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.

Monday, 29 February 2016

My PES Inquiry into Practice 2016

Today is our first inquiry meeting for 2016 after an initial discussion with Juanita Garden (AP at Pt England School) to assist us with finalising our inquiry for 2016.  This year I'm wanting to have my inquiry compliment my MIT inquiry, so will be focusing on writing.  During our collaborative time this afternoon I'll be presenting my initial ideas which are summarised on this presentation.

I look forward to hearing the inquiry's of others and also taking away even more ideas to use in my own inquiry.

Monday, 22 February 2016

My Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) 2016

Today was the first professional learning group of the Spark MIT cohort, and gave us an opportunity to share and critique our inquiry problems and the evidence we have collected which highlights the existence of our problems.  This was a great opportunity to think more deeply about the problem through collaborative discussions and ensure we are clear before we begin the Spark MIT inquiry process.  

The Problem Identified:

  • During a writing session, some learners struggle to produce even one sentence.

One of the things I did today was to brainstorm some hypotheses as to why this problem may occur in my class, as well as documenting the evidence that I have so far examined.

Hypothesis of Potential Reasons:

  • Writers who are reluctant and not motivated to write
  • Reluctant writers are therefore not practicing writing in order to improve (writing mileage)
  • Learners who don’t have an audience to write for

What Evidence Exists of the Problem:

  • Learners’ e-Asttle writing results at the end of 2015 and early 2016
  • Blogs with a history of writing completed to date for all learners who were at Pt England last year
  • Observations of learners in my classroom
  • Student voice – what my learners currently think about writing and who reads it

I've consolidated my Spark MIT inquiry question to:

Using an authentic audience to enhance the motivation and writing mileage for learners in my classroom.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

New Year .. New Level ... New Challenges

Just a week into the 2016 school year and I'm excited about the new challenges this year will present.  After two years at Year 0/1, this year I'm again teaching with iPads, but in a Year 3 classroom.  Over the holidays I've put some time into adapting some of my resources for this new level as well as having an in depth look at the curriculum at this new level.

School returned at Pt England on Tuesday, and it was great to meet the learners I'd be teaching this year - some of them I have in fact taught before, in my first year of teaching so it was doubly great to see how far these learners had come!

Week 1 in my classroom was all about setting up routines and getting to know the uniqueness of each learner!  I'm looking forward to using my Class Room Site more this year as these learners have had 1 - 2 years with an iPad to assist their learning already, and are more confident at navigating the site to access their learning!  Additionally, these learners are able to share their learning with the world in a much more independent way than my previous class was able to, via their blogs and I'm looking forward to having them engaged and motivated by comments I hope they will receive through this medium.

As has been the case for the last two years, all my planning and is available on my site (visible learning) and this year my activities are also accessible as this is where my learners will be accessing them directly.  Our Year 3/4 team at Pt England has a "superhero" theme for Term 1, which was the inspiration for my Site header and Class Blog - celebrating the heroes in Room 15!  I'm looking forward to sharing the successes and challenges throughout the year as well as documenting some unique opportunities that I'm lucky enough to be part of this year.