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, 3 March 2015

Using SOLO taxonomy to create Explain Everything projects

Our whole staff professional development this week looked at SOLO taxonomy and how we can encourage higher order thinking in our learners.

My professional inquiry group met this afternoon to discuss and create an Explain Everything project to incorporate the different levels of the SOLO structure.  As a group we unpacked how this could look for our learners and explored some examples of SOLO HOT maps and graphic organisers.  While many of these look great, I am aware that my learners are unable to write yet, and don't want to have this as a limiting factor for what they are able to achieve.

Our group focused on describe (unistructural and multistructural level) and compare/contrast (extended abstract) activities during our session today.  We decided that rather than using one specific book we would create our projects as 'templates' so that we could use them over a range of different titles.  I've chosen to use oral language in my describe activity:

For my compare/contrast activity, my template is blank however I will need to add photos to at least one side of the Venn diagram to assist my five year olds.   The plan is for them to find similarities in photos (either those I provide, or a combination of provided photos & some they take) and to move common things to the overlapping segment of the circles.  I liken this activity to my recent creation for the title "Brave Father Mouse" where I asked learners to compare what is in their lunch box to what a mouse eats.

Our inquiry group have used the images of SOLO on the projects so learners start to identify with these as they complete activities over the year.  I also plan to include key vocabulary (eg describe, compare, contrast) on my wall in the classroom under these icons and focus on unpacking these words, one at a time, with my learners.  

Following this session, I can see that my Wanted Poster idea which I'd previously created also links to SOLO and encourages higher order thinking!

I'm looking forward to trialling at least one of these activities with my learners this week as an additional follow up to reading and will blog the results!

It is great to work with other teachers with similar inquiry topics and unpack and discuss our ideas - the power of collaboration!  The other teachers in my inquiry group are (with links to their blogs):

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