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, 14 October 2014

Art Attack!

As I head into my last term of team teaching with Michelle George I want to draw on the successes I’ve had with our learners over the past three terms and the growth I’ve experienced as a Beginning Teacher.

I continually feel lucky to be part of the MDTA (Manaiakalani Digital Teacher Academy) programme and know that I’ve experienced a different (and probably more supported) pathway than a usual BT.   I’ve been well scaffolded and had a great role model into the pedagogies of Pt England School and also had support in developing my own personal teaching style.   Having this level of support helped me try things that I may not have, and also allowed me to be involved in a 1:1 pilot class with iPads in my very first year of teaching – for someone with such a passion for digital learning environments, this has been an amazing challenge and allowed me to grow even further.

Last term I created a site for our Integrated Learning topic – Game On.  The learners accessed the site pages through the use of QR codes, which proved to be extremely popular and successful.  It gave the learners an opportunity to take control of their own learning and make decisions on what they wanted to learn about within a modeled and supported learning environment.

The beauty of using a Google Site was that I was able to add to it throughout the term.  This was highlighted during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony – the learners were hooked and wanted to explore independently and were able to choose to do this with the additional page.   As we explored and used the site throughout the term I also made modifications and took note of things that could be improved, or weren’t as successful. 

As we begin our last term, the Integrated Learning topic is “Art Attack” – focusing on The Arts curriculum area and based around a trip we have in week 2 to the local river.  Initially I thought this topic would be a challenge to create a “Site” for – let alone integrate with QR codes (the learners all asked for QR codes again this term)!  However, the wealth of available material on You Tube around art has made it relatively easy for me to create several pages that learners can explore, giving them ideas on different types of art and ways to create it.   The viewing of these clips will help enhance their vocabulary with topic specific words, which will feed into their writing.  Once again we have a rich topic wall with vocabulary, images and QR codes for learners to refer to and explore throughout the term. 

It’s been great to be able to go to some of the resources I created during my teacher training (never throw anything away) as both displays and inspirations for the term.   Art is not a curriculum area I have strength in, but I look forward to undertaking this learning challenge and to sharing the results of our Art Attack later this term!

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