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, 3 August 2016

Encouraging Whanau Comments

As part of my Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher inquiry for 2016, I'm looking to increase the blog comments my learners are receiving as a way of motivating the to write.  The use of blogs provides an authentic audience for my learners, but I feel that the most powerful motivator will be the learners own whanau regularly looking (and commenting) on their blogs.  Earlier in the year I sent home bookmarks with links to the learners blogs, but wanted to take this a step further by providing some instructions on how to comment as well as some suggestions for comments.

Late last week, all learners in my class took home a laminated sheet providing this assistance as well as a notice for parents/whanau about a blog commenting competition we have having in Room 15 this term.  This laminated sheet includes:

  • a photo of the learner
  • the address of the learner's blog
  • a QR Code linking to the learner's blog
  • a piece of art the learner created (and were most proud of - learners selected this themselves)
  • instructions of how to comment on a blog
  • some suggested ideas of what to include in a comment
  • a link to a "how to comment" video
  • a QR code linking to the "how to comment" video

While this sheet was in English, it is my intention to look at having this sheet translated into Te Reo and other Pasifika languages.  The sheet was created on Keynote, and I plan to share a template file (in Keynote and Google Slides) for other teachers who may wish to use this sheet.

It is my hope that more parents/whanau will be visiting and commenting on their child's blog over the coming days/weeks.  To further assist, I've used an inbuilt tool provided by Blogger (thanks +Dorothy Burt) giving them a clickable link to the "how to comment" video I have created.  

This feature is available under "Settings - Posts, comments and sharing" and displays on the learners blog like this (after the viewer has clicked on the "Comment" link:

I'm looking forward to seeing if there is a noticeable increase in whanau commenting as well as seeing how my learners respond to receiving (hopefully) more comments on their blogs.  For viewers of my blog that would like to leave a comment on some of my learners blogs, they are available here (and will count towards the challenge).



  1. I am so looking forward to seeing the response from your whānau Karen.
    Well done

    1. Thanks Dorothy - will be posting updates throughout the term on the responses from whanau

  2. Great effort here in inviting whanau to participate. The artwork looks fab too! Here are a few ideas from a Hornby group trying to involve parents as well. There maybe something for you in this. https://goo.gl/photos/xiPxUSkzXm3bbU8H8

    1. Thanks Dave - will check these out & may indeed use some this term!

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