Welcome to my blog! I'm Karen Belt, a fourth year teacher working at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua, New Zealand. I'm teaching in a Year 3 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, 31 May 2016

Reading for Understanding

As part of our ongoing school wide Professional Development, today we had another session with Dr Rebecca Jesson, to upskill and provoke us in the curriculum area of reading.   Firstly we recapped from our last session and discussed as a team what we had achieved to date.  Some important reminders from that session were:

Image result for vocabulary

Widen and deepen vocabulary knowledge by:

  • Multiple texts for word recycling
  • Relationships between words, meanings and concept development
  • Word walls for scaffolding
Increasing depth and breadth to allow learners to deepen their understanding as well as provide repetition of content learning over texts.

Higher order creation activities from multiple texts


Themes that cross texts - eg children who are heros

Rebecca reminded us that  ... "A good text should be both a mirror and a window" and that teaching vocabulary, is a "big ticket" item in our reading program.


New learning from today's session focused on:
Image result for empowerment

Empowerment or self monitoring or agency or ownership by the learner.

We were encouraged to consider:

  • scaffolding to support to independence  -  learners need to be able to stand on their own
  • are learners offered opportunity to tackle things "without us" but with "support" from us


What would make the learner want to?   (motivation ... engagement ... of our learners) - free choice?

Ideally, we are working towards:

  • learners who notice whether the text makes sense
  • learners who notice whether they understand
  • learners who problem solve
  • learners who persist

As a team we discussed what this would look like and how we can scaffold learners towards this with such questioning as:

  • How do you know you are right?
  • Were you right?
  • Did the text give you what you need?
  • Did the text give you something you can use?
  • Make the thinking visible - eg with highlighting, voice notes, screen-casting

As always, Rebecca has made me think about not only my deliberate acts of teaching but also my follow up activities and how I can give my learners more choice and opportunities to demonstrate their understand in creative ways.











1 comment :

  1. Thanks for sharing this Karen. I was sorry to be missing Rebecca's input this term, but think I have the gist thanks to your post :) I would be interested in hearing more about being a 'mirror and a window' so will catch up with you about that - in a while!

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