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Murray Gadd Literacy – Update Oct 2023

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Kia ora tatou

Here we are in the fourth term of the year already.  Hope your October break went well.  

Literacy Association Conference

I spent the first week of my so-called October break in Invercargill, at the NZ Literacy Association’s Conference, aptly titled Lighting the Literacy Pathway.  It was excellent.  With 420+ attendees from across the country and seven keynote speakers from around the world, it was both stimulating and challenging.  And so well organised!!  My hat is totally off to Joyce Wakelin and her organising team from Southland.

I had the honour of being the final keynote speaker for the conference and presented on my work with students with intellectual disabilities in Sweden which I entitled (for obvious reasons) If It Works For These Kids, It Should Work For Everyone: An Inquiry Into Effective Writing Instruction.  I also led a workshop sharing the implications of a major survey that I (along with Professor Judy Parr and a team of literacy leaders) had undertaken with Year 5-8 students on their attitudes to writing and writing instruction.

Speaking of workshops, I also attended three excellent ones: one on Understanding Picture Books led by Dr Christine Braid; one on Well-Being of Rangatahi led by Jade Ward; one on The Power of Poetry in the Classroom led by Scotty Delamare.  Scotty is a classroom teacher from Northland and it is so good seeing classroom teachers sharing their passion through workshops.  My congratulations to him.  More should do it!

Here’s a photo of me helping to fill in the conference mural and some others of me mingling with colleagues at the conference, often over a glass of wine you’ll notice!!

Murray, Jane and Charlene at conference

Murray, Heather and Sally at conference

Murray and Scott at literacy dinner

Murray with Maungaraki School teachers at conference

If you’ve never been to a conference hosted by NZLA before, I highly recommend it.  it’s not just about the learning – it’s about the professional and social mingling that happens when so many like-minded people get together.  The next one will be held in Wellington in 2025.    

My Book – Coming Soon

My other preoccupation of late has been the continued revising and editing of my book, now aiming for publication in Term One 2024.  I’ve written many articles about the teaching of writing over the years but never a book bringing all my beliefs and ideas together.  So look out for Building Young Writers: Engaging and Motivating Year 4-8 Student Writers.

You will see from the front cover that it will contain links to classroom lessons (me working with classes and groups of Year 4-8 students) as well as numerous photocopiable resources for teachers.  I am excited about it hitting the teaching world early next year.   So look out for launches in Auckland and Wellington, and maybe other places later in the year.

As I’ve said before, I am incredibly grateful to Learning Network NZ Ltd. who are sponsoring the publication of my book for me.  

New Video Lessons

I’ve also been finding time recently able to work on new resources for my website and I have pleasure in announcing three new videoed writing lessons and teachers’ notes, all based on New Zealand picture books.

I love making these videos and am absolutely thrilled when teachers send me writing samples produced by students having watched these videos.

New Classroom Story & Arts Blog

There’s a new Classroom Story. It’s from Drury School (on the outskirts of Auckland) and features a great teacher (Tessa Clarke) getting her Year 7-8 students to write poetically about their turangawaewae.  Some of the writing that Tessa’s students produce is outstanding.

The Arts Blog

There’s also a new Arts Blog (in progress!) of what I’ve reading and viewing recently.

Looking Ahead

Needless to say, most of my term four will be spend on the finishing touches around my book.  But I also hope to have out for you by mid November:

  • Some new videos for my on-line resource.  One will be a launch and shared writing lesson around a fictional topic with Year 2-3 students and another will be a launch and shared writing lesson around a real world topic with Year 5-6 students. 

I’m off to Cambridge just after Labour Weekend to do some filming!! 

  • A new Arts blog for the July-November period.

So plenty to keep me out of mischief!!

That’s it everyone.  Have a great Term 4 everyone and don’t hesitate to make contact with me with any queries.


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