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Your monthly round-up of resources, news and notices.
Kia ora, and welcome. Matariki heralds the start of a new birth, looking back with thanks, looking ahead to fresh beginnings...all of which seems particularly apt considering the changes that have recently occurred on line for us. We look back with warmth at the previous decade's hard work on English and ESOL Online - and we look ahead to working together on the new sites.
New, too, is our shared wiki - upload resources, discuss how you've used them, and develop shared exemplars. We will be using this for online professional development soon.
The forums are also live, and with over five hundred of you registered for the sites, they'll be plenty of interesting and stimulating discussion. You can also:
Follow us on Twitter: LiteracyEnglishESOL
And with holidays fast approaching, whether you are going to conferences, going on holiday or going to get ready for term 3 (!), may you all have a restful and rejuvenating time planned.
Ngā mihi nui,
In this month's edition:
National Standards: A dedicated page, accessed from the home page, is now on all three sites, providing key links to items related to the National Standards.
Tania Roxborogh shares her thoughts about recently published literature for young (and old) alike. Reviews first published in the Otago Daily Times.
Cathy’s Book by Sean Stewart and Jordan Wiseman (Bloomsbury): What a fantastic idea! Take reading then mix it with the cyber world (i.e. txt messaging, cell phones, email) – a real interactive treat and you can expect to waste happy hours combing for added clues to understanding this thriller. Cathy’s boyfriend has just dumped her. Not anything special except she’s suspicious and, like any 17 year old girl with a bit of gumption, she goes looking for the ‘why’ because she just knows he loves her. What she finds leads her down a mysterious path of intrigue, Asian cultural history and us on a whole lot of fun (enhanced by accessing the website, which allows us to get into the voice messages of some of the key players.) Some of the essential clues are contained in the book in the form of a plastic envelope. A fun, quirky gift for the cyber reader of the house.
Just In Case by Meg Rosoff (Penguin): Meg Rosoff’s second novel (Just In Case) is destined to be as well-received as her first (How I Live Now). 15 year old David realises Fate is out to get him (he’s right about that) and believes the only way to survive is to change his identity and name (to Justin). This is what Fate says in Chapter 5:
"Poor feckless little David, holding fast to his stunted little life. It could almost be amusing.
You. Come closer. Let me whisper in your ear.
Your friend, your character, your David is a fool. A chump. A little white mouse with a pink twitching nose.
I have my paw on his tail. Watch what happens when I lift it.
See? Let him have his little scamper. I’m not hungry just now.
A little later, perhaps.
I won’t tell you whether David/Justin is successful in his attempt to foil Fate because that would spoil the dramatics. Justin befriends a boy in his class and imaginary dog which his friend can see as well and an older girl who photographs him as her ‘doomed youth’ art project. Disasters abound around him. This is a funny, quirky, thought-provoking, sometimes hilarious (in a black-humour type of way) novel and definitely a book to get the reader in your family.
When deciding on the topic and content of a learning sequence in any subject, we can focus on deciding what learning is most worth spending time on by considering what our students have already learned and what they need to learn next.
On the basis of this evidence, we can choose evidence-based strategies to help them learn this (teaching inquiry).
We can then provide a sequence of scaffolded opportunities for learning and closely monitor and evaluate the impact of these teaching decisions by analysing the assessment information and considering its implication for our students’ next learning steps, and in terms of any changes we need to make to our practice (learning inquiry).
The Literacy Online site has links to the Draft Literacy Learning Progressions and National Reading and Writing Standards which set expectations for students’ achievement in literacy; they state which aspects of literacy students need to have mastered by when. This helps teachers know what their students need to learn (in addition to curriculum content knowledge).
There are also links to the analysis and use of this assessment information which help teachers use this information to create meaningful learning sequences.
Developing Readers’ Comprehension Strategies
Rosenblatt (1983) claims that “...meaning does not lie in the text but is a creation of the readers as they bring all their relevant ideas, beliefs and feelings to the reading. This coming together of reader and text is a ‘transaction’ that affects both, and produces new, unique meanings...” How Children Learn to Read– Insights from the New Zealand Experience by John Smith and Warwick Elley, Longman 1997.
Comprehending a text is therefore more than being able to answer ten questions at the end. The Literacy Online site contains ideas for developing students’ comprehension strategies that enable students to participate in active and intentional thinking about a text. These ideas can be used in any curriculum area to assist students in developing a deeper understanding of a text.
Applications: Notes for teachers: The Applications series, intended for use with students in the years 9–11, presents scientific and technological information within the context of narratives that reflect real-life problems and experiences. The series is accompanied by online teachers’ notes that suggest reading approaches and classroom science and technology activities.
NZATE Conference, 8-10 July 2009
Follow the notices on the Conference forum thread.
All people who have registered for the Conference and paid their fees can now select their workshops. However if you have not yet decided about conference log-on to www.inspirationinc.org.nz and view the programme menu. It is fantastic. 50 workshops covering junior and senior teaching, poetry, creative writing, curriculum developments, moderation of Oral language, Teaching for Sheila Winn Shakespeare, critical literacy for scholarship English, a range of different film workshops from road movies to foreign language films, HOD leadership, fiction for teenagers etc...
Plus Bill Manhire, Apirana Taylor, Sima Urale, Professor Andy Goodwyn (UK), Dr Rose Hipkins (NZCER), and NZATE Leanne Webb, Mike Fowler and Sean Hawthorne as key-note presenters. Don’t delay. Registrations received after July 1st pay a late fee. We are accepting enrolments for one-day sessions due to the squeeze on PD budgets in some schools. All social events are included in your fee.
The Conference committee has worked hard to ensure we host an inspiring and educational few days. Whilst enrolments are steady we would love to see many more of you here in Cambridge. Plenty of comfy, clean, cheap accommodation is still available at St Peter’s for $198.00 plus GST. This will cover all 3 days.
Translations TED Open Translation Project: Talks on TED.com are now being translated into other languages. Subtitles are available in English and in other languages, which can be toggled on or off by the user. Check back often, as new translated talks are being added all the time.
Picture Credits (CC/Commercial): 'Matariki' by koolkao; 'Writing' by Dabawenya; 'Books in a stack' by austinevan.