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.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Term three review .... three quarters complete!

With the school year three quarters over, I'm again taking the opportunity to reflect on my amazing year to date and my personal growth as a teacher!

My Provisional Teacher goals for this term were around behaviour management and taking a lead on our Integrated Learning topic - both were a challenge but also an opportunity to test things and further my learning.

My highlights of the Term:

  • An amazing school wide Commonwealth Games day to finish the term
  • Whole team trip to Lloyd Elsmore Park for our own Commonwealth Games events
  • Creating healthy snacks in class
  • Visiting the Life Education bus early in the term
  • Using the QR codes to explore the Commonwealth Integrated Learning site
  • Using Explain Everything to scaffold story writing by recording the story orally prior to writing
  • Amazing reading improvements which were highlighted through reading graph and running records
  • Trip to Samsung to explore the amazing technology they have on offer (and play with some tablets!) 
  • Implementation of the "monster madness" behaviour management within the class
  • More solo teaching time - although working with Michelle is amazing!
  • Pt England School staff and the MDTA team - they continually amaze me with their professionalism, collaborative nature and willingness to go the extra mile for our learners - I'm so proud to be part of these amazing teams of teaching professionals.
  • Creating a movie for the Manaiakalani Film Festival - but I can't say more - watch this space later in November!
My challenges of the Term:
  • Balancing family, work and study commitments continues to be a challenge, however with my last assignment for the year due just after these holidays, I'm looking forward to a temporary break from study.  That said, I'm excited about my proposed research topic for next year!
  • Effectiveness of the Integrated Learning topic site when related to the time it took to create - again an area for learning and once created the site exists forever, but I need to carefully plan and consider how much to include in future sites.  The engagement effect of the QR codes however continues to amaze - and I was constantly asked when taking down our display if we'd be using QR codes again next term!
  • Sickness - unfortunately working around five year olds, it can be a challenge to stay "healthy" and I definitely experienced this during the term.  While I managed to escape with just two days off during the term, I was definitely not at 100% for many more - here's hoping my immunity kicks in soon!
So, looking forward ....

As I enter into what could be my last term of "team teaching" with Michelle, I want to continue to explore and improve my own teaching practice and pedagogy.  Our school wide topic has an art focus - something which I admit is not a strength - so it will be a small step outside my comfort zone as I look at ways to inspire creativity in my learners.  With my study commitments complete for the year I expect to have a more controlled work/life balance and am looking forward to putting a little extra time into Explain Everything projects to extend the learners.

We have an extremely busy term ahead, with the Film Festival, a team trip, athletics day and prizegivings at the end of the year.  In combination with these great events is the end of year testing and I'm contributing to Toolkits and a Hangout session to highlight the piloting journey I've contributed to this year.  I constantly get told that Term Four is the busiest in the whole year, and I just can't wait to get it started!

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