In the bin and all mixed up

There are a 100 pieces to what seems to be a very simple puzzle, but right now I find myself disorganized and dumped in the bin.


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Upon quick reflection this seemed like it should be an easy task. The recommendations, informative websites and blogs provided ample information. However, even though I have dug around the box (website searches, journal articles, conversations with colleagues, blogging and webinar training sessions) and have found some of the parts I need to “face” the changes required to build myself up and “head” in the right direction, I find myself all mixed up!


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Upon my initial reflection this was the best I could do. Bits and pieces not quite right but not totally wrong either. Keeping in mind that a certain level of whimsy and quirky is a necessity when working with Mr. Potato Head.

It is obvious though that I currently struggle with putting all of the pieces into practice. I have an understanding of what it should look like. That image has be painted clearly. It looks something more like this.


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A cool, confident, parts in the right place kind’a fellow.

So I try again. I take my new learning about ICT (an abbreviation I had to ask what it stood for – Ack how embarrassing!) and my thoughts on 21st century literacy, and I shared them with my colleagues. I also continue to try to figure out where in my schedule I can start implementing some of these things, so that the use ICT becomes part of the norm.

Volia! Look at me now,


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Not bad, right! At least this time I have a few more essential parts, they just haven’t quite found the most effective and efficient spots. I was feeling pretty darn good with my progress. And then this happened:



Conversations with colleagues about the lack of support and inadequate infrastructure ripped each part right back off.  Scheduling nightmares, student management concerns and device shortages presented me with a naked spud and pieces no one around me dared to touch. I myself (if I am being honest) looked at them in despair with a wrinkled nose and curled lip of disgust.

I am resilient, and at times annoyingly persistent.

SO, as I pick up the snot laden drool dripping pieces I reflected on what was working. Though I may not be practicing what I have started to learn. I am thinking about it and am aware that changes need to be made. Changes that I can control, and those that I cannot.

It came down to this. What had me motivated in the first place?

I picked up the pieces and gave them a rinse.

EYES: I took my first step and signed up for ONLINE courses (very scary for me), but has been and eye opener so far.

EARS: I decided that my professional growth plan would be around the use of FreshGrade in my class. I have since invited colleagues to join me for online training webinars. Together the four of us have decided to create our own mini PLC on the use of the program.

MOUSTACHE: I started a Brain Food board in our staffroom, where I post interesting bits of information I have found during this course surrounding the implementation of ICT.

ARMS: I continue to share my blog with colleagues and friends. I was not keen on the idea of having to write a blog, however I have come to find that I quite enjoy doing it. I can see myself continuing to use it after the completion of this course.

TONGUE: I continue to share and discuss ideas I come across with colleagues.

HAT: I have started reading twitter feeds more. I still find it difficult to post anything. It has not yet become part of my overall image. More of an accessory really.

FEET: I am working on developing online networks. I find this to be the most challenging. Online networks were once only for fun and friends. I mostly used the great wide web for taking my brain AWAY from my work. Not for finding ways to do my work differently. Therefore, this is the most challenging aspect for me. I am more of a potato-to-potato kind of learner as well. I know that potato-to-potato is possible through wonderful tools like skype, and google hangout, Im just not there – YET.

And so…

I put those pieces back on. They are not in the most efficient or effective positions, however Im confident in saying, that for where I am in my learning journey their placement is not quite right but not totally wrong either. I have a lot of learning and navigating yet to do. I am working on putting myself out there. Even when I look like this:


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and feel a bit like this:


Cheers, All mixed Up


Webinars:  –> free professional development

Side note: My apologies for my confusing out of order posts. I mixed up this weeks and last weeks, which I discovered in a hangout. Even when Im not in potato mode, Im all mixed up – ACK!


A little something that made me giggle this week:




5 thoughts on “In the bin and all mixed up

  1. LOL. You made me literally laugh out loud many times during this post. I really appreciate your honest, open and transparent blogs that highlight the realities of what we are all trying to do. You highlight the challenges and success with grace and humour that is engaging and real, enabling others who are reading this to feel empowered to at least try something new. Your analogy of a mixed up Potato head was so apt and helpful in all of us visualizing the haphazard way we are all just figuring this out as we go along. Fantastic stuff, especially the extra PLC comix.


  2. Ashlee,
    I love reading your posts! They make me laugh!
    I also had to look up what ICT was, so you were not alone! The mixed up potato head describes how I feel. Every Monday I wonder which computer, SmartBoard, laptop will not be working.
    Last week, I discovered that the laptop in the Library, the one attached to the SmartBoard was corrupted because of the latest update, done over the weekend. I had assumed (wrongly, evidently) that because I had been the last one to use it, it would still be working… this required a quick change of plans.
    And this embodies my frustration with technology. It is not fair to ask teachers to use/rely on technology to deliver and enhance their teaching if they cannot COUNT on it working properly when they need it!


    • Thank you, Michelle. I am glad you enjoy them. The inability to count on the technology working is very frustrating. One of my colleagues has been waiting A MONTH (and is still waiting) to get a password so that her CLASS SCHOOL iPAD can access the internal network. She had to put in a work order to get this password. Absolutely ridiculous! Our most recent head-shake came this Friday when a group of my colleagues and I sat down to to all of the FreshGrade training webinars. We each had the same district laptops and iPads. Set up exactly the same and it was mind boggling how some of them worked and some did not.Cheers Ashlee


  3. Ashlee!
    Another fantastic, funny, thought-provoking post that was a hoot to read! You have a creative, fresh way of looking at these topics and I always look forward to reading what you produce…


  4. Hi Ashlee,
    I love Mr Potato Head! I relate to many of your concerns. Just last week I was trying to schedule an author visit and it was impossible due to the constraints of the teachers’ schedules. Then for one of my inquiry projects (for 60 students at one time) the laptops went missing!
    Good for you for all the leadership you are showing. The brain board sounds great and I love the idea of Fresh Grade but you have to get it going so well done!


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