The Starfish Story

Recently, in my travels around the web, I came across The Starfish Story and it has resonated with me ever since…. as an analogy for my coaching beliefs. The story went something like this…

One day a young man was walking along the seashore and saw ahead a beach where thousands of starfish had been washed ashore. As he walked further along the shoreline, he saw an older woman. She was walking slowly and often bending down to pick up starfish, one after another, and then gently throwing them back into the ocean.

The young man asked, “why are you throwing those starfish back into the ocean?”

“Well,” the older woman said “the sun is getting hotter and the tide is going out, if I don’t pick them up and throw them further into the ocean they will die”

“But there are thousands and thousands of starfish all along this beach. Don’t you realise that you can’t save them all? You can’t save very many of them. In fact, even if you throw starfish back all day, you will have only saved a few. Your effort will not make any difference at all!”

The older woman listened to the young man, smiled, bent down and picked up a starfish, throwing it back into the the ocean.

“It made a difference to that one”


In my coaching, I want to make a difference.

I have read many leadership books, articles and blog posts. I find myself particularly attracted to those increasingly prolific posts that announce things like, the 7 strategies for every successful leader……sometimes I am inspired, sometimes I am not. What I have come to learn is that coaching and leadership are about your personal values and beliefs. Effective coaching starts with passion, being genuinely interested in bringing about a particular change and aiming high. Then it’s about sharing that vision and passion and making the journey meaningful and personal for everyone you travel with along on the way.

My 3 year goal is simply written,


it is not simple to bring to life!

But I keep walking along the shoreline and I try not to get dissuaded by the passers by who tell me, in many different ways, that my efforts will not make a difference…….because I know, I can and I have, made a difference to that one!



Student Blogging Lesson Two

Learning Intention

This semester we are learning about blogging.

Today we will continue our research into blogging and learn what blogs are about, what features they have and some of the reasons students keep blogs.

Success Criteria

  • I can explain what a blog is
  • I can talk about some reasons people keep blogs
  • I can make comparisons between blogs
  • I can share my thoughts with others using an online collaboration tool
  • I can accurately type URLs into the browser and reach the web sites I need to go to













Last lesson we looked at the web site below and browsed through some blogs listed. Today, we will look more closely at these student blogs and,

  • compare how they look
  • notice what features they share
  • discuss the ways they are different
  • compare the authors’ writing styles in different blog posts

After you have compared a few student blogs, you can start to reflect on what you have seen. Join our class Padlet wall and add your thoughts to the wall. Your comments must try to answer these questions below. Please remember to write your first name on your Padlet posts!


What kinds of things do people blog about?
What can be added to a blog?
How do blogs work?
Do you think there are any rules about blogging online?


Why Blog?

Lately I have been talking a lot about blogging. As some of the teachers I work with have begun to create their own blogs, other teachers have been more circumspect. They have wondered why we would bother with blogging. In one discussion, we moved away from the benefits of blogging for students and onto the possibilities of using a blog as a reflection journal. As a means of providing evidence of ongoing professional learning for professional reviews and VIT registration. I do hope there are more powerful reasons for reflecting on our professional practice, but I do understand the environments we work in! We discussed what a reflection post might look like and so I thought I would share these thoughts as one way of posting professional reflections…

A while back, I read a blog post called “What Constitutes Good Reflective Writing?” written by an ESL teacher called Tim. As a way of reflecting upon this reading and thinking about how I might apply these understanding’s to my work, I will answer Kolb’s reflective observation question;

How can I use this learning?

To me, one of the key statements Tim makes is that “reflection can be seen as the bridge between learning and understanding, leading to further learning, leading to even deeper understanding”.  Believing this to be true, leads me to question my own professional practice. If reflection upon our learning leads to deeper understanding, then am I asking my students to reflect upon their own learning? As a coach, am I asking the teachers I work with to reflect upon the new learnings they are gaining around online learning?

Am I building reflection time into our sessions and providing guiding questions to encourage them to both talk with peers to clarify their understandings and articulate and question these understandings through writing?

It seems to me that blogging provides us with a great tool to write reflectively upon new learnings. Blogs can be categorised with tags, are ongoing and organised chronologically, they allow for feedback and comment from peers and can be used to support learning in all areas. Teamed with Kolb’s reflective observation questions, blogs provide a vehicle for powerful learning for all learners.


Kolb’s Learning Cycle


Image Source: Clara Davies (SDDU, University of Leeds)

Student Blogging Lesson One

Learning IntentionThis semester we are learning about blogging.

Today we will learn what blogs are, what they look like and some of the topics people blog about.

Success Criteria

  • I can explain what a blog is
  • I can talk about some topics people blog about
  • I can make comparisons between blogs and share my thoughts with others
  • I can accurately type URLs into the browser and reach the web sites I need to go to

So, What is a blog

 Listen to what JP likes about blogging….

Visit this web site and have a look at some of the blogs created by kids…….