Murray leading a workshop with Year 1-2 students at Raureka School, Hastings.
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Term 3 New Resources and Updates 

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Kia ora tatou,

Hope you all had a great break – though it probably seems ages ago now – and that the weather and/or the trans-Tasman bubble breaking didn’t interrupt your plans too much.

The purpose of this update is to inform you of what’s new on the website – both free and paid resources – and to catch you up on what happened to me in term two.

New Resources

Let’s start with what’s new on the website, both free and paid-for resources.  I spent the holiday break putting the following new resources together:

  • For those of you who subscribe to the subscription based ‘on-line resource bank’, there are three new video writing lessons and accompanying notes, all based on picture books: Ernest the Elephant by Anthony Browne – personal recount writing for NE-Year 2s; Keys by Sacha Cotter – imaginative writing for Year 4-8s; And Zoo by Anthony Browne – character writing for Year 5-8s.  The ‘real’ reason for using Zoo though is to illustrate how I make reading-writing links for students (. 
  • There are also two new Murray-Talks videos in the resource bank: one on Making Reading-Writing Links and one on Literacy Across the Curriculum.  As usual, there are substantial PDF downloadable notes for teachers to read and refer to as they watch/listen to the Murray Talks.
  • I’ve put together another free downloadable resource in the online shop.  It’s a follow-up to the list of picture books that I use for engaging students in reading and writing and it’s entitled 2nd – Recommended List of Picture Books for Reading and Writing.  The previous list was published midway through 2019.  This new list contains recommendations made to me since 2019 and new books that I have discovered since then.  There’s 43 titles in all.  I also point to the 23 titles that I’ve now used for videoed writing lessons (at the back of the list) and indicate what type of writing goes with each title.


  • There’s also now a new ‘Arts blogavailable for you to read. In it, I discuss the ten books I’ve read, the six films, two plays and three ‘at-home’ series I’ve watched since April: what I’ve loved; what I’ve hated.
  • You’ll also find a beautiful story (in the Classroom Stories section) of a Year 1 boy who was entranced by the Handa’s Hen video lesson (by Eileen Browne) and wrote his own story about his cat going missing.
  • I’m also currently putting together an illustrated story of an incredibly creative NE-Year 1 classroom and hope to have this up in the next fortnight.  Look out for it.
Please, if you’re excited about an aspect of your reading or writing programme – maybe a writing topic or approach you pursued – do let me know.  I’m always looking for good classroom stories to tell and share.  Remember, we’re magpies as teachers – we love getting ideas from others.And please, if you have a piece of writing from one of your students that you’re excited about, I’d love to read it and maybe put it up on line for them, just as I did for James and his Handa’s Hen story.  This is an easy way for your students to become published writers and to feel proud of their writing.


What I’ve Been Up To Lately

As usual, most of my professional time has been spent in schools and classrooms.  During Term Two, I worked in 21 schools (mainly analysing student texts and workshopping writing skills with students) – in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Tauranga, Hawkes’ Bay, Whangarei and Taranaki – and led two full days of teacher learning for Learning Network NZ Ltd as well as several sessions of zoom PLD for teachers in Sweden and Australia.  

Below, you can see some photos of me working in schools or students who are working with me during Term Two….  There are also some photos of a few teachers interacting with me and each other at the Learning Network PLD day on writing held Saturday 8 May 2021.  Of the 50 teachers who attended, one had come from Invercargill, several from Northland, several from Whakatane and several from Hamilton!!  Incidentally, it’s the Hamilton teachers in the photos.  

Coming up, I’ve got a working trip to the Rai Valley at the end of this week, a session for the Tai Tokerau Literacy Association in August and the honour of being a key note speaker at the New Zealand Literacy Association Conference to be held in Havelock North 4-5 October.  Maybe I’ll see some of you there?  And, of course, ongoing work in my ongoing schools.

In the meantime, have a great term everyone.


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