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, 6 May 2015

My Inquiry continues ...

... with a Magenta and Red theme!

To assist our with our inquiry this term, we are receiving Professional Development on Literacy Strategies based on the Gwenneth Phillips "First Chance" programme.  This compliments my inquiry question nicely, as my learners are unable to achieve higher order thinking with reading, unless they have the grounding and strategies which are at the grass roots of learning to read.

Currently, all my learners are working at Magenta and Red levels so it was an easy decision to base my inquiry focus on these levels for the term - not at all suggesting they will all still be at Magenta and Red by the end of the term, but you always need to start somewhere!  Many of the techniques and strategies outlined by the programme and reiterated during todays session I already implement in my specific guided reading teaching sessions.  These include:

  • Small group teaching - ideally groups of three learners
  • Orientation of the text - set the learners up to succeed by ensuring the vocabulary used in a text is introduced before the session
  • The use of magnetic letters and whiteboards to follow up each session with word work
As I participated in my session today, and on the drive home I was thinking about the things I could do to further improve my teaching and ensure my learners are understanding the prompts that are recommended and embedding their learning for the future.  Some of the immediate changes I want to implement in my classroom are:
  • the "drum" effect - for one to one pointing, ensure learners are using a drum type effect - this will ensure crisp pointing and prevent the sliding of fingers that I have noticed is creeping in with some of my learners
  • use a wall display near my teaching desk and reinforce "what I say I must see, what I see I must say" with every group every day
  • gifting mistakes by including the correct word in my question to them 
  • continuing to have high frequency words as a part of my follow up activities - provide letters to a word and have the learners sequence and orientate the letters again independently using Explain Everything on the same word they have done at the teaching table.  This will provide repetition and reinforce the learning they have done at the teaching table.

I wasn't lucky enough to attend the original professional development that many of my fellow teachers were involved in some years ago.  It is therefore great to have these sessions to draw on their understandings and knowledge and use this to benefit my learners.

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