Sunday, 6 February 2011

Choice of Font, Reading Comprehension, NZ Book Month, 101 English Blogs and more

In this update:

  • Choice of font for 2011
  • Reading Comprehension
  • NZ Book Month
  • 101 English Blogs - looking for English teacher blogs!
  • IFTE/NZATE 'Much Ado About English' Conference
Hi all,
Great to see our online community is humming already. There were two main threads this week: choice of font and reading comprehension. I also want to to highlight a few upcoming events!
Choice of font 2011
Allanah King responded with this post about the Kiwi Font: A few years ago I was bemoaning that fact that we didn't have a NZ handwriting font and John Greatorex from Aussie took up my challenge and made the Kiwi font. I sent him the NZ handwriting booklet pages and he copied it from there. Perfect for New Zealand
It is his business but $60 for a school license is not bad.
Karen Melhuish added another idea to the mix. Or you could convert your own handwriting to True Type, as Derek Wenmoth explored last year. (Not sure mine's up to it, mind you....!)

The question is, why (she says, rather provocatively)? In these times when many of us can type faster than we can wield a pen, is handwriting a dying art??
Miriam Tuohy added - Thought you might be interested in this website, which looks at the use of comic sans and typography (briefly) from a design point of view. Worth a look if you have a few minutes, and has a link through to alternative fonts for dyslexia if that is a concern.

You'll notice that even though the site is decidedly anti-Comic Sans, it does recognise it as a useful choice for young children and dyslexics. Personally, I don't see why, as children move on from learning to read, having an awareness or understanding of print design elements would be a bad thing - another type of media literacy, if you will. I certainly see young kids choosing all sorts of horrendously illegible or unsuitable fonts for use in their keynotes etc at school here. I know it's not something everyone cares about, per se, but it is something that affects our perception of written communications, whether we're particularly aware of it or not.

My favourite site for finding beautiful free fonts lately, is - you may be able to find something you like there. This search is for the category "legible" with price = $0 :-)

Reading Comprehension
Rochelle Jensen shared Robyn Hurliman's effelowship research and here own resorces for developing a reading comprehension task.
One of our key reading goals is to support our students ( Yr 6) to gain a deeper understanding of the text by using a range of comprehension strategies.
Have found the ‘Literacy Circle’ work by Robyn Hurliman, from Owhata School fantastic in supporting the implementation of literacy circles. Thanks Robyn!
I have created the following learning path, this path will be used as part of our literacy rotation/task-board.
Into The Book also looks fantastic.
NZ Book Month
Check out the lastest ICTs in English blog post about NZ Book Month
101 English Blogs Project
The aim of this project is to encourage 101 English teachers from around the world (okay probably just NZ...)to start blogging about their English classrooms. The '101 English Blogs' blog will list each of the 101 blogs and will be a place for sharing and highlighting what is going on in over 100 English classrooms.

Are you an English teacher? Keen to be part of the project??
If you are an English teacher and are keen to share your reflections, ideas and resources with a wider English community, all you need to do is establish a blog, or share an already established one. You can simply share your blog URL, so it can be one of the 101 listed blogs or you can even become an author of the 101 blog as well - so you can post occasional updates about what you and others have been blogging about.

As the project facilitator, I will also try to visit and highlight posts from bloggers within our 101 English Blogs community. However, I am hoping that this can as much of a shared project as possible, so if you if you would like to join this blog as an author, please do! I would also love your support in sharing the project with your colleagues and by signing up to the follow the blog.

I have established English blog #1 The Virtual Classroom which will follow my three English classes (Year 11, 12 and 13) at Epsom Girls Grammar School. Now I just need to find 100 more....

Interested? Feel free to contact me at or through our forum.
IFTE /NZATE 'Much Ado About English' Conference 2011
18-21st April 2011
Of particular interest to this forum is the strand 'New Technologies, New Practices'
This strand invites contributors to focus on, but not be limited by, one or more of
the following sub-themes:
• Impact of digital technologies on teaching and learning
• Challenges and tensions for teachers
• Changing parameters of the classroom
• Transformative possibilities for teaching
• Online learning
• Digitization of literature
• New conceptions of text
• Pedagogy of e-learning
• Co-construction and the digital classroom
• Assessment practices in new times
• Plagiarism, intertextuality and creativity
• The social networking classroom
Check out the details here (and consider presenting a workshop as well!

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