Top 3 Lists for 2019

I borrowed this concept of ending the year with lists of both personal and professional ‘top threes’ from Chris Kennedy’s blog, A Culture of Yes

Top 3 actions I took this year

Acknowledging the Christchurch Mosque attack A conversation with one of our learners who felt despondent about the attacks in New Zealand prompted me to take action. I arranged for him and a group of New Zealand students to visit the High Commission in Singapore to sign the book of condolence. was a small action, but it demonstrated to our community our school’s mission and vision is more than words.

Rebooting our PYPx We moved away from the traditional practices of putting kids in a group, ‘save the world’ ideas, and talk in front of poster boards towards a focus on self-development and symbolic pieces to provoke conversation in our community. We loved to seeing how the parents in our community supported our learners in their personal inquiries.

Implementing an iPad BYOD programme This year our school implemented iPads as BYOD device. It has been fantastic to see how our learners have used the multimedia capabilities to become more reflective and creative. Teachers in our year group have also improved their confidence in using the device to support their learning.

Top 3 Young Adult Books I’ve read in 2019

Internment 17 year old Layla and her family are interned in camps, their only ‘crime’ being Muslim. Those with a sense of history will immediately draw connections to the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War 2. This story is one of hope and the power of collective action.

Peak This book was recommended to me by students who thought the story would be a great title for reading groups. This coming of age novel about pushing physical and emotional limits had lots of points to ponder about ethics, family and power.

Dawn Raid – told as a series of diary entries. This story traces a shameful entry in New Zealand’s history in a way that is accessible and relatable to the modern day.

Top 3 photographs I made in 2019

School camp in Langkawi – I love the colour and depth of field.

Orca near Victoria. Technically, not a great photo. However, the snap immediately conjures up the sounds of the waves slapping against the boat and the feeling of awe of seeing this pod and a humpback dipping through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Senate Square Helsinki. I love the contrast of colour of the building against the sky.

Top 3 professional learning experiences

Future of Education Now! Western Academy of Beijing’s marvellous conference had a great mix of both ‘blue sky’ thinking along with some ‘nuts and bolts’ action on moving away from the industrial model of schooling.

Innovative Learning Environment this year our teaching team really started to make use of our open learning space to play to our strengths and differentiate learning for our students.

Being a mentor teacher Learning to give feedback and guidance, be helpful (but not too helpful) and having someone ask questions about my teaching habits has been a great way to reflect on my own practice.

Top 3 things I want to do less of in 2020

Mindless Screen Time – I recently read a book called 24/6. The thesis of the book is to carve out time away from screen to connect with people and passions relevant to living. Focusing on creating, turning off notifications, deleting Facebook from my phone and pruning my Twitter feed are actions I can take to be more mindful about my technology use.

Flying – this year I clocked 150,000km of ‘bum in seat’ air travel. Most of my travel was personal – the joys of an ultra long distance relationship. For the sake of the planet, I must be more purposeful in my travel.

Being comfortable – After three years of combining full time work with part-time study, 2019 was about regrouping mentally. It’s now time to get uncomfortable again by pushing some personal limits.

Top 3 ways I want to push myself in 2020

Physical – It’s fact universally acknowledged that one hits a ’round birthday,’ a goal of moving more must be made. But rather than run a marathon or join a team, my goal is to find a physical activity that brings me enough joy to want to do it daily.

Share more – I used to share online a lot more frequently and substantially. Quick updates on Twitter and LinkedIn give a ‘hey this is what I’m doing.’ On reflection, it is the thinking behind the actions that is more important to share than the actions themselves.

Saying ‘yes’ to new opportunities – watch this space…

What are your ‘top threes’ for 2019?

What will you be doing more or less of in 2020?


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