Tag Archives: videos

holiday wishes and inspiring teaching videos

Holiday wishes and inspiring teaching videos 2018 – Readilearn

Holiday wishes

As the holiday season draws nigh, I wish you and your loved ones a very happy and safe holiday season. May you have time to relax, refresh, rejuvenate and, most of all, have fun.

Teaching inspiration

Holiday time can be perfect for catching up on things missed during the busyness of work. To both affirm and inspire you, I have curated a short list of some of my favourite videos. I hope you find time to enjoy them too.

Ten inspiring videos

Kate DiCamillo on the magic of reading aloud

Continue reading: Holiday wishes and inspiring teaching videos 2018 – Readilearn

Are we finished?

I am a work in progress. I reflect on the past, predict the future, and live in the present moment. Nearly everything I do is a work in progress. Some things just make more progress than others!

Over the past few years I have been preparing resources for my readilearn website. It’s slow going, slower than I expected, but I’m getting … somewhere. Even when the website launches it will be a work in progress as I update old and add new resources.

Launching soon - readilearn2

In a flurry of activity, with the intention of completing additional resources as development of the website nears completion, I experimented with making a product promotional video. My intention is to make a number of these, possibly explaining the use of each interactive resource. Doing so is far more time consuming that I had expected.

Below is my first attempt. But please don’t let that word “first” mislead you into mistakenly thinking it was my only attempt. I lost count of the number of takes and couldn’t believe how difficult it was to utter just a few short sentences. While I am sharing it, please consider it a work in progress. Making promotional videos for my products is something I need much more practice with.

My purpose in sharing the video is to illustrate the importance of being a lifelong learner, which involves a combination of persistence, resilience and confidence, including:

  • a willingness to make mistakes and repeated attempts
  • a growth mindset without an expectation of immediate success
  • confidence to say “I haven’t got it yet, but I’m working on it”
  • belief in the ability to succeed, either independently or with support
  • an ability to adjust future attempts according to feedback provided from the past.

I learned a lot in making this video, perhaps more about what doesn’t work than what does. But eliminating what doesn’t work is crucial in finding out what does. For example, I learned after repeated attempts on both, that selfie videos recorded with phone or iPad just weren’t going to be good enough. I learned that neither of the software programs for making videos I owned would allow me to achieve what I wanted on its own. I needed to combine recordings from each. After many trials I finally made something that at least has the semblance of an attempt.

Included in my passion for learning is a passion for learning about learning: how we learn, why we learn and the conditions that contribute to our learning. I am fascinated by learning that occurs at all ages, but particularly during early childhood.

In the process of repeated attempts described above, I responded constantly to feedback provided, and adjusted each new attempt accordingly. Feedback is necessary for learning. But perhaps more important than the feedback is the response to it.

Hopeful of getting some other feedback, I shared the video with my family on the weekend. They made some helpful suggestions. But perhaps the most interesting feedback, about feedback, was that given by my four-year-old granddaughter, G2.

G2 watched the video with her mother and immediately wanted to play the game. I was delighted, of course, and opened the resource on the iPad for her to use. She had no trouble manipulating the objects to make the ice creams and quickly made a few combinations. When I asked if a mango with strawberry on the top was the same as, or different from, a strawberry with mango on the top, she confidently explained that they were different because “this one’s got the strawberry on the top and this one’s got the mango on the top”. She went on making combinations.


© Norah Colvin

After she’d made about ten combinations she asked, “Are we finished yet?” I said, “We can finish whenever you like.” I wasn’t using it as a “teaching episode”, simply as something fun for her to do. She asked again, “But are we finished? You know –“ and she indicated for something to happen on the screen showing that we had finished.

Suddenly I realised that she was wanting feedback from the program to tell her that she was finished, that she was successful; perhaps some bells, whistles or fireworks. Because I designed the resource as an open-ended teaching episode, for use by a teacher with a class rather than by individual children, the resource does not have any inbuilt feedback. The feedback occurs in the discussion between teacher and students.

What I intended as a teaching episode became, for me, a learning episode; thinking and learning about feedback.

  • G2 expected to receive feedback about completion, and
  • she wished to continue until she received that feedback.


  • she doesn’t’ require feedback about completion from all apps, for example, drawing programs: she decides when she is finished, and
  • during play she decides which activity she will take up and when she will finish.

G2 has a good balance of activities with home and Kindy; indoor and outdoor with a variety self-selected and self-directed imaginative play mixed with cooperative activities including reading, board games and screen time with a variety of apps.

With such variety she receives feedback from many sources including self and others, as well as from manipulation with real and electronic objects. I think her question “Are we finished yet?” was related to use of the specific device and type of activity (game to her), not indicative of a generalised need for feedback from outside.

But what of children who are more engaged with electronic games, have less time for self-directed activity, and fewer opportunities to engage with others? Will the need for feedback from an outside source overtake the ability to provide feedback for self? I hope not. I believe the abilities to self-monitor, self-regulate and self-determine to be extremely important to life-long learning. What do you think?

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. It is important to me! Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post.


Talking interviews


Lisa Reiter is writing her memoir and sharing her stories on her blog. She also invites others to join in and share their memories through her Bite Size Memoir prompt. Her prompt of the moment is “Interviews”.

In my role of teacher over the years, I have conducted many parent-teacher interviews, each with varying degrees of pleasure and stress. And that’s just for me! I have also sat on the other side of the desk attending interviews to find out about the progress of my own two children.

I mostly worked with children in their first year of school.

When conducting interviews with parents, particularly at the beginning of the year but at any time, I always invited them to talk first; to tell me their impression of how their child was going, to raise any concerns they had and to ask any questions they wanted answered.

There are a variety of purposes for beginning an interview in this way:

  • It gives the parents a voice and acknowledges their importance in the child’s life and education.
  • It ensures that any concerns parents have are raised and discussed first, and not left until the end or even missed out in the short time allocated to each interview scheduled on a parent-teacher night.
  • It provides an insight into the child’s life and how the attitudes of the parents may affect, or be reflected in, the child’s attitude to school and learning.

Often times I have found that parents share my concerns, and discussing them is easier when raised by the parent. One of the most difficult things is raising and discussing an issue of which the parent is unaware.

Over the years I have found that what parents most want to know is:

Is my child happy?

Is my child well-behaved?

Does my child have friends?

How does my child’s progress compare to that of others?

Prior to the interviews I would make a checklist of things I wished to discuss with each parent, including responses to the queries listed above and any other issues I wished to raise or anecdotes I wished to share, ensuring the positives always outweighed the concerns. I would gather samples of the child’s work to show and have at hand suggestions for ways the parents could continue to help with their children’s learning at home, which generally meant reading to them, talking with them, playing games together and possibly involving them in daily activities such as setting the table, writing shopping lists etc.

But I digress. My purpose in writing this post wasn’t really to talk about parent-teacher interviews, it was to list 10 memories about interviews in response to Lisa’s prompt. Like the parent-teacher interviews, many of them have a link to education.

I remember interviews


School days

  • I remember brushing up on my conversational French for an interview as part of my final exam. I remember the interviewer laughing at something “funny” I said. I’m not really sure if he was laughing at what I meant to say, or at what I did say!


  • I remember not having an interview for my first teaching position. I was awarded a three-year teaching scholarship which, in return for my training and a small living allowance, “bonded” me to the Education Department for three years.
  • I remember agonising for hours over written responses to selection criteria but being unsuccessful in the interviews; and going without preparation to other interviews and scoring the job!

    bad taste party

    Would you employ this woman? Bad taste fundraising function at school.


  • I remember being interviewed by a policeman after hitting a pedestrian on my way to work one morning. I was horrified to see the teenage girl bounce off the bonnet of my car. Fortunately she wasn’t hurt as I had only just pulled away from traffic lights, but we were both rather shaken up. She was only a few metres from a pedestrian crossing (also with lights) and the policeman said if anyone was to be charged it would be her. I wish she hadn’t been so impatient. I still worry about the unpredictability of pedestrians on the side of the road.
  • I remember being interviewed by police after our car was stolen. I was so upset I couldn’t remember the registration number. After it was stolen a second time, we got rid of it!

    stolen car

    Our beautiful car – stripped!

  • I remember being interviewed by the police after our house was burgled and giving them a list of items that had been stolen. The most surprising one was a big screen TV. Big in 1999 is not the same as big in 2014. It went as far out the back as it did across and weighed a ton. How they got it out of the house and down the steep driveway without being seen I’ll never know; or even why they did, as newer technology  was on its way and it wouldn’t have been worth much to resell.

The media (Note: You are neither expected nor required to watch any of the videos included in this section. They are simply for my amusement and learning.)

  • I remember being interviewed by the local paper when offering sessions to assist parents help their children read.

Satelitte 17.06.92 (2)

  • I remember being interviewed on Radio on the morning of the Family Day Picnic for the year of the family in 1994.
  • I remember being interviewed on a local community television station. I was invited to talk about the alternative school I was setting up. (I haven’t found the footage yet, but below is a response given to a question about self-esteem at a publicity meeting. Apologies for the amateur quality.)
  • I remember being interviewed at school about keeping butterflies in the classroom, twice: each time for different programs and different television studios.


Just as an aside, at about the same time that I was being interviewed about butterflies for the program “Totally Wild”, Bec was also being interviewed at school for the same program. She is proud to say that the times she appeared on that program numbered three to my one! Not long afterwards she appeared on the news a couple of in anti-war rallies!

Bec on "Totally Wild"

Bec and friend Elise talking about heating on “Totally Wild”

Of course, not all interviews occur face-to-face. Interviews can take place online too. During the 15 months that I have been blogging I have passed on a number of awards asking people to answer questions. This post is a compilation of the answers given to my interview questions by my first nominees.

Thanks, Lisa, for this opportunity to take a walk down memory lane.

Thank you

Thank you readers. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post.