Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Update 29 October 2014 - Literacy apps

Mālo ni

It is great to see all the discussion and sharing on the mailing list.  Thank you to Merryl for asking for support with T@I with reading programmes, and thanks for Denise, Maria, Greg, Allana and Rebecca for responding.  Thank you to Jane for challenging us to think about whether or not we are ‘overdoing the WALTs’.

Tokelau Language Week
Mālo ni and welcome to Vaiaho o te Gagana Tokelau. The theme this year,"Taofi ke mau ki tau aganuku Tokelau" or “Hold fast to your Tokelauan Treasures.”  
Find out more about Tokelau language week and access some great resources - Tokelau Language Week.
As part of CEM this week there is a TWITTER CHAT opportunity: Tokelau Language Week (#gaganatokelau), join the discussion to deepen your knowledge and awareness.

Literacy apps
Talking Tom, Talking Ben the dog, and Talking Tom and Ben news
Recently on the list there has been an examining of the perception that children are coming into school with lower oral language. We have had the opportunity to experiment with a number of free apps to support literacy learning.  Technology has the power to transform opportunities for some learners, the challenge for educators is to use a tool or support to meet a specific need. One app that has been around for some time and is well worth revisiting is “Talking Tom”, “Talking Ben the dog” or “Talking Tom and Ben news”.  These apps allow a learner to talk and hear themselves.  Not only is this useful for reading a text to, it is also useful for teaching and reinforcing conversational skills.  A number of children are able to use one device to ‘practice’ conversation.  This can work exceptionally well as a rotation within the literacy programme, with careful modelling and expectations.  

We are increasingly using show me for a reading rotation app.  Learners take a photo of the text from a page and read it on until they are happy with their fluency, then move onto next page of text.  This app is fabulous for learners with limited vision as they are able to enlarge the text on the device.  Showme is also fabulous for recording different ways of solving maths problem.  Learners are able to record evidence when they think they have mastered a strategy or strategies.

Dragon Dictation, Pic Collage, Blogger
When working with learners who have great ideas but cannot retain and record them, Dragon Dictation can be used to record a plan, notes, or sentences.  This app supports the development of written literacy and is ‘as well as’ rather than instead of.  It offers a range of support to scaffold the learner to success.  The text is easily editable by re-recording or using the keyboard.  Once the learner is happy with the text it is able to be copied and pasted into any other app that you add text.  Pic Collage is a great app to paste text into. Blogger app can then be used to allow learners an authentic audience.  I have seen this used to share parts of a reading book after a guided session.  
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How could you use these and other apps to support your learners?
What other apps can you recommend?

Connected Educator Month is on the home straight
What an incredible month of connecting, networking, sharing and learning.  There is still plenty of time to Check out the Starter Kete - 31 days of activities to help you connect to educators across the globe, grow your skill and earn recognition through badging.  It is also a great time to bookmark and check out the archives.  Maybe you could schedule some of the events for sharing at upcoming staff meetings.

Coming soon to your school – twenty new Ready to Read books, the most ever in a single year! Written by a variety of well-known Ready to Read authors and illustrated by talented New Zealand artists, these texts have a strong New Zealand flavour and themes that your students will relate to.

Free Webinars
The Ministry of Education and Core Education are offering a range of free webinars this term to support schools to make the most of digital technologies for learning. Demand for information about integrating digital technologies into teaching and learning is growing rapidly as more and more schools secure a fast and reliable internet connection.
The webinar held on 16 October covered NZQA plans for computer-based examinations.
If you missed the webinar but are interested in hearing more about NZQA plans, view a recording at: NZQA Assessment Online

Other learning with digital technologies themed webinars include:
28 October: Moving toward 1:1 devices – exploring different approaches and lessons learned
12 November: Māori achieving success as Māori – a framework for evaluation including Ako-e (e-learning) alongside cultural competencies
3 December: e-learning tools in literacy.
All webinars are scheduled at 3.45–4.45pm.
Register online for any of these webinars at: Webinars for term 4
The Ministry is committed to supporting schools to integrate digital technologies in teaching and learning. For more information on how your school can benefit from digital technologies and other support resources visit: or email:

Writing competition
The Navy would like to invite students from all ages to enter a writing competition. The subject is: “Imagine you were a sailor on HMS Achilles during the Battle of the River Plate.  Write a letter to your family telling them about the battle and your thoughts on it”. Winners will receive a prize pack which will include a day out with the Navy in Devonport Auckland. Find out more about the Battle of the River Plate and the competition here

New website
A new website commemorating 175 years of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi next year has been launched at  The site will enable teachers, principals, boards and their communities to develop a range of teaching and learning programmes that can link to our history, civics, citizenship and nationhood.

Anne’s Literacy Links and Look ups…

Have you signed up for the Building a PLN for Literacy Webinar? We would love to help you build your professional learning network to support your literacy classroom.  Please take a moment to fill out the survey to help us meet your needs for this webinar.  

Have you signed up for the Teachers Ready to Read review webinar on the 20th of November at 3:30 - 4:30pm?

Have a fabulous week!

Ngā mihi nui
Anne Kenneally
Literacy Online Facilitator
CORE Education
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