Category Archives: PLPConnectU project

Reflections so far


PLP Connect U

I am about half way through the PLPConnectU project. This project is funded by the Victorian Education Department DEECD and aims to bring together a network of educators to design a unit around project/passion based learning.

It is a fantastic opportunity to work with some innovative educators on long term professional development that incorporates 21st century.

I am thrilled to be Creativity group and working with some amazing educators. This includes Kirsten Stewart and Kynan Robinson from North Fitzroy Primary. Mel Cashen from Lightning Reef and Michelle from Yawarra Primary School.

The first part of the journey was to discuss and read theory around the question “What is creativity?” I guess I originally thought that this might mean something to do with the arts or producing a piece of artwork. However after a few team Ellunimate sessions and some recommended readings and discussions in the NING, I have moved my thinking of creativity from being purely in terms of producing or creating a piece of art as to being more about the actual thought process and journey.

I can compare this thinking journey to the Masters Degree I am currently studying. One of the key things I have learnt from this is that the idea you start out with will completely change by the time you finish reading, reflecting, discussing and teasing out what you really believe. I feel this journey is one to be encouraged in the classroom and is key to ‘What is  creativity?”  Going in the direction of your passion and keeping it within a robust framework that encourages reflection, discussion and articulating what it is about your ideas that have developed and changed along the way.

Some highlights so far as I reflect on the ‘What makes a good animation” unit

Seeing some children who were reluctant and despondent at the start, become positive, motivated and engaged. Eager to reflect on their learning, working in teams and articulating what they have learnt to others.

Kids wanting to work on projects at lunch and coming to school excited because they had worked on their animations at home.

The discussions the students had early on around what makes a creative environment

The discussions around what is creativity

The creation of some pretty impressive films.

The opportunity to work with Mel and with kids from the Junior levels. (a first for me!)

The Learning for Life group worked very hard to create some amazing animations and films.

Check out the Creativity Animation Blog below.

Learning For Life

Here are some questions I am still pondering

Do I give enough opportunities for self directed learning in the class?

Do I set the tone for an environment that encourages creative thinking?

How do you encourage creative thinking at school?


Creative Minds No #3


N0 #3 Roald Dahl






Courtesy @Hugok

I came across the Roald Dahl website celebrating 50 years since the release of James and the Giant Peach. This got me thinking about the magical world of Roald Dahl.

Many have tried their hands at writing childrens’ books, what may look easy is indeed a complex genre to get right. Roald Dahl’s stories are a favourite with his intended audience and his peers, and is often referred to as being  ‘one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th Century’.

I think his greatest strength, and thus his greatest appeal, lies with his ability to write absolutely from a child’s point of view. Welcome to Dahl World where:

  • Nearly all grownups are, at best, boring or (more likely) evil. Being a standard grownup means telling you what to do and insisting on order and discipline (for grownup convenience). The only good grownups are the ones like Willy Wonka who know that having fun and exploring are the things that life is all about.
  • Bad people get what they deserve, often in suitably gory ways. Overweight people in particular, are guaranteed a delightful demise tailor-made for the greedy.
  • Conforming to a Disney ideal of beauty doesn’t give you a “get out of jail free” card. In “Revolting Rhymes” the notorious housebreaker and vandal Goldilocks gets eaten, as she should be. On the other hand, some villains do look suitably villainous, such as the Child Catcher in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, who was the scariest thing ever when I was young.
  • Dirt is good and bodily functions are hilarious, as seen with the BFG’s wind problem. Flatulence is always funny and scabs, pus etc. are described in the language of the true connoisseur.

Dahl’s stories are deeply (and often brutally) moral, but never preachy. They have a great balance between the real world and the magical which makes them engagingly believable and fantastical at the same time. As texts they are so beautifully written that film adaptations have never captured even a fraction of their true essence.

It is rare for an author’s work to be considered “timeless” so soon after that person’s death but it is obvious to even the most casual reader that there is something that sets Dahl apart from other twentieth century children’s writers (let alone his adult fiction which deserves a completely separate post). He was a creative giant in an area of literature that many intellectual pygmies have tried, and failed, to master.

What are your feelings around Roald Dahl and his creativity?

Do you have a favourite children’s author?

Creative Minds No #2


Creative people No #2 Buckminster Fuller.

“There is no energy crisis, only a crisis of ignorance.”








Image courtesy @Flickcc

I’m not sure how I came across Fuller but he has always intrigued me and as time goes onI think he was pretty amazing. He worked across multiple fields and was probably one of the first global environmentalists. I am quite biased but I think he is quite visionary and a truly original mind.

Why I have chosen him.

Born in 1895 Buckminster Fuller lived in a time that you could call pretty different to what the 21st Century looks like particularly in terms of the technological advancements and with the rapid emergence of the world wide web in recent years.  However Buckminster had a pretty amazing insight into the future technology and a great philosophy to underpin it.

One of the things that have always intrigued me about Buckminster is in regard to the development of technology. He believed in progress, particularly that of a technological kind. He was of the belief that humanity would always progress and with technology playing a key part. Therefore he believed that humans should not halt the advancement of technology but think the reverse, in that we need to ensure that this is done in an ethical and environmentally friendly way.

He coined the term Ephemeralization, which is the  ability of technological advancement to do “more and more with less and less until eventually you can do everything with nothing” As time goes on I am seeing his vision becoming pretty much the norm in many cases. For example, within the genre of music, the means to store musical data has shrunk in size, from the gramophone through the record and CD to its current incarnation on a mp3 player.

The move towards digital film watched through downloads suggests that cinema may be going the same way. Fuller had wide ranging interests, not only did he have a huge range of ecological interests, but also translated his ideas into real prototypes, especially the Dymaxion car which was not only years ahead of its time in technological terms, but also looked completely bonkers.







Image courtesy @ Flickcc

I guess it may be easy to be a “futurologist”, it’s the  getting it right that is the  only tricky bit. In his thinking about environmentalism years before such ideas became common currency,  and in his many other interests, “Bucky” as he is affectionately known, has proved time and time again his visionary genius.

Links you might find interesting

The Buckminster Institute

Buckminster On Wikipedia

Everything I know-Buckminster Fuller 1975


Creative Minds


Creative Minds

Source: Photo @ Flickcc Creative Minds

As the PLPconnectU project moves along, our PLP Creativity Team has created a Blog thanks to Mel Cashen who is leading the project.

This got me thinking about ways I could contribute on a regular basis whilst also reflecting and musing on what it means to be creative.

So…every week I will write a small post on creative people past and present, from the more obvious through to the less well known and more obscure. (I am interested in the more obscure) I hope that the posts will generate some discussion and hopefully some more suggestions as to who to add to the list.

Remember all musings are my own and I am merely attempting to get my own creative mind flowing…

So here goes my first Creative Minds post

Creative Minds Number #1 – Abba

The Swedish pop group Abba came to the world’s attention when they won the European Song Contest in 1974. Formed in 1972 and up until their break up in 1983 they wrote and had numerous hits in counties all over the world, selling well over 375 million records during their career and still selling well today.

Whether it was creating a song in upbeat disco like “Dancing Queen” to writing about more down beat issues in  “The Winner Takes it All”  they created pop songs that were very much uniquely their own. Musically they drew not only on pop music that had gone before, but also on folk and classical music. Their songs are catchy enough to be loved by all ages, and also sophisticated enough to bear many repeated listens. (On my behalf!)

For me, they are a truly great and creative pop group. They made, what I think would be hard, seem effortless and so much fun. Their creativity still entertains generations today and as their stage shows and films  demonstrate, they have provided creative inspiration for many who have come after.

Source: Photo @ Flickcc Waterloo

What do you think about Abba being the first of my Creative Minds?

Do you have any suggestions of creative people I could add to my list?