Welcome to our free professional development series on class and student blogging!
This series consists of a range of activities that take you through the process of class and student blogging. While many of the class blog examples we’ve included are from primary grades, the same principles apply for class blogs regardless of student age (including adult learners).
The aim on this activity is to explain how comments are used on class blogs and to provide tips for teaching students quality commenting skills.
- Why comments are important on class blogs
- How comments work
- Examples of comments on class blogs
- How to add a comment
- Teaching quality commenting
- Commonly asked questions about comments
- What now?
Why comments are important on class blogs
Comments are an important part of your class blog. Comments allow students, and other readers, to engage in discussions, share their thoughts and connect with your class blog. Transforming your blog from a static space to an interactive community.
Important parts of the blogging process include encouraging students to:
1. Read other students’ posts.
2. Comment on other students’ posts.
3. Write posts in response to other students’ posts.
It’s amazing how even just a few comments can make student realise they are writing for a global audience — for many it is incredibly motivating.
Discussions in comments are important for reflective learning . Comments that challenge or suggest alternative options encourage you to reflect, revise, evaluate and review your thoughts.
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How comments work
By default, comments are enabled on all newly created blogs, and a comment form will appear at the bottom of posts and pages where readers can respond to what you’ve written.
Here’s what a comment form looks like:
Approved comments are displayed under the individual post or page. You just click on the post title or the comment link to read the comments.
Threaded comments allow readers to reply to other comments inline/nested which encourages better discussion and responses.
Examples of comments on class blogs
Here’s examples of comments on class blogs to check out how educators use comments:
- Welcome to Grade 5 & 6 Guest post – AFL by Visha
- 4KM and 4KJ @ Leopold Primary School CAFE Strategy: Making Predictions
- 4KM and 4KJ @ Leopold Primary School Maldon Camp
- Room 5 Superstars Using technology to become reading superheros
- Room 24, 2012 Guest Post by Ashleigh – Friday Enrichment Programmes
- ELFADA Course Blog Using Images to make instructions more helpful
Here’s examples of comments on student blogs:
- BB’s Awesome blog Blue Light bike ed camp
- Skye’s Super Blog What is your favourite sport in the Olympics?
How to add a comment
1. Click on the heading of the post you wish to comment on or the “comment” link at the top or at the bottom of the post.
2. Scroll down until you can see the “Leave a Comment” section
3. You will be asked for your name (you can use a nickname) and email address (this is not published)
4. You will also need to write the “spam word”
5. Click “submit comment”
Teaching quality commenting skills
This following section on teaching quality commenting skills is adapted, with permission, from Kathleen Morris’s post.
Kathleen teaches at Leopold Primary School in Australia. This is her fifth year blogging with students. Kathleen writes a blog for educators about technology integration, educational blogging and global collaboration ( @kathleen_morris ). She was inspired to refine her teaching of commenting by the wonderful Linda Yollis and her third grade students.
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Reasons why you should teach quality commenting
If commenting skills are not taught and constantly reinforced, students will limit their comments to things like “I like your blog!” or “2KM is cool!”. While enthusiasm is high with these sorts of comments, students are not developing their literacy skills or having meaningful interactions with other members of the blogging community. Conversations in the comment section of a blog are such rich and meaningful learning experiences for students. Conversations begin with high quality comments.
Blogging is an authentic avenue for developing student literacy skills. When you invest the time in teaching, modelling, revising and promoting high quality writing of comments, students can make great gains in their overall literacy development.
Set your standards high from the start and reap the rewards!
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How to teach quality commenting
Kathleen teaches commenting skills through:
- Modelling and composing comments together with students on the interactive whiteboard.
- Teaching students about the “letter” format and editing process during writing lessons.
- Giving examples of a poor/high quality comments and having students vote whether the comment should be accepted or rejected. Example of a Sorting blog comments activity devised for our students here.
- Having students read and comment on a post on our blog as part of a literacy rotation on the computer each week.
- Taking students to the ICT room once a week to work on composing a quality comment with a partner.
- Emailing parents and encouraging them to write comments on the blog with their child.
Kathleen and her team teacher partner, Kelly Jordan, invests a lot of time focusing on teaching her students how to write ‘quality comments’ and helping students to understand what quality comments means.
Teaching quality commenting, with constant reinforcement, and setting high standards increases your students literacy skills which provide a good foundation for when you move them onto writing posts on the class blog or their own student blogs.
The strong emphasis on developing quality commenting skills is an important reason why teachers like Kathleen Morris, Kelly Jordan and Linda Yollis achieve great results blogging with their students.
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Activities for developing student commenting skills
Here’s a list of ideas you can use to develop your student commenting skils:
- Create a commenting guideline poster (see poster example below) – develop your own or facilitate a collaborative discussion with students to create together (you could include this video as part of the process).
- Develop a quality comment evaluation guide. Refer to Linda Yollis’s Learning how to comment.
- Write a blog post about commenting and what you define as a quality comment. Have your students practise leaving a “quality” comment on the post.
- Create a commenting guideline for your blog. Here’s an example.
Here’s the quality comment guidelines Kathleen’s team teacher partner, Kelly Jordan, published as a poster that is displayed in their room.
You’ll find all their comment information for students and parents here!
- Please remember if you use their poster or adapt someone else’s poster to use with permission and acknowledgement.
Common questions we’re asked about comments
Here’s answers to commonly asked questions we receive into Edublogs Support:
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1. How do you disable comments on pages?
Most Edublogs themes support comments on pages and by default comments are enabled on pages.
You can disable comments on pages using Quick Edit as follows:
1. Go to to Pages > All Pages
2. Locate the post or page you want to disable comments on
3. Hover over it’s title to bring up it’s action menu.
4. Click on Quick Edit, deselect ‘Allow Comments’ and then click on Update.
2. Why won’t comments display on pages?
Most Edublogs themes now support comments on pages however there are a few themes that don’t.
If the theme you are using doesn’t support comments on pages, and you would like this feature, then you will need to use an alternative theme.
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3. How do I make comments display on my homepage?
Traditionally comments are designed to be displayed under a post and you view the comments by clicking on the post title or the comments link. It is done this way because posts can have 100’s of comments and displaying them directly under a post on the post page can make it hard to read the content.
However, there are a few themes like P2 and ReTweet that display comments directly under posts on the blog post page. These types of themes work well where the posts are short; they work well for Discussion type blogs.
The alternative is to add the Recent Comments widget to the sidebar.
How did you go? We hope this has helped get your commenting started and the information has helped!
Leave a comment below with a link to your blog and let us all take a look!
Also feel free to leave any questions you are having (or tips/advice) as well.