Why Blog?

I love to share things I come across with colleagues, parents and friends and others interested in matters to do with education. I am particularly interested in inquiry learning, gifted education, fostering independence and growing emotional literacy in our children. You may find posts interesting, you may not. You may agree, you may not but the important thing is you ponder about how it sits with you and your learning journey.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Maths and Gifted Education - get children talking

These are two topics that I am very passionate about. What I love about this article is it confirms the approach being used by Australasian schools. I have had the benefit of many hours of maths learning this year and key to this learning is teaching children about mathematical concepts through inquiry and talk.

Children who 'get maths' need to be challenged to think mathematically and rich mathematical tasks that are open ended and lead to a discussion of pure mathematics do this. We need to get our bright children talking and discovering mathematical ideas rather than keeping them busy with pages of problems or websites and games.

Sources for these activities include:
Otago Maths Problem Solving Resources
Think Boards
Andrew Jeffrey Resources www.andrewjeffrey.co.uk
Number Sense
Open Ended Maths Activities, SullivanP., & Lilburn, P. (2004)
Figure it Out Resources


I love information presented in a clear concise way. This graphic appeals not only for the key information it gives parents and teachers about dysgraphia but also the solutions. This is a condition sometimes effecting gifted children that leads to being identified as'twice exceptional.' Of course it is a learning condition that can affect all learners and impact their progress.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

12 Lessons about Gifted Kids from Matilda

This is a simple outline of some characteristics of gifted children evidenced in Roald Dahl's Matilda. 

Well worth a look, thanks Judy for sharing.

Pay it Forward

I love this movie as it is a fabulous example of a simple movie with a powerful message, more than that I love the message about humanity that it conveys. The fact that it is in Thai is irrelevant to the message. It is actually an advert for a Thai communication company, not that we know that at all.
It would be great to share with your class as part of the power of doing good or paying it forward.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Animated Thinking

Six Famous Thought Experiments,  a fascinating and delightfully animated series exploring six famous thought experiments. These animated videos – and their touches of humour would be great discussion starters. Fascinating!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Create Quotes for the Classroom

If you know me you will know that I am the quote queen. This is a fantastic site that help you create words of wisdom into cool posters for the classroom.

The site is called recitethis.com

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Maths Talk Time

We recently held a Parent Talk Time on maths. This was talking about how number is taught in schools today. Here is a copy of the power point that was shared.

Parent Talk Time - Maths by cmrhowison

Friday, 2 August 2013

Apps for Literacy

I am always on the hunt for quality apps to use with literacy. Anne Sturgess is the Te Toi Tupu Facilitator for Blended e-Learning and Gifted & Talented Education. She has compiled a fantastic list of great literacy apps.
Here is a link.

You will also find lots of other interesting things by taking a trip around her blog.

More learning opportunities

I often thought when I was actually attending University how great it would be to be able to slip in and attend many courses that I was interested in. Now you can, here is another link to open source education that is free. You can attend the courses and achieve a certificate or you can keep on learning about something purely for interest.

Have a look by clicking here.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Open ended thinking and creativity

I have been thinking a lot lately about open ended problems, particularly in regards to mathematics and getting children talking about their thinking.

I love this simple illustration about the importance of open ended questions in other areas too.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

As Adults We Need to Keep Learning...

I am always astounded by the links that you find to quality material to learn new things online. The challenge is now to find the time to listen to and absorb all the wonderful things that are out there. Here are a couple of worthwhile links.

Have you always dreamed of studying at MIT? Well now you can.

Jonathan Fields has a very good blog with links to all kinds of fascinating material. Use this link as a starting point to explore further. This particular links provides seven keynote sessions that are listed in the comments as being more worthwhile than 2 years of a reader's tertiary education.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Being An Effective Teacher

An Ethical Island is a great website providing infographics for teachers. Here is just one that I loved but there are tonnes more and the site is well worth exploring.
Check it out!

Here is a website that provides links to sites where you can (or teach children to) create your own infographics.

The Seven Survival Skills Our Learners Need

This is a thought provoking presentation by Tony Wagner, Harvard University, Graduate School of Education. Not only does it contain a video of his presentation but also a slideshow of the presentation that accompanied the presentation.

Our curriculum is world renowned for developing these skills in our learners. What will be the long term effect of the focus on National Standards? How can we honour both the core values of our curriculum and ensure our children are achieving and continuing to achieve?

You can find out more about Tony Wagner here:
Follow him on twitter:

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Measuring Learning

"If your parents ever measured you as a child, they had you
stand against a wall, and made a little pencil mark on the
wall to show your growth. They did not measure you against
your brother, or the neighbor's kids, or kids on TV. When you
measure your growth, make sure to only measure your today self
by your past self. If you compare your relationships, your
success, or your anything against anyone else, you are not
being fair to you. Everyone has a different path, a different
pace, and different challenges to face along the way."

-- Doe Zantamata

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Creativity, Curiosity and Compliance

Another thought provoking presentation by Sir Ken Robinson, published in April 2013 on TED. I always enjoying to his common sense delivery that makes what we believe seem so achievable.

Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish -- and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational "death valley" we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility. Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Resilience, perseverance, grit!

An interesting but short TED Talk discussing research about what makes a difference for success. Well worth 5 minutes of your day.
How do we develop these traits in the classroom? 

Monday, 20 May 2013

A Couple of Sites to Explore

ToonDoo - A great place to create your own cartoon strips.

Great for:

  • Conversations
  • Values
  • Practising another language
  • Writing steps
  • Jokes

TED Talks have been around for awhile now and in the last 18 months or so TEDEd talks have been established. They are designed to use in the classroom with children and to inspire your teaching. Have a search through, you never know what you might find and where it might lead.

Here is a list of the top 10 talks on this site.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Great Place for Apps

Kathy Schrock's information around learning and ICT has always been great. Here is a page she has created dedicated to apps and connecting them to Bloom's Taxonomy. Bloomin' marvellous!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Manifesto for Children

I just love this and had to share. At then end of the day this is what it is all about.

The Manifesto for Children
E. Paul Torrance
Don’t be afraid to fall in love with something
and pursue it with intensity.
Know, understand, take pride in, practice, develop, exploit
and enjoy your greatest strengths.
Learn to free yourself from the expectations of others
and to walk away from the games they impose on you.
Free yourself to play your own game.
Find a great teacher or mentor who will help you.
Learn the skills of interdependence.
Don’t waste energy trying to be well-rounded
Do what you love and can do well.

See original link here

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

iPad Resource

Here is another iPad app resource but this one is sorted a little differently. I arranges the apps based on their function and how you want them to be used in the class. Pretty cool!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

A Thought Provoking Five Minutes!

Our education system is world renowned however, people still seem bent on changing it. A thought provoking watch that is well worth 5 minutes of your time.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Ipads for learning

I love the use of ipads in the classroom but very often they become a tool of consumption rather than creation. There are some amazing apps out there but like anything digital they are being produced at a rate of knots and you have to search out the good from the bad.

Here is a list of educational apps that you might find useful.

Here is another link I found via the Virtual Learning Network (VLN) by a NZ educator Jaqui Sharp, she is currently based in Auckland. She provides great links for e learning, websites and apps.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Performance based pay? No thanks

The idea of performance based pay has been on our radar for a while now. Here is a great article by Bill Gates outlining why this is not an option for schools. An interesting read.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Behaviour or Anxiety?

I came across this interesting article about how anxiety can manifest itself in a range of interesting ways. I wonder if this is affecting many children in Christchurch post earthquake? I can also think of a few gifted children I have taught in the past whose issues were probably related to anxiety.

Here is the link to the book mentioned in the article.

Playing with Words

I love to use technology to engage children in writing and these ideas for using wordle are fabulous. I few I have used but many are new. Like anything, there are a few you would skip and I am sure you will think of a few more. If you do, post it in a comment!

Here is the wordle link http://www.wordle.net/ there are similar other tools.

Click on the link to find the wordle ideas.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Writing Poetry

I love working with children writing and reading poetry. Here is a fantastic blog that is updated daily and designed for New Zealand children. Each day Paula Green posts poetry ideas and things to think about. A great addition to classroom blogs.

Monday, 18 March 2013

3D Printing and Creating

This is a technology that is exciting and whilst the temptation is to initially look at it from an art and design perspective the possibilities are indeed endless.

Check out the website of the 3 Doodler.

Follow the discussion with Cheryl Doig and read other interesting posts at her website.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Change starts with yourself

"Make the world a better place one person at a time. 
Start with yourself."

-- Linda Poindexter 

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Back to Basics with Maths

Maths is at the forefront of my mind at the moment and there have been a few articles recently lamenting our children's skills in maths. Audrey Tan calls for a return to the basics with more emphasis on basic facts, times tables, adding in columns and not bombarding students with a multitude of strategies that leaves them paralyzed when faced with a problem.

Read the full article here...

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Thanks to Sam for sharing this very cool website. It would be a great link on your blog providing a 'wonder of the day'.

Sunday, 10 March 2013


I was reading 'The Press' on the weekend and came across an article about Dr Anna Wilson from University of Canterbury who is currently working on and researching dyscalculia. I am currently working with children who find maths hard and it is always fascinating finding out more about what might make these children tick. The diagnosis of dyslexia is increasingly common, I wonder if the same numbers of children with dyscalculia exist out there?

Here is the link to the article if you would like to read more...

In addition she promotes a website further discussing dyscalculia.

She also provides a link to a website where you can download a resource suitable for 4-8year olds and there is a link to an online resource for slightly older children.

Thursday, 7 March 2013


"Every night before you go to bed write down three things good
that happened to you that day. That's pretty much all it takes
to get a happiness boost over time."

-- Eric Barker 

Monday, 4 March 2013

Gifted Children - Meeting their Needs

Teaching and parenting highly gifted children comes with a whole host of challenges that many fail to realise. Louise Porter is an Australian practitioner who works in the are of social and emotional needs of gifted children. Like our school definition, Porter's definition is wide including  intellectual, academic, social, emotional intelligence, physical skills or artistic.

Here is a pdf of a short book written by Louise Porter that teachers and parents may find interesting.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Goal Setting Leads to Success

Goal setting is an important skill that we begin to learn as children. We are about to start our first round of goal setting for 2013 with our children. Successful adults are continually setting, striving towards and evaluating goals in all areas of our lives.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Learning Never Stops

I think it is readily accepted now that great teachers never stop learning. The exciting thing is that opportunities to be involved in worldwide lectures and seminars seem to be increasing. The challenge remains is how to find the time to fit these things into our already full days. We are so busy creating learning for others we forget to look after ourselves.

The beauty of a site like this one is you can register your interest and watch the webinar at a time that suits. Alternatively you can look at webinars that have been pre-recorded and uploaded to the site.

Here is a link to the University of California : Irvine that hosts a myriad of webinars that may interest.


Friday, 8 February 2013

14 Inspirational Children from 2012

As a teacher you always seek to make a difference. With inquiry teaching you encourage children to make a difference. These children are, in an amazing way!

Click on the image to take you to the web page.