Friday, 28 February 2014

March Wallpaper

It's March already...and it's time to freshen up your desktop wallpaper.

Trying something new this time. My PC has the icons on the left, my Mac the icons on the right, so this time there is a choice between two styles.



This desktop wallpaper has been created in Stampin Up's My Digital Studios using DSP Amped Up Ampersands - 5 and Stamp You're My Type - Typewriter.
Friday, 21 February 2014

Customer Service or Teaching; Business or School

I don't know why but the ideas of teaching as customer service has been playing around in my mind.

I think it has stemmed from a dialogue outside of schools:

"Teachers work with clients".

"Teachers have to reach targets".

"The parents are always right".

But teaching is so much more than that. It's more than a business and marketplace mentality.

Teachers don't work with clients; teachers support their students to learn. 

Teachers have to find the right way to meet the needs of each student in their classroom so that they have what they need to achieve. We know that's not easy. What works for one students won't work for the student sitting beside them. We have to manipulate curriculum to find the right way to help our students to learn. This is so much more complicated than advising someone of the right bank account to sign up to or helping them to design their dream home. It's about working with 20-30 clients at the same time.

Teacher's shouldn't HAVE to reach targets; teachers target their teaching to ensure students are learning. Not everything can have a number attached to it.

A teacher's job is more than numbers. Data is a necessary part of the work that teachers do. They can identify weaknesses and strengths of their students from their testing and assessment but this isn't the most important thing. It's the conversation with the student who hasn't been on task in your class, simply asking what's wrong. To find out their parents are separating, and really school is the last thing on their mind. So you change what you're doing in the room to better support that student - you have the discussion with them every lesson asking them how they're doing. You build a relationship - and the learning improves.

The parent's are always right; BUT Teacher are experts in learning.

Of course parents want the best for their child. They want the sun and the moon. But so do their teachers. For the 30 students in the classroom, not just the one. It's about making sure that parents understand what is happening in the classroom. That they are involved and engaged. That they can see the big picture and that what happens within a classroom impacts on more than their child. That there has to be collaboration and teamwork between the teacher and parents. That they have to get along. They can't demand the impossible, but can support what is happening at school from home. Homework, assessment, making sure their child is eating breakfast, is sleeping at night, that they can see the value in their education. And then teachers can start each day with students who are ready and willing to learn.

It's something to ponder. The dialogue that is becoming more commonplace about schools as quasi-businesses. This dialogue ignores what is actually happening in the classrooms everyday.

The posters have been created using Stampin Up's My Digital Studios Newsprint -11 DSP and Old School - Typewriter Embellishment.
Thursday, 20 February 2014

Fantastic Fonts #1

It's a new year, and I wanted to share with you some of my favourite commercial fonts.

I love that there are so many free fonts, most usually for personal use, but there are some truly wonderful fonts that cost a fee that are well worth it.

The first two I want to share with you are:

Lunchbox, Lunchbox Ornaments and Lunchbox Slab are fonts created by Kimmy Design and I first saw them at Creative Market and had to purchase them.

The next set of fonts are created as part of Sketchnotes by Mike Rohde, and are something that I'm trying my hand at. You can access them at Delve Fonts.

I have kept a close eye on sites like Creative Market, Dealotto, Mighty Deals, and Design Cuts and have waited for specials before buying the fonts. I haven't paid full price yet. It is worth signing up to the emails that are available, following on Twitter or Facebook and keeping an eye out on what is pinned on Pinterest so that you can get the best deals.

And the beauty is that with a commercial licence you can use these fonts in your own work as long as you abide by the licensing terms.

The image has been created in Stampin Ups My Digital Studios using DSP Back to School - 3 and Embellishment Finest Simplicity - frame 3.
Sunday, 9 February 2014

Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

On the first day of school this year, my Principal stood in front of hundreds of 11 - 18 year olds and gave a common message.

"Before you say it - think - is it true? is it kind? is it necessary? Because if it's not - don't say it. If we all do this, we'll get along just fine."

I have seen posters of this message all over Pinterest and have pinned different versions on boards myself. Doing some research into it, I can see that the Pinterest posters come from a variation on a quote attributed to Buddha.

"If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?" --- Buddha

On reflection, I have come to realise just how important these words are for everyone in the school, students and staff.

As teachers we get frustrated with things out of our control. Shortages of time, other people's new ideas we have to implement at the last minute, change, new policy initiatives that don't bring anything to the work we're doing already. We work with these things everyday. We work around these things everyday. 

But it's important to remember that no matter what, we're professionals. 

Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?

This should go through our minds before we start to make comments about things that we and those around us can't control. Sometimes we have to let these things go and not let them bog us down in a toxic and negative environment. 

We work together as a team. We succeed as a team. We fail as a team. Blaming each other and saying things we can't take back is detrimental to the team. We need more constructive ways to discuss problems rather than complaining to others.

While speaking with my students and talking to them about the 'right' way to speak to each other, I need to make sure that I'm following this advice. 

Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?

When I'm working with my staff, I need to make sure I'm following this advice.

Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?

So in my office and in my classroom, I'm going to put up some messages so that I keep this in the forefront of my mind for 2014.

They are modified to suit students and staff alike with a common message and I have used Stampin Up's My Digital Studios to create them.

Click on each poster to download a PDF version for your own classroom/office use.

Poster 1 - Stampin Up's My Digital Studios DSP Pinwheels on Parade - 4
Poster 2 - Stampin Up's My Digital Studios DSP This & That Epic Day - 10
Poster 3 - Stampin Up's My Digital Studios DSP Back to School - 3
Poster 4 - Stampin Up's My Digital Studios DSP World Traveler - paper 8
Poster 5 - Stampin Up's My Digital Studios DSP Finest Simplicity - 10

All posters include the stamp beautiful today - word bubble and fonts Sketchnotes Square and Lunchbox Slab purchased under a commercial licence.
Sunday, 2 February 2014

February Wallpaper

The start of the year has been hectic. I have been travelling and have started a new job. But through both, I've been thinking about what I want the blog to be in 2014...

The blog will be having a makeover and there are some changes on the way. I am looking forward to the next part of this journey with you all.

As a start for's the latest wallpaper.

This wallpaper was creating using Stampin Up's My Digital Studios using DSP Beautiful Today - 8, Curly Label Punch, Full Heart Punch and font Beautiful Every Day.