Friday, 15 July 2016

PBL Essentials - HIP HOP Genius! - PD Prep

PBL Essentials - HIP HOP Genius!

Notes made when viewing Sam Seidel Keynote - PBL World 2013 (

I am going to a PBL PD course and was asked to watch this video as part of the preparation. Sam was very good at Keepin' it Real!

9th Essential - Keep it Real (World)
  1. Keep it Real -
    1. Read Books
    2. Classroom
    3. Went into a Real World and was a Student Teacher (Keep it Real)
      1. Scaffolded/Supported Real world learning
  2. Denis Littky
  3. Create “Realationships”
    1. “I am getting into better and better arguments with more and more important people”
    2. Have a real audience

10th Essential - Keep it Real (Work)
  1. Use the real Materials
  2. Authentic Assessment - Proove it (True to the field)

11th Essential - Keep it Real (Relevant)
  1. The work must follow the stuff that they care about.
  2. Voice and Choice
  3. Lines of Desire - hard because all need different

KEEP IT REAL - Repetition

SWAGGACITY - has a specific Swagger

How can we make our walls more permeable?

How can I make my work more real?

What do you love to do?

The project should be the MAIN COURSE!

Monday, 18 April 2016

Assessment - Current Conundrum

Assessments and the collection of data are vital for any educator in order to continue to have a  real impact on the learning of the students in their care.

The challenge that is being faced by all educators is the amount of data, the type of data and use of that data. However, let's focus on one data collection point at this time.

With many innovative or revamped pedagogies and programs; genius hour, maker space, innovation time, computer programming, mystery locations, breakoutEDU, How do we as educators assess what are students are learning? Do have to? To what end? How much detail? How do we report it? Where do they fit into our current report structure?

Many educators see all of these learning events as being vital for the students in their classrooms. They fit into the learning in every way and those who are utilising these in their classes can see their value. However, there are still the education structures that we must fit into. We want to change the education landscape, but like many things, this takes time. How do we do what we know needs to be done for the interest of the learners in our classes and still fulfil our requirements?

The online blogs and digital portfolios (Seesaw is the current one I am using) are fantastic ways to share the learning. These allow educators to share work samples, video, picture and students reflections directly with the parents and investors. When reports come along, where are people putting all the amazing learning?

Last year I put all this great data into the general comments and for some students into Science or English. Where does this fit in a busy school report schedule? How can others see the progress in the written report/assessment structure?

Monday, 4 April 2016

Original Thinkers - Adam Grant Feb 2016

Amazing presentation and powerful for all educators!

This is very thought provoking. Thank you Adam Grant.

"Procrastinating is a vice when it comes to productivity, but it can be a virtue for creativity."

"Doubt the default"

Saturday, 16 January 2016

A Goal for 2016; Instil Excellence as a Habit

Summer holidays....

Sun, beach, parks, bike rides, scooter rides, day trips, friends, family, walks, waves, drinks, BBQ. All things that I have spent my summer doing. In our profession this is the time of year that we really get to unwind and have a rest.

It is a time to reflect on the other important things that are in our lives. Family. My wife and I have spent this time with our three kids. Teaching them the important lessons, riding bikes, swimming, taking the time to read the history of a place or talk to the owners of the cafes that we visit. I am always teaching, training or educating, I just cannot help it. There is a lesson in everything and my 5 year old son, who is starting school this year, is so curious about this amazing world that he is growing up in.

This holidays has again encouraged me to see the fun and excitement in learning. There is a lesson in everything and everything can be a learning experience. The more natural and enquiry based the better. The more it will be remembered, the more it will be transferred into usable skills and the more context the lesson will have.

Enjoying the journey of growth and development as a father and an educator is fantastic. Having three kids is allowing me to see how much of their development is nature and how much nurture. It has been great to have the time to spend with these guys, real quality and quantity time.

My personal goals and challenges for 2016 can be compartmentalised. As an educator, my kids have encouraged me to look at how I can continue to make my lessons fun and engaging for my class. How I can harness the natural childhood love of enquiry to allow my students to gain 1 year of growth for the 1 year in my class. This follows the ideas put forward by Simon Breakspear and John Hattie, leading thinkers of education reform, and Andrew Taylor, the principal at The Kilmore International School; "...that every student deserves a year's growth in learning for a year's input of teaching, and this cannot happen when students are distracted of misbehaving."

Aristotle said "We are what we repeated do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit"

With these two thoughts in mind, one of my goals for 2016 will be; to instil the habit of excellence in my students and in my teaching!

What are some things that you want to achieve?

Monday, 14 December 2015

BreakoutEDUau Launch at Google Sydney

You are stuck in a room with a number of like minded people. You are told that you have been set a challenge - open this box - there are 5 locks on it. Your instructions are:

"There are clues around this room that link to the locks that are on this box. You have 45 minutes and whatever resources you have on you to solve the puzzles to open the box. GO!"

Welcome to BreakoutEDUau.

This week I had the fantastic opportunity to experience the BreakoutEDUau launch at Google Headquarters in Sydney. 

I was part of the second launch group with trail blazing Australian Educators showing us the way; Kim Sutton, Chris Betcha and Nick Brierley. I have to say that there is no better way to launch an idea with educators than to get us to participate. Playing this game allowed me to see what this could look like in my classroom or even as a staff training exercise to get us thinking the way we want our students thinking.

This game was focused around the history of communication. The clues included invisible ink, images, codes, hieroglyphs, riddles, knotted strings, QR codes, websites and email addresses. There was so much opportunity to think laterally, work collaboratively and look at a couple of problems in a number of ways. It required persistence, group work, mathematics, history, use of technology and drawing on past knowledge.

This concept was launched in the USA earlier in the year by James Sanders- founder of @BreakoutEdu. On his website James states that:

Photo by @kehall16
"Breakout EDU creates ultra-engaging learning games for people of all ages. Games (Breakouts) teach teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, and troubleshooting by presenting participants with challenges that ignite their natural drive to problem-solve."

From what I experienced this week BreakoutEDUau stays true to the experience that the founder had in mind. This educational concept was born from James Sanders playing the games in "Breakout Rooms" and from there he prototyped and developed the breakout box. If you are like me and like to meet the developer, James Sanders, and hear him explain the game and process of development then watch this interview.

The great part of this game is that you can use it as you buy it or you can make it totally your own. The BreakoutEDU community is growing and organically sharing ideas and clues, as well as whole games. This community will continue to grow as more educators get on board. 

Remember that it should always be about the thinking and learning!
This is perfect!

If you are looking for something new to truly incorporate the 21st Century Skills and those soft skills that our students will need in the real world then take a look at - 


Thursday, 22 October 2015

Another Fantastic Example of Genius Hour!

Just wanted to share another amazing example of how Genius Hour has impacted my classroom.

Here is Christos presenting his genius and research about democracy. He is 10 years old and has a respect for government because of his research than many adults.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Genius Hour's - Educational Value

It has been a few months since my last post but so much has been happening. Genius Hour has continued to be a force in my classroom each week and there have been some significant development in my students over that time.

I want to share with you two of standout moments recently.

One of my student's put the forward "Dyslexia from a kids perspective." as his task. He did lots of reading and questioning. He also spoke to an expert. The following video was how he decided he wanted to share his learning from the experience. This is a must watch! He was keen to connect it to Dyslexia Empowerment Week. He has taught me so much over the past term.

Another student wanted to look into "How to develop a good soccer player." He did much of his research at home and the product of the research was a website. The web design become a large part of the learning process and he decided to launch it and continue its development. The components that make up a good soccer player are there but how to develop this is still coming. It has been a great journey so far.