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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.

Literacy-English-ESOL Online Newsletter: July 2009

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.

On our Community pages....

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,

Karen, Cath and Margaret

In this month's edition:



Statement of Intent 2009-2014: The Ministry of Education sets out its priorities for the coming years: Improved literacy is a key outcome (Years 1-13)

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.


  • Secondary Futures closes: the future may not yet have arrived, but Secondary Futures has come to a close. Established five years ago to stimulate discussion about how education would be shaped this century, it was driven by the questions: "What do we want education to look like in twenty years time?", "What do we have to do to make sure all our students have a chance to succeed?" While we may not have the answers, we can still consider these questions using their stimulating resources now archived on their site. (Years 1-13)


  • Whakanuia Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2009:Celebrate Māori Language week - 27 July 2009 (Years 1-13)


  • Web2ThatWorks: This is a wiki that seeks to bridge the gap between effective classroom practice and knowledge of ICTs (Years 1-13).
  • 17 Interesting ways to use Voicethread: have a look at this quick tips tutorial. Voice thread is a multimedia tool that allows students to collaborate, adding commentary to images (Years 1-13).
  • Free Flash educational games: Alphabet Jungle and Spiderman 2 are just two of the free online games designed to support learners of literacy (Year 7-8).
  • Digital storytelling: have a look at this post on the 'Making Teachers Nerdy' blog which explores ways of enhancing storytelling and understanding of narrative through the use of digital tools (Years 1-13).


  • Tracking plagiarism: try this free online tool as one way to reassure yourselves that text submitted for assessment is original.


  • Do you use Google Books? Now you can share, search, browse more easily so you can interact with the texts. Thanks to Fiona Grant for this tip.
  • Banquo's Son in the US: One of our own, Tania Roxborogh, has been snapped up by New York publishers, Writers House, LLC for Banquo's Son. Check out the blog-of-the-book for insights into the writer's mind (procrastinations and all! ;-) and to follow the progress of the novel abroad. Getzler (literary agent) said, "I am thrilled to be representing Banquo's Son and its sequels. I believe Roxborogh's characters are complex; the emotions are real; the friendships, love affairs and heartbreaks transcend the 11th Century exactly as they should. It is absolutely clear to me that this is a book, and a series, with the potential to break through into the zeitgeist."
    He continued, "I knew I had a real winner in Banquo's Son when I walked into our office to find one of our young interns, a girl just out of high school, sitting on a chair with tears streaming down her cheeks, rocking back and forth and saying, over and over, 'Why didn't he just DUCK?'"
    Well done, Tania.

Roxborogh Reviews

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.
You’ll know."

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.

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Our Community

  • Are you going to the NZRA 2009 Conference? For more information, click here.

We have been chatting about...

  • The Literacy Online forum is up and running so now is your chance to contribute to the discussions, share ideas and ask questions of your community! We would love to see your ideas on these topics as well as your own questions or comments relating to literacy. Cath has started a few threads to get us thinking: boys and literacy, and what does the NCEA consultation mean for Literacy at level 1?

We have been sharing...

  • On the wiki: it's everything to play for! Make sure teachers in all subject areas know about the Literacy Online site and the wiki. Have a look at the Literacy Online wiki at the 'Text Overview' resource which aims to help students with the structure and content of a text. It can be used across a wide variety of curriculum areas.

Our Site: How can Literacy Online help plan?

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).

The site also links to other assessment tools and procedures that teachers can use diagnostically to find out more about their students’ learning needs.

There are also links to the analysis and use of this assessment information which help teachers use this information to create meaningful learning sequences.

What do we need to know and do?

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.

  • Easi-speak and post-its: Building oracy and structuring sentences are just two of the aspects that the Manaiakalani Cluster are exploring - and they are sharing the journey on their blog.
  • The first 55 words (Year 1-3): our youngest students will enjoy this bright, dynamic site that supports them as they learn to read their first words.

JUST Up on tki

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.

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We have been chatting about...

We have been sharing...

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.



  • 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
  • NZ Curriculum Resources to support English: have a look at the dedicated NZC page on the wiki, developed by Claire Amos.


  • NEW! Trial the new standards: Secondary schools are being asked if they would like to gain an early understanding of draft internally assessed NCEA standards by trialling assessment resources in September 2009 and/or Term 1 and 2 in 2010. For further information, contact Tania Cotter at Learning Media: tania.cotter@learningmedia.co.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.
  • NZQA and English: all the NCEA resources, gathered on one handy page.

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We have been chatting about...

We have been sharing...

  • Are you going to the ALANZ/ALAA 2009 Conference? Check out the full details here

JUST Up on tki

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.

What do we need to know and do?

  • Have you explored this DVD yet? Making Language and Learning Work 3: A DVD showing how teachers of Years 5 to 8 students can effectively meet the language and content learning needs of students from diverse language backgrounds. Facilitation Notes (PDF) (571 kB) Order from Down the Back of the Chair (MoE)

Professional support

  • ESOL Online: have a look around your new site. What works for you? What doesn't? All feedback welcome.
  • TeamUp: this page provides advice for families of migrants to answer some key questions about schooling in New Zealand.

Picture Credits (CC/Commercial): 'Matariki' by koolkao; 'Writing' by Dabawenya; 'Books in a stack' by austinevan.

Published on: 30 Jun 2009


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