Welcome to my blog! I'm Karen Belt, a fourth year teacher working at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua, New Zealand. I'm teaching in a Year 3 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.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Encouraging blog comments

As part of my ongoing Spark MIT inquiry in Term 3 I'm looking to encourage parents, friends and whanau of my learners to comment on their blogs as a way of motivating my learners to write (and post on their blogs).  I mentioned this to whanau during our parent interviews at the end of last term and many were enthusiastic about commenting on their tamariki's blogs - in fact, many started already following our conversation.

I want to harness the enthusiasm of my learners and have them want to write more and post more on their blogs.  The intention is to make writing more authentic and purposeful by encouraging feedback for what learners are posting.  In order for this to succeed I need to give learners a "visual" that they can refer to and see how many comments they have compared to others in the class.  Already they know about the "recent comments" feature on their blogs and I repeatedly have learners come up to me in class and read me (or in some cases ask me to read) their most recent comments - they get really excited every time a new one appears.

I've created a Google Sheet which automatically links to chart which will show the comments learners receive.  There is a little manual inputting required by me each day to log in how many comments are received - a simple entry into the Google sheet which will auto-update the graph.  The process is streamlined as I receive emails when anyone comments on learners' blogs - so its simply a matter of updating the Google Sheet whenever I receive an email (or once a day depending on how many come through).

In order for my learners to monitor their progress, the graph is linked on our Class Site which they can access on their iPads at any time, or from home on phones/computers.


In order to support whanau with commenting on their child's blogs, I'm hoping to have the guides to commenting that I've been creating completed and sent home during week 1.  This not only gives whanau the blog address (and a quick link) but some ideas on what to include in their comments.

Finally, as the term progresses I'm looking to scaffold blog commenting with my class, so they are able to provide feedback on each others posts - another opportunity for them to 'write' as well as another teaching opportunity on creating positive footprints on the internet.

The blogs of the Room 15 learners are available to view here.

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