Thursday, 29 May 2014

My Love List



Things I love
(Not listed in any particular order)

- Sunsets
- Flowers


- Anything to do with my daughters
- Anything to do with my husband
- Our two dogs
- Coming home at night after a long day at work
- Food prepared by Hubby
- Coffee
- Red wine
- Browsing in a book shop
- Browsing in a liquor store at the red wine shelves especially
- My iPad and my phone
- gadgets
- apps
- Archives
- Libraries
- Books
- Coffee shops
- Restaurants
- Eating out
- Braais
- Reading
- Internet surfing
- Internet research
- Coffee dates with friends
- Family gatherings
- When my children are happy
- Romantic comedies
- Movies on the big screen
- Blogging and reading other blogs
- Twitter
- Vacations with my family - anywhere, but especially the beach
- Poetry
- Toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches
- Date nights with Hubby
- The winter sun
- Listening to music

I saw the love/hate list over at Lynette's My Life Perfectly Imperfect-blog who followed it from Allie's footsteps.

It is good to see how many things there are on the list!
It is also a work in progress...

Maybe I will work on the hate list, maybe not... I prefer to spend my energy here!


Please let me know when you have compiled your own lists?

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Little girls can be so mean


She has a best best friend, a BFF, a favourite buddy she loves so much!

But this little girl has been mean to her since they became friends when she was only three. They were in the same class for two years, before we sighed a sigh of relief in the beginning of this year when they were finally split into separate classes. But they still see each other on the playground, and at after care...

Sometimes they play for days and everything is fine! Until the other girl decides that she's had enough, and she shuns our little girl. She tell her that she ugly and "eew" and do not want to play with her any more.
It seems that she has the upper hand in the friendship and that she calls the shots.

It breaks my heart! I have been feeling sad for her since yesterday afternoon when she told me that she was walking all on her own on the playground and the friend and nobody else wanted to play with her...

My daughter tells me that she knows she is a bully, but she still wants to play with her!

She makes plans the whole time of how to get the friend back:
She will invite her to her party, and she will be able to sleep over at our place.
She will give her the best cake at the party.
She will arrange a play date.
She will give her some of her lunch box.
(And I know she does that, because I had to ask the teacher to make sure that the other girl does not take all her food!)

A friend send me this pin today, without knowing about the most recent unhappiness! The four steps sounds like a very good idea that I am going to try!

Little Girls can be mean (Pinterest)

THE FOUR STEPS

Observe. Watch your child as a social being in a new way and how she responds to conflict
Connect with your child. “I notice that when your friend Katie leaves, you start fighting with your brother a lot. Are you sad that she’s leaving?” Help your daughter begin to notice things. You want to give empathy but NO problem solving. You’re setting yourself up as her partner. You’re becoming a team.
Guide. When you really are connected, together brainstorm and list all the things you can do to deal with the bully. All your ideas are valuable – even sending the bully to the moon. Write up a whole list of possibilities. What this does makes it seem like there are many solutions. That it’s not an insolvable problem.
Support the Act. Help your daughter choose one of two things herself that she’s going to do. Then role play what she’ll do. P.S. SHE chooses – NOT YOU says Anthony because your daughter is building inner strength inside herself. If the idea doesn’t work, go back to the list and choose another.
                                                                                - Imagination Soup 


Related posts:

- 42 months multiplied with cute

- The first feedback in Grade RR

Monday, 26 May 2014

Ipad in Education - Transoranje School for the Deaf #iPadLearningZA



Following on the inspiring story and challenge by Abdul Chohan, "What would you do if you were not afraid?"on Friday, we were shown this video as one of the iPad in Education projects in South Africa that is transforming Education.

The Transoranje School for the Deaf, located on the outskirts of Pretoria, is home to 200 deaf and hard-of-hearing pre-primary to high school students.

The children are developmentally behind their peers because of a lack of language exposure.

Photo: Core Group
The iDeaf Project on the iPad originated out of a necessity to better equip the deaf students with the critical reading and language skills needed to accelerate their learning to desired levels.  The developers set out to combine a variety of visual and language elements because their learning are centred around visual methods.

Picsterbooks developed a series of locally relevant and interactive story books in both English and Afrikaans that would teach deaf students to read using South African Sign Language. The books are not only engaging but also enables a level of in-depth understanding that has surpassed previous learning methods.
It has transformed the way the school teaches students to read and communicate effectively.

The iDeaf app overview

"The storybook apps were designed locally to meet the needs of deaf students who use South African Sign Language.
  • There are 6 storybooks which include folk tales such as 3 Little Pigs, Goldilocks and The Gingerbread Man, as well as uniquely created stories which are based on the local curriculum such as The Clever Plan and The Big Carrot.
  • All the storybooks are based on the objectives of the South African curriculum and contain beautifully illustrated stories designed in a standardised format.
  • The storybooks can be read in English or Afrikaans and contain various visual elements: simplified text and syntax, picture animations, highlighted words, finger spelling and SASL (South African Sign Language) interpretations and video.
  • The highlighted words in the app are words that deaf children commonly struggle with. When selecting these words they are explained in 4 formats: text, an animation or an image, SASL and finger spelling (deaf ABC). By combining the learning elements into 1 place, the student is able to move through the book and develop a range of skills in an easy to understand format.
  • The books also contain an audio element for only partially deaf children so that they can also hear the book read aloud, while reading the text and learning the sign.
  • The storybooks were created using the Demibooks Composer app only available on iPad."

"We are working with children who are naturally language users with their hands 
and this was just an extension of their own language."
                                          Karen Hart, App Developer and Digital Publisher


I love the fact that the students AND teachers have already found new ways to use their iPads in their learning at the school, not only for reading and language skills!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

What would you do if you were not afraid? #iPadLearningZA

Abdul Chohan
(Photo: Core Group)
That's the question that Abdul Chohan, International Keynote Speaker in the use of Technology in Education, left the audience with on Friday afternoon.

He was instrumental in creating a more dynamic learning environment in their school, the ESSA Academy in the UK, and he shared some of their experiences in leading this transformation.

ESSA Academy was a school that was failing. 80% of their students come from the most deprived of the community.

Technology allowed them to do so many things!

"One person with belief, is better than a force of 99 who have only interest"
They looked for opportunities to change belief in the school. 
It was dependent on two things: Simplicity and Reliability!

ESSA Academy is a state school and government funded. They made a key shift: to only use technology that you can buy from a shopping mall.

In 2009, instead of buying more laptops, they bought 1000 iPod Touch-es. It is simple and easy to use. There are a multitude of free apps from the App Store. It can be personalised. They can connect to the Internet and search for information. They had immediate connection and conversation between teachers and students.

They have moved on to iPads now, but it was an eye-opener to me on how much can be accomplished with using iPods. 

Without the busyness, they got ahead with business!
They did not have to get stuck on unreliable technology that was difficult to use, but could immediately focus on changing the business of getting a proper education.


How did they do it? I love the fact that they did not place their focus on the technology, but they placed the focus on the community.

Leading change

1. The focus is on building the community

How do you improve relationships? By good food! They employed a chef which helped in building social capital. The children was informed of the changing menu via their devices. The children who come from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and languages, started to ask questions about the type of food that was being prepared.

The technology is not about finding answers, but learning skills. The ability to ask the right question!

2. Secure accountability 

They launched it as family programme by inviting the parents. They required punctuality, because they wanted the people to get the full message. The iPods/iPads must be brought in every day and must be charged. It is the responsibility of the parents to get the culture rooted. 
They make learning transparent, by giving access to the parents as well. 

If there is no plumbing, a tap on its own won't work. This metaphor was used to describe why they have decided on using iPads. 

The "plumbing" is a robust device which gives access to iTunes U, the global platform that they are using, as well as all the other apps and online access that is available. The teachers upload the coursework on iTunes, and the students are given free reign to add and complement their learning from there. 

They are giving the students a legacy of learning, and continued access; even when they have left the school.

iTunes U is a global platform for learning. It is free, with no ads. 
They do not plug in in their classrooms, but uses Airplay via Apple TV boxes. There is no logging in, no user names and no passwords. 

3. Develop the people

Multiple teachers create the content on iTunes U which is transparent. They get higher quality planning from the teachers as well!
They make some of the courses private, but some courses are made public because it is on a global platform. The students are competing with the whole world, and the get a global education.
The technology gives students the ability to speed up or slow down their learning. They are able to download at school, and carry on working at home. 
The most recent updates are done regularly by each learner, and it is immediately available to all. (The plumbing!)

The focus is on developing people, not working with technology.

4. Managing processes

They had to buy iPads in sessions, not in one go. But they don't buy textbooks anymore, which translated into more bandwidth. They are seeing year on year savings going into Internet connection.

5. Secure vision

They are pointing the learners in direction of CEO skills, not secretarial skills!


A Focus on Access
"Education good at doing wrong things really well"
The change has not been in a translation of learning, but to redefine learning! Not doing the same things on a device, but doing it completely different!
B Personalisation
iTunes U is a map for new learning.
Mind the Gap!  - between teaching and learning! 
C Creativity
The students are able to be creative in their own learning: The following words are used to describe the changing learning environment: Fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration

The changes are allowing them to do new things (learning) in a new format!

The results are the final proof that this method has succeeded!
In 2008 only 44% of the learners passed, while in 2013 they had a score of 98%!

They are beginning to see a change in belief. The teachers are taking snapshots and emailing it to the students. They are not using the photocopying department as much as they used to. It has allowed them to start thinking about real learning!


"What would you do if you weren't afraid?"


Profile:

Abdul Chohan has been a Chemistry teacher for 13 years, with a passion for using technology in the
learning environment. Currently a Director at Essa Academy, Abdul specialises in, and shares his
insights on the impact that a 1:1 handheld device programme has on learning! Abdul has spent a good deal of time working with schools and Ministries across the world, looking at best practices and building relationships to enable him to bring a truly global perspective to his approach in learning!
In addition to his role with Essa Academy, Abdul is supporting a variety of local projects to re-design
curriculums and integrate pedagogy, including the creation of a Free School. Essa Academy was the first school in the UK to give out iPod touches to all students and staff before the iPad was available. Currently, all students use iPads and iTunes U as their core platform for learning. The Academy believes in allowing students to access information and deepen learning beyond the classroom.The creativity that has been inspired by the use of this technology has been amazing. Staff and students are able to have seamless communication that allows learning conversations to develop and feedback to be of a higher quality as well as the delivery of a personalised curriculum.The technology has been an enabler of transformation and has also contributed to our vision of the new build that has recently commenced!

For more information on the story of Essa Academy, please visit: http://www.apple.com/education/real-stories/essa/

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Mammarazzi getting the wing treatment at Rio 2



This is what I get when I ask to take a photo...

We went to see Rio 2 on Sunday at the cinemas. Dad and I had a quick nap while the movie was on.
It does not reflect badly on the movie, because Little Missy LOVED it!

Little Missy decided that she had to dress properly for the movie, and that explains the wings!
It makes totally sense, because it is a movie about birds and birds.

You can definitely take the kids to go and see this one. We could not find a cinema showing it in 3D, because I am sure it would have been even more awesome.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Brave girl's tooth fixed

Dad's hand on foot
It was an anxious week before the time. We were counting the days, but not because of excitement, but because of trepidation...

Little Missy was extremely scared of having her tooth fixed. We got a small calming pill to give her an hour before the time. And told her that she would be sleepy and not feel a thing. (Thumbs crossed)
She told us time and time again that she was scared, and that she did not want to go. It took a lot of convincing. I don't like them having to get anaesthesia for only one tooth!

I was so glad we did! Dentist Chantelle fixed her tooth without an injection. Little Missy was a lot calmer when the pill kicked in, but kept on telling us that she is not sleeping!

The dentist recommended ice-cream as reward. (Strange, but true!)


And she got a new Bratz doll that we promised.

I am very proud of Little Missy for being brave and not freaking out, although she felt like it!

It is a huge milestone since her first visit to the dentist where the dentist could only do a quick peek in her mouth until the fourth time where she finally had a proper check-up!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

George Hay Park - a lovely outdoor venue for the family


We spent the rest of Election Day last week at George Hay Park in Parkview.There were food trucks parked for the day.
It is a stunning suburban park run by the resident's association of the area.


It was packed with families, but there were enough space for everybody, and the children could play while their parents enjoyed a picnic.


Little Missy wanted a kite for ages, and we finally had a place to fly it!




The play grounds (there are a couple in the park) kept all the children busy!


Definitely a place to go back to!
Parkview autumn street




Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Little Hoot of the day: You have a boring job


This conversation happened in the car yesterday afternoon.

Little Missy told me she was very bored at my work two weeks back when the schools were closed.
She had to keep herself busy for a full working day while I was at the office. She was actually very good. The best she's ever been, and I had to buy her the promised chocolate when we left in the afternoon.

--------

"Why don't you get another job?"

Jobs are not that easy to get and change. Both your dad and I have to work to pay for everything.
I also like my job.

"Dad is not working. You have to go to an office to work."

Your dad's office is at home.

"Your job is boring. I don't want to go there any more!"

You had asked to come with me to my work a long time ago, and I promised that I would take you with. You also enjoyed the box building and the picture making and putting it on my walls...?

"No, it is very boring!"

---------

The Little Hoots app finally launched in beta over the weekend, and I love playing around with it.
It is also free.
It can be downloaded here: LittleHoots on the iTunes store.


Related post:

An app that I would like right now: Little Hoots


Monday, 12 May 2014

Eat Tweet Blog and some more #JoziMeetUp


The first Blogger and Tweeter networking event #JoziMeetUp in Gauteng was hosted this past Saturday at Sunnyside Park Hotel in Parktown.

I am extremely pleased that I was there because it was lovely meeting some of the people behind the blogs and the tweets, and to also get that wonderful goodie bag.
AND I've got a few more people to stalk follow! I am inspired to do some more blogging and tweeting after this!

Thanks to Laura-Kim (Harassed Mom), Sharon (The Blessed Barrenness) and Wenchy (The Nocturnal Wenchy) who organised the event, and of course to all the sponsors responsible for the spoils!

Here are some of the photos.

The beautiful Sunnyside Park Hotel interior
Laura-Kim with a toy donation for The Grace Factory
Louisa (123 Blog Myself)
Wenchy & Laura-Kim handing out the goodie bags
Sam & Sandy looking good!
Chicken Ruby 
The personalised Macaroon bag
Naartjie Kids boots which was immediately worn
Le Creuset cappuccino cups
Rain body cream (divine!)
L'Oreal lip gloss
Bio-Oil (always welcome!)
Swani Spa voucher (can't wait!)
Killarney Mall voucher
Selfie with the Wakaberry sunglasses yesterday with Little Missy on
Mother's Day



Friday, 9 May 2014

So glad we took the time to watch the netball


Little Missy took part in her first tournament of netball at school yesterday.

We decided at the last minute to take the afternoon off to go and watch. I get only one afternoon a month, so I have to really plan around it! (The joys of being a working mother!)

She was extremely excited when she saw us coming to watch her.

They did not keep scores for the under six players, and it seems that the rules of the game are still not very clear to all of them.
But they had fun! Until some did not want to play any more, or they got hungry (our Little Missy!).

How you look after your goal post!

Pose

Team White walking in a line

Team White with their coaches for the day
I decided afterwards that I have to put in more effort to watch her sports! I will miss out on many highlights if I don't!

How do you plan around watching the sports when you are a working mother?