Welcome to my blog! I'm Karen Belt, a teacher and leader of digital learning, working at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua, New Zealand. I'm teaching in a Year 2 class using iPads to engage and motivate learners and improve student achievement. This blog documents my teaching journey and my learning processes with iPads in the classroom. I've proud of having been a member of the inaugural Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy(MDTA) program and last year a Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) and Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir teacher.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Dialogic Conversations

As part of our ongoing staff professional development we had another session today with Dr. Jannie van Hees around building a dialogic classroom.  As a way of unpacking todays valuable session and reflecting on the information Jannie provided us, I've created a word cloud with the main vocabulary from the session.  We explored word clouds in more detail at our MDTA digital immersion session last Wednesday and I've again used my favourite, Tagxedo!  

Some of the highlights from todays session for me were:

  • The importance of giving learners quality prepare and thinking time - I know I'm guilty on some occasions of expecting instant answers. 
  • Lead the thinking without dominating the thinking - through questioning and providing opportunities for sharing
  • Have a way for students to indicate their readiness - this allows them to show they are ready and minimises the chance of interrupting their thoughts as often learners won't remember what they were going to say
  • Increase pair-share opportunities which asks learners to think about what we're asking them as well as a voice to share 
  • Collaborative gathering - opportunities for students to stretch their ideas through hearing the responses of others, make meaning of what is being discussed and hear the ideas expressed in a slightly different way
  • Elaborate on responses - enables the gifting of additional language (so important in a Year 0/1 classroom) which will ensure the continual growth of the language of all learners
  • Listen to your learners - ensure you are 'hearing' what they are wanting to convey
  • A picture often tells a better story - unpack vocabulary with visual stimuli - provide multiple pictures to unpack a word
Many of the messages and information received today reinforce for me the pedagogy that was introduced throughout my university study and is reflected extremely well in the practice that Michelle demonstrates on a daily basis in our classroom.  So much of it is what I've taken on board and am also using daily - but - I also think its important to reconsider and reflect on our practice constantly.  For me, part of this reflection is to revisit professional development sessions, and think about what I'm currently doing in my teaching practice and what I could improve on as a result of this new learning.  After all, its not just the learners in my classroom who should be constantly learning!

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