Thursday 27th April 2017

Post from The Archives. 2017.38.

Post from The Archives. 2017.38.

In 2012 I was blogging in a number of different fields and one was education based. On this occasion I wrote a lengthy post about how I became a teacher in the late 1960s. So much has changed since then, in many cases ‘not for the good.’ Whilst teachers now have to complete at least a Bachelor’s Degree and add a Masters in some cases, there is far less emphasis in the subjects that will be taught and how to teach them. We had to study every one of the subjects and areas of knowledge we would be using in teaching.  The first kids I ever taught would now be in their mid-late 50s. How scary is that!

If you read on, and through the details, I would love to know what your experiences of teachers may have been when you were in primary school.

Denyse.

Joining here with Kylie Purtell and friends for I Blog On Tuesdays.

DENYSE becomes A TEACHER.

I was the first cohort of students to complete the Higher School Certificate in 1967. Once passed, I was then offered a Commonwealth scholarship to the new Macquarie University to do secondary teaching. However, my passion was with the younger children, and I waited my time & received a NSW Education Department Scholarship to study Primary School teaching at Balmain Teachers’ College.

This was the beginning of the biggest population explosion in outer Sydney, and there were a number of teachers’ colleges set up rather quickly after the 1960s to cater for a huge rise in kids who needed teachers! The first year of training was general primary school, and then in second year we could choose  – Infants (mine) Primary or Small Schools (an option only for men, and my husband chose this one when he was at Armidale Teachers’ College)

The scholarship paid me $22 a fortnight, and I signed a bond to teach anywhere in NSW for a period of 3 years after fulfilling training. I attended the full-time training program for 2 years, completing 18 subjects.

We were taught how to teach & these subjects:

english, mathematics, social studies,natural science, writing, reading, physical education, music, drama, speech, spelling, art, craft, listening, library, child behaviour, handwriting, psychology of child development.

We had practical assessments which included:

telling the class of other teacher trainees a ‘story’, showing them a picture & eliciting responses from questions we had carefully planned, demonstrated dancing and gymnastic techniques, made craft objects step by step,

We had 18 examination subjects over 2 weeks at the conclusion of the two years. There had been a series of exams in first year too.

We were placed in four different teaching practice schools where we were supervised by the class teacher, and we were supervised by personnel from the Teachers College. We needed to teach in different class types and schools. I taught Year 3 and Year 2 back at the Primary School I attended. I was also a teacher on Kindergarten in the northern beaches, and a Year 1 in Neutral Bay.

The School I attended for Yrs 5 & 6 and where I returned for 2 ‘pracs’. I got to re-visit in 2011.

We needed to write full lesson plans, and then teach to them, and evaluate them. We needed to mark the work of the students, keep the children under control, and do the other duties expected of the classroom teachers. We were able to write a shorter version of our day book once we were deemed as a pass for practice teaching. The lesson plan books were huge, and each night would involved writing out the entire day, and then getting the lessons ready, and arriving at school in time to let the teacher run an eye over it. There were no stencils as such.

There was a requirement for me, a left-hander, to learn how to write on the blackboard with chalk using only my right hand. Without practice (and I had to do lots) and then passing the practical examination I would not have been allowed to teach. Each teacher-to-be in New South Wales had to score 100% on a spelling test based on Year 5-6 words. We all had to pass a musical ability test of playing an instrument (recorders were very popular) and singing a solo in front of the group and teacher. We had to pass a practical mathematics test with the ‘new and revolutionary’ Cuisenaire Rods as they would form the practical teaching tools in Maths in the Infants Classroom.

After the exams were finished, our results were posted on a board. In the grounds of the teachers’ college. Then another list went up, the schools we had been appointed to. Beforehand I recall a talk given by the NSW Department of Education officers who advised us about superannuation. We were all appointed by the Department of Education anyway, but there was a tiny detail on the super forms. Women got to tick age 55 or age 60 for retirement benefits. I ticked 55. It turned out four years later, as a married woman to another teacher that I was able to “opt out” of super, and to my regret I did.

I was given a teaching post to Barraba. Not in Sydney. Not in the newly formed outer suburbs called as a collective Green Valley. I was going to a Central School – K-12 and it was a good 6 hours from my parents’ home in Sydney, and I was pleased. I was going to a new place, close to where the current BF was working (not the hub) and my parents drove me to Barraba at the end of January 1970, for Miss Simpson to start her teaching career. Firstly we needed to suss out a place for me to live, and on hearing from the school’s deputy that there was a vacancy in a teachers’ share house nearby, I was in! The next day, 27 January 1970 I began paid work as a teacher on a K/1 in the Infants Department.

That is how I became qualified to teach in New South Wales schools run by the Department of Education.

 

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Tips For Living In A Shared Household. #LifeThisWeek 4/52. 2017.13.

Tips For Living In A Shared Household. #LifeThisWeek 4/52. 2017.13.

This week, 47 years ago, my parents drove the 6 hours from Sydney to Barraba with 20 year old me, my luggage, teaching needs and more to check out where I would be teaching and where I might live!

I was more excited than nervous. This was me, getting ready for what I couldn’t wait to do! Teach. The school was located about 30 minutes drive from where my boyfriend of 3 years had just started his new job after graduating with his Ag Science degree, and we would likely meet up most weekends! Even though I didn’t have a car.

Sweet! But, where would I live? In those days single teachers often found accommodation in a person’s house as a boarder but I was not 100% taken with that notion. The school was open and that I got to meet the DP who was getting ready for school starting that week and asked him about accommodation. He mentioned the teacher share house just down the road from school where there was a vacancy. We drove to the house (see photo from screen shot!) met the already arrived 2 teachers (one was yet to come) and I was offered the place. All in the space of an afternoon.

Looking back, and speaking to Dad only recently about this whole experience, apparently Mum found it all pretty traumatic leaving her daughter behind. I recall her helping me get the bedroom sorted (my part of it as it was a shared one – the front room seen in the pic) and just being ‘Mum’ about it all. She cried on the way home Dad tells me. Oh. I found the truth of how that feels when my daughter left home aged 21.

This post one year ago is about my first school as a teacher.

Back to the topic! I had NO idea what it would be like to live in a shared household with 3 somewhat older women. We were all on the same staff of the K-12 school. However, I was the spoiled only daughter who had a social life as her priority rather than anything else to do with chores so I think, over time, I did not do well as a contributor to the house.

I learned to cook spaghetti bolognaise as we did have a cooking roster and I got some help there.
I did keep my room tidy. I used to save up my washing and take it home to Mum’s when I drove down to Sydney for a weekend every fortnight or so with the DP who would make me drive part of the way (and back) as he was visiting his fiancee.

My relationship with the boyfriend fizzled in Term One, so I became much more interested in socialising and holding Saturday night parties! The other housemates were generally away on the weekends. Once I met my now-husband in the final term, I did nothing. Except be lovelorn when he wasnt there and we married by the following year. I learned that I was a NOT a good household sharer. Marriage though was a BIG lesson!!

Thanks for my Facebook friends for their tips!

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Tips for Living In A Shared Household.

  1. Don’t live with Denyse when she is young and in love (my tip)
  2. Work out from the outset whether you’re going to do shared meals or fend for yourself.
  3. Allocate cupboard and fridge space accordingly. If doing shared meals, allocate a budget and draft meal plan.
  4. Use your words. Literally.Don’t get in a huff with your house mates when they don’t do things your way.
  5. Spoons in the sink when there’s a dishwasher two feet away can drive you mental.
  6. Hold regular house meetings.
  7. Work out who is an introvert and who is an extrovert. Make plans accordingly. In one share house I lived in, where people were incredibly busy and social, we instituted a weekly no guests night.
  8. Live alone.
  9. Some people suck at grocery shopping. Train them.
  10. If you own anything precious, don’t keep it in shared areas. It will likely get broken.
  11. Oh God, just don’t. The stories I could tell about my nightmare 4 months.
  12. Set ground rules – who does what, and what items are shared and which are your own.I think talking about things as they come up is great, so they don’t become bigger problems.
  13. And do fun things together – like house dinners and nights out, because they’re your new family. I loved my share house experiences for the most part!
  14. If you find yourself house sharing in middle age, as I have, share with a man. Living with another woman was too stressful and it’s never fair when both are set in their ways. The dramas were awful. Never again. My last two housemates have been men and it’s worked really well for all of us.
  15. Make them clean. Don’t just clean because no one else is doing it and it’s driving you slightly mental. You’ll just get resentful that you’re the only one who cleans anything.

So, have you ever lived in a shared household?

How was it for you?

What tips would you add?

Thanks for sharing!

Denyse.

Here are the rules for the link-up “Life This Week” is a link up that runs every Monday and remains live for until Thursday at 5 p.m.during that week.
* You can link up something old or new, just come on in.
* Please add just ONE post each week!
* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.
* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!
* Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right!
* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine!
* THANK you for linking up today! Do come back next week.   Next week’s prompt is “Back To Routine”.



 

I also link up here with Alicia and here with Kell on Mondays.

 

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The Heart Sees What Is Invisible. 366/201.

The Heart Sees What Is Invisible. 366/201. 

To be a teacher, for me, is a privilege. In recent years my career took me from schools to university where I was fortunate to be part of the teaching team for a subject called Inclusive Education in the Masters of Teaching at a university in Sydney. The subject was always a popular one with pre-service student teachers and I enjoyed being a part of the learning processes with them. A great start to each of the tutorials was ‘telling a story’ from real life that encapsulated what it meant to be a teacher. This one was a firm favourite for me when I read it aloud (pre-service teachers liked this part too!) as the tute for the day began.

Love in the Classroom. From Chicken Soup for the Teachers’ Soul. source: Michelle Wallace Campanelli

Sarah.

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye. H. Jackson Brown Jr.

I will never forget Sarah. In my eight years as a Head Start teacher, she was my most exceptional student.

One morning, the administrator has called my assistant and me into her office. She told us that we’d be getting a new student – a three year old named Sarah.

“The girl has been abused,” she said. Her father had poured a scalding bucket of hot water down her head, badly burning her neck, back, legs and scalp. She had no hair. Her back and legs would have to be wiped down with oil every few hours so they would not get stiff.

Sarah visited my pre school room the next day for an introductory meeting while the other students were out. Her facial features were petite, and she smiled up at me with innocent brown eyes, startlingly naked because her eyebrows were missed. The back of her bald head was badly scarred down to the neck. She wore a simple white sundress that showed her burnt arms. I seized with anger at her father. Then I worried about how the other children would react.

I struggled to maintain calm in front of Sarah and her mom left, I gave into tears.

“We must prepare the students,” My assistant reminded me. “We can’t just let her walk in and be made fun of.”

“To draw attention to her appearance would single her out,” I said. After much discussion, we agreed to have Sarah come in for a half-day on her first day to ascertain how the children would react towards her.

The morning Sarah arrived she quietly took a seat. I watched her every second. During playtime, the other children talked to her and shared their toys. They didn’t seem to notice she was different.

“It’s dress up time,” one of my students reminded me. Every day before lunch, they all got to raid the closets and play in a collection of grown-up clothes and fanciful kids’ costumes.

“Okay, everyone, let’s get started,” I agreed.

Sarah followed the other children and put on an Easter bonnet and princess outfit. I tried to smile., but the disparity between the delicate fabric and her scarred skin made me ache for her.

Sarah left after lunch. Her classmates had nap time, and then I led a vocabulary-building lesson.

Finally, I asked the children, “So how do you all like our new friend Sarah?”

One child answered. “Her hands are small.”

Another added, “She picked the long skirt for dress-up.”

Not one mentioned her thick skin or her missing hair.

The children’s observation helped me realise something very valuable. We teachers saw Sarah as a child who had suffered greatly, a child who needed exceptional handling and assistance. Wed wanted to hold her, prove to her that not all adults were bad.

The children, many of whom had also suffered in some way, saw beyond her scarred appearance. They saw another child, a peer, a new friend.

The next school day, during dress-up, Sarah put on the princess clothes again. She stood in front of a full-length mirror and danced in front of her reflection. “I am so beautiful,” she murmured to herself.

The confidence of her whirling poses and self-compliment struck me. Here was a child who I thought should be shrivelling in self-pity. Instead she was twirling around, having fun. I felt humbled by her inner strength and honoured to witness her joy in just being alive. I reached out and embraced her.

“Yes, Sarah, you are beautiful.”

 

 

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I leave the story as is and welcome your responses.

Thank you.

Denyse.

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Joining with Jess at Essentially Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays.

 

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Teach Me How I Learn Best! 366/54.

Teach Me How I Learn Best. 366/54.

At first I had the title “Teach Me MY Way PLEASE” for this post.

I found I needed a lot of help to learn something new recently.

In fact I got so frustrated by it I nearly left the class!

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I did not but I sure began to understand why less, ahem, mature people like kids might want to! I admit it, I am a teacher and I am one who makes a lesson or something new work for whoever is learning.

I could not understand how much I was in ‘discomfort’ and the person teaching me had ‘no idea’. That person was a ‘teacher’ of sorts in a small group of crocheting ladies. I was told she could help me with learning to crochet from the very beginning.

So, I bravely gave this totally new and out of my comfort zone thing ago. I went to the local wool shop, was sold some wool, a crochet hook and told ‘without any real input from me’ that making this cot blanket would be good start as I could learn rows. OK…still very unsure but I was in the right place, yeah?

There is something else I need to admit to. I am both left and right handed in some things. I am more left handed than right but when I first tried this crochet thing, it seemed right handed was better. I was fine with that.

Could I do this simple one line over and over? Not without her help and did she give it? Not really. Too busy swapping tales with others at the table and I was:

  • deadset embarrassed at my ‘forgetfulness’ of the process
  • feeling very much out of my depth
  • startled by my lack of skill in this
  • bamboozled by the language and directions given

YET I persevered and I asked her from time to time to demonstrate the action again. I know I am spatially challenged but I was more than that. I felt quite ‘stupid’. Oh I know, ‘don’t say stupid’ but I am remembering my inner feelings.

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I am this kind of learner….visual …and if you want to know more about the type of learner you are, try this site. It’s one of many but this is a simple starter for both kid and adults.

I admit I had problems remembering the way in which I was supposed to do this and that and I was in a new environment where everyone seemed to know each other. I really put myself into the place of any new student. I also gained more insight into the ways in which kids can be ‘left out’. It was a big learning curve all round and it prompted me to write this post.

For kids.

For parents of those kids.

For teachers who teach those kids.

All kids!

Get to know your preferred learning style and you will know why you can learn somethings well and others not so. I have put away the crochet wool and hook for a while. I am not going back to that class but I did find a helpful lady at the local spotlight. I also know that I have handedness and dominance issues because I am a lefty for some things and righty for others…but I am an ADULT and I can make allowances or tell someone. Kids can’t always do that and may begin to act out.

It’s an interesting topic!

Teach me the way I learn best!

Denyse.

Joining with Jess at Essentially Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays here.

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My Guest Posts Here. 366/45.

My Guest Posts Here. 366/45.

Recently I was invited to write and submit guest posts on 2 different sites.

The first was for Katrina Springer who has a website and blog called:

The Organised Housewife.

Kat and I have teamed together before with posts about schooling.

This one was for families and how they may get the best out of any communications they may wish to make with the school if there are any issues.

Here it is….

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The second site is one for teachers, particularly those who teach the younger children.

Teacher Types is by teacher Lauren Hunt, a young mum of two kids, the younger born recently.

She liked my idea of using my experience as a principal to write about ‘what makes a great teacher.

Thanks Lauren for having me!

This is where my post can be found….here

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For more of my guest posts, check out the page at the top of the blog “writing for others”.

Would you like me to provide a guest post on your blog?

Do contact me here in the comments!

Denyse.

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Joining Charlene, Teacher By Trade Mother By Nature for the first time here. 

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Why I Am A Teacher. 366/40.

Why I Am A Teacher. 366/40.

  • Each of us has been taught by a trained teacher if we attended a school.
  • Some teachers give us memories of learning we take into our everyday lives. Other teachers may inspire us to ‘go for whatever our dreams are’.
  • Not all teachers are like that, of course, and there may be the one or two we actually don’t want to think back on at all…..however, the majority of teachers can tell you why they are teachers….and why they remain teachers!
  • Even though I am retired from paid work, teaching is part of me. I am a teacher at heart.
  • I understand that the role has changed, and I have been in schools as a classroom teacher in the times of big changes.
  • I’ve led a number of school communities through change in the education systems, the ways in which we must document outcomes and more.
  • Never think for one minute I do not know of the load of work teachers carry and the responsibilities they shoulder to ensure all of the children have the best education outcomes possible.
  • Yet I need to share that the majority of teachers are here for the long haul unless there are underlying matters affecting them. That is another story told in other places. Not here. Today.

I am a teacher because I was born to be one. There I said it.

From My Bookshelf.

From My Bookshelf.

In 2014 when I was a tutor in a University I presented pre-service Masters of Teaching(Primary) students with these stories from teachers. With the permission of those people, I am sharing these with my blog’s readers and the wider community.

Teacher:- J.

I was very fortunate to have wonderful teachers as a primary and high school student. These people taught me that a passion for a subject and for learning is highly contagious. They knew how to engage kids, to allow them to ask questions and feel that their opinion was valued. I guess they became role models for me and I couldn’t wait to become a teacher.Sometimes I feel like the reasons I became a teacher change but lately when I’ve considered this and what I find myself telling people is that just as my family and friends do, teaching feeds my soul! Doing a relieving executive role, I have had to spend time away from my class and I find I really miss the action of a classroom.I love that is changes everyday, that it challenges me, that I get to play a big part in childrens’ lives and that I’m in the privileged position to see them grow and learn before my eyes.There are many parts of teaching that are hard work and demanding so it has to be the ‘coal face’ stuff that keeps you in the job.

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Assistant Principal:- A.

I came to teaching after ditching an unsatisfying former career. Mum said I wanted to be a teacher at age 4. I loved school myself and wanted to be able to help kids, particularly disadvantaged ones, to be able to “not just achieve” as it’s easy for some kids but go beyond what they’re capable of achieving. I am a ‘different’ sort of teacher as I feel many of the things schools and teachers do actually disengage kids. I want kids to have a voice in the direction of their learning.

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Early Childhood Teacher:- N.

I think teaching is a calling. That being said, I became one for a few reasons, some more virtuous than others! I was madly in love with a boy who was in his final year of his teaching degree when I applied. He broke my heart, but the degree stuck! I love learning new things, exploring ideas, thinking, creating, and for me, that’s what being an educator is – giving children a love of learning. I remain a teacher for similar reasons. To be part of the ‘village’ that raises a child – basing my practice now on the UN rights of the child, I’ve evolved as an educator over the years, and that love of learning keeps me inspired and in the classroom.

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First Year Teacher:- K.

I have had the opportunity to ‘try out’ a few different jobs, and an entirely different career. Whilst finding success and enjoyment within these jobs I never felt as though they were a perfect fit for me.It was during a holiday that I took the time out to really focus on what I wanted from a job and I found where parts of my work included teaching or training others I was at my happiest.I enjoyed being with children, that my ‘silly’ side was a way that helped me build relationships with them & I decided that I needed to have a role that included nurturing and teaching children and ‘showing them the world’ through education. On my journey to become a teacher, and as a parent, I have seen the profound impact of ‘great’ teachers on children and this has inspired me further to try to find out how to be a ‘great’ teacher. I am a beginning teacher, but I imagine that I will want to remain a teacher because I hope to make a difference. That I continue to see the amazing impact a teacher can have on a child’s wellbeing and education. I hope that I will remain a teacher because I will continue to feel the intrinsic rewards in helping children to find success and be happy being themselves.

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Teacher now Educational Leader:-J.

I wanted to be a teacher from the age of 6. My sister had just become a teacher & I used to want to help her mark papers!!! Mum used to have to distract me! Then when I was 9, my brother became a teacher & I always did everything my brother did!!! However, my sister was a high school English teacher & my brother primary and I was maths. They are both principals now and I have become a leader of schools with DET. I stayed teaching for lots of reasons. Loved it, great satisfaction from making a difference to the students. Sometimes that was academically and sometimes wellbeing.I am often overwhelmed by the need some students have & if I can contribute to improving that in some small way I always will.

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Thank you for reading this far…I hope you did! I also hope you found this post one which has ensured that the education of Australia’s children is safe in the hands of a range of teachers like these.

Denyse.

Joining Jess at Essentiallyjess for I Blog On Tuesdays!

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First Day of School Nerves. 366/26.

First Day of School Nerves. 366/26.

Ok, it’s here.

It’s the first day.

Of School.

Yikes!

How did that happen?

Settle down, it happened and it’s here.

So, how’s it going to work out do you think?

  • Firstly I really hope they like me.

 

  • Second of all I hope I remember what I have to do.

 

  • Third, and most important is that I remember why I am here.

 

I am here to

TEACH

And I love it.

So, up and at ‘em as they say.

 

My lunch is packed (thanks dear partner!) and my coffee cup is labelled,

I know where my new classroom is ..of course I do as I have spent the past 2 weeks of the school holidays getting it ready for the kids!

My outfit for the day ahead is professional, cool and comfy enough to take me from kneeling down on the floor to help solve a maths puzzle, the reaching to the high part of the interactive whiteboard and to do my playground duty supervision.

Oh…my hat! I just remembered…I have to have a hat. Got it, it’s still in the car from last weekend at the beach.

Lock the door, into the car, and drive….and into the place marked

STAFF car parking because that’s what I am now!

A member of the school’s teaching staff.

Bell goes for the kids to line up and after farewelling their parents, it’s off to the classroom.

Good Morning everyone, I am your new teacher and I am so glad to meet you!”

Now, where are those nerves? Gone!

Thinking about all my teacher friends and family who are beginning their roles (some again, others for the first time) this week in schools all around Australia. Wishing them a great start!!

Tomorrow it is 46 years since I stepped into my first teaching role and classroom in Barraba NSW.

Denyse.

Denyse Simpson. I was 20 & the photographer placed my pic in the School Prefects Group, not the staff!

Denyse Simpson. I was 20 & the photographer placed my pic in the School Prefects Group, not the staff!

My first classroom. K/1. Barraba Central School.

Re-visiting in 1990s. My first classroom. K/1. Barraba Central School.

Joining my friends at Essentially Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays here.

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‘Best of 2015’ Posts. Part 1. 354/365.

‘Best of 2015’ Posts. Part 1. 354/365.

Recently I posted here about the posts and their comments in 2015. Some of those which received over 12 comments (actually over 6 and then my responses)and today, for Kirsty’s I Must Confess I am linking to them.

The following Monday, whilst it is public holiday time, will be an opportunity to do this again.

Thanks again to Kirsty and her commenters too in 2015. Looking forward to 2016.

Each week I join Trish for Wordless Wednesday and during the year I found two bloggers from USA who also had photo memes. This was cool as I got to know more bloggers and in turn I gained some new commenters.

I also joined here on My Home Truths, and Weekend Rewind and Down the Rabbit Hole.

These ones were standouts.

  • The amazing, colourful and oh-so Australian Bottlebrushes were popular and our cars, which had to be left in the driveway in Empire Bay were often covered in the gossamer red.
  • Then, in November, as always I remember those who fought in all wars. Many died, as we know. I posted on 11/11 about this here. Lest We Forget.
  • The Blue Mountains, about 45 minutes drive from our old Sydney house, was a place for me to get into nature photography again and I know many readers enjoyed the retrospective, Blue Mountains revisited. Did you see this post? 
  • However, the post of which I am most proud….because I remain, at heart the teacher/principal…is this one called 10 Ways to Raise a Reader. It was a ‘hit’ and this pleased me very much over at I Blog On Tuesdays where I am blessed to know so many bloggers too.

Joining Kirsty here for I Must Confess.

I Must Confess

Cheers everyone,

Denyse xx

 

Picture Books

Picture Books

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Listen and Read Books

 

 

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