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, 5 March 2015

Using my H.O.T. template ... small beginnings

As I've documented in my blog earlier this term, my inquiry is focusing on creating Explain Everything projects to encourage Higher Order Thinking with my five year olds.

I've created a template which I want my learners to use with a variety of books and I want to see if continued use of the same generic template can encourage greater HOT and, if over a period of time I see improvement through its continued use.

Today we used my "Wanted" template for the first time as a whole class.  We read a shared Big Book and unpacked the four characters in the book.  I carefully scaffolded the activity with the learners and we completed the activity as a whole class, drawing on ideas from everyone.  Then there was the opportunity for learners to do it individually.

There was varying levels of success with the activity - some learners did really well with the drawing and writing but needed support with the recording.  Other learners' struggled more with the drawing and writing components but did an impressive job with their orally recorded explanation.   I now have a completed project for each learner and I will be able to compare progress over the next four weeks - it is my intention to complete the activity at least once a week until the end of term.  The beauty of it being an Explain Everything project is that I can add it to an existing project as an extra for my higher level reading groups!

Here is a small selection of some of the results from today's first effort - it is important to note that many of these learners have been at school less than a month!

This is Mr Bear and he makes me feel sleepy because he told the boy to go to sleep.

The bear made me laugh because it was silly.

The bear is scary and he made me so sleepy. (Why did he make you sleepy?)  Cos he was scaring me.


  1. Karen I love the way you aren't shying away from higher order thinking with new entrant students. The fact that they are describing a book character and sharing their learning, even before they can write, is fantastic.

  2. Thanks Juanita - its amazing to see how better they were at this activity the second time we did it :)