What does your blog really say about learning?

I need to blog.

After spending nearly 18 months forcing myself to update daily, I haven’t posted in 5 months.

Like Royan, I don’t quite feel right when I’m not blogging yet I also struggle with putting my thoughts out there for others to read.

I could blame being busy with teaching, masters study, lack of ideas etc. but the truth is I had a big case of writer’s stage fright.

The nature of the online edusphere has changed in the last few years. Less conversational and more personal branding.

  • Quotes in stock images.
  • Pinterest worthy infographics.
  • Auto-tweets of content.
  • 5 quick steps to classroom bliss.
  • Instagramworthy learning moments.

Sharing online feels more like it needs to be more polished. Conversational thoughts of ‘I tried something and this what I learned’  are often tempered with ‘if I’m asking someone to give me their attention, the content should be worth it…’

And even that word, content, sends shivers up my spine.

For me, teaching is a craft. A constant work in progress, not a series of beautiful updates. We should be telling our stories but also questioning our practice. Not just in our heads but also in the online sphere.

  • When was the last time you shared a #teacherfail and what you learned from it?
  • How do you document the shifts in your practice? Do you take the time to share the bumps or just the successes?
  • When did you question another person’s practice online?
  • What does your online presence really say about learning?


Using visible thinking to inform reporting


Another round of reports over and done with.

One of the easiest parts of the reports to write this session was our unit of inquiry.

In the past I’d be pouring over rubrics, student work and tearing my brain for memories of classroom conversations.

This year I used the data the children had gathered through doodlecasting and they were the easiest comments to write.

No longer was I just using artefacts of what the kids have ‘done’ but what the kids think about what they’ve created. Hearing the children explain in their own words about the concepts gave me a really clear picture in my head of the child when writing their comments.

I wish I had a way to link the comments to the evidence of the children’s learning directly into the reports to add an extra dimension to my observations.

What makes the end of the year so challenging?

Every year I think to myself, I’m not going to get caught feeling tired and stressed at the end of the year.

I start reports early, finish off assessment as quickly as possible. Yet somehow still feel myself running on empty with just over three weeks to go.

Then I figured it out.

No matter how many of my admin ‘must dos’ I finish, there will always be more to do.The classroom still needs to tick over and kids need to be engaged with their learning until the very end.

Perhaps the inevitable rush to try and do it all…


I used to think, Now I think, I didn’t think of…

Project Zero Classroom continues to push my practice almost 11 months after the event.

This year I’ve been exploring how the use of screencasting might amplify the use of these routines in class.

What has been particularly interesting isn’t that the children follow them – it’s when they start to adapt them for their own purposes.

A few weeks after introducing looking ten times two earlier in the year- one of my little Year 4s piped up – it’s not just that you should look twice. You need to think twice too!

Now that we are a few weeks into the unit, I thought it would be a good time for the children to return to our initial provocation.  The children listened to their first thoughts about a bottle of water and the chorus of giggles came up. What was interesting is that a few of the children were already making comparisons about their thinking without any guidance from me. One even started to adapt the routine – I used to think, Now I think, I didn’t think of..


The child has outlined their learning for the rest of the unit both in terms of knowledge but also skills and attitudes they need to develop.

What was interesting were the children who were turning to the class Flickr account and their own camera roll to find images to show their learning. This is a world away from when I initially started capturing student thinking where children were merely reading off the rubric.

However there were problems. Some children had difficulty accessing the videos due to the current school internet settings.

A few takeaways:

  • The importance of an object to focus the children’s thinking about a big conceptual idea. They aren’t just learning about water as a resource but how to view the world.
  • What was the impact of the children hearing themselves think? Would they have made as deep connections to their previous learning if they had documented their learning through writing or drawing?
  • Having a large volume of class photos for the children to
  • Helping the children to make those connections of the  attitudes and approaches to learning that enable them to reflect on their learning.