Category Archives: Interesting

Flashmob – Copenhagen Phil playing Peer Gynt in the Metro

Jenny Luca normally shares the flashmob goodness. I couldn’t resist this one. Just imagine hearing this spontaneous performance.

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5 things I’d like my teacher to know about me – meme and retrospective

The talented (and Pottermore expert) Judith Way tagged me in this meme – 5 things I’d like my teacher to know about me. You can read Judith’s post here. Why not? It’s short, it’s useful in preparation for school as a zoom-in on the student-teacher relationship. Okay, so here goes: –

1. Just because I get good marks doesn’t mean I don’t need encouragment. This happened to my older son too. Teachers often focus on boosting the confidence of struggling students, leaving the bright ones without any encouragement. All kids need to feel encouraged and appreciated.

2. I might present as a happy student because I’m well behaved, but inside I’m bored to death. Of course in my day (in primary school) you sat patiently for ages while everyone took their turn to read, particularly, the struggling readers who needed more practice. Bad luck if you’d already read the whole reader (yes, one reader for the whole year) before school started.

3. Just because I get good marks doesn’t mean I am confident. In fact I am far from confident and suffer over little things, beating myself up about my imperfections. (Just realised there’s a bit of a theme here, and also I should probably go to a counsellor! so many things stirred up here…)

4. I love the way you decorate the classroom (primary school obviously). I may not say anything but all the differently coloured papers, craft activities, displayed work makes a happy environment for me and I remember it all decades later. Visual, tactile, olfactory experiences are powerful and affect the learning experience. Okay, so  obviously all my answers focus on primary school.

5. I need more context. So many activities, simple as they were, left me feeling confused. I didn’t see the point of the exercise. Then I started wondering if I was the only one feeling confused, especially when everyone else seemed to accept the activities without any problems. Even as far back as prep grade, I remember wondering what the point of Tic Tac Toe was. Maybe I was missing the point. Do you think that perhaps I may have been a little paranoid? Still, kids are not stupid, a little context goes a long way. Remember, kids are learning so much every day, there’s a lot of information processing going on. Lots of discussion and question time will help with this.

So now I need to tag other people to write a similar post. Bearing in mind these people may not choose to participate given their busy lives. In hope, but with understanding in case you can’t do it, I tag you, @jennyluca @angelquilter @kimyeo @sujokat @Larrydlibrarian  Thanks and don’t worry if you can’t do it – busy time of year!

PS Yes, I know, I need therapy.

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Flashmob Moscow style

You’ve all seen the flashmob events made famous by Improv Everywhere, for example, Grand Central Station in New York. Here is a group doing the same thing  in a Moscow shopping mall singing a popular Christmas carol. The singers are from an Orthodox boarding school and include clergy (obviously the bearded ones).

A bit late for Christmas, I know, but just came across it.

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Filed under Collaboration, creativity, Interesting, music

The world needs all kinds of minds

I agree with Temple Grandin, the world needs all kinds of minds.

We should stop celebrating normal and worrying endlessly about what doesn’t fit within that normal.

Temple’s ability to verbalise her own autism has broadened our understanding of what it means to be autistic. Instead of looking at autism in terms of what is wrong, Temple turns our perspective around by stating that we wouldn’t have evolved without those people who think and function differently.

I’ve pulled out some of what she said in her  TED talk, things which resonate with me, both as a teacher and just in general:

People are getting away from doinghands-on stuff. I’m really concerned that a lot of schools have taken out the hands-on classes

We’ve got to think about all these different kinds of minds. And we’ve got to absolutely work with these kind of minds, because we absolutely are going to need these kind of people in the future.

And this brings up mentors. You know, my science teacher was not an accredited teacher. He was a NASA space scientist. Now, some states now are getting it to where if you have a degree in biology, or a degree in chemistry, you can come into the school and teach biology or chemistry. We need to be doing that. Because what I’m observing is the good teachers, for a lot of these kids, are out in the community colleges. We need to be getting some of these good teachers into the high schools.

If by some magic, autism had been eradicated from the face of the Earth, then men would still be socializing in front of a wood fire at the entrance to a cave.

Question: So, most people, if you ask them what are they most passionate about, they’d say things like, “My kids” or “My lover.” What are you most passionate about?

Temple Grandin: I’m passionate about that the things I do are going to make the world a better place.

I would love to see the school that Temple would create if she were a principal or education department head, wouldn’t you?

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Linchpin

I have been so touched and uplifted by people’s comments (on this blog and in person) following my heart-on-my-sleeve post after an unsuccessful job application. Thankyou to everyone for your extremely kind feedback.

Today I was interested in a comment by Marie Coleman who called me a linchpin and asked if I’d read Seth Godin’s latest book, Linchpin. I haven’t but I’ve heard about it, and I want to read it.

After reading a review of Linchpin, I thank Marie for this enormous compliment, and I don’t know if I am a linchpin but I would certainly like to be one.

There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order out of chaos. They figure out what to do when there’s no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art. Linchpins are the essential building blocks of great organizations. Like the small piece of hardware that keeps a wheel from falling off its axle, they may not be famous but they’re indispensable.

(Linchpin pdf here)

The terms ‘art’ and ‘artists’ need to be explained here:

Art isn’t just for painters and poets. Art is “anything that’s creative, passionate and personal. […] An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it personally.” (p. 83)  You don’t create Art as something to keep to yourself, you share that talent or ability with others.

(from review on Squared Peg)

Do you think you’re a linchpin? Would you like to be?

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People are brilliant

Long school holidays have given me the time to browse online to my heart’s content. I’m overwhelmed by the constant stream of what everyone is reading, writing, thinking, commenting, asking, creating and sharing. How would I know about any of these things otherwise? I wouldn’t.

Examples of people’s creativity are shared online all the time. I love the way technology combines with basic skills like drawing and paper folding in this video. The creator of the following animation describes this as ‘a shot at animating the old flip book’.

I can’t upload the video so here’s the link.

parkour motion reel from saggyarmpit on Vimeo.

Thanks to @mizminh

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The story of the button demonstrates the power of social networking

Looking through my Flickr contacts’ photostreams, I noticed some photos of a button. Intrigued, I read a lengthy explanation, a short, true story, which I wanted to share. This is bigsumo‘s story.

A man sent an email via Facebook on a Monday morning in August. He was not sure if the email was being sent to the right people. He mentioned that whilst mowing his lawn in Corinda, Brisbane he uncovered a button. He notice some writing imprinted into the button. He decided out of curiosity to google it. He discovered that ‘TJ Moles Charters Towers’ referred to a man who was a tailor in Charters Towers. This was obviously his branded button to advertise his wares.

The man also discovered an old forum request on the family history site Rootsweb, from a couple looking for information on this person. Unfortunately, their listed email was no longer valid. He tried searching Facebook and discovered some names matching the description and within the hour sent a querying email looking for a connection.

An hour later that email from Facebook was answered by me. My wife and I were the couple looking for information on TJ Moles as he was the father of our adopted grandmother (that’s a whole other story) who herself was born in 1898 in Charters Towers.

I responded with great suprise at such an out of left field email. I explained our connection to the button’s owner and was very greatful to take him up on his offer to mail the button to us on the Sunshine Coast. To which he replied that he would pop it in the post on his way to work. The next day, Tuesday I was suprised to see, delivered to me at work, an envelope containing a button stamped with TJ Moles Charters Towers.

This button has travel long, somehow winding its way from north Queensland to Brisbane to be found late in 2009. It potentially started it journey somewhere between 1880 – 1940 (when TJ Moles passed away) when he ran his tailor shop (best guess).

More amazing is the very fast journey this button has been on in the last 24 hours, thanks to google and social networking! This button, though small is our only physical connection with our adopted family from that time. It’ll take pride of place in our family history collection!

What a great story! How else could you have discovered the button’s story without the online connections and collaboration? Another example of the power of Flickr.

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Filed under flickr, Interesting, internet, networking, photos, technology, Web 2.0