Wednesday, 18 March 2009

E-fellowships, e-learning and literacy

I am the Head of English Faculty at Auckland Girls' Grammar School and this year I have been lucky enough to be awarded an E-fellowship which is allowing me a little time and support to conduct an inquiry project looking at how online communities and blogs can be used as part of the preparation and formative assessment for Formal Writing (AS90053).

In this proposed inquiry project I am aiming to critically reflect on the practice of formal writing, as a formative task through the use of an online classroom community (the class wiki) which provides students with the topics and related live links to resources for a range of formal writing topics. The formal writing practise will be completed in the context of individual student blogs. The blog will then provide a platform for guided and non-guided collaborative writing, peer and teacher feed-forward and feedback.

I then wish to look at the effects of these practices on the learner, to see the impact this approach has on student participation, engagement and improvement of literacy levels as illustrated in their production of formal writing. I am also hoping to measure how realistic and successful this approach is in comparison to more traditional in class written practice and potentially measuring whether using an environment (that of the online community) that our students feel comfortable in, enhances the development of their literacy levels.
If you are keen to see how this all goes throughout the year, I will be posting my updates and reflections here.

Here's hoping my hunch is right that increased engagement may equate to greater success! You can check out how I used this project last year by following the link
Claire Amos
Auckland Girls' Grammar School

Monday, 9 March 2009

Team 2 Tells Tales

I am Year 3 Teacher at Pt England School in Auckland. I became a lead teacher for the Manaiakalani cluster during 2008 when my team leader went on maternity leave. The hook our project,Team 2 Tells Tales, used for our children was digital story telling.

I selected 5 children in my class, based on their writing and oral language levels, to be in my target group. We followed the literacy cycle you can see below. Typically we started with writing stories. These children then edited their stories with me. We used iMovie to film our stories as the students read them aloud. The movies were then published on our blog. Once on our blog the wider audience were able to view them and leave comments. The children viewed their stories over and over again and reflected on themselves and on the comments they recieved.
Not every story the students wrote was published as a digital story, but they usually had one published each week.
rning is integrated into all subjects in my class. We used some of the children's eLearning work in other curriculum areas (often illustrated in Kid Pix) to create movies with voice overs to post on the blog too. Sometimes we published photos displaying our work in a bubbleshare slideshow using to show the process the students went through.

In 2009 we will continue to use digital story telling as our main hook in our literacy. I hope to use other web2 tools eg. VoiceThread. However I have a new class so that means new children to introduce to this exciting way of learning. We have renamed our blog Room 10 @ Pt England School.
Priscilla Lavakula
Pt England School

Friday, 6 March 2009

Save the Words

Savethewords is a great web2.0 site for good spellers. The words call out to you to pick them, and once you 'adopt' a word you promise to use that word in conversation. A great way for your top spellers to increase their vocabulary and have fun doing it.

Tamaki Writers Group 2008

Tamaki Primary School is a Decile 1a contributing Primary School in East Auckland, New Zealand.
In 2008, we embarked on the Tamaki Primary Writers Group project as part of "Manaiakalani"( Hook From Heaven) , with the aim of extending high standards in literacy across our cluster. The project is firmly based in literacy but the "hook" for the students is an ICT component. This "hook" has involved a lot of frontloading for teachers - having to become competent in the use of many of the technology tools available today. In our case we chose a BLOG as the vehicle to give our students an authentic, world wide audience for their writing. The development of an eLiteracy Cycle has ensured that literacy has always remained at the very heart of the programme and as a result ICT - although the "hook"- does not dominate the programme. The Literacy cycle that was devised at the beginning of the project evolved throughout the whole of 2008 and has changed remarkedly from it's original form.

The 2008 programme provided the perfect opportunity to develop and nurture the literacy skills of a small group of students who had been identified through our school wide assessment (STAR and AsTTle) as the more able readers and writers within our Year 4 to 6 students.
So far the results look good and I am looking forward to watching the continued progress of these students. A HUGE plus to working within the Manaiakalani project is the fact that we have the local Intermediate and College involved - and this means we are able to identify those students who have been a part of the project and build on their skills from year to year.
In 2009 I am working with a group of 5 year olds, all of whom have just started school and are at a very early stage of their learning SO the Blog is taking on a very different look

Visit the Tamaki Primary Blockbusters and see where we are heading this year. There are also links to all the other blogs within our cluster.

Rhonda Kelly
Tamaki Primary School

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Glenbrae School Podcasts

Kia Ora, my name is Joy Paton and I taught a Year 3/4 class at Glenbrae School during 2008.
Glenbrae School is a primary school in Glen Innes, Auckland and has 140 students. We are in the Manaiakalani Cluster.

Last year I was part of this very exciting initiative which involved the convergence of Literacy and 21st Century technologies. We used podcasting as the ICT tool to publish our students' work in literacy. At the start of the year we created a blogsite. Our writing and topic studies were integrated throughout the year. As part of the learning our podcasts took the form of interviews, news broadcasts, movies etc. Every student was involved and created their own podcasts. And every student had their work uploaded onto the blogsite, as I wanted to promote an inclusive learning environment.

Our aims were to: improve student academic performance in literacy; publish student work to wider audiences; promote, challenge and engage students in teaching and learning; and to promote self evaluation and reflection throughout the literacy process. As part of this process, we worked through a Literacy Cycle that includes all of these elements. The Literacy Cycle included Writing, Reading, Speaking and Listening.
The blogsite was an absolute success. Students were motivated and engaged. They loved looking at themselves on the blogsite and always looked at ways to improve their own individual performance for the next time. And by the end of last year we had had over 3000 viewers and listeners from around the world visiting. Click here to view a student's sample of their work.
To view more about Glenbrae School, visit the school website.

This year, the blogsite has continued under the new lead teacher, Tilly Thambiran, who has joined the school in 2009. The blogsite has had a new makeover and a new name: Glenbrae School's Brilliant Bloggers

In 2009 I have moved schools and I am now teaching a Year 2 class at Panmure Bridge School, so I am still able to be a lead teacher in the Manaiakalani cluster. I have created a new project with this class and we publish our podcasts on a blog called Creative Voice.

Joy Paton
Panmure Bridge School (2009)

Monday, 2 March 2009

Digital Chocolate – tasty e-treats with Animation Nation

Want to lure your kids into literacy? The attraction of animation is that it brings the age-old skill of storytelling into the 21st century, blending solid literacy skills with a dynamic digital delivery. For our students who live in the 'screen age' and demand a sisomo approach to learning, animation is the perfect tool to develop thinking, technical and literacy skills - as well as sharing knowledge learnt across all curriculum areas in a creative and accessible manner. eLearning lures kids into literacy- and keeps them addicted!

This was the highlight and challenge I faced in 2008 with my Years 5/6 decile one class of predominantly Maori, Pasifika and Afghani students at Panmure Bridge School in Auckland. To promote our oral literacy skills we chose to explore digital storytelling through animation as our platform. And so our Animation Nation project was born as part of the Manaiakalani Cluster EHSAS Initiative. We wanted to create exciting scripts which reflected our learning and speak clearly and expressively in such a way that our stories would hold the interest of our audience. Our animation mini-movies reflected the broad range of language abilities present in the class.

Jo Bogado
Panmure Bridge School
Auckland, NZ