Monday, 21 August 2017

Observation at Pt England School

Today I am at Pt England School in Glen Innes, Auckland, New Zealand. I have set up an observation here to try and understand how digital tools are being used in their junior classrooms, with a particular focus on reading.

What are the learning intentions for reading today?
  • Comprehension of a text and answering questions 
  • Justifying with evidence from the text
What digital tools are being used in the classroom today?
  • HyperStudio: Learners before school are using Hyperstudio to create drawings and animations. Learners are hugely engaged in this program and were really keen to show me, even a stranger, what they have been making. 
  • Class sites: Very effective way of learners accessing their learners. Probably took a bit of setup and modelling from the teacher, but here I am in Term 3 and the learners are instantly able to find their learning because they know exactly where to go. 
  • Explain Everything: Similar to Stonefields School, Pt England's main teaching tool on the iPads is Explain Everything. But it was really powerful to go to a different classroom and see the ways they are using the tool. I gained so many new ideas!!! I have listed below some of the different ways they are using it to support learners in reading. 
Lots of voice recording activities. Listen to the word and record etc. Drag and drop activities to make words e.g PR and IDE. Reading aloud to the iPad, video or voice record yourself reading the story. Comprehension questions are done in E.E. Describe the characters. Think about why characters acted the way they did. Give some facts you learned about the topic i.e Hippos. Agree or disagree with a statement, give evidence. Book reviews about books - summarize and react to the book in a video. Take a photo or draw a drawing of your favourite part of the story and tell me why.  Labelling from a picture. Finding words from the book to finish gaps in a sentence. Compare and contrast the different characters. Spelling words for the week. 

  • Blogtouch: A different way of blogging - seems very user friendly.  We use Blogger at Stonefields but this program has a really successful that works really well. 
  • Sunshine Classics:  Huge library of digital ebooks. Also has supporting activities for working with letter sounds and high frequency words.
  • Storyline Online:  Huge library of digital ebooks as well, all online. Can be used to support the students physical texts, along with follow up activities. 

Other useful observations
Email addresses and passwords all printed out to make it easy if a learner forgets, kept near iPads. 
iPad numbers are printed alongside names on the iPads. Makes it easier to troubleshoot iPads. 

Thank you!
A huge thank you to the amazing Ms Nadler, Ms Peck and Ms Gaston for all their support today. Seeing your learners using their digital tools was really inspiring for me and I have left with dozens of new ways to use the in my literacy practice. 


  1. Great write up on what resonated with you when visiting your colleagues. Coming from a school that hosts so many visitors, it must have been refreshing to sit in the visitors' chair and connect with the children and how they access their learning. It is very interesting to read about what captured your attention in these classes. Are you aware that all Manaiakalani schools are given free access to Sunshine Classics?

  2. HI Lunn, I am a Year 2 and 3 teacher from Park Estate School. Thank you for sharing your inquiry about digital tools. I find Chatterpix and Puppet Pals helpful to encourage speaking in the class. You might have heard of it before. We also use Seesaw in our schools to teach our juniors about sharing their learning and making positive comments. From which year group do you teach your children update their own blogs?
    Kind Regards

  3. Great to see collobaorating acroos schools can support with innovating new ways of doing things.

  4. Hi Troy, it's great to see that you enjoyed your visit to our school! I am interested to read about what you noticed and have reflected on in your blog. Have you made any changes to your personal practice as a result? I would love to return the favour and see how you do things at Stonefields sometime.