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 3/4 class using 1:1 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 am a Google Certified Educator #SYD17 and I'm proud of having been a member of the inaugural Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy(MDTA) program and a Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) and an inaugural Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir teacher.

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Structured Literacy UnConference

The Structured Literacy UnConference today was really inspiring and backed up many of the things that I am currently doing in my classroom.  

Big Ideas

Structured literacy is most important for those learners in the orange and red zone in the Ladder of Reading.    


Lesson Ideas

  • Struggling learners need to interact with the sounds and ideas ideally 2 - 3 times a day - how can this be incorporated into my timetable?
  • A4 laminated sheet with the 5 vowels and picture visible during all lessons

Structure of the lesson is always:
  • Review (the letters/sounds from previous levels)
  • Explicit Teaching
  • Student Practice
  • Application
Explicit teacher always includes I Do, We Do, You Do and is specific, clear and direct.

Ideas for Review:
  • Zip through the sounds from earlier packs quickly
  • Heart words - say and spell and say again e.g. my  m_y  my
  • Word cards from previous levels/teaching

Ideas for Specific Teaching:
  • Use of Google Slides (even on the iPad to support lessons, particularly with higher levels)
  • Use different colours for new spelling patterns and underline each sound with a dot and new sounds with a dash
  • Use of your full arm for blending - going down the arm
  • Use of a metal tray with the magnetic letters - red letters for vowels
  • Introduce only one new sound each day
  • For new letters, picture cards starting with that letter e.g. yak, yellow, yoghurt

Ideas for Student Practice:
  • Student practices words (encoding)
  • Ensure explicit teaching on how to write a sentence as part of dictation (from approx. level 3)
  • Mix this up each day e.g. dictated sentences/read a book
Ideas for Application:
  • Read and sort words - could do this via Seesaw
  • Pictures to encode - again, could be done via Seesaw
  • Speed words - these could be sent home

Ideas for Sending Home for Further Practice:
  • Speed words e.g. from the back of the books sent home for further practice
  • Heart words
  • Word building sheets (to be shared)
  • Games to play at home (with notes on specific teaching)
  • Little Learners Love Literacy app - stage 1 is free but rest can be purchased
  • Reading fans

Further Readings and Research

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