Saturday, 29 December 2012

Zero hour.......

I am away!! This post sees me currently sitting in Auckland airport, New Zealand with part one of my travel legs complete. A short three hours on the plane bought me from lovely (cold!!) Melbourne to sunny (warm) Auckland where I lost my second bottle of water going through security again (!!) and am waiting for my next flight. Surprisingly my bags were under weight restrictions - 21 and 22 kgs actually (the limit was 23kgs!!) Ok, they were not light but they WERE under!!! (I also did post a box to myself and am carrying two bags on the plane...I'm going for 12 months people!!) ;-D

A few funny things I have come across on my short travels so far......

* Air New Zealand have an AWESOME safety flight message recorded that is shown during pre-flight. Instead of the attendants doing the demo, you watch a video on your screen. This video is filled with a Middle Earth theme! That's right, there are elves, hobbits and other middle earth creatures throughout the video. Very funny watching an Ork work an iPad!! Peter Jackson makes an appearance, as does some of the Hobbit stars. Very funny and cool!!

* Flicking through the tv shows available, I was thrilled to see the Axis of Awesome show listed - I went to high school with one of these guys and have seen them live at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. They are extremely funny (although kids they use language so please beware!!) and I spent a good hour watching their Sydney show trying not to laugh too loudly in the plane! Best part - the show finished with their 4 chords song which is my favourite. YouTube it - Axis of Awesome '4 chord song'. It is fantastic :-) It was awesome to see Lee on my airplane screen!!!

* Yes, that's right - I lost TWO bottles of water! You would think I would remember after I had to throw one out at Melbourne airport, but no - I bought another and forgot to drink it all on the flight so when I went to go through security again in NZ I had to throw out that one as well. $5 worth gone in one morning!! I've given up and will take no water on the next flight - I'll just annoy the flight attendants whenever I get thirsty!! ;-)

* I arrived at Auckland airport, went through security and checked the departure board to find my gate. It gave me a real smile when I found my flight number - next to it under 'Flight Status' was listed RELAX. How cool is that!!! So that is where I am now - relaxing in a chair and contemplating whether to have dinner or wait a little bit longer.

I am stoked to be beginning my adventures today - another hour and and I will be boarding my next plane to LA!! Colorado here I come :-D

Best wishes to all!
Keep smiling!

Monday, 24 December 2012

4 days to go..........Merry Christmas!!

Well the time has come - Christmas time that is!! Spending the last two days cooking, visiting and catching up with family and friends has been wonderful.

The last week has been very very busy as I packed up at school and my house to get ready for the exchange. Saturday afternoon I headed north to NSW for Christmas with my family, spending the afternoon singing along with the iPod and negotiating holiday traffic. I delivered my sister's car back to her (she was very happy!) and unloaded my tubs and clothes across two bedrooms!! I've spent the last two days sorting and figuring out what I want to take with me and storing the others. Fingers crossed that I can fit all I want to take into the two suitcases I am taking on the plane with me!!

At this time I want to say, on this blog, a special thank you and Merry Christmas to my Year 5 students. They were a fantastic bunch of learners and we had so much fun during this year. They have also been very understanding about my distracted brain at times last term and have been so excited for me - as well as figuring out how we can stay in touch next year! Thank you guys for your hard work and wonderful support of each other as learners and me as your teacher. You all rock!!

Another special thanks to my colleagues without who I would not have had the courage or belief in myself to apply and go through with this ITF exchange. They have guided me and taught me a lot over the last six and a half years, helping me go from a beginning teacher to who I am today. Thank you guys for supporting me and allowing me to try new things, even if you weren't too sure yourselves!! I confident in being able to succeed next year because of your support.

Finally, a massive Merry Christmas to my family, friends and everyone else who is reading this blog! Tonight Santa comes visiting and I hope he leaves you with something special. Have a wonderful Christmas day and holiday season however you are spending it!

Merry Christmas and best wishes to all!!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

15 days to go ...........

This week has been very exciting! I have Skyped with my exchange partner both on my own and with my school principal, assistant principal and her team leader for next year. It was wonderful to see her and talk to her face to face through Skype. This weekend I am Skyping with her again during her team's planning session and will 'meet' my principal for next year as well as my teaching partners. I'm very excited to be chatting with them face to face before I get to the US!

The school year here in Australia is nearly over - only 5 more days to go for the students, 6 for us teachers. Starting to pull down the classroom and making final arrangements - end of year activities are happening and next year's classes and teachers are being announced. It will be a very busy week to come!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

25 days and counting...........

Yikes! I have hit less than a month til I leave. Its all starting to get very real now! I have started packing up my 'extra' stuff at school and in my place to leave room for my exchange partner next year. Thank goodness I am not much of a hoarder!!

My students and I were talking Christmas on Monday and one of my girls asked me about making xmas cards. I told her we would look at that next week - Christmas activities mean the time to leave is almost here! While I am completely looking forward to my wonderful opportunity and the adventures I will have next year, I am not quite ready to say goodbye to my students, colleagues, friends and family. Not just yet anyway. Give me a few more days - there is a whole lot to get through in the next 25 before farewells are begun!!

Friday, 23 November 2012


Waiting to fly back to Melbourne this morning I was after some breakfast at the airport. Decided to get into the spirit early with a yummy bagel. This will be my breakfast of choice in 5 weeks - so good!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Microsoft in Perth.........

Hi all! I am currently in beautiful, sunny and warm Western Australia for the third Microsoft Partners in Learning Conference. I flew from Melbourne on Tuesday at 9am and arrived (after a four hour flight) at 10am. Work that one out kids! :-)

My school has been part of this Microsoft PiL project all year, looking at 21st Century Learning Capabilities and how we can build these skills in our students to assist them in becoming successful learners and members of our wider community. In particular, we have looked at how we can develop student independence, self monitoring, self regulation and overall engagement. We also looked at how we could utilise our school's 1-to-1 netbook program more effectively for student learning.

Overall, we are extremely proud of what we have done this year and how our students have responded to our change in teaching and learning. Today we presented our journey to the conference and recieved positive responses from other school teams - so a large thank you to all the Year 5 students for your part in this major and exciting project we have all been a part of this year. We look forward to continuing our journey in the years to come.

I have had time to take a few snaps of what I have seen:
A very strange statue outside a building
in the city - paper airplane made of metal!!

Bell Tower in Perth

View from Cottesloe Beach where we had dinner Thursday night

Tomorrow morning I fly back to Melbourne to attend the Education Department Farewell Function for my International Exchange next year.

Will post more soon! :-)

Thursday, 15 November 2012

6 weeks and counting.........

So I am off on the adventure of a lifetime in 6 weeks - teaching in Colorado, USA for 12 months on an International Exchange Fellowship. I am very very excited (and just a tiny bit nervous)!

I have created this blog so anyone who is interested - students, parents, staff, friends, relatives - to keep up to date on my exciting and wonderful adventure next year!

This blog will be filled with not only teaching anecdotes and things that happen in Colorado but also travels and adventures I take during 2013. It will be a mix of school life, home life and life on the road...........!

So a huge WELCOME to you all! Welcome to the start of my journey. Welcome to the teachings and travels I will experience ....... feel free to drop in from time to time or follow every post religiously. Feel free to read but also feel free to leave a comment. I can't promise a post every day but I will promise a post at least once a fortnight - more often when there are exciting events to share!

The countdown is on!!!

Monday, 5 November 2012

8 weeks and counting ........

Wow. 8 weeks and counting. Time has started to go very very quickly! Good news is that I am getting very organised and am on top of everything - just waiting for the visa in the mail - which is great when I look at all that is coming up at school in the next month!!

Want to know the hardest thing to organise so far? My iPhone! Today I went to the 6th store to discuss my options for next year with usage overseas. 6th different version of what can happen and what I should do. Think I have finally figured out the best way though - almost.........

My past and current students at school have been very supportive and lovely over the last few weeks. Every so often they ask me something about next year or just say that they will miss me. Makes the heart warm!! My current class is writing pen pal letters to my ITF partner's class in Colorado at the moment. There have been some interesting discussions occuring as a result, including that our way of saying "Mum" is correct - it is not "Mom"!!

Countdown is definitely on now .......

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Sydney travels and letters overseas........

This weekend saw me in Sydney with my sister for the International Netball Quad Series Test. It was an awesome game and it was fantastic watching Australia beat NZ by 20 points - highest final score margin in a number of years - and seeing the magic that is the Diamonds on fire!

Our magic tickets - mine, my sister and cousin-in-law-to-be!
Largest crowd in netball history at Allphones Arena -
super loud with a great atmosphere!

It was also a mini farewell as I stayed with my Aunt and Uncle and realised I wouldn't see them before I flew out. Bit of a shock realising that - makes it more real!! Not too sure I need to say (meaning want to) anymore farewells until December now.........

On the home front, my class are writing letters to my 'new' class in Colorado at the moment - I had forgotten how exciting it can be to get snail mail!! We are about to send our second letters to the States and plan on a few more exchanges before school ends. Hopefully we can continue this next year in some form - I'll have to speak to their teacher! ;-P

I'm still excited, still pumped, still looking forward to the adventure with all my energy.........just a little bit nervous as I start finalising details!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

11 weeks and counting......

One week into Term 4 and I have already forgotten how relaxing my holidays were!! It always happens, once day one hits it is go go go! However, I have realised that there is only 11 weeks to go until I fly out - which is tremendously exciting!

I am ticking small things off my list of things to do - the good thing is that it seems like there is no extra things being put onto the list at the moment. My school term list of things to do is getting longer, but that was to be expected........

However, I am currently loving my class and what they are doing!! This term will be absolutely fantastic I can tell!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Three months countdown.....

Well, we are at roughly the three month countdown mark and it is really starting to happen. Why does it seem like this today? Two reasons really - I sold my car AND purchased my ticket!

Saying goodbye to my car was a bit sad :-(  I've had my Astra for the past four years and she has served me extremely well over long drives between here and NSW and all over the state of Victoria. It was a bit weird seeing her drive off without me this afternoon, but I'm sure she will be a wonderful car for her buyers. However, this also leaves me carless for the next three months! Luckily I live within walking distance of school, the supermarket and the main street. The only thing is I now have my fingers crossed for continuous nice weather as we head into October - which if you know this area is unlikely! (I'm sure we will have enough - like most teachers during Term 4 I'll be at school for most of the time five days each week anyway!)

And yes, you did catch the mention earlier - my ticket is purchased and I am officially leaving the country on Dec 29th!! (barring any unforseen events of course)

Three months to go...............

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Things are happening.......

So things are happening at the moment - thank goodness for school holidays is all I can say! I have been flat out for 85% of the time from morning to evening. I actually have to spend the rest of the holidays on school work since so far all my running around has been for overseas ;-)

So I have organised most of what I need to regarding my house and am in the process of selling my wonderful car which I LOVE but will not need next year.....

.....I also just emailed off my exchange agreement (!!) and am seriously looking at flights. It's all happening at the moment! I'll be glad to head back to school next week for a rest (although something tells me I may regret saying that before Term 4.....)

Hope everyone is enjoying the crop of lovely weather we are having! I certainly am :-D

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


Well here I go! Entering the world of blogging with a deep breath and some directions from friends and Google. :-)

"Why blog?" you may ask.
Well, I never seriously considered it until about four months ago. That was when I was told I had been awarded an International Teaching Fellowship by the Department of Education, Victoria. With this Fellowship, I am heading to Colorado, USA to teach from Jan to Dec 2013. It is basically a teaching fellowship exchange match where myself and a Colorado teacher swap teaching positions and places of residence for a year. Once I had come down from my ENORMOUS high and squealed and danced and signed all I needed to sign in order to accept the Fellowship, it was announced to the staff, parents and students of my school. My former, current and some not-even-had-yet students started questioning me straight away:
"Can I link to you on facebook?"
"Can I email you?"
"Will you send photos?"
"Will you skype with us?"

So instead of linking all these young people to my personal facebook or my professional learning network on twitter, I decided to create a blog. I thought it would be a good way for anyone who is interested - students, parents, staff, friends, relatives - to keep up to date on my exciting and wonderful adventure next year! This blog will be filled with not only teaching anecdotes and things that happen in Colorado but also travels and adventures I take during 2013. It will be a mix of school life, home life and life on the road...........!

Therefore - WELCOME! Welcome to the start of my journey. Welcome to the teachings and travels I will experience ....... feel free to drop in from time to time or follow every post religiously. Feel free to read but also feel free to leave a comment. I can't promise a post every day but I will promise a post at least once a fortnight - more often when there are exciting events to share!