Monday, 18 May 2015

Where am I up to? Term 2 - SLOW DOWN!

Ok, so there has been a lot of thinking going on recently, but not a lot of blogging. I reflect constantly on what I am doing in the classroom, as many teachers do. My reflections sometimes result in a change of practice, sometimes in a conversation with a colleague, sometimes with some research or investigation.

I have been looking at how to create Explain Everything activities that provide high cognitive engagement, specifically in reading. I have come up with some concepts that have worked and I will continue to include in follow up activities, but I have also realised that I am too time poor to change the world in a day. While this sounds overly dramatic, in all seriousness I need to slow down with my changes as it is going to drive myself and my kids batty. My students are never going to be independent if I keep changing what they do. When I think about the greatest need in my class this year, it is to develop some level of independence.

Fortunately, a couple of amazing teachers (Michelle George and Karen Belt) paved the way for this roll out of iPads with an iPad pilot class in 2014. They created a fantastic bank of Explain Everything activities for a number of PM readers and these have become the basis of a lot of the follow up work we are giving our children. The beauty of this is that we can slowly develop our own style of Explain Everything follow up tasks in reading, while having a bank of very good activities to use at the same time. I sometimes use these activities as they are, I sometimes add to them before I give them to the students, and I sometimes create my own from scratch.

Over the holidays I pondered the cognitive engagement of my students in maths time. I hadn't felt like maths had been ticking along particularly well in term one - there seemed to be many interruptions, the students appeared to be even less independent in maths than in literacy, and I was finding it hard to give them things that would extend their knowledge as well as practice essential skills needed for Stages 0-4.

So.... where to next? I'm looking more at maths as well as reading, keeping on sharing ideas with colleagues, and using what is already made and making adaptations to them.

My most recent word of the moment was TEMPLATES. My new words are COLLABORATE and ADAPT.

Keep it real Laura and stop ordering a combo when you really only need the fries.


  1. Not sure how having a focus on higher order thinking activities in maths as well as reading is slowing down!
    But, looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
    Lisa has a quiz idea that you might be interested in. A template that students can write in their equation with a drawing on the first card, then the answer on the next card. Could work for your level.

  2. I love the way you describe building on the learnings of your colleagues. This is what makes teaching so satisfying. I love seeing the collegiality and collaboration you engender.