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.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Using the first of my 'SOLO' Explain Everything templates

Today I tried using one of my SOLO Explain Everything templates which we created during our inquiry session yesterday, as an additional activity with one of my reading groups.

They had read "Hedgehog is Hungry" (a Red level PM Reader book) the previous day and taken it home to read with whanau overnight.  Before we did our guided reading session for the day I introduced the template.  We talked about some of the things we'd learnt about hedgehogs in our book and the learners came up with some great ideas, including hedgehogs were spiky, hungry and ate worms.  I showed the group how to use the template and unpacked what the word "describe means".

I then asked the learners to select their favourite picture from the story.  Using this template which I'd shared to each learner in the group using Teacher Dashboard,  they all easily took a photo of their favourite picture from the story.  We took turns recording our ideas about the pictures and once each learner had finished we listened to the recordings as a whole group.  We talked about how many ideas each learner had included in their description.  I plan to use these icons to assist them in working up to including at least three ideas in each description they complete.

Unpacking what they achieved today

Here are two samples of what the learners achieved today - the first time we used the template.

The hedgehog is waiting and he is eating the worm and then <undecipherable>.  
(One idea)

This is hedgehog and it ... This is hedgehog and he eats worms and he's hungry.
(One idea with a little elaboration).

Referring back to the SOLO taxonomy diagram, this activity would fall into the unistructural category with one main idea.  

It is hoped that as learners become more familiar with this activity and more comfortable with recording their ideas, that they will add additional ideas and move further along the above diagram.  I always like to blog about my very first attempt with an activity as it provides a value starting marker from which to compare after a few weeks of additional learning.  

The beauty of Explain Everything templates like this one is that they can be added or combined with other projects and can be used with any book that the learner is reading.  

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