Karen Chao
Hi, I am team leader of Year 5 and 6 at Muritai School. I've been teaching for a long time but enjoy learning new things. I have a class of 28 lovely, motivated Year 5 students who love ICT and we are all learning to integrate it better into our programmes.
Suzie has been a joy to work with and always inspires me to try new things.

Our Blog

This is my class blog which is being used as a digital newsletter of my class happenings and events. I have been blogging since last year and I love it. Feedback from parents has been really positive. When I update, I send a message to parents from Etap so they know to have a look. It really works and stimulates interest. Parents have been motivated to then visit the classroom as well. Click on the picture of the blog to go to it.

Action Research

Below is the link to the wiki Suzie and I have developed to support my action research project. Pete Hull and I are looking at motivating students to improve the speed and accuracy of their basic facts. We have assessed present knowledge and attitudes towards maths and explained to the students that they will be the 'test' group to see if we continue with this for all the children in the class (which they think is wonderful). There are a group of eight low ability children using internet games that drill them in basic facts with the wiki below set up to provide the links. This is their independent maths activity (numeracy contract) every day. We use our laptop pod so that each child has their own and they play these games for 20 minutes a day, 5 times a week for three weeks in total. We will be retesting their knowledge and attitudes at the end of the project. Click on the picture below to take you to the wiki.


12/5 Today was the first day of the project. Students were keen but I didn't allow enought time initially to log on and prepare the laptops.
13/5 Much better today. Managed the log on process efficiently. The group are writing reflective comments in diary form.I need to allow time for this to be done well.
15/5 Kids are enjoying using the games and they feel they are improving. We had issues in that the wiki was bookmarked on the pod but some computers seemed to have lost the bookmark. We have since added them back and it seems to be better now.
16/5 Tony's tires was a real hit. The carrot was the car race at the end of the game. Very motivating. Comments reflect that it was a fun game.Robbie was supposed to be sick today but came anyway carrying his laptop when he arrived! He didn't want to miss out !
21/5 The group and I had a discussion about their progress. They generally feel that they have improved their knowledge and speed. We have decided to step it up and eliminate easier tables they already know and keep challenging themselves with the more difficult ones.
Reflective comments today were....


J wrote .....I am probably getting better and I made a score that I will try and beat. My record has been 76 out of 100.
P wrote........Today I did the 9x and 8x tables and i am improving.Highest score was 12 correct.
l wrote ...Today I learned the 6 and 5x tables and I am getting way better at Maths. I'm way more confident and my maximum score is 12.
A wrote .....Today I practised my 9 x tables and know all of them by heart. I'm improving Maths a lot now. Yah !!! I love maths and the monkey game. My best score is 20.
R wrote ..... We have been playing Jungle Jim . My best score has been 19. I am improving. I did the 5 x tables today.
M wrote,... I tried to beat the score on the laptops . It's fun. My max score is 11 !! I did the 6 and 5 x tables. I am improving.
26/5 Retested today with Target test 5 and student results have shown significant improvement. Very positive outcome.

Fantastic to see the kids actually realising the benefits of ICT and verbalising them! Gameplaying is the best way to engrain basic facts-your research proves it!
Nigel Frater; Korokoro School.

Hi Karen. I thought your action research was really successful. The maths website you have set up was a hit with the children in my class.
What's your ICT focus for this term? Stu.

Expo Feedback
Once again it was an amazingly well run Expo and I gained quite a lot of ideas. The sessions I attended were on E portfolios and Keynote. The presenters were very challenging and enjoyable to listen to. They made me think a lot which was great considering it was the first day of the holidays. Thanks for all the hard work ICT team.

Last Term I was lucky enough to visit some amazing schools on Auckland as part of a cluster visit. All the schools were wonderful but the ones I enjoyed the most were Summerland and Pt England. My wish list for equipment could go on and on. How wonderful to have a digital projector permanently in your room. My big learning curve was to see how learning intentions and ICT were embedded very naturally in programmes. This was very impressive. I have come back with lots of ideas buzzing in my head and picked up some supers maths ideas as well.

Term 3 Focus
This term I have been working on my students leaving worthwhile comments on blogs. They tended to leave flippant comments but are capable of leaving relevant and supportive ones. This has involved them working in pairs and writing out the comment they want to leave- 2 or 3 sentences, editing it and bringing it to me before typing it in. It seems to be making a difference to the quality and spelling of comments left. We spend the first 10 minutes in the lab each week looking at blogs and leaving comments.

Another focus will be using Keynote to present poetry that the students have written. I am quite new to Macs so this programme will be a challenge. During the Expo I attended a course on using Keynote in Poetry so will try to implement what I learned in the brief session.

My blog is going really well and it is easy to update. Parents have found it a really good way to keep in touch with what their children are doing.We love all the dots on the world map from traveling parents, relatives or friends.

End of Term 3 Reflection

We managed to complete our Action project for the Take Action for Energy inquiry. As we wanted to save paper we saved it as a digital newsletter and a link to it was emailed to all parents at Muritai. There is a link on our school website. We hope to get a copy out each term for the rest of the year. All the class worked on it in groups. Working totally on Pages was a challenge and saving it as a pdf to share was another added challenge. A wonderful experience for all the class. You can check it out at www.muritai.school.nz and click on the link.
Although I was hoping to use Keynote for poetry it didn't happen! We just ran out of time. During our Inspiring Athletes however, we published our shared inquiries in Keynote. With Stu's guidance and class examples it was relatively easy to use. A plus was that the server didn't crash but the downside was limited shared access to the laptops and the PCs in our lab don't have the Mac software. Saving to our server was another hurdle that we are working through. It is a complicated procedure that needs teacher guidance at times otherwise we have the issue of saving to the desktop and making sure you get the same laptop each time. Overall I was pleased with the presentation and students are gaining skills in making their pages different and have impact. Our individual inquiries were published by hand just for convenience.

Overall we have made excellent use of the laptops this term for research and presentation skills. Our comments on blogs have improved in quality as well. It has become a regular and valuable part of our lab time.