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So…28 days of writing…28 days of February…here we are.

Well back into the start of another school year, a year that feels very different to those gone before. Not that I have changed roles at school, or even gone to a new school, but the change of an era at my school. Last year saw the retirement of my Principal and Mentor, who gave me my chance 12 years ago. Also the departure of a long time colleague, who was employed at the same time as me, to another school.

So for the first time in a long time…the school felt different. IT’s hard to describe, but for the first time that I can remember, when the first day of school came, I wasn’t enthusiastic about returning. I spent the school holidays with my family at home, and in my spare time I was doing things for school. Building and painting large storage boxes for the kids to use as bag storage to try and overcome a space problem in the classrooms. Rearranging and decorating our schools internal learning space, trying to make it more functional and more attractive for our students. Creating new displays, some giant words of inspiration for may classroom; MAKE, LEARN, INVESTIGATE and ANIMATE. Normally having done all of those things, I’d have felt enthused and excited to get back and share it with our parents and our students, but I even tried to take it a step further, setting up a giant stick bomb to welcome my students at the start of the year. (I will post a video ASAP)

But, I get back to school for the first day and that excitement and enthusiasm that I have felt for 12 years, doing the job I love, isn’t there. The changes made in the classrooms and learning area went largely unnoticed and unappreciated by key stakeholders, especially parents and I feel that I have absolutely wasted my time with all of the hours I’d given of my own time.

However, there were some that were very appreciative, including two colleagues, who are two of the best friends I have. But there were 19 others who thought it all was absolutely amazing. These 19 people help to remind me why I do what I do. The 19 students in my class (normally 21, I had 2 away) were excited and enthusiastic and couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. So this year, whilst it feels very different, is all about the same as the past. Making sure these kids get the very best that I can give them.

All situations are what we make of them, so I am going to block out all of the “noise” and focus on doing what I do best, give these kids learning opportunities and amazing memories to take with them for the rest of their lives. I can feel the enthusiasm rising…

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A few days ago I posted about my plans for the Student Conference Series in 2012 and there was a lot of Buzz around it! I had messages and emails from all over the country and even from a few other countries like America, India, China and Romania!

So to keep track of things, I thought I would create a bit of a mailing list so I can forward information out to people interested in this as they come to pass. At this stage I am anticipating that the conferences will begin mid to late term 1 and I will start taking student submissions in mid-February.

So if you are interested in your students taking part pass your email address on to me via twitter DM or e-mail so that I can add you to the mailing list.

email – gallagher.ben.j@edumail.vic.gov.au

twitter – @ben_mr_g

Coming towards the new school year, I find my mind ticking over new things to do for the upcoming year. However I had this idea late last year, but until now I haven’t had the chance to do anything about it until now as I’ve been super busy over the holidays doing some work for the ICTEV, writing for their Playing For Real game.

So I suppose I’d better get to the idea!! With the amazing technology that is available to us, teachers frequently communicate over the internet, but what about kids from different schools communicating??

What I’m wanting to run this year is something I’d call…

The Student Conference Series

The idea of the Student Conference Series is that students would present something that they are an expert in over Elluminate and it would be made available for other students in other schools to attend!!

The idea for this came about when I had a student do a presentation for Mel Cashen’s grade at Lightning Reef Primary School in Bendigo (You can read about it here). To see the excitement in this student when he was doing it was very enlightening. Harris always new he was good at woodwork, but to be able to share his knowledge with others was very empowering for him. He worked so hard on his presentation, easily the hardest I’ve seen him work during writing for the whole year and he did an amazing job!

The Student Conference Series at this stage is still a work in progress, but for it to work I need like minded educators to put their hands up and say I want to be a part of it! So if you’re interested in being a part of this in any way (providing student presenters, have your students attend ‘conferences’), then let me know.

I envisage the conferences starting during March and probably happening during the afternoons, however if international teachers/students want to take part I can arrange that, and would be very excited! Any other questions, feel free to contact me!

You can contact me in many ways to express your interest:

email: gallagher.ben.j@edumail.vic.gov.au

twitter or twitter DM: @ben_mr_g

or simply comment below!!!