Thursday, May 29, 2014

Update 28 May 2014 - Tai Tokerau Literacy Association Seminar

Kia ora tātou,

As we enter week four we are hit by weather extremes.  Yesterday morning I was swimming in the ocean in the far north as snow was falling in the deep south.  Our beautiful little country sure is a land of extremes.  

As we reflect on the inquiries shared by our community members we are aware of the diversity and indeed compatibility in our challenges.  What can you learn from, or add to, these learning journeys?  

Inquiry learning:
This week I am sharing Marcia’s question:
What innovative resources are there available that will appeal to Year 5-6 students with a huge range of reading ability?
I am sure Marcia would love to hear your ideas and I am sure others will benefit from the discussion too.

Tai Tokerau Literacy Association
On Saturday morning I joined Catriona Pene in the far north and we had the privilege of joining a hall packed full of educators at Kamo Primary School for the TTLA 2014  Seminar.  
The theme for the conference was “Reaching out through Literacy”.  

The opening keynote was Marcus Akuhata-Brown, who alternately had us speechless, laughing or in tears.  He opened his session by sharing the power of connecting your head, your heart and your puku.  Marcus used a very powerful metaphor; likening connecting with only your head, your heart or your puku, to clapping with only one hand; when you connect with your head and your heart you really can clap.
Using the story of a scientific experiment with fleas Marcus spoke of our role in empowering all learners to identify, strive for, and realise their passion and potential. His incredibly powerful message of lifting the glass lids of low expectation and achievement touched us all.  He spoke of the transformative power of reaching out and connecting with our learners, taking off the glass lids and encouraging them to reach their full potential.
This is a very real challenge for us all, as we work with our literacy learners daily.  
How can we reach out and connect with our learners; take of the invisible glass lids, replacing them with positive encouragement, high expectation, intuitive goal setting and success!

The sessions in between were jam-packed full of rich literacy learning and discussions.
  • Simone Gentil shared her journey with adventure learning, sparking curiosity and enable personalisation of learning. Her blog  is well worth checking out.  
  • Catriona Pene facilitated a session on building a Professional Learning Network for Literacy, exploring some ways of using social media to connect with educators f2f, locally, nationally and in global networks.  
  • Tania Coutts facilitated a session on learning and teaching in a collaborative Google world, exploring opportunities for students to communicate, collaborate and create.  
  • I facilitated a session exploring digital literacies, looking at the skills and competencies required to become digitally literate and proficient.
  • Cathie Johnson from NZCER led a session on realising the potential of online tools to improve teaching and learning. We will feature this in an upcoming update, exploring ways to make the most of a number of assessment tools to support your literacy programmes.
  • Karen Hinge shared her journey with Twitter opening up the world of QR codes, google forms, #edchatnz, #kidsedchatnz, #booktalks, and  #literacyshed.

The closing keynotes were Dorothy and Russell Burt from Pt England School who challenged us with the story of their school’s learners who have the world at their fingertips and asked us “How do we bring the world to people who can’t easily get to the world, especially our priority learners, in a way that is life changing?”
Dorothy and Russell have worked with their community to build a connected learning network that reaches far beyond the school grounds. Again the main message was the importance of collaboration, connection and community. You can visit the Manaiakalani School sites here.

“The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other.   Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.”  Robert John Meehan

Have you joined your local literacy association? When is your local conference?
Can you connect and share face to face with educators in your area?

Anne’s Latest Literacy Links and Look ups…

  • 11 Free  Reading Websites for Kids “Free resources are always a teacher’s dream, but when it comes to free sites to use during reading instruction the choices can be few and far between.  Whether you are looking for a site to use during the Daily 5’s “Listen to Reading” time or want to provide students with a fun early-finisher activity, the sites below are ideal.  Designed for elementary age students, these reading sites are both free and kid-friendly.
  • The Future of Publishing I wonder what your learners could create after viewing this?


NZLA - the 37th New Zealand Literacy Association Conference. Register now.
CLESOL - the 14th National Conference for Community Languages and ESOL. Register now.
Ngā mihi nui
Anne Kenneally
Literacy Online Facilitator
CORE Education

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