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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

ESOL-Literacy-English Online Newsletter: June 2009

Your update on resources, news and notices.

Dear Colleagues,

Woodshed by DeeKnow

It's been a month of chilly winds, snow on the hills and, in Wellington at least, howling gales. Meanwhile, there's been plenty of work keeping us all warm and occupied. The draft Literacy standards been have released for consultation, so have a look to see how they align with what is already going in your primary and intermediate classrooms. The ministry have made it very clear that schools will not be required to undertake further testing. How will these standards help our struggling learners, do you think? See below for full details of the consultation process.

Closer to home, we are excited in our online team, here at Learning Media, to welcome two new facilitators:

  • Margaret Kitchen, who has years of experience with ESOL Online already under her belt, and
  • Catherine Braddock for Literacy Online; Cath has been involved in a range of Literacy initiatives, at both primary and secondary levels.

They join Karen at English Online. We will work together to share ideas through the forums, lead the development of content material for the sites and be conduits for our communities.

Enjoy the Matariki celebrations, and stay warm!

Ngā mihi nui,

The English-ESOL-Literacy Online team

Koru by jsmoral


  • Update on these sites

As you will be aware, the 'retired' English and ESOL Online sites, and the Literacy and Numeracy tki sites, are still live and the forums remain active. The sites are due to be decommissioned at the end of June 2009. The final quality assurance and migration of materials is underway between old and new sites, and it is intended that the forums go 'live' this month. There has been extensive usability testing which is providing us with helpful feedback on aspects of the sites that should be improved.

It is the intention that the sites become the 'home' of all key materials that can be used to support our communities, together with active collaboration to develop our thinking around effective teaching and learning.

From 1st July 2009, we will be looking to the future, planning further development of the content and community areas, and a review of the student and leadership areas.

Comments or questions? Contact Karen.

  • NZATE Conference, 8-10 July 2009

The latest from your NZATE Conference organisers:

"The committee for 2009 have been working overtime to provide all our teaching colleagues with an interesting conference. Keynote speakers include: Bill Manhire Victoria University, Rose Hipkins NZCER, Apirana Taylor poet and writer, and Professor Andy Goodwyn, University of Reading UK. We have a wonderful dinner organised with plenty of Waikato flavour and enrolments are flowing in.

If you are thinking of attending this year’s conference the committee would appreciate your registration as soon as possible. We have deadlines for confirming numbers for social events, booking buses, organising conference bags etc and a last minute booking will make our job much more difficult.

For those of you requiring accommodation the best rooms at St Peter’s are filling fast. Our major keynote speakers are staying on site as well as many of your interesting colleagues from all over NZ. Tick the accommodation box on your conference invoice now and get it into the post.

Also the numbers attending the Conference dinner are limited to 250 so if you register late you may miss out. We have a wonderful night organised in the Waikato Stadium Bronze Lounge with music by two of Raglan’s fine musicians: Dave Maybee and Peter Skandera. Our guest speaker will be Dave Currie who has inspired and led many young New Zealanders to success on a different playing field.

Looking forward to seeing a good number of you at Conference: http://www.inspirationinc.org.nz/. For information and application forms contact Margaret blackm@paradise.net.nz"

  • NZRA conference, 27-30 September 2009

This NZRA conference is for all literacy educators: "Our goal is to enhance the pedagogy literacy teachers hold by providing a programme informed by research and critical analysis. Presenters will be identifying trends in national and international education, providing a dialogue along with practical sessions designed to unpack ‘best practice’ into New Zealand classrooms ... by creating a love of literature to fire the mind of learners."

  • NZCER conference series

The next in NZCER's 2009 conference series looks at student engagement. There are four speakers and two conference dates: Wellington on September 9, and Auckland on September 11. The conference will be facilitated by NZCER chief researcher Cathy Wylie. The speakers are: Professor Russell Bishop of the University of Waikato, Professor Sandra Christenson from the University of Minnesota, Professor Jeremy Finn of the State University of New York at Buffalo and NZCER’s Charles Darr. You can find out more about the programme by going to: www.nzcer.org.nz/75th and clicking on links to the conference. Registrations open in June.

Helping subject leaders

  • Support for secondary middle managers: A new resource for Secondary School Middle managers working towards giving effect to the NZ Curriculum is now on the NZC site. It covers aspects of effective pedagogy, systems and professional development, as well as activities to use in department meetings.



  • Key Competencies: The NZCER 'Kick Starts' series of key competency resources has proved popular with schools. Based on NZCER's research, these pamphlets draw on the experiences of early adopter schools to explore ways of integrating the Key Competencies into your schools' curriculum and beyond.
  • NZ Curriculum Online website can be accessed here, and you can sign up for monthly emailed updates on new additions to the site: http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz


  • NZQA Markers: Advertisements for Markers for NCEA levels 1-3 and Scholarship will be placed in the Education Gazette on Tuesday 16 June and Monday 13 July. All applications should be made online at from Monday 15 June.
  • Communications Standards: if you use these standards, please note that they have been reviewed. For further information on their current status, refer to the review document.
  • NCEA Standards Curriculum alignment: Memos and copies of the alignment principles have been sent out to all school Principals, and consultation is due to start in early-June. Key points to note:
    • Consultation on Level 1 only begins next week, and runs for four school weeks, with the key documents being available online [URL address to be confirmed];
    • Levels 2 and 3 will be available for consultation later in 2009.There are discussions at the moment that are exploring where the literacy and numeracy credits will sit at Level 1, which has implications for English.
    • Level 1 will be implemented in schools in 2011 accompanied by assessment resources and exemplar materials.
    • It is intended to have the final draft Level 1 standards available on-line in July 2010 (registered in November 2010), and the assessment resources and exemplars in time for a 2011 implementation. Level 2 will be implemented in 2012, and Level 3 in 2013.

Literacy Standards

  • National Standards: Reading, Writing and Numeracy now online!
    • All key pages can be found on the home pages of English, ESOL and Literacy Online - and here's a summary, too. You will have seen a number of stories in the news about the standards. Here's a round-up of what you need to know....National Standards "aim to improve student achievement in literacy and numeracy by being clear about what students should achieve and by when. This will help students, teachers, parents, families and whānau better understand what students need to achieve and how they can be supported" (Ministry of Education).
    • The standards are available for consultation until 3rd July 2009. The home page for the standards, which includes key information and a timeline. 
  • In the news:
    • Education Gazette: Schools now have their chance to comment on the design of the new National Standards aimed at helping teachers combat under-achievement [ Read more...]
    • Parents urged to engage in standards consultation: NZEI Urges Parents And Teachers To Take Part In National Standards Consultation. Teachers and parents need to get out and have their say on the government’s draft national standards for numeracy and literacy, says the education union, NZEI Te Riu Roa. [ Read more...]
    • Setting ABC Standards: After a year at school every pupil should know the alphabet and be able to count objects up to nine using fingers, under proposed literacy and numeracy standards. [ Read more...]
  • Discussion:
    • English Online Forum: National Standards thread......
  • Interested in the similarities between first and second language acquisition? Have a look at Margaret Myles' article that explores the implications for teaching and learning, pertinent in the light of the literacy standards and what this might mean for our English Language Learners.


Authentic contexts for writing

Writing by JKim1
  • New Zealand Post National Schools Poetry Awards 2009 (Years 11-13): remember Manon Revuelta's 'Flotsam and Jetsam' from last year? Here's another chance for the poets in your schools to share their work. Closing date: 15 June 2009.
  • Feet First Picture book competition (Years 1-8): open to all schools, Feet First (NZTA) invite classes to produce a picture book based on active travel. There are curriculum-linked resources and lesson activities to get you started. Closing date: 2 September 2009.

Information and Media Literacy

  • Who's afraid of the Wolfram-Alpha?! While Google may be the most recognised brand in the world, could this new 'computational search engine' offer something that Google can't? If your students are searching for localised data or statistics to support their research, try Wolfram-Alpha. It can even talk to you...just say 'hello'!
  • Project New Media Literacies (NML), a research initiative based within MIT's Comparative Media Studies program, explores how we might best equip young people with the social skills and cultural competencies required to become full participants in an emergent media landscape and raise public understanding about what it means to be literate in a globally interconnected, multicultural world.
  • Shifting to 21st Century Thinking: the four NZCER blogs explore some interesting, and challenging ideas in community engagement, shifting literacy, shifting schooling and teachers' work.

Teaching Resources (Years 5-9)

  • Feet First Curriculum Resource : the NZTA has worked with Pam Hook and Julie Mills ( Hooked on Thinking) to develop four terms' worth of units based on the key understanding 'Walking benefits people, places and the planet.' These use there Differentiated Planning Template, the New Zealand Curriculum and SOLO Taxonomy as a model of learning outcomes
  • Matariki Te Tau Hau: online teaching resources to support Matariki, the Maori New Year celebrations from 5 June.
  • World Refugee Day, June 20th 2009: This is a day on which organisations worldwide unite to focus our attention on the issues concerning refugees around the world. If you are exploring this with your students, consider using these resources: the website for the UN Refugee Agency, the World Refugee Day Facebook page and the Global Education site.

Teachers' Notes on tki

  • Teachers' Notes for Sounds and Words, the School Journal and Ready to Read are now available from relevant links on these sites' home pages.

Knowledge of Pedgaogy > e-learning

  • Learning for the future: a unique collection of interviews, from Secondary Futures, with leading New Zealanders like NZ Post's John Allen and Te Papa's Seddon Beddington, and many others, talking about the future of education and innovation in New Zealand.
  • E-learning Research Network: This network is a place for teachers, educators and researchers to share the evidence about the impact of on teaching and learning.
  • I CT in English and Literacy: recent posts include news from Claire Amos, one of the e-Fellows exploring literacy, and 30 great ideas to use e-learning to inspire creative writing.

Teaching and Learning Sequences / Units

  • Planning for next year? Have a look at the Teaching and Learning Sequences on these sites to consider the ways in which they support the new curriculum and explore the Teaching as Inquiry model (p. 35). At recent workshops in Dunedin and Invercargill, teachers explored one of the sequences and critiqued their current teaching plans in light of the curriculum requirements. Developing an exemplar unit in your departments might be a useful first step as we consider ways in which we can seize the opportunities offered by the New Zealand Curriculum, in preparation for 2010.



  • Assessment videos on Teachers.tv: it's always helpful watching someone manage assessment for learning, say, in a class of thirty Year 9 students, or provide feedback that is focused and student-friendly. Have a browse through the 88 (!) videos that explore aspects of assessment on the Teachers.tv site from the UK.
  • Congratulations to Professor Terry Crooks and Lester Flockton, who both received awards in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. Both Crooks and Flockton have been thought-leaders in educational assessment in New Zealand.

All the books you haven't read by Allatan.


  • 2009 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards: Congratulations to the winner of this worthwhile competition. Check out the ful list here and snuggle down for some fabulous reading this winter.
  • Booknotes: the new magazine from the NZ Book Council, available from their home page.

Roxborogh Reviews: Tania Roxborogh shares her thoughts about recently published literature for young (and old) alike. Reviews first published in the Otago Daily Times. In this Update:

  • 'End of the Alphabet' by Fleur Beale, Random House, pbk, rrp $17.99

While my Year 10s were devouring Fleur Beale’s 'Juno of Taris' (short-listed for the 2009 NZ Post Book Awards), I was at my desk devouring her newest novel. Gotta love being an English teacher! 'End of the Alphabet' is deliciously readable. Ruby, nearly 15, can’t read or write but that doesn’t stop her making huge contributions to the lives around her. The ‘thorn in the flesh’ is her brother Max (only eleven months younger but in the same year as Ruby); he’s a complete slacker and is able to wrap their mother around his little finger – usually to Ruby’s disadvantage. It’s nice that Ruby’s step dad and wee half brothers see the situation for how it is and are on her side. The novel takes the reader through a year of Ruby’s life as she tries to take charge of her future: from getting a crummy job with a crummy boss to learning Portuguese to learning when it’s time to speak up and when it’s better to be quiet. All Beale’s characters are fully drawn and I very much enjoyed spending a couple of days in the company of Ruby, her family and friends. This novel reminds us that academic success is not the only way to achieve good things in life: hard work and talent, faithfulness and reliability are highly valued commodities. Highly recommended as a special book for the young teen in your family.

  • 'Winter of Grace' by Kate Constable, Girlfriend Fiction (Allen and Unwin) pbk

Many years ago, some kids from school came me and said: Mrs Roxborogh, can you write a novel from our point of view? What is that, I asked. Christian, they said. We are normal but often painted in literature as wonky/weird/crazy. I nodded. They were right. Yes, I said. Will do. Then other stories got in the way.

Then, I received, for review, a couple of novels from Allen and Unwin (who ALWAYS publish great stuff) but they looked, so, well, naff. I put them aside. Note to self: stop judging a book by its cover! I put the books on the stand in my classroom for student consumption. Hmmm. Consumed they were and by my daughter just today. Book finished in a day. Homework, Tai Kwon Do and music practice cast aside for this story. ‘Mum,’ sez she. ‘I cried and cried. It’s a fantastic story.’
‘But,’ sez I, ‘Is it well written?’
‘If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t bother. Read it.’

So, I did. She’s right. It’s a great story and it is well written. Black mark to me that I thought it might be just a ‘girly book’ because it is associated with Girlfriend magazine which I personally am not enamoured with.

But, I do like that it has a Christian perspective. Many of our reading kids have a faith. This book is a realistic account of one young girl’s journey of self discovery – wrapped in the world of activism, friendship and love – without being smarmy preachy.
It’s well written and takes into account (without being shy) the issues of a largely invisible section of our teenage society.

Picture Credits (Creative Commons): 'Koru' by jsmoral; 'Woodshed' - DeeKnow; 'Writing' - JKim1; 'Question' - Segozyme; '...All the books you haven't read' by Allatan

Published on: 02 Jun 2009


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