Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Writing on an iPad

Sometimes I am in awe of blog posts.  Today I read Redefining the Writing Process on iPads by Beth Holland on the edutopia blog.  So much about this post is pure GOLD!
My favourite quote in it is:
"Providing written feedback at the culmination of a writing project is like doing an autopsy -- it's deconstructing a dead document!" -- Samantha Morra (@sammorra)
As a learning writer, (many years ago now) my feedback from teachers was nothing more that a deconstruction of a dead document.  One of my lecturers for one of my Master of Educational Leadership papers also performed an autopsy on my assignment.  I remember the feelings of frustration that I had no conversation, interaction, or right to redress and learn from the deconstruction.
Throughout the year I have had the incredible privilege of working with writers who are collaborating, co-constructing, giving and receiving feedback and acting on it.  All of this can happening in a timely fashion, modelling, scaffolding, challenging and provoking learners to success.
The use of technology, mobile technology, in this way truly has the power to be transformative.  
Another absolute gem of a quote from this blog post is 
"With iPads, once we begin thinking beyond the confines of a page, anything is possible."
There is just so much potential for enabling writing success on a device that simply isn't available with pen and paper.  However, we must keep foremost in our mind, fundamentally robust teaching of the writing process.  
I am so grateful for reading this post... I hope you read it through too!

Literacy Online Update 27 November 2013

Kia ora tātou,

Week seven, the last week of November, and it appears summer has gone into hiding.  Just as we embrace the ever-changing seasons, so we embrace the ever-changing learning landscape.  What is it that really stands out in your year?  What moment is etched clearly in your memory? How do you share this and make sure there are more of these moments?

Thank you for the feedback on last week’s guest post by Justine Hughes.  This will become a feature of newsletters occasionally and you will be able to revisit guest blog posts in the vln literacy online site.

What have you got planned for the last few weeks of learning? How about sharing Kid President's 20 Things We Should Say More Often then encouraging your learners to make their own!  Maybe even make one yourself!

Survey – please help us to help you!
One way you can help us to help you is by taking 5-10 minutes to complete our Literacy Online Survey.  We really value your feedback; in fact we NEED it, to improve your experience with Literacy Online and the community forums. 

New Science Online resources

Check out the Science online site for new resources to support science educationThe five science capabilities each link out to resources. I am hyperlinking to the page for Gather and Interpret data, and each of the capabilities is resourced for you to explore.  How might you explore these new resources?  What specific science literacy do our learners need?

Video clips to inspire
As we approach the end of the year, I wonder how you could use these two video clips to inspire, motivate and create some oral language.  How creative!  What might your learners come up with?

If your learners get hooked there is plenty more to check out on Danny MacAskill’s own video collection site.

What do you know about Universal Design for learning?
I credit Universal Design for Learning with affecting one of the greatest shifts in my thinking this year.  Universal Design for Learning is about creating learning options that cater for everyone at the beginning.
You could join the Universal Design for Learning Group in the vln or follow Chrissie Butler’s blog Passonable.  A recent post, Maximising the effective use o technology in the UDL classroom, is a wonderful read.  I want to make UDL a regular slot in my updates and would love to hear your stories please. 

Blog posts to check out:
How Digital Writing Is Making Kids Smarter“technology may be doing more to increase literacy and encourage reading since the rise of the novel.”

Langwitches blog for a wonderfully rich language learning resource.

How Visual Thinking Improves Writing on the Mind/Shift How we will learn blog.

e-Learning Round-Up 27 November 2013 At this very busy time of the year this is a great summary of recent e-learning gems for you to check out!

Ngā mihi nui
Anne Kenneally
Literacy Online Facilitator
CORE Education

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Literacy Online Update - 20 November 2013

Kia ora tātou,
Week six is upon us and the term seems to be slipping away as we head towards the end of the year.
This week I have a very special treat!  We have a guest post from Justine Hughes.  I would love your feedback please as I plan to run a regular ‘guest post’ and would be really keen to hear from anyone who is keen to share!
Guest Post by Justine Hughes
A few years ago, when I was teaching at Myross Bush School in Invercargill, our Literature Circles programme that I’d developed came to the attention of Magpies Magazine and they asked me to write an article about what we were doing and why it was so successful.  A quote from one of my students became the title of that article and has been the title of most of my presentations on Literature Circles ever since.  The most interesting part was that this was a quote from a young man who would rather have done anything than read but the Literature Circles programme changed his thinking.
Why?  How could something as simple as reading the same book as others and discussing it in groups change students’ perceptions of reading and turn them into avid readers?  It’s all in how it is set up and the philosophy behind it.  After around 13 years of running Literature Circles and seeing the evidence in not only the enthusiasm for books and reading, but also in the academic results, I know beyond question that this works, no matter what age or ability.  To see students lined up waiting for their bus in the afternoon all engrossed in the latest Literature Circles book is the best reward ever!!  By the time I left Myross Bush to move to Auckland, we had all our students involved in the programme – from Year 1 through to Year 6.  My Year 7 and 8 students have been just as passionate about it.
I’ve always been concerned at the lack of passion for reading in New Zealand.  When you discuss it with the students they do not see reading as a valid hobby where you can lose yourself in another world.  They generally tended to see it as something you had to do ‘…because the teacher says we have to.’  They were only seeing it as an in-class activity.  I really wanted to change that – probably because I have such a passion for books – poor students didn’t stand a chance!!
I investigated the Literature Circles programme that I knew about which originated in the US.  I liked what I saw but was concerned that it was very heavily based on worksheets as part of an instructional programme – my pet hate, and a rant best left for another post!  I set about adapting the programme to suit what our needs were in this country.  We already have a strong instructional reading programme and I wanted the students to be able to take what they learned, and apply that knowledge in their recreational reading.  In other words I wanted them to be able to understand that we learn to read well in our instructional sessions so that we can lose ourselves in these wonderful stories – we can open up a whole new world to our imaginations.
The Literature Circles programme that we run are discussion based - NO worksheets! We now combine this with Twitter to encourage debate and discussion and we have the potential for an exciting environment that builds a life-long passion for reading.  We also use our blogs to keep the eLearning focus by having the discussions going anytime, anywhere.  Often our family members and others in our wider global community will also join in the discussion.
We’ve also recently started using MyChatPack as a tool for ‘book sells’.  This is a tool that my class and I developed.
The best way to see how everything works – and to set it up so that it succeeds will be to check out the links below and email / ring me if you’d like support setting up.  If you’re in Auckland, I’m happy to meet with you to support setting up the programme.  I’m absolutely passionate about this, as the results don’t lie.  If your Literature Circles programme is set up well, and if you are a passionate advocate for all things reading, then you will be guaranteed to have engaged, motivated readers in your classes who can’t wait to finish their current book and read the next one – even your non-readers at the moment.
Henderson Literature Circles Blog
This is not as up-to-date as it would normally be as I have been on leave since August.  It has some great resources on it, including how to set up the Literature Circles programme in your classroom / school.  It had got to the stage where the students were the ones who were in charge of the weekly discussions and blog posts – always my goal for our shared teaching and learning philosophy.
Click here for the main page and here for the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how to set up the programme.
Comprehension Strategies
These are based on the New Zealand Curriculum, Literacy Learning Progressions and the work of Gerald Duffy, these were developed by the University of Otago College of Education and shared with our school during our professional learning in LPDP (Literacy Professional Development Programme).  Please feel free to use these to support both your classroom teaching and learning programme as well as the Literature Circles programme.  Click here for this resource.  Included are the Strategies, Learning Intentions, Success Criteria and Teacher Prompts.
Library 2.013  
This was an online global conference that ran from October 18 – 19 this year.  If you would like to hear the recording – there were some great questions asked too, please click here.
The presentation for Library 2.013 can be found here.  It has a lot of other links and resources – particularly for involving my passion for eLearning.
A HUGE thank you to Justine for her post!
Other links:
Are you a member of the Literacy Online group in the vln?  This group is for teachers who have an interest in sharing ideas, resources and issues related to developing teaching and learning programmes based on the literacy needs of their learners.  A wonderful new addition is the widget which links latest literacy discussions from across the vln and a ‘video to inspire’ widget. Check out the readingwriting, and oral language, sites. 
Thanks to Hazel Owen for sharing a link online I have discovered a whole range of clips created by Oxford School.  These all appear to have been created two years ago, but what an incredibly rich resource.  They tick all the boxes for me, short, succinct, realistic, resourced and rewindable.  What a wonderful resource bank to flick through.  I will highlight a few here:
And if you want to explore further: Oxford School Improvement clips on You Tube
Did any of you experiment with wordsift ? I think it could be a very powerful tool to share with learners.  Have you shared wordle or tagxedo with your learners? These are very powerful to grab a word cloud of our writing.  If we allow high frequency words these are powerful tools for our learners to work with to decrease their use of ‘and’ ‘then’ ‘because’ and move to challenge ourselves to include a greater range of vocabulary in our written work. 
Ngā mihi nui
Anne Kenneally
Literacy Online Facilitator

CORE Education

Literacy Online Update - 13 November 2013

Kia ora tātou,
Week five already and if my social media streams are anything to go by a large number of educators are right in the midst of reporting.  This can be a very onerous, stressful time, and can also be a very rewarding, celebratory time.  If you are finding it onerous and stressful, please try to connect with someone who is celebrating.  Maybe involve your learners in your feelings around reporting.  Acknowledge your role in reporting and ask for their feelings about their year.  I always made a habit of encouraging learners to complete their own reports discussing their strengths and challenges. I learnt so much in conversation with the learners about how they rate themselves.  It was often only through these one to one conversations that I was aware of the impact of teacher and peer feedback on each individual.  I wish you all the best as you complete reports for the year and urge you to reflect on the incredibly powerful impact you have on your learners.
I found this great post by Room 9 Einsteins, St Clair School, Dunedin and I want to share this wonderful clip - Austin's Butterfly: Building Excellence in Student Work - Models, Critique, and Descriptive Feedback What an incredibly powerful clip showing the power of critiquing.  I wonder how we could use this to shape our journey? I wonder how we model and encourage this critiquing? I wonder how we can create an environment of open, honest critiquing, which is timely and allows for many drafts, right across the curriculum?
I would love to hear if any of you experimented with one word since my last update? 
This week I would like to share wordsift for you to experiment with. I have used wordsift to sort the words in this update!  You then have the ability to sort your words, alphabetically, common to rare and more… How could you use this tool with your learners? 

Blog posts to check out:
Can we see reading comprehension in the brain?  A team of researchers at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, have developed a new way to view reading comprehension in the brain, and in the process highlighted a new angle for testing comprehension that isn't skewed by a student's background knowledge.
Watch. Connect. Read.  This is the blog of a K-5 teacher-librarian who works diligently to put the right book in every child's hand. She believes book trailers are one way to connect readers with books.  How could you encourage or empower your learners to create and share book trailers?
Poetry Box: A New Zealand Poetry Page for Children This is Paula Green’s blog.  She visits schools; review books and writes stories in secret. She visits schools and likes working with students from Year 0 to Year 13.
The fourth dimension is a wonderful blog by Pernille Ripp.  The post I am linking is How to get boys reading perhaps but I would thoroughly recommend this blog for a great “explore” and one well worthwhile following.
The lost art of writing an email is well worth checking out.  I think the onus is on us to continually model and empower our learners to be literate across all mediums in which they write. 
I chuckled away last night as I watched the Seven Sharp’s Is handwriting dying last night. There is ALWAYS a place for handwriting!  I’d never want us to return to the ways of the past but would love to hear how you keep the art of handwriting in your programme!
Other links:
The latest Enabling E-Learning Round up is out!  This is well worth checking out when you have a moment.  There are so many discussions to participate in in the VLN.  The literary progressions matrix is well worth a look.
Have a great week.
Check out the ICTs in English update for some more wonderful links and ideas. 
Ngā mihi nui
Anne Kenneally
Literacy Online Facilitator
CORE Education

Literacy Online Update - 6 November 2013

Kia ora tātou,
Week four of term four already and I am wondering where the year has gone.  I know that we are all in the midst of reflecting and reporting.  I am hoping there is some time in your life that you are putting aside for you!  Educating is an all-encompassing lifestyle and it is so valuable to take time to reflect on the very special celebrations and breakthroughs throughout the year.   What has really touched you during this past year?  How can use this experience to impact on your future learners?
It is fabulous to see the collaboration, support and networking on the listserv over the past week.  Please continue to add to the conversations and ask the questions.  Check out this thread around complex sentences.  Thanks to Tina Muller for asking the questions and thanks to all who have shared in the conversation.
Have you used one word with your learners?  Today we used it as a staff.  We brainstormed a range of ways of using this. 
  • Start with basic words for younger students, e.g dog
  • Fact or fiction;
  • Brainstorm story ideas, key words;
  • Vocabulary - building meaning;
  • Kick starting writing;
  • Speed Writing;
  • Increase volume;
  • Phrasing… deep and surface features;
  • Poetry;
  • Write a simile using this word;
  • Collate to create a calligram/shape poem;
  • Synonyms, antonyms;
  • Topic words;
  • Word processing speed with purpose…
  • Done regularly - should increase time to action!
  • Break down fear of getting into writing...

What can you try?  What can you add to this list?
I am linking this article as it relates to our recent discussion on collaborative writing – Vygotsky lives.   “Vygotsky claimed that a child has limits to what he/she is able to learn alone, however these limits are extended under the guidance and support of an MKO.” (More Knowledgeable Other).   Vygotsky states: ‘What lies in the zone of proximal development at one stage is realized and moves to the level of actual development at a second. In other words, what the child is able to do in collaboration today he will be able to do independently tomorrow. [italics added]’  What does this mean for our groupings? What does this mean for the opportunities we create for collaboration?
How could you use this discussion as you begin to think about literacy for 2014? Individual steps are key to literacy in children.
Why buy anything else when you could be buying books?  How can you use this blog post to provoke discussion around book buying?  Do your learners choose, promote, buy the books?  I look forward to discussion around this wonderful blog post.
I thought I would add a couple of links from the Balanced Literacy Diet to encourage you to return and explore this site. Reader’s theatre and Working with Words. How could you use these ideas to support your learners?
Yet another two links in the Small Byte series I add sharing Small Byte #2 – Scrible. “Scrible is a free online tool for saving, organizing, annotating, and sharing websites for online research projects and web quests. It saves a copy of each page you annotate in your personal Scrible library, so that even if the original web pages you’ve made notes on go down, your saved pages and your notes still exist.”
And Small Byte #1 – Spreaker  “Spreaker is a free online cloud-based web audio platform. With this tool, you can create your own podcasts and live Internet radio shows. You can either pre-record or broadcast live, if you prefer. You can check it out for yourself at”
How could you share this with your learners? Who invented writing? - Matthew Winkler  After you’ve watched this clip could you thinkdig deeper and discuss.  If you like this format, how could your learners create their own rich learning experiences to support clips they make?
Have a great week.
Ngā mihi nui
Anne Kenneally
Literacy Online Facilitator
CORE Education