Help Christchurch

Teacher librarian extraordinaire Barb Braxton has developed a great idea for schools to help the people of Christchurch by holding a fundraiser. She explains:

It is now one week since the devastating earthquake that has shattered Christchurch and its people and there would be
few schools in Australia that do not have a student or a staff member with a Kiwi connection.

Psychologists say that the trauma can be intensified by a feeling of wanting to help but being unable to do so, so to help overcome this a group of Kiwi teacher librarians teaching in Australia are proposing


We are suggesting that on March 22, 2011 students be allowed to wear all black instead of their regular school uniform and pay a gold coin for the privilege.

If school regulations demand students remain in uniform, then an alternative could be to create a coin trail over the words ANZAC, Aotearoa, Christchurch, or Otautahi (Maori for Christchurch).

Any other form of fundraising would also be welcome. If you have ideas, please share them with us to share with everybody.

The money raised will then by donated to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal through whatever financial procedures schools have to follow to do this.

Amounts raised would then be reported to a state co-ordinator who will tally them so we can determine the total contribution of Australian schools and share this with participants. We are planning to establish a Facebook page so state and national totals are available and even photos of students participating can be posted.

We need you to

*         publicise this event as widely as possible, sending it to any
network you belong to

*         consider volunteering to be your state co-ordinator which will
just involve receiving emails from schools with their tallies and sending the total to a central co-ordinator.  We already have co-ordinators for NSW, Victoria and Queensland, but no doubt they would appreciate help.

*         spread the word about your school’s activities with any media connections you have

As I am the Victorian coordinator, you can contact me by sending an @ or DM me via Twitter: @judithway or email me at (replace ‘myname’ with judithway For details of other state coordinators, please leave a comment or DM me.

2011 Reform Symposium Virtual Conference

For a fantasticly stimulating free online conference, all educators are recommended to check out the latest edition of the Reform Symposium Series.

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Beginning on Sunday 9th January (Australian time), check out the schedule as there is a wide variety of sessions and there’s sure to be something for everyone.

As per the pervious conference held in July 2010, sessions will be held in Elluminate, which is sensational for attendees as there is no cost and no travelling involved.

As there will be international time zone issues for some people, check out the Reform Symposium site for access to recordings of all sessions.

As a presenter and attendee from the previous conference, this professional learning opportunity is highly recommended.

Thanks to J.K Rowling and Emma Watson for a great role model

Thanks to J.K. Rowling’s creation and Emma Watson’s interpretation, the character of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series has made it not only okay but quite cool for young girls (and those not so young and boys too) to like and to be good at school.

Recently just before I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I asked my 8 year old niece what she would like me to bring back. Immediately she announced that a “Hermione wand” would be wonderful as Hermione is “good at school and spells and is a true friend.”

When I returned home with said wand, she was so delighted she disappeared into her room for a few minutes and returned with frizzy “Hermione hair” and a belt to hold her wand. Delighted cries of “expelliarmus”, “stupefy” and “pertrificus totalus” were heard around the house.

Hermione Granger's "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" dress

Hermione Granger's "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" dress

When I think of all of the undesirable influences on young people today, I am so pleased that my clever and talented niece and her friends have an excellent role model to look to when growing up.

When I was her age (and a bit older) it was seriously uncool to be good at school, let alone like school. Teachers and parents have half their battle won in terms of attendance and engagement if students enjoy school. Of course, we still need to challenge our students every day, but having positive children to work with makes learning so much fun and so much more fruitful for everyone involved. Thanks Jo and Emma.