Last Days of Zero to Hero: Following and Commenting

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I love reading content from other bloggers.  I also find that when I’m struggling to write that I can still participate in the blogosphere by visiting the neighbours (so to speak) and more often than not I end up commenting  on a post or two.  Sometimes I choose to post a link or two on my blog and send a bit of traffic (hopefully) in the direction of my fellow bloggers.  I really enjoy being a part of the community.

Therefore, when all these Zero to Hero assignments about following new topics or blogs, commenting on blogs and publishing a post in response to other posts, I sort of yawned.  I have to admit, it has been good fun to discover a few new blog buddies through the Zero to Hero Challenge.  The Leibster Award was a lovely perk of the challenge too.  I tend to gravitate towards the education blogs and literacy/ numeracy blogs which is an important part of my blogging.  I am, after all, a Literacy Coach blogger and I consider my time in the Word Press blogosphere as professional development.  However, it has been nice to meet architects who are writing about buildings and university students who are writing about their learning.  Other bloggers are keeping me in touch with pop culture (an important part of connecting with students and colleagues) and sharing my interests outside of teaching such as reading and music and even television.

So, while I haven’t especially and officially performed all of the assignments on the Zero to Hero blog challenge list relating to commenting and following, I am confident that I have actually fulfilled the purpose of the assignments.  Some bloggers need that little push to get out into the blogosphere and read different content and sometimes commenting can be a bit scary (especially when you are new in town), but I’m quite comfortable with it so I realised that I was doing a lot of the following and commenting naturally anyway.

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I have thought  about this a lot, probably too much, and decided that while this is fairly easy for me, I am going to set myself the goal to troll the reader at least once a week and comment on at least three other posts a week from now on.  Reading other blogs helps me with my writing as I look at style, vocabulary and content from different perspectives.  More importantly, reading other blogs (especially education ones, but not always) inspires some great ideas for my classroom.

I won’t be done with Zero to Hero today.  I will be going through the assignments and seeing what else I can check off through February as well.  But I have to say this about January’s challenge: it has reminded me why I love blogging and why reading and writing go hand in hand.


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Spot the Difference: Zero to Hero did it!

You might notice a few changes around here this week.  Firstly, I have changed my background colour (part of the customizing tasks for Z2H).  The “Categories” widget is gone and the Tag Cloud is now located at the bottom of the page.  I have also created a gallery and inserted that as a widget in the sidebar.  This gallery is a round up of images that have appeared in posts before.  The captions provide a very short description of what they are about.  I’m hoping it will give my readers a break from all the text that is inevitably present on my main page.

I’m also thinking about creating another gallery widget that will show various literacy/ numeracy puns, jokes and images from around the internet.  I use these sorts of things from time to time in my posts to brighten them up a bit and I have a pinterest board almost entirely made up of these ‘funny’ and ‘thought provoking’ images which I share with colleagues and students at school during Literacy and Numeracy Week.  It is a work in progress and I’m not sure if I will only use ones that have already appeared here or if I will work out some way to feed images from my Pinterest Board.  There’s something to think about.

I would love to read comments if you have any feedback.  I know most people will be back at school by the time this is published, but don’t forget to vote in the poll in my previous post.  You can remember if you were ready or not, can’t you?

Keep an eye out for more changes!

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Back to School & Zero to Hero Update

The end of holidays is upon us and we are all heading back to school next week!  Most teachers have already been to school for at least two days.  These Pupil Free Days are used for continuing professional development, setting up classrooms, curriculum planning (long term planning of assessment and learning experiences), organisation of resources and preparation for the first weeks of school.  It is a very busy time.  Parents are probably on the countdown as they prepare to send the kids back to school too.  New uniforms have been purchased, school shoes have been fitted, stationery packs have been assembled, books have been covered and belongings have been named.  If a parent has one child to prepare for Back to School it is a big job and there is much to be done.  If a parent has a few or several children to prepare for Back to School the job becomes even greater.

My sister has 7 children – 6 of them are returning to school this year.  The youngest is toddling and looking forward to waving goodbye to her big brothers and sister so she can have Mum all to herself next week.  Sis covered 87 books on Thursday.  School supplies were dropped off at school yesterday and the children met their teachers.  It was exciting and a little bit stressful at the same time.

I am exhausted for the busy week at school that has just ended.  There weren’t even any students to teach!! I did spend some time “teaching” the teachers about adjustments for accommodating learning difficulties in the classroom.  I much prefer to teach children!  I also met my new teaching partner – I seem to get a new one every year – and caught up with colleagues.  The toughest job this year was setting up the classroom.  Furniture had to be moved and there was quite a bit of decluttering happening.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to finish the ‘clean up’ to my satisfaction.  I am going to allocate one hour per week (probably one afternoon a week) to a clean up task.  When it comes to organising the classroom, I usually turn to the Clutter Free Classroom for tips and tricks.  Jodi from CFC has a blog and a TPT store and offers some great products for teachers trying to take control of the seemingly endless ‘stuff’ that sometimes overtakes our classrooms.  If you are feeling overwhelmed with the stuff that needs to be organised in your classroom (or even your home) you should check out these links!

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Clutter Free Classroom Links


Teachers Pay Teachers Store


You Tube Channel



zero blog hero  ZERO TO HERO UPDATE

I am still working my way through the Zero to Hero Blog Challenge.  Don’t judge me!  Today, I thought that I might tick the Day 6 challenge off the list properly.  I did start looking at it, but didn’t actually follow through completely.  The assignment was to add a new-to-you element.  That means I needed to try adding something to my post that I hadn’t used before.  For some people this could be as simple as adding an image or adding text (photo bloggers sometimes just post images with captions).  I am fairly adventurous and happy to try new things with my blog depending on what I think is necessary to share the message or resource with my readers.  However, I have been meaning to add a poll to a post here and there and every time I go to do it, I decide I haven’t got the time to work with a new and complicated element.  Today I am determined to get through it.  Check out the poll below and click the answer that best suits your situation for Back to School 2014.

Polldaddy logo


By the way: I had already set up a Polldaddy account (which I forgot I had done) so creating the poll was super easy!  I can’t believe I waited so long to add a poll to a post.  That’s that then.  Day 6 is done!

Time to go sort through my posters and work out which ones I need for the first day.  Then I suppose I should finish my lesson planning.

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Twice the Nice The Leibster Award Part 2: Nominate and Interrogate

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OH NO!! I knew this would happen, I was just hoping it wouldn’t happen this week.  I made a mistake, for which I have to apologise!  You see, when I received 2 Leibster Awards, I decided that meant I could nominate more than 10 blogs.  It was quite late and after a long day at work, I sat down and started commenting on a few blogs to tell them I had chosen them for a Leibster.  It wasn’t until I had commented on a few of these that I said to myself: “self, you really should write these down because you are going to forget which blogs you have chosen and commented on and which ones you still have to go to.”  So, then I did it from memory and, of course, I forgot one of the blogs.  It is one of the best ones too!!!

Please accept my apologies and as well as checking out the 10 blogs below, please check out Denise’s blog Denise has some excellent ideas and resources on her blog for relief teachers and full time teachers.  I am really enjoying following her blog.  SORRY DENISE! 

My Leibster Nomination and Question Post

You will need to check out my previous post to see guidelines and my responses to the questions that were given to me as a Leibster Award winner.  I have nominated the following blogs.  Questions for each of these bloggers to answer will be below the links.  Check out these to see what is happening in the blogosphere.  It is especially great to see new blogs and ones that have been around a while but aren’t well known.  Sometimes the quiet blogs are the most interesting.

Leibster Award WINNERS!


Teacher on Training Wheels 

Mrs Holpepper: Bookworm 

A Great Title 

Tommy found a real book

A moment in Life

 In To Her World

Peopled Places 

Eliza Thinks Aloud

Squarehead Teachers 


How many people are living in your house?  Who are they?

Do you have any pets? Tell me about them.

What do you do when you are not blogging? (work or play)

Did you have a favourite teacher? Tell me about them.

What is your favourite picture book? (every adult should have one, but if you have to – think back to when you were little)

What are you wearing right now?

Where do you usually write your blog posts (in bed/ at a desk/ on the back porch etc)?

No matter who we are, we all have a ‘go to’ movie.  We have a movie we watch when we are in bed with the flu, or we had a rough week and need to hide away.  We watch it on our holidays, just because we can and we can quote mundane dialogue from it. What’s your ‘go to’ movie and Why?

You learn something new everyday!  What have you learned this week?

Tell me a Joke!  It can be as silly as you like (Christmas Bon Bon Jokes are the best!) OR you can tell me a long serious story with a surprise punchline.  Just keep it clean.


I look forward to reading all the responses to the questions above.  If you are reading this and you aren’t one of the nominees, please still go and check out all these great “little” blogs and share the love.  Thanks again to my awesome followers.  You may be few in number, but you are obviously very intelligent and discerning people.  This week is really crazy for me with the return to school, but the new series about whole school literacy programs, engaging reluctant readers and teachable moments will be out in February.  I’m still SLOWLY working on the Zero to Hero Blog Challenge so there will be updates about that coming soon too.

Happy Reading!

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Twice the Nice: The Leibster Award

Last week I was nominated for a Leibster Award and have been thinking about my questions and who to nominate.  Today, I was nominated again.  I decided I better take the hint!   I’m not sure what the deal is when someone is nominated twice in one week, but I’m going to just go with it.



Apparently, there are guidelines for accepting the award.  In my opinion Guidelines are bendable.  Here they are.

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog (help with the traffic flow)

2. Answer the 10 questions sent to you as part of the nomination.

3. Nominate 10 blogs with 200 followers or less (but other rules say up to 300).

4. Give your nominees 10 questions to answer.

That sounds simple.  Considering that I have been nominated twice over, I am going to do the following:

1. Thank the two bloggers who nominated me.

2. Answer the 20 questions sent from both “noninators”.

3. Choose 10-20 blogs with up to 300 followers .

4. List 10 questions for my nominees to answer.

BIG THANKS goes to

Allie @ Allie’s Notes and The Blogger @Occasional Stuff (who doesn’t seem to have a name).  Click the links to check out their Liebster Award posts and explore their blog while your there.

20 Questions

From Occasional Stuff

Why did you start your blog?

I started this blog so I could reflect on and share the work that I do as a Literacy and Numeracy Coach and as a Learning Support Teacher.  I also started it because there were very few current websites or blogs like this one.  Lots of the blogs about Literacy Coaching were either years old or more about interactions with students.  My role had me working more with teachers and administration staff in our school so I wanted to focus on that.  It has ended up being very different though.

What might have (or has) prevented you from continuing?

I was hoping to post once a week, but it wasn’t very practical when I was working so hard at school.  I set myself very high standards and I would rather post less often and have every post be a worthwhile and useful article for my readers than post regularly and not well.  Does that make any sense? Some Literacy Coach, Hey!

It’s a cold, dark, wet day here today, what’s it like where you live?

It’s hot and humid.  The sun is shining brightly, or at least it was when I was last outside.  I think it has probably gone to bed now.  But the heat is still around.  The heat never seems to leave!

What do you like to do when the weather is bad?

I like curling up in bed with a good book and my cat.  Sometimes rainy days are a dream come true!
Do you have pet? If yes, tell me about it, or if not, what is your favourite animal?

I have a cat.  She is a beautiful tortoiseshell of about 15 months.  I love my kitty, but I also like small dogs.  I had a budgie when I was 7 – he died when I was 10. I had a cockatiel when I was 14 and he died about a year ago.

Show me a picture of what makes you happy. Why does it make you happy?

There is a picture that I have on the noticeboard beside my desk at work and it makes me really happy.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy that I can post here.  Sorry.  I will describe it and tell you why I love it.

The picture is a photograph of a student that I taught a few years ago.  The student was sitting on the oval (field) at school, leaning on his bag and reading a magazine.  This was a kid who told me he couldn’t read and there was no way I was going to get him to read.  It wasn’t posed, because he didn’t know that I could see him and I took the photo from behind.  You can’t see his face, you can just see that he was reading.  That kid was one of my triumphs!

There is another photo of a student that makes me happy too.  Again, I don’t have a copy I can show you.  I met her when she was a struggling 5th grader and it took me a long time to work out how to help her.  The photo I have of her, is at her graduation.  She finished year 12, passed all her subjects and received the traineeship award at her school.  She was a great kid and it was wonderful to see her succeed.

Did you read anything that made you laugh in the last week?

I read a text message from my sister that was supposed to say “I will get C to load Skype on my phone later” and it said “I will get C to load it on my ohjbe later.”  My best friend emailed me this morning because her dog is 10 years old today and she made a joke about the squeaky toy they gave the dog getting ripped to pieces.  I laughed out loud at that.  I also read a short story collection called “More Top Stories”  last week and a few of those stories made me laugh… but I don’t remember exactly what it was.  I laugh as often as I can, and most people don’t understand what is so funny to me.

What is your favourite article of clothing, and why is it?

That seems to change quite a bit.  I used to have a favourite pair of tracksuit pants that were just so comfy, but they have gone to the closet in the sky.  I have a pair of pyjama shorts that are purple with black polka dots.  They are the best shorts for this kind of weather.

Favourite food? 

Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip Ice cream, BBQ Pork Buns, Lasagne,

Do you play any sports regularly?

Bahahahaahaahaa!  No.

From Allie’s Notes

If you were a character in a book, who would you want to be? Why?

WOW! Too hard!  I don’t think there is any character that I want to be.  I would like to be myself – like Lost in Austen or Inkspell when readers get sucked into the book and get to meet all the characters and mess with the story line… mwahaha.

What was your very first job?

I used to babysit (feed and put the baby to sleep while her mother was teaching a dance class in the same building) for a VERY small fee and I tend to remember doing that when I was about 11 or 12.  When I was 14, I worked for my father organising his files and typing letters for him at the newspaper where he worked.

Would you rather travel by sailboat, motorboat, or cruise ship?

Cruise ship, I think.  I like big boats and I cannot lie.  I also like the idea of not having to worry about food or making my bed.

Which zoo animal would you like to keep for a pet? Why?

I think I would like a giraffe, because they are tall and could reach things on high shelves for me.   I could also see myself getting on very well with a koala.   Penguins are cute too, but they might smell a bit fishy and I doubt they would get on with my cat.

What nicknames have you had or been called?

Mel is a nickname and one that I avoided for the first 25 years of my life.  It sort of suits me now.  I also get “Hughesy” from a couple of the blokes at work, but I tend to ignore them when they say it, so it probably doesn’t count.  A few people at school like calling me Miss Mel and for some reason I really dislike that.  My nephews and nieces call me Nay (don’t ask).

If you wrote a book tomorrow, what would the title be?

Aunty Kristy and the butterflies

What is your favorite dish to cook for dinner?

Macaroni and Cheese!!

What is your best childhood memory?

I have lots of great childhood memories that I can’t decide.  I loved visiting my Nanny and Pa at their house.  I also have fond memories (for some strange reason) of being read to in class.  There are a few books that were read to me in primary school that I have seen in book shops years later and been so excited to see them – I can tell you the first time a teacher read them to me and who the teacher was.

Who is the most famous person you have ever met (or nearly met)? Where?

Wow, that’s a tough one.  I sang in the choir on the Today Show when I was 9 and I met the Monty the Weather man.  He was very famous in Australia at the time.  I stood very close to Ruth Cracknell at a theatre in Sydney once (she is a very famous Australian Actress).  I have an autographed first edition of a book written by Nora Ephron, but I didn’t meet her . My mother has a photo of me with one of the Leyland Brothers (apparently they were famous in the Aussie tourism industry).  I met a singer who tours with Guy Sabastian.  Does that count?  I have met two Generals of the Salvation Army, but I’m not sure you could call them famous.  I feel like I’m clutching at straws.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

“Everything is going to be okay, in fact, everything is going to be so much better.  Just breathe.”

Check in tomorrow when I will mention the bloggers that I am going to nominate for a Leibster Award and then you can share the love by checking them out.  

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