Update - February 2009
Dear English Colleagues,
Welcome back to the new year. By the time you read this, you are, no doubt, already wondering where the holidays went and can probably count the number of days until Easter ;-) But seriously, I hope that you are enjoying be back at the smartboard face, rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck into the challenges that term 1 inevitably brings.
I hope you find something to enjoy in this month’s update. Feel free to email me if you have contributions for future updates. We are nearing the launch date for the revised site for English Online…watch this space….
English Online Facilitator
On English Online:
The Ministry of Education wishes to inform you that three new websites for the English, Literacy, and ESOL communities will go live at the end of February 2009. This will be a culmination of the work and energy that many people have contributed to the development over the last year. There will, of course, be on-going improvements over 2009 and beyond as new features are developed for each of the sites.
We are regretful, however, that in order to focus our energies on the development of the new sites, we will need to reduce the services available to you, the community, in the next three months. To support your planning, the teacher forums will be open through to the official launch of the new sites but will be operating with minimal support. This means that from now until February there will not be any more Updates or responses to ‘Ask’ questions. The student site ‘Barb Wired’ will close immediately and ‘Writers Window’ and ‘Read Hot’ will close temporarily from 24 December. Book Backchat has finished for this term, and will not be run in terms 1 and 2 of 2009. These features, or improved versions of them, will be available again when the student sites are re-launched later in 2009. The focus is on launching the teacher sites in February 2009. Redevelopment of the student sites will begin in July 2009. New leader-focused sites will also be in development at that time.
Thank you for your continued support of these important sites while they undergo re-development. We look forward to the launch of our new teacher sites at the end of February.
Design and rationale
The site has been designed to reflect the immediate needs of teachers of the English learning area, and uses familiar entry points to meet these needs. We're also making sure that the content we develop is strongly aligned with the New Zealand Curriculum and with current thinking about best teaching and learning practice.
The site design combines constructivist learning theory with the Teaching as Inquiry framework from The New Zealand Curriculum. The key navigation questions (or entry points to resources) will be:
- What do my students need to learn?
- What do I need to know and do?
- What is the impact of the teaching and learning?
There are direct links to teaching and learning sequences, professional readings, and resources to support teachers in the classroom and in their professional learning. The current site will remain available and we continue to invite your comments/feedback regarding aspects of the site that are important to your work. The template of the home page for viewing and feedback is available as ‘English Online Home Page Mock up’. Please send comments to: email@example.com
A round-up of NZ news relevant to English teachers that has emerged since the last Update…
• Learning study supports pay rise for top teachers: Boosting teachers' salaries is more important than reducing class sizes, according to a new study into students' success in the classroom. The major study has been based on research into 83 million students from around the world. It showed the key to effective teaching was the students' interaction with teachers and the quality of feedback on their work. The research has been dubbed "Teaching's Holy Grail" by UK education journal, the Times Educational Supplement, the Sunday Star-Times reported (Dec 08) http://www.nzherald.co.nz/teaching/news/article.cfm?c_id=337&objectid=10550480
• Education Bill to raise standards: Measures introduced into Parliament today will raise standards of achievement and attendance in schools, says Education Minister, Anne Tolley. The Education (National Standards) Amendment Bill gives the Minister of Education the power to set national standards in literacy and numeracy. National Standards will create a set of shared expectations about what students should be achieving as they move through primary and intermediate school. (Dec 08) http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/education+bill+raise+standards
• Delay of Standards Review: Education Minister Anne Tolley announced further consultation on the implementation of new NCEA standards. "After meeting with principals and hearing from many heads of department and others, I have decided to revise the implementation timeline for the new standards by one year to allow further consultation with the sector," says Mrs Tolley (Dec 08). http://beehive.govt.nz/release/delay+standards+review
• Upgrade to e-asTTle: The latest version of assessment tool e-asTTle is now available to teachers after extensive testing last year. Version 5.2 allows teachers to assess students in reading, writing and mathematics in English and Māori. It is a web-based version of a package first developed by the University of Auckland in 2000. For more information: http://e-asttle.tki.org.nz/
• Areas investigated by ERO in all Education Reviews nationally: 2009 The areas of national interest that ERO will focus on during the first part of 2009 have been published on their site. http://www.ero.govt.nz/ero/publishing.nsf/Content/NatAreasForReview
• Shakespeare here to stay: Following misleading reports in the media the Ministry of Education has stressed that the works of Shakespeare will continue to play an important part in senior English courses. Media release from the Ministry of Education (Nov 08). http://www.minedu.govt.nz/theMinistry/AboutUs/mediaCentreLanding/mediaReleaseIndex2008/MR009Nov17.aspx
• Teacher-only Days, and PPTA “Jumbo Days”: Last month, it was announced that there would be two further teacher-only days for state secondary schools to allow principals and teachers more time to work together on developing their school’s curriculum using The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. These teacher-only days are in addition to the one announced in November 2007.
• Implementation pack for schools: A new implementation pack, designed for school principals and curriculum leaders, is now available online. Print versions will be sent to schools in February 2009. http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/implementation_packs_for_schools
• New digital stories on the NZ Curriculum site: Rototuna School, where formative assessment practices underpin the school's teaching and learning philosophy and all teaching practice. Peterhead School, where school leaders and teachers talk about developing a learning culture and the work they are doing to understand and work with the key competencies. http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/
• Resources to support English: http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/nzc_resource_bank
• Guy Claxton visits New Zealand: From the EdGazette: ‘Ever step back from teaching and consider the metaphor that best describes your understanding of how the education system works? Guy Claxton has and for too many education systems, the appropriate metaphor he comes up with is "assembly line". And the British professor is adamant that "assembly line" must change to "mind gym" in education systems that want to create life-long learners. Schooling should prepare people for how they actually learn in the real world and how that works is something we still need to understand better, he says. http://www.edgazette.govt.nz/articles.php?action=view&id=7742
• NZCER hosted Ruth Deakin Crick on ‘Learning Power’: NZCER recently hosted a seminar by Ruth Deakin Crick, a Senior Research Fellow and Co-Director of a Post-graduate Programme at the University of Bristol in the UK. She leads the ELLI (Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory) research, which aims to identify the characteristics and qualities of effective lifelong learners. An interview with Ruth is available as two Podcasts.
• Me and My School: student engagement survey : In 2008, NZCER developed and launched a survey tool aimed at finding out what students in years 7- 10 think about their school and their learning. The tool was trialled on more than 8000 students before it was launched in the third term. Many schools have said how useful they have found it, so much so NZCER is looking at expanding it to years 11-13. They hope to have that work in development next year and an extended tool available in 2010. Meanwhile, the years 7-10 version will be available again in 2009, with schools able to run it in the third term. NZCER will make it available at the same time each year in order to ensure the national norms are valid. http://www.nzcer.org.nz/default.php?products_id=2251
• Assessment Resource Banks: English: NEW Resources: Two new level 3 resources have been added. Both have an assessment focus on analysing and evaluating a character and the authors' construction of them. Students support their thinking by identifying evidence from the chosen Learning Media narratives. The narratives are about a shrewd boy and family dynamics. http://arb.nzcer.org.nz/new_english.php
NCEA and us
• Level 3 Shakespeare 2009: the plays for study this year for AS 90722 are Othello, Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear and The Tempest. http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/ncea/resources/english/shakespeare.html
• Teaching for Scholarship success: NZCER Press free article: The high school examination season has dominated life for many students in recent weeks. This year ten percent more students sat Scholarship exams than last year. With competition tight, what will give successful students the edge? In this month’s free article from set: Research Information for Teachers, a sample of students that gained Scholarship identify the most important factor in their success—their teacher. By Jenny Horsley (Victoria University). http://www.nzcer.org.nz/default.php?cPath=122
• NZQA and English: all the NCEA resources, gathered on one handy page. http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/ncea/resources/english/index.html
• 2009 Examination timetable: http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/ncea/for-students/exams/examtt.html
ICT and us
• A day in the life of a digital learning resource: from access to reuse. 19 March 2009, Wellington Convention Centre, Wellington, New Zealand. From simple sound bites to sophisticated 3D imaging technology, New Zealand educators are increasingly using digital and web-based resources to support learning. A day in the life of a digital learning resource brings together experts and practitioners from all areas of this field to explore the latest and best practice in using and reusing these instructional tools. For more information or to enrol, go to: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/educationSectors/Schools/Initiatives/ICTInSchools/DayInTheLife.aspx
• Making hard topics easier to teach with ICT: This NATE/Becta project explores how creative use of ICT in the classroom can enable more effective learning. A group of teachers from a wide variety of schools across England and Wales took part in a practical programme that produced eighteen case studies. These report in fascinating detail how ICT can transform teaching and learning, without hiding the pitfalls and problems encountered on the way. http://www.nate.org.uk/index.php?page=43
• Schools broadband trial a great success: A trial to provide schools with fast and unrestricted broadband to empower teaching and learning has been hugely positive. In the second half of 2008, REANNZ piloted a National Education Network (NEN) – providing 20 schools with high speed, high capacity broadband drastically improving their access to information and communication technology tools. The trial was funded by the Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education Commission and the National Library. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/ED0902/S00007.htm
• Internet generation leave parents behind: Children are spending increasing amounts of their lives in front of televisions, computers and games consoles, cramming in nearly six hours of screen time a day, according to research. The online activity is building barriers between parents and children, the authors say, with a third of young people insisting they cannot live without their computer. By Polly Curtis (UK) http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/jan/19/internet-generation-parents
A blog we recommend:
• Huff English Blog: Issues, ideas, and discussion in English Education and Technology. http://www.huffenglish.com/
• Just Write: Develop the writing, communication, and critical literacy skills of your community-minded students by participating in this youth media project. Applications close February 16 2009. http://www.justfocus.org.nz/just-write
• Words on Wheels 2009: Five writers, six days, one very windy road. Words on Wheels is off again from 2-7 March, visiting libraries, schools, and the odd town hall on the road from Christchurch to Queenstown. On the bus this year will be Anna Mackenzie (Teen Fiction), Vanda Symon (Fiction), David Geary (Scriptwriting), Janet Charman (Poetry) and Steve Braunias (Non-fiction). From Lincoln to Methven, to tiny Fairlie, no town in the Selwyn and Mackenzie districts will remain untouched during this highlight of the Book Council's calendar in 2009. http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/events/new/20081003-elizabethknoxAKL.html
OUR BOOK NEWS
• Book Reviews on Radio NZ Nation in February: http://www.radionz.co.nz/genre/books/ninetonoon/reviews/books_in_february_2009
• Storytime Treasure Chest podcast feed on Radio NZ National: http://www.radionz.co.nz/podcasts/storytime_treassurechest.rss
• Bound to the Word: “Guardians of truth and knowledge, librarians must be thanked for their role as champions of privacy, literacy, independent thinking, and most of all reading.” President-Elect Barack Obama keynoted the opening general session at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, June 23–29, 2005, while a U.S. senator from Illinois. This article, published in the August 2005 issue of American Libraries, is an adaptation of that speech, which drew record crowds and garnered a standing ovation. http://www.ala.org/ala/alonline/resources/selectedarticles/obama05.cfm
• Book Review by Tanya Roxborogh: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (hbk Scholastic Press. )
I spent a whole day doing nothing else but reading this book (apart from eating, fetching a child or two and cooking dinner) because it is riveting! I am so glad she plans a trilogy because I want more of Katniss and her world. The Hunger Games is set sometime in the future of America. There are 13 ‘districts’ – oh, no, make that 12 because the 13th rebelled against Capitol and were obliterated. Each district is responsible for an aspect of providing the country with what they need: fruit, grain, coal, technology. But, as punishment for the rebellion (which also caused the end of the 13th district) is the Hunger Games – a televised realty show which pits two teenagers from each distract, one against the other. There can only be one winner. Think ‘Gladiator’ for the 22nd century. All this is pre novel; the background. The story starts the day of ‘reaping’ – the choosing of the two teens from each district. This book is exciting and un-put-down-able. Suzanne Collins is remarkable in her craft and I am so pleased I picked up her book. You must get this and the next as a present for the teen – it’s perfect and, though it’s ‘futuristic’, it’s not too far from the world we could live in. Recommended for good readers, probably 12 years and up.
OUR FILM NEWS
• Literary adaptations at the Oscars: ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald, ‘The Reader’ by Bernhard Schlink and ‘Slumdug Millionaire’, adapted from ‘V & A’ by Vikas Swarup and ‘Revolutionary Road’ by Richard Yates. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7825986.stm
• ‘The Strength of Water’: Kiwi film premieres: The debut feature from Auckland-based director Armagan Ballantyne, ‘The Strength of Water’, has been selected for two of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious film festivals. http://www.nzfilm.co.nz/NewsAndMedia/NewsAndPressReleases/RecentNews.aspx
OUR THEATRE EVENTS
• Summer Shakespeare productions all around the country http://www.eventfinder.co.nz/theatre/events/new-zealand
• Totally Shakespeare NZ09: Compleate Workes: In 2009, it’s time to celebrate Shakespeare’s Sonnets turning 400 by endeavouring to perform the whole canon in Wellington and embracing everything Shakespeare in New Zealand throughout the year! Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand (SGCNZ) fosters festivals in schools and beyond, and encourages fun with Shakespeare in his infinite variety. Encompassing international, professional, emerging professional, educational, community and allied troupes, organisations, companies and activities, Compleate Workes 2009 will present a feast of the Bard. From the international premiere of Cardenio to performances in a multitude of site specific spaces, the programme will even full the airwaves with the Sonnets being broadcast weekly all year. http://www.compleateworkes.co.nz/
OUR REGIONAL EVENTS
• Shakespeare in Schools 2009 Nationwide Tour – Term 3 ‘Lear and his Daughters’ and ‘Macbeth’ by the Kore Theatre Company Bookings: Dr Lilicherie McGregor, Artistic Director, Kore Theatre Company, 2031 Ngunguru Rd, RD 3, Whangarei 0173; ph (09) 955 1170, (021) 296 2910; email firstname.lastname@example.org
• 2009 University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival: preparations will, no doubt, be underway for this wonderful event. For more information on your region, go to: http://www.shakespeare.org.nz/wiki/index.php/Application
• National Youth Drama School 2009 (NYDS): 11–19 April 2009 at Havelock North High School. Fantastic fun and great learning opportunity for 15-20 year olds. Eight days, full-time - 21 classes in acting, voice, Shakespeare, film production, radio drama, circus skills and much more. Billet and hostel accommodation available. For more information booklets or posters email email@example.com or go to www.nyds.co.nz
• AUCKLAND: Tim Bray Productions presents "Peter Rabbit and other Tales" - Live on Stage! Peter Rabbit and other Tales Based on the classic tales by Beatrix Potter Live on Stage. Peter, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-Tail, Benjamin Bunny, Mr McGregor and all their friends come to life in this charming stage adaptation. Great discounts for school and pre-school groups. Free tickets for teachers (one per 20 children). Free Teachers' Resource Guide. PumpHouse Theatre. 30 March - 9 April 2009. Bookings: ph 489-8360; email firstname.lastname@example.org; website www.timbrayproductions.co.nz
• The Gardener 2009 (Years 1-8): The Gardener’s popular programme enthuses and motivates children to use their literary skills. The 2009 programme includes new content, more stories, and plenty of fun and participation. Delivered to the whole school at once in a one-hour session, this very successful programme is sponsored in most of the areas listed below, so is free apart from a $50 per school administration charge (except where specified). REAP subsidies may be available in some other areas. Please contact us for details. We encourage Y1-8 Principals to book now for inspired storytelling by this popular character (limited to 8 schools in each area).
• Term 1: (dates inclusive): 9–15 February – Whangarei; 16–22 February – Pakuranga; 23 February to 1 March – Browns Bay; 2–8 March – Glen Eden; 16–22 March – Whakatane; 30 March to 5 April – Tauranga
• Term 2: 27 April to 3 May – Hobsonville; 3–10 May Hobsonville (2 weeks); 18–24 May – New Plymouth; 25–31 May – Levin; 8–14 June – Rotorua; 15–21 June – Hamilton; 29 June to 3 July – Napier
• Term 3: 10–16 August – Wellington; 17–22 August – Plimmerton
• Term 4: 12–18 October – Palmerston North; 19–25 October – Taupo; 9–15 November – Welcome Bay
To make a booking, please contact Jeannie McCook, ph (021) 160 7798; email email@example.com, with your school name, physical address, contact name and phone number and school roll numbers.
For other inquiries, contact Wayne Lim, ph (07) 823 6522; email firstname.lastname@example.org
• WELLINGTON: Extended Play: All the poetry you never get to hear. There are poems out there that you never get to hear...Wellington Poets Bill Manhire, Jenny Bornholdt, James Brown andKate Camp share their other sides. The south side, the lean side, the mean side, the B-side. Come along and here four brilliant Wellington poets read poems you may not have already heard before at L’affare Café, Thursday February 26.Time: 6.30 – 8.00pm / Venue: Caffé L’affare 27 College St Wellington / Tickets: $8.00 Book Council Members/ $10.00 non-members/Door Sales Only, Entry includes a free drink.For further information or images please contact Susanna Andrew at the New Zealand Book Council, 04 499 1569, email@example.com