Monday, 28 February 2011

Christchurch Earthquake, Facebook, Blogger and more


In this issue:
• Christchurch Earthquake
• Using Facebook
• Blogger
• NZATE/IFTE Conference Reminder

Christchurch Earthquake
Our thoughts go out to all of those affected by Tuesday’s devastating earthquake and particularly to our fellow teachers from Christchurch who will, once again, play an incredibly important role as young people and their families try to achieve a sense of normality in the coming months - Kia Kaha! Make sure you check out one of the 101 English Blogs, the Motivating Ms M. post on Natural Disasters. Inspired by this momentous event, the post looks at ways we can encourage empathy in our students through writing activities. Make sure you check out the post and share your thoughts and ideas.

There have been several offers of help from teachers around the country to our colleagues in Christchurch. On literacy online, Marielle let the community know about this wiki where teachers may offer or request specific help – this could also include secondary. There is one page for "I can help" and another one for "I Need Help".

You can also join the Rise Up Christchurch Facebook page here.

Using Facebook
Simon Evans added a few more resources for teachers using Facebook with their students. Forgot the Facebook discussion on Software for Learning, Facebook in Education and Facebook/cybersafety on Educating the Dragon blog.

Blogger
In response to an earlier blog discussion, Allanah provided some support for using blogger with this step by step what to do.

NZATE/IFTE Conference Reminder
Early bird registrations for the April IFTE Conference close in a week on 1 day international English teachers’ conference is a very reasonable $400. There is no annual English conference this year, so start thinking internationally.

Please note - The IFTE/NZATE "Much Ado About English" conference organising committee is happy to extend the early bird deadline for Christchurch schools/teachers until 15th March to allow more time for Christchurch schools and teachers to process their registrations in light of the Christchurch earthquake.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Book Reviews, considerations for teachers online and more


Book Reviews

Rebecca shared her class Reading Log blog and made a request for some book review formats. Allanah recommended the Manaiakalani Project, Fiona suggested looking at some existing reviews and Diedre shared a range of resources which can be accessed through the archives here.


Considerations for teachers using Web 2.0 and Social Networking sites

Moira sent an email asking about the Teacher Council’s position on teacher’s using Facebook which prompted an interesting discussion. Karen recommended several readings that can be accessed here. Nancy shared some of the great Netsafe resources available on the issue of considerations for all educators using Web 2.0 and Networking environments with their students. A timely reminder, considering the furor that has arisen around the “profanity-laced blog”, written by the American English teacher Natalie Munroe. If you haven’t seen the article, you can read it here.


101 English Blogs

We now have 52 blogs signed up; will one of you be next?


NZATE/IFTE Conference Reminder

Early bird registrations for the April IFTE Conference close in a week on 1 day international English teachers’ conference is a very reasonable $400. There is no annual English conference this year, so start thinking internationally.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Horizon Report, 101 English Blogs and IFTE/NZATE Conference


In this update:
• The Horizon Report
• ICTs in English Blog
• 101 English Blogs – 36 signed up, still looking for more English teacher blogs!
• IFTE/NZATE 'Much Ado About English' Conference – early bird registration closes March 1st
The Horizon Report
Joanne Thom sent an update about the recently published Horizon Report:
Not sure if anyone has posted this link yet: The key trends at the start are particularly interesting (and are reflected in this forum, I think):

The abundance of resources and relationships
made easily accessible via the Internet is
increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles
as educators in sense-making, coaching, and
credentialing.

People expect to be able to work, learn, and
study whenever and wherever they want.

The world of work is increasingly collaborative,
giving rise to reflection about the way student
projects are structured

The technologies we use are increasingly
cloud-based, and our notions of IT support
are decentralized.

ICTs in English Blog
Fiona Grant sent through a post about how to make the most of our blog
Claire has also made searching the Listserv updates on the blog easier by adding labels to each of posts. These are a really handy for searching past Listserv topics.
You have two options - either click the label at the end of the update post to view all posts which include that topic or scroll down the page to the View posts by topic gadget and click the relevant key word.

You can also use the Search this blog gadget, however this search will return every instance of that word in the blog.

101 English Blogs Project
The project is humming! Check it out here. We already have 36 English teachers from around the globe sharing their English blogs. I would love to add more Kiwis (and Australians) to the list!

The aim project is to encourage 101 English teachers from around the world to start blogging (or share existing blogs) about their English teaching. 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 around the world.

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.

Interested? Feel free to contact me at am@eggs.school.nz 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!)

Monday, 7 February 2011

Safer Internet Day


Feb 8th  is Safer Internet Day!  
At the end of last year a  student asked me "Who's responsible for what  is on the internet?"   The answer to that question has certainly become easier to answer since the advent of Web2.0.  The answer is 'you and I'.  We define the internet by our contributions to it.  We make it a meaningful  and safe tool  by the way we use it. 
 
Here’s a two helpful bits from NetSafe’s  hub of cybersafety resources  designed to help teachers and students  create a 'safer internet'. 

Help students understand Booleen logic by showing them how booleen operators  can instantly change  search results.  

Microsoft has developed lessons plans and demonstrations to help young people develop critical thinking  about the validity of online information.   



Take the NetSafe Poll!
We’ve identified 5 videos on cyberbullying and internet safety produced by organisations around the globe. Each takes a different approach to delivering the message.
           
We’d really value your comments about who you see as the appropriate audience for these kinds of messages and if you think they spark some understanding with children and their parents.  
View the videos here

Nancy
NetSafe

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
myfonts.com - 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 am@eggs.school.nz 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!