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 2 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.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Manaiakalani Film Festival 2016

Earlier this month I once again contributed a movie to the annual Manaiakalani Film Festival.   With slightly older learners this year I asked for their ideas and tried to incorporate them all into the movie - no mean feat given they had SO many ideas.

Over the last few years I have come to realise it is really important to do three things:

  • Plan REALLY well, including a full list of all screen shots (really handy as you can film out of order)
  • Always film MORE footage than you think you will need - definitely the case this year but that way there is little need to refilm (and try to get things exactly as they were on the day)
  • Allow more TIME than you think you need for editing - it always takes longer!  Movies this year were due in week 8 and I organised to film in week 2, which was way earlier than most.  This gave me six weeks to work on editing (and it took nearly that long)
The opportunity of the Film Festival for my learners is amazing.  I have some learners that I taught back in Year 1 so they knew that they would have the opportunity to dress up and get into their roles.  For me, I try to make the experience enjoyable and different for my learners.  They all get the opportunity to dress up and become the character.  I also try to add the fantasy and "wow" moments by using the green screen room.  This ensures that learners (who don't see the movie until it is on the big screen) don't really know what to expect.  

So, without further ado, my Manaiakalani Film Festival entry for 2016 ... see what happens when its not "Just Another Day!"

Monday, 21 November 2016

My Spark Manaiakalani Inquiry Review

Its hard to believe its been a year since I began my inquiry but today was our last meeting at Spark HQ to reflect on the progress we have made.  As part of this, we recorded our presentation, with additional commentary on our overall thoughts on learner shift as well as personal learning.

The "Thinglink" below provides links to all aspects on my inquiry:

The opportunity to be a Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher for 2016 was amazing and I've grown professionally as a result.  Its been a privilege to join the other teachers involved this year (particularly given the Manaiakalani Outreach teachers were also involved) and I've thoroughly enjoyed following their inquiry progress and presenting with them all this year.

I look forward to continuing my inquiry journey into 2017 and have shared all my resources publicly so that other teachers (and learners) are able to also benefit.

Finally, a huge thanks to the Spark Foundation and Manaiakalani Trust for the opportunity.  Their generous support continues to open up opportunities for both learners, teachers and the wider community.

Presenting at ULearn 2016

Monday, 31 October 2016

Sharing gems and collaborating on the problem solving

Image result for collaborationToday in our inquiry groups we had an opportunity to share some gems from our inquiry as well as discuss things we might be struggling with and brainstorm some ideas.  It was an amazing session and we had teachers from different areas and year levels to contribute to the discussion.  Some of the things we discussed and shared included:

  • Samoan Proverb: ‘Ia teu le VĂ¥’ Va is the space between, the between-ness, not empty space, not space that separates but space that relates, that holds separate entities and things together in the unity-in all, the space that is context, giving meaning to things. A well known Samoan expression is ‘Ia teu le va’, cherish/nurse/care for the va, the relationships. This is crucial in communal cultures that value group, unity, and more than the individual person/creature/ thing in terms of group, in terms of va, relationships.” Albert Wendt - respecting the same between us and the learner or group of learners and keeping this at the forefront of our practice, particularly when dealing with difficult situations
  • creating a culture for your space - as well as creating this culture, make sure the learners feel ownership of the culture and also you, as the teacher, take ownership of the culture also.  Reaffirm the culture frequently
  • ensure the learners know why they are doing an activity/task a certain way - at times you need to explicitly teach it, or teach the 'why' behind it
  • feedback is important but needs to be manageable and sustainable - one suggestion was to give written feedback fortnightly on a cycle, to support the verbal/oral feedback in the classroom
  • understand your learners and use extrinsic motivators (eg Class Dojo) to achieve desired behaviours - where possible make these visible but as unobtrusive as possible

While some of the things we discussed today seem "obvious" its great to hear other teachers' opinions  and hear some new ways of doing things to try in my own classroom.  Its great to have an opportunity to discuss things openly, particularly at a time of the year which can be more difficult and time pressures continue to intrude.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

ULearn Opening Showcase

It was great to present with my fellow Class OnAir teachers Matt Goodwin and Nicola Wells, sharing about Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir.  It was somewhat nerve-wracking that the slides for our presentation automatically advanced every 20 seconds, so timing was definitely everything!

Friday, 7 October 2016

ULearn 2016 Day 3

The final day and the sun comes out!  That will make walking between sessions so much easier :)

SESSION 6: iPads are HOT Tools!  Emilie O'Keefe and Casey Patuawa

Google Classroom - great to monitor who is doing their work and who isn't allowing for more accountability

Puppet Pals - ability to make their own puppet or use a photo of themselves and record voiceover as you move your puppets

Drawing pad/Draw and Tell - can draw as well as voice over
Odd one out task - which is the odd one out and why?  What can you do with these numbers?

Book Creator - create an inquiry presentation on a topic - gives learners ownership that they are an author

piZap - photography app; very similar to PicCollage but without the adverts - create a photo mosaic from photos that they have taken, add words to describe and then share to blog.  Would be great for this term when we are doing science experiments

Writing planning idea to scaffold ideas - describe a setting - use a picture and describe it with words around the outside.

Give learners "iExplore" time so they can explore the app - share back how they used it and what they found?  You can then fill in the gaps of what is necessary to use the app.

SESSION 7:  Dynamic Digital Technologies for Narrative Assessments - Diana Wilkes & Kyle Hattie

Narratives are written by the learning coaches (teacher) for the learners and shared on their blogs.  Different tools are used to craft these narratives.  The school is exploring having their learners write their own narratives using a standard format.

BreakOutEdu - a fun way of problem solving  -  a great way to check understanding on concepts and build on collaboration in the classroom.  Need multiple locks and clues.

EdPuzzle - possibly great for teachers - have questions throughout the video so that learners need to leave comments or answer questions about the videos

NearPOD - learners all use a PIN to enter the presentation - teacher drives how fast you move through, when teacher moves to the next slide, the learners device moves along with you

Comic Life - great for creating comics and creative posters/pages

Movenote - video in the side and presentation on the right

Image result for karen spencer nz

CLOSING KEYNOTE:  Karen Spencer - Beyond the echo chamber:  The extraordinary possibilities of a networked profession (@virtuallykaren)

"Weave the aho and the ideas together to achieve success."  Praxis makes perfect  -  exploring ideas and putting them into practice.  All the professional learning of today is driven by teachers - collaboration!  Teachers make the biggest difference in the lives of our learners.  Consider your conversations in terms of immediate value, potential value and applied value.  Of even more importance, think about the realised value (this can't be determined until we have talked to our learners), and the reframing value (changing an approach based on the feedback from our learners).  No single person has a monopoly on good ideas - this just reinforces the need for collaboration.
Image result for methods matter
Methods Matter!

Karen shared three main ideas with us:

Find the Urgency - which is the area that YOUR learners need the most?
Hold our ideas lightly.  There is no solution - plan carefully before you introduce anything.  Teachers are constantly redesigning to find solutions to educational problems - it is therefore necessary that our time is spent on the most important things.  The NZ Curriculum is a great resource to help prioritise and identify ares of need.  Spend time trying to understand where the vision is already in evidence and where changes could be made so that the learners feel it more strongly.

Image result for holding a match

See the story behind the data - listen to your learners, gather the voice/stories of your learners and treat them like a piece of art.  Bring the different viewpoints in order to look for what is really going on with the learners and where we can spend our time most usefully.

Embrace discomfort - we only see things through our own interpretations (or bias) and these guide our actions.  Part of being a modern educator is being comfortable with having our own bias' exposed and discussed.  There is often a pressure to conform through a fear of looking different.    What can we achieve if we embrace discomfort or include our devils advocate voice?  It is OK to have different views.  Our role is to look at how professional learning conversations allow people to safely air their views in ways that celebrate diversity and help people check the assumptions that are driving their actions.

What does the research say?  Look for evidence that your innovation is working - is it making a difference for your learners?  After all, we are teaching to make a difference in their lives of our learners - education doesn't change the world, education changes people and its people that change the world!

As always happens, talking to other teachers can be really inspiring.  These are a few other ideas that I'd like to explore after talking to other teachers during the breaks:
Swift Playground - a coding environment that can be used on iPads as iOS10 and above
Ant Word Profiler - a freeware tool for profiling the vocabulary level and complexity of texts.
Discover first tweet  -  a tool to find your first ever tweet.

Would a great three days of Professional Development and I'm looking forward to taking some of the inspiring ideas back into my classroom - thanks to CORE Education and all the presenters, and also to Manaiakalani for the great opportunity!

ULearn 2016 Day 2

Great to be back for Day 2 of ULearn 2016.  A very full day with a keynote, ministerial address and three break out sessions!

OPENING KEYNOTE - Michael Fullan - New Pedagogies for Deep Learning

Children are highly creative and its important that schools don't squash this creativity.   Often the millennial's rebel against organisation - they are keen to explore the changes required to move forward.

How do we make the "Six C's" of character, citizenship, collaborating, communication, creativity, critical thinking shine in the classroom?

  • Deep learning and equity go hand in hand - it connects to the real world if we provide authentic experiences
  • It builds relationships of trust with our students
  • It increases optimism with students
  • It provides support systems for learners that traditionally have not have enough support
  • Accountability and Standards by themselves will not effect change
  • A change in system culture - collaboration within and across schools, leadership from the middle; supported by pathways to success
  • Respect and reject the status quo
  • Be an expert and an apprentice
  • Experiment and commit to getting it right - keep working until you get the solution you are looking for
  • Students become agents of change (pedagogy change, organizational change, societal change), working alongside teachers as agents of change (human capital, quality of the group, the group gets better at using evidence to show what they are doing)
  • The job of leaders is to make learners run better
  • Live by a motto of "less is more" and give learners choice
  • Be willing to admit you don't know the answer
  • Its OK to make mistakes and create opportunities for revision
  • Ensure students feel they belong in the classroom
  • Leaders/Teachers listen, learn and ask questions
  • Leaders/Teachers help crystalize, articulate and feedback what they see
  • Deep learning incorporates parents, families and communities
  • Pedagogy is the driver, technology the accelerator and culture the runway
  • Coherence - simplexity - make things more simple!

"The job of education today is to produce better citizens for tomorrow, today"

ADDRESS - Hon Hekia Parata

It was great to hear Minister Parata speak this morning and some of the messages that resonated with me are:

  • It can only be the profession (teachers) that can lead learning and learning outcomes
  • Standards don't create professional behaviour or accountability - they are 'part of' but not the whole of
  • If the profession is not focused on how we create, with young people in the centre, young people will not be educationally successful 
  • How does funding more closely align with what is the size of the educational change?
  • We need to take advantage of the all the possibilities, not just in NZ, but what we see happening overseas
  • We need to remind ourselves constantly about the wonderful educational system we have in NZ - we still need to strive to improve, and use all the functionality that we have available to us
  • 7 big system levers that the government is working on (puzzle card) - what pedagogical changes are we going to make in our Community of Learning?
  • We are a small, smart, sassy nation and education is the critical pivot of that nation

SESSION THREE - Helen King & Karen Belt - Redefine your classroom with Explain Everything

It was great to present with Helen again this year at ULearn and share the great things we do in the classroom with Explain Everything.  Details of our presentation are available at this blog post.

SESSION FOUR:  Dorothy Burt & Fiona Grant - Apple Smacdown

A great Apple Smacdown full of lots of tips and tricks!  Some of those that were shared include:
  • Become an Apple Teacher ... coming to New Zealand sometime soon - can't wait!
  • How to put the macron in the right place in a word - a great online resource
  • Preview App - annotate PDF, edit images, resize images, remove background images
  • iTunesU - resources for learners to access based on a class assignment
  • Keyboard shortcuts - I really love the F3 - expose - view all open windows; command & spacebar to open up the search bar
  • Collaborative Keynote - work with others to create a keynote
  • Maths Shake - app designed by teachers for teachers to support maths learning
  • Using Siri to edit work
  • Swift Playgrounds for coding and app creation  (Lightbot for younger learners)
SESSION FIVE:  Writing tips and tricks in the iPad classroom - Amie-Lee Mills & Trudi Fausett

The last session I attended for the day shared ideas to motivate reluctant writers.

Spelling books - a fun and exciting way to practice your spelling words using Book Creator and Mojo Masks - post your book to your blog when complete at the end of the week.

  • write your words in your handwriting book - take a photo of these
  • type each of your works into Book Creator five times - change the colour/font 
  • record yourself saying each of the words using Mojo Masks which save as a movie to your camera roll - put these in your book
  • at the end of the week, buddy test the words and take a photo of your test - add it to your book
  • post your book to your blog
Siri to check spelling - learners underline all the words they are unsure on the spelling in their writing and then use Siri to give them the correct spelling by asking Siri, "how do you spell .... "?

Responsive writing  -  pen pal writing between 2 different classes in different schools - use Google Docs and/or learner emails to support this.

TES teach with Blendspace - great for creating a shared space to direct your learners - I could link this from my class site for added ease of access.

Keepvid - an alternative to Clipgrab for downloading You Tube and other video clips

WOW!  What a big day - looking forward to the dinner tonight and another great day of learning tomorrow!

Presenting at ULearn

It was great to present again at ULearn with +Helen King and showcase some of the ways that we use Explain Everything in our classrooms.  The session was hands on, allowing attendees to create using Explain Everything so they had a resource they could use in their classroom.

This is the presentation we used, which is supported by a Google Site.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

ULearn 2016 Day 1

Once again I'm lucky enough to be attending ULearn, this year in Rotorua.  On Day 1, after the opening Keynote I will be presenting with my fellow Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers. showcasing our inquiries from this year.

Early on in the morning, one of the first messages was to promote the Connected Educator opportunities offered throughout the year by CORE Education.  I'm looking forward to exploring these opportunities after ULearn.

OPENING KEYNOTE:  Larry Rosenstock - High Tech High

Larry launched his Keynote with a powerfully emotive video, before launching a history of Education in America.  Living in a country that is 'relatively young' it was great to hear the history that Larry shared.

Larry was a carpentry teacher, and this very apt saying resounded with me as a mantra for more than just carpentry.  

Why not integrate different subjects, with real problems and an authentic audience.  Why not Change the Subject?  This second video that Larry presented certainly opens up a world of opportunities.  Unleash teachers and students to design experiences that are authentic and transformed.

BREAKOUT ONE: Ignite your teaching through Innovative Inquiries: by teachers and for teachers 

The Ignite system of presenting was a challenge - slides auto-advanced every 15 seconds!  Dorothy introduced our session with a great over view of Manaiakalani and the Learn Create Share philosophy.  All the teachers that presented during this session share their inquiry via their blogs which are available here.

BREAKOUT TWO:  Rod Scott - Tools to help produce engaged and motivated writers
This breakout followed Rod's inquiry into motivating writers.  Some of the takeaways from this session were:
  • Know me before you teach me - what makes a child an individual.  Build the relationships with the parents.
  • Seek the parent views via a Google Form on the Class Blog
  • Mystery writer via email - write to someone and have them reply 
  • Use other classes as a buddy class to provide feedback on learners blogs
  • Have learners reflect weekly on their writing and post reflections to their blog
For me, this session complimented the work I've been doing for my Manaiakalani Inquiry - I'm looking forward to exploring the class blogs in more detail.

The closing keynote was a great way to finish the day.  Throughout his address John shared some thought provoking messages.  One such message that resonated with me was the difference between Education and Learning.

John challenged educators to make their classrooms relevant, creative, collaborative and challenging - something I feel we are always mindful of at Pt England, but also a timely reminder.  He also suggested that we think beyond just collaboration and content, moving towards Challenge Based Learning where the learner can "feel, imagine, do and share!"  A powerfully inspiring message which leaves me hungry for more on Day 2 of ULearn.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Inquiry Update Term 3

As part of our ongoing school wide inquiry, today we shared our progress with your new groups.  It will be great to share the progress I have made and hear how others' inquiries are progressing.  Below is the presentation that I will share.

Friday, 26 August 2016

MIT Inquiry - sharing with others

It was great to share my Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) inquiry today with those attending the Manaiakalani Hui and also hear in more detail how the inquiries of the other MIT teachers are progressing.

It is my intention to post my presentation on my blog, but will do so in early October following our presentations at the ULearn conference.  That said, as it is now just over half way through the term, its a good time to reflect on the blog commenting challenge which is occurring in my class this term.  So far there have been 182 comments posted (majority by whanau) and our progress graph as of today looks like this:

We continue to share comments in class which helps to serve as a reminder about the challenge.  I'm also seeing some of my learners starting to comment on their friends blogs in the evenings/weekends.  My learners continue to be excited about blogging and many come to school early so they can check their comments before class starts - those that can't quite read their own comments are particularly keen to do this as they know I'm happy to read them before we start our day.

I'm excited to see if the blog commenting continues over the second half of the term and if we can push the total comments closer to 300 before the challenge concludes!

Moving forward ... reflecting on changes that worked

Recently I posted about the changes I was planning to incorporate into my writing program.  I was delighted with my first lesson following that post and wanted to immediately celebrate it's success with a blog post.  However, I was also mindful that sometimes something that is "new" can work as a single one-off lesson but then fail to fire after the newness wears off.  With this in mind, I have waited nearly two weeks (and many writing lessons) to reflect on how its working.

Brainstorming for writing in smaller groups has definitely paid off.  I'm able to pitch each brainstorm at the level of each group and am finding a definite increase in engagement.  Importantly, I'm able to capture the ideas at each level, gift appropriate vocabulary and deepen the ideas and discussion with each group.  Each brainstorm works slightly differently.  With my higher group, I use Padlet which I use my Chromecast to display on the TV.  Learners are also able to access the Padlet directly from their iPad as it is linked on our writing slide.   This group are learning to share their writing with a friend before conferencing with me.

Check out our Padlet of ideas on Shot Put and Valerie Adams
Check our our Padlet of ideas on Kayaking and Lisa Carrington

When I brainstorm with my middle writers, we use the whiteboard.  This group often require more prompting and we often discuss main ideas and sequencing before they begin their independent writing.  My final group of writers complete a dictation task while I'm brainstorming with my other groups.  They then come to the teaching table where we will brainstorm a few main ideas.  This group requires more support and often stay at my table so I can assist with their focus and sentence construction.

It is always great to receive feedback or ideas from others that I can incorporate into my practice as I continually try to innovate for the benefit of my learners.  This was definitely the case with writing recently and I have incorporated some of the great ideas I have received from colleagues into my practice.  Additionally, I received some great feedback from Innes Kennard - "Another suggestion from my peers yesterday was to spend more than one session on a piece of writing"!

This feedback struck a chord as many of my learners would say "How many sentences do I have to write", to which I would reply ... "At least <insert number here based on the learner asking>".  I now realise that by saying "at least", they were taking my number literally and if I said "At least three" they would consider three to be 'good enough' and wouldn't push themselves to write anymore.  I'm extending my writing topic to cover more than one lesson.  I do have a back up writing topic for those 'fast finishes' but I have found that allowing additional time allows me extra conferencing time to work with specific learners and extend them further, but also allows my learners time to make their writing even better.

As always, all my teaching decisions are based on trying to make the maximum impact on my learners, so I feel its only appropriate to end this post with some of the great writing that occurred recently.

"Valerie Adams does the shot put and she won the gold and silver  medal.   She won the gold medal in 2008 in London and won the silver medal in 2016 in Rio. One of her throws was disqualified because she stepped out of the circle. Valerie has big strong muscles to throw a long way." - Julia 

"In the shot put Valerie Adams won the Olympic silver medal.  She won 2 gold medals at earlier Olympic Games. In the shot put Valerie Adams was amazing at the shot put. In the shot put she hold a heavy ball. In the shot put she was amazing at throw the ball. In the shot put l like Valerie Adams because she is good at the Olympic Games." - Sivaenah

"Valerie Adams does  the shot put and she got a silver medal. Back in 2008 she won a gold medal and in 2012 in London she also won a gold medal. USA are  winners of the Rio gold medal. Valerie Adams drinks water before she starts her game.

When she get ready to throw she  stands in a  little circle. It is white so she can aim at the hole so she doesn't lose the ball. Valerie Adams  has strong muscles in her arms to make the shot put go far away. She sets a goal so her team can win. Valerie Adams has to learn from her coach before she starts. She has to throw the ball as far as she can with one hand. 

Valerie Adams got a score for New Zealand.  Valerie was a world champion last year. In  the Olympics, Valerie Adams has to use a heavy ball so it can go over 20 metres." - Bradley

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Tweaking goals and moving forward

As part of our continuing inquiry into practice, yesterday we had the opportunity to reflect on our progress to date and tweak our goals (if necessary) for the remainder of the year.  My inquiry continues to be around motivating (reluctant) learners to write.   I can definitely see progress in many of my writers and the authentic audience provided by whanau commenting more on learners' blogs (part of my MIT inquiry) is definitely helping.

Through reflection I thought about the areas that I feel are still not working effectively and there are two main areas I'm wanting to work on in my inquiry for the remainder of the year:

  • Gifting of ideas and vocabulary to learners who struggle in whole class situations and won't contribute to a brainstorm
  • Finding interesting things to write about or making even the most 'mundane' writing idea seem appealing and exciting to my learners
As always, I try to incorporate specific writing scaffolds and support in areas that learners need during small group teaching, however I have found of late that the whole class brainstorming is not working.  Despite gifting exciting vocabulary and ideas, many learners are not using it and others are still at the "I don't know what to write" stage when we write on any topic that is not 'free choice'.

Yesterday we also had an opportunity to connect with our new school inquiry group - this is a change from the teachers that I have worked with for the last two terms.  In sharing my inquiry with new teachers it gave me an opportunity to hear different ideas as well as formulate a few things to try going forward.  

One of the immediate changes I'm going to make is to brainstorm in smaller groups and depending on the group, in different ways.  I've looked again at the writers in my class and regrouped so that the brainstorm groups can hopefully be more effective.  One of the challenges (particularly in writing) is what to have the other learners doing so they are engaged in meaningful activities.   I'm aiming to use dictation and editing activities which they can do independently until they have had their brainstorm time and are ready to write.  

Another suggestion from my peers yesterday was to spend more than one session on a piece of writing - while this has been problematic in the past, I think the new groupings will support this more effectively.  I look forward to putting this new action plan into place and reflecting on how effective it is.

Monday, 8 August 2016

The Power of Sharing and Collaboration

I really enjoyed connecting, once again, with the other teachers involved in the Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) programme for 2016.   This opportunity enables us to share with the group and hear how each inquiry is going and the progress we have all made to date.  Importantly, through collaborating with others we get unique perspectives and ideas to incorporate into our own inquiries as well as providing others with feedback.

Today's session focused on sharing one success from our inquiry to date as well as an opportunity to receive feedback and suggestions on challenges we have come across.   As with many things, the different experiences and ideas we bring to the table provides for unique viewpoints and ways of looking at things which we may not have thought about.  Additionally, today we started working on our presentations for ULearn 2016 and in my case to present at the Manaiakalani Hui later this month - watch this space, as they say!

The collaborative approach of the Spark MIT reminded me of my experiences in the Manaiakalani Digital Teacher Academy (MDTA) in my first two years of teaching (2014 - 2015).  Each week we met and collaboratively shared our experiences as well as receiving professional development on teaching in a digital classroom.   This unique program, combined with the Honours study through the University of Auckland gave me such a boost to my teaching career.   Co-incidentally, an Addendum was recently released as an addition to the evaluation report on the MDTA completed by the NZ Council for Education Research and I had an opportunity to read this over the weekend.  Its great to see the success of the program continue through the intake of ten new beginning teachers earlier this year into the MDTA 2016 program.  Pt England is lucky to have three of these MDTAs and I really enjoy hearing about their experiences each week and comparing them to my own journey.

The "Challenge" encourages comments

Just over a week into our class blog commenting challenge and I'm amazed at the comments received to date.  My learners have jumped on board the competition (particularly the girls) and are encouraging whanau to comment.

In the first seven days 103 comments have been made on my learners' blogs.  It is important to note that all comments left are being counted.  I'm also commenting (leading by example), and other teachers at Pt England have also commented.

It is hard to know exactly what has made a difference and encouraged these comments.  Obviously my learners are encouraging their whanau to comment which is most noticeable in the four girls who are leaping ahead.  However other comments are being made by Nana's, mothers and older siblings which is great to see and could be attributable to the help sheet sent home just over a week ago.  Importantly, my "help" video has been viewed 14 times and I would hope that some of these views were by whanau as they learnt how to comment.

It is also great to see some of my learners starting to respond to the comments, and this is a focus over the coming weeks in class - how to create a positive digital footprint.

It will be interesting to see over the coming weeks if the trends demonstrated in the first week of the challenge continue and how I can motivate my learners to ensure they continue prompting and encouraging their whanau to be involved.  We are also about to look at blog commenting in class so we will be able to comment effectively on our peers blogs - hopefully creating additional motivation for my learners to write.