and posted it. This is so easy to do. Then the other members of the 5J PhotoStream can get on and ‘like’ my comments or comment themselves back so it is possible to get some to and fro happening between members.

I only set this up on Thursday of last week, so I’m not sure how successful it will be. Will the year 5’s post and will they comment? Of course, they can do these things whenever it suits them, ie. at school or at home, which is a positive, I think.

The Science teacher at school has just started using Photostream to give feedback to the year 5’s on their work. When they complete their science work, she asks them to take a picture of it and post it on the PhotoStream, with comments and she can reply back with – yes you are on the right track, or ahhh, what does this mean? is this what we talked about in class? – more immediate feedback and she likes it, because she doesn’t have to lug 27 bits of paper from school to home and back. It is all there on her iPad and easily worked on at home.

I have told the other year 5 and 6 classroom teachers about it so hopefully, they will want to get on board with this as well and we can create 4 ‘reading communities’ – to inspire and be inspired by reading and books.

Mindfulness in May


I got an email last week from a  colleague inviting me and anyone else to join her in a challenge called ‘Mindful in May’. Each day, you receive an email from Mindful in May which has a meditation attached and interesting information to do with mindfulness and sometimes a video or interview with an expert or something that makes up think or feel uplifted.

Loved this one from Saturday😃



So it really gives you the opportunity to try meditation and mindfulness for a sustained period of time and really, you just need to open the email and follow the instructions.

The other good thing coming out of this is that, to sign up to Mindful in May, you donate $25 to raise money for building wells to supply water to people in Africa. So far, over the years the program has been running, Mindful in May has raised nearly $100,000 which means over 3000 peoples lives will be transformed by access to clean, fresh water.


If you think this sounds like something you would like to try, the sign up date for the challenge closes on May 15, so you still have some time.

I say, go for it!


The Book Whisperer


Recently I have read ‘Reading in the Wild’ by Donalyn Miller,  a reading expert who talks about the 5 key reading habits that cultivate a life long love of reading – or a wild reader – as Miller calls them. As a teacher /librarian whose bread an butter is matching kids to perfect books that will encourage them to become life long readers, this book gave me many ah-ha moments, one of which was to start following her Book Whisperer blog. So here ’tis!


What Does the World Eat for Breakfast?


Who knew?

from The Kid Should See This blog

What Does the World Eat for Breakfast — in Egypt, Vietnam, Sweden, or where youlive? While these showcased morning foods are only some of the possible breakfasts in each of these countries, this Buzzfeed video is a solid conversation starter for introducing the variety of traditional food preferences around the globe.



Quotes that make me smile


Another page I have on Pinterest is quotes – I collect ones that make me smile or go ahhhhhhh or think a bit.

Just a couple of them…..
‘Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.’

Dalai Lama- ‘There are only 2 days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe , do and mostly live.’

Check them out at


First Fleet and convict libguide

A libguide is a guide that contain listings of recommended resources for finding information, such as databases, journals, books, web pages and other useful resources most relevant to your area of study. … Because I am making a libguide for use by year 4 students (9 and 10 year olds), all the resources on the pages are carefully chosen to be accessible and useful for them.

I have only made 4 libguides so far myself, but my secondary colleagues have made many more for use by their students. They are quite addictive to make, but can take many hours of work collating just the right resources. You can get stats as to how much use is being made of your libguide, which is great with the emphasis on evidence based practice.  

Please have a look at what I am talking about at