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.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The power of Explain Everything

Its hard to believe this is the third week of school and my New Entrants class has doubled from the 5 learners that started on the first day to 10 learners.  Over the past two weeks I've scaffolded the use of the iPads with all the learners and we've focused on taking photos to celebrate our learning and the 'kawa of care' that Pt England embraces around the use of digital devices.  

As with last year, Explain Everything will be the app of choice and this year I am wanting the Explain Everything activities to extend beyond a cut up sentence or practicing of high frequency words.  I would like purposeful activities and tasks which are rewindable and recordable, and encourage higher order thinking, which in turn will help with engagement.  Having said that, my learners are only five years old and I understand the need for careful scaffolding to ensure they understand the activities and how to use Explain Everything correctly to get the maximum learning benefits.

Earlier this week I used Explain Everything for the first time during our reading lessons with the learners who had been at school since the beginning of the year.  The activity follows on from the guided reading session, and each group was carefully scaffolded at teaching table.  We completed the activity first as a group and then once independently at the teaching table, before they took their iPads and books to another table and did the activity for a third time independently.  It was amazing to see the engagement and willingness to complete the activity again and again.  Even learners who are harder to behaviourally engage in the classroom were motivated and completed the project with minimal assistance from their teacher aide.

An example of an Explain Everything project from this week.
Learners use their book to help them put the sentence together.

What the completed project looks like.  Learners then record and read the
sentence so I can hear how they are doing away from the teaching table.
Additionally, one of the great things about Explain Everything, is it links to the learners individual Google Drive and using Hapara Teacher Dashboard I'm able to review their work later in the day and see how they went about completing the activity.

A screenshot of my Teacher Dashboard from last year.
This post appears as my contribution to the Auckland University's Top of the Class blog this week.

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