Teddy Bear’s Picnic

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As Amy came to the end of her time in Primary school in June, our conversations turned to her favourite moments from her 8 years in the school. What surprised me was the simple natiure of her favourite memory – her teddy bear’s picnic in senior infants. When I probed why this stood out she told me that Mrs. Fahy brought in a blanket, they got to go in ‘the field’ (previously forbidden territory), and they got jellies for themselves and their teddies. The icing on the cake was that she got to bring in ‘Trudi’ – her favourite bear :)

trudi

I’ve written this post as part of Julia Skinner’s 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups. You can find out more about the challenge here.

… but it made my tongue tingle …

One of my favourite treats when I was a kid was a Dip Dab. I loved the combination of the small, flat, red lollipop teamed with the impossibly fine sherbet sugar that fizzed on my tongue. They seemed to have disappeared over the years but a while back I noticed that they were back in the shops again.  Should I just savour the memories or should I try one again?  With my daughter as the perfect cover I bought us one each.  Worried it would disappoint I settled down to try it … but it made my tongue tingle :)

dip dab

I’ve written this post as part of Julia Skinner’s 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Take Joy in Learning – #blimage

Prompted by Catherine Cronin’s #blimage post last week I’ve decided to take up the challenge and share an image that embodies so much about learning for me. The idea behind #blimage is to blog in response to an image.  When it came to picking the image, the one that kept coming to mind was …

bianca

There is so much about this image that I love. It was taken at the ICT in Education conference in April this year and it includes Ciaran Cannon TD and Bianca Ní Ghrógáin as well as my daughter and some of her friends.  I’m using the image here with the kind permission of Ciaran.

There are so many layers to this image that make it such a powerful one for me; the sheer joy that jumps out, the casual inclusion of technology and finally the bringing together of the powerful triumvirate of an inspiring, fire starter of an educator, a group of enthusiastic, inquisitive students and a member of parliament who is truly interested and passionate about the use of technology in education.  What is most poignant about the image, is that since it was taken, we have lost the truly unique educator that Bianca was.  On a personal level I’ve also lost a good friend, who along with others has shaped my ever evolving thinking on teaching and learning.

This image perfectly captures Bianca’s style of leading from the back.  She had a knack of not getting in the way of the learning that goes on. So many of us, myself included, can often fall into the trap of over directing how and when students learn.  Having observed Bianca in many educational settings, from her own classroom, to CoderDojo sessions, to workshops at conferences among others, what always struck me was that she was prepared to take chances by not over prescribing how things were going to work.  She trusted that learning would happen and she was willing to let it evolve with a carefully placed nudge here and there.  On the day before the conference in April, Bianca and Susan Nic Reamoinn did a workshop with the girls using technology such as BeeBots, Kano and Makey Makey. These were technologies that the girls hadn’t used before, and yet by the following day the girls were happily demonstrating what they’d learned with a confidence that didn’t even hint at the very short length of time that they had actually used them for.

I’m going to cheat a little by using a second image in this post.BiancaSusanHassan

This picture was also taken at the conference and captures the fun that was so much a part of that 24 hours.  It’s a timely reminder of the joy to be found in learning …