Ordinary is Extraordinary

WellyED co-founder Philippa Nicoll Antipas (@AKeenReader) muses on the ordinary things we do that will be celebrated at #educampwelly17 on February 25th at Raroa Intermediate.

My colleague and I were working away in our shared office space at school. She turned to me and asked a question – I can’t remember what it was – but in response I looked at a sheet of paper pinned to the wall directly to the right of my computer screen. She asked me what the paper was – was it some communication from senior management that she had missed? Nope – it was just my term planner that I make for myself at the start of every term.

I explained further how I created it, what it included, and how it helped me stay on top of my lesson planning and marking (and reports, and parent-teacher conferences, and extra-curricular responsibilities, and meetings… you know the drill…). She was amazed! What a brilliant idea, she thought.

Didn’t seem all that sexy to me, I thought. Just my A-type, uber-organised personality coming to the fore. Boring and logical, I thought.

But that’s kind of the point really, isn’t it?

It was a tool I had created, nothing special to me, but seemed innovative to my colleague.

So I wonder, what is it that YOU do in YOUR classroom or to organise your teaching life that you don’t see as anything very “much”, but would be astounding to someone else? A great deal, I’m willing to bet.

And this is what #educampwelly17 is all about: celebrating the ordinary things that you do, that will be – that ARE – extraordinary to others. Come and share: Saturday February 25th at Raroa Intermediate. Register here. Koha appreciated.

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How do I like thee, Educampwelly? Let me count the ways…

Thank you to dedicated WellyEDer Kelly Layton for this reflection on why educampwelly is one of her favourite forms of professional learning. Follow Kelly on Twitter @Kellylayton99. Remember if you want to be up-to-date with WellyED and educampwelly, the easiest way is to follow this blog (click on the blue button just over there to the right!), to follow us on Twitter @Welly_ED, and to join our group on G+.

Summer is wonderful, there is so much to take pleasure in. Personally, I love being able to walk in the bush every day, have a coffee on the sea front, do silly jobs that I never make time for all year (this year was cleaning the pantry), making plans, not making plans, barbecues with friends I never see enough of, naps, listening to podcasts about all manner of topics, and breathing.

Work is there, but in a lovely, gentle way. I flick through Twitter, save a few links I know I’ll want to think about more later: new ideas I want to know more about, old ideas I want to examine further, parts of my programme I know need refreshing. Maybe even chip away at some professional reading before I fall asleep under the old Ngaio out front. It’s no stress, no pressure, just percolating quietly at the back of my summer brain.

Then the start of the year rolls around. This year I’m looking forward to co-teaching with a long time colleague with senior students from year 4-6. She has many strengths I don’t and I look forward to learning from her, as well as from the students who will cause us to learn as much as we aim to help learning happen for them.

It’s with this frame of mind, Educampwelly appears at the start of the learning year when enthusiasm and energy are still high, programmes are still evolving, and there’s time and space to reflect on and inject new ideas. I really enjoy this educator-organised, educator-led time of professional learning. What’s to love? What’s not to, more like!

  • It’s nice to be in a room full of educators who are clearly enthusiastic about teaching and learning. They bring a buzz of energy, and it’s great to reconnect with people you may not see that often.
  • Welly has some amazing educators. At Educamp, you get a close up look at what these exciting and innovative people are doing. You get to ask questions pertinent to your learners and practice, and all the nitty-gritty things you have been wondering about.
  • People at Educamp organise what happens at Educamp. Listening to the smack-down (people at the start of the day have a minute to talk about something they’re really excited about) gets you excited about what the day may bring. You write up what you would like to explore further in sessions, the marvellous team whip up a timetable and voila! An exciting day of learning and connecting.
  • I really enjoy the no pressure feel. Not being a fan of public speaking, there is no expectation to do so. For those keen to speak up, their contributions are very welcome! The sessions are run as discussions with people sharing what they know, asking questions, making connections and challenging ideas. No-one is ‘the expert’, though some may have more experience about the topic. Everyone contributes positively in the way that suits them. Relaxed, but with energy.
  • At the end of it all, I feel excited at what the year may bring, how I may include all the rich learning I have got from the day, and the connections made or re-forged. I feel inspired to be in a profession with such a cool bunch of people doing great things all over the capital. And there may even be pizza and beer.

My wish list for this year? I hope there’s something about co-teaching, about exciting and meaningful maths programmes, I’m always interested in how people are developing learning agency, I’m keen to see if people are keen to connect our learners and get visits happening, and of course the exciting unknown!

If you’ve been to Educamp before, see you on February 25th. If you haven’t, give it a go! Bring a friend or three, or come alone – you certainly won’t be lonely. It’s a few hours very well spent.

Here are my reflections from Educamp Welly 2016.


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Save the Date!

#educampwelly is coming back for another year in 2017 – so here’s your advance notice to save the date and spread the word!

Make sure you follow this blog (click on the blue button on the top right) to keep up to date with all our news and happenings.


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Cookies and Coffee

Ah. Term 4. Daylight savings, weather (slowly) improves, the slide towards Christmas.

And then the quakes.

And the floods.

And the reports. And camps. And meetings. And, and…

So, join us fellow educators. WellyED is having a soothing catch up at Churton Park School on Thursday, 1st December from 3:30pm onwards. RSVP here. Drop by, bake a cookie. Eat it. Chat with colleagues and find a small oasis of calm for a while.

Bring a friend and spread the word.

See you there!


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Find your billion

WellyED is excited to help promote and support this exceptional, free opportunity for secondary school students.

As you may have heard Christchurch will host the Singularity University Summit in November this year. The Singularity University is an organisation focussing on educating, inspiring and empowering leaders to apply exponential technologies to solve humanity’s grand challenges. This will be a major event with experts in exponential technologies travelling from across the world for the event. You can learn more about the event in this Radio New Zealand interview with SingularityU New Zealand ambassador Kaila Colbin.

Education is a key area of interest when we consider the future. With this in mind SingularityU NZ will also be hosting free one-day workshops for high school age students. The Find Your Billion programme will feature workshops in a range of major cities in late September (26-28th) and will help students develop applications of exponential technologies that might help a billion people.

The workshops will be hosted by expert facilitators from the USA and NZ and will provide participants with an understanding of exponential technologies, how they are revolutionising our future, and how that change enables the next generation – what we call the Exponential Generation – to transform the world for the better.

We would like to offer each Wellington school 10 student places for the Find Your Billion workshop on September 27th. These will be reserved for you and all we need at this point would be confirmation that you wish to use these places. We can get the names of the students at a later date. To confirm your acceptance of these places, register at our website www.findyourbillion.co.nz. And hopefully we’ll see you in September!

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WellyED Connects

In this series of blogposts, we’ll explore some of the other opportunities for you out there to connect with like-minded educators. In this post, meet the #BFC630NZ, written by one of its keen participants, Belinda Whyte.

If you have found yourself on twitter in the last year and a half, you may have stumbled across #BFC630NZ and wondered what it is. Then, upon discovering that it is a group of educators who are up at 6:30am talking teaching, you may have thought…what?! They’re up when?! Why would they do that to themselves?

Well, let me tell you why…

#BFC630NZ are the people you go to when you are needing inspiration. They’re the people you chat with when you feel like you’re the lone nut where you are. They’re the people who challenge your thinking, pushing you out of that rut you were in. They’re also the people who celebrate your successes with you and laugh at your attempt at memes.

In other words they are an online tribe. A virtual whanau.

Many is the time that myself or someone else in this tribe has spoken of how #BFC630NZ has kept them going through the tough stuff. Teaching can be hard at times and it’s good to know that someone is there for you who walks the walk as well as talking the talk. #BFC630NZ has come to mean more than just a twitter chat to many.

It is a “when you need, when you can” group, so there is no expectation to be there on time, although, most chats are over by around 6:50am. It can be good to scroll through the feed afterwards to see what ideas have come up. If it’s been a particularly juicy chat, it will often be storifyed and put up on the blog for #BFC630NZ.

Ideas come hard and fast in this group. It’s amazing sometimes – you don’t realise how much you know or feel about something until you get asked a question on it. The beauty of the chat is the one question limit. At that time in the morning, more than one would probably just be unfair! It means you can fit in what you want to say around making coffee, waking kids and eating toast.

There are many regular #WellyED contributors who participate. So, if you find yourself feeling like you need a boost, come join the #BFC630NZ crew for a natter. 6:30am NZT every weekday, Term time. I’ll probably see you there!

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WellyED Connects

In this series of blogposts, we’ll explore some of the other opportunities for you out there to connect with like-minded educators. In this post, meet the Connected Learning Advisory, written by one of its advisers, Philippa Nicoll Antipas.

If you aren’t acquainted with the Connected Learning Advisory (CLA), and you work in a state or state-integrated school or kura who has digital technologies, then consider yourself introduced!

The CLA is a free, Ministry of Education-funded service. It can help you to integrate and embed digital technologies for learning. Basically, if it can be linked to the e-Learning Planning Framework, then it’s in the scope of the CLA. Teaching and learning, infrastructure, strategic planning and learning, community engagement, professional learning – so many possibilities the CLA can help you with in your school.

And they’re not only reactive to queries from schools, they’re also proactive: writing resources, like this awesome checklist for going BYOD, or this strategic planning roadmap, running webinars, like this one coming up in Term 3 on supporting teachers with digital change, or even running free professional learning workshops – they will be in the Taranaki in August.

There’s a whole team behind the CLA with diverse expertise just waiting to help. And they’re all former teachers, so they actually understand where you’re coming from. Check them out when you next need a hand!

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