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This week’s student blogging activity is a guest post by Kathleen Morris.

MORRIS

Kathleen teaches grade two at Leopold Primary School in Victoria, Australia. 2011 is the fourth year she has blogged with her students. Kathleen writes a blog for educators about technology integration, educational blogging and global collaboration. Find Kathleen on Twitter @kathleen_morris

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This is the third activity in the “30 days to get your students blogging” series.

In this activity you will:

1. Learn why blog comments are important.

2. Understand one definition of quality commenting and create your own definition.

3. Discover some ideas on how to teach commenting skills to student bloggers.

4. Introduce quality commenting to students and parents.

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About comments on blogs

Comments really make blogs come alive and transform your blog from a static space to an interactive community.

I have found the best way to introduce classes to blogging is for the teacher to initially write posts while students (and other readers) comment.

Students need explicit instruction and guidelines to get the most out of commenting.

I was originally inspired to refine my teaching of commenting by the wonderful Linda Yollis and her third grade students.

From experience, I have found 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.

One of the main reasons I blog with my students in to provide an authentic avenue for developing their literacy skills. Over 2010, I documented the improvements in my students literacy skills which you can read about here. 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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About quality comments

I teach my students how to write “quality comments” and invest a lot of time in the first part of the year to helping students to understand what this means. My team teacher partner, Kelly Jordan, published our guidelines into a poster which we display in our room and send home to families. You can view the PDF copy here – 2KM and 2KJ Commenting Poster.

Commenting Poster 2011

Teaching commenting skills

I teach 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.

Here’s where you’ll find more information on working with comments:

  1. Introduction to comments and writing comments
  2. Controlling who can comment on posts
  3. Managing, editing and approving comments
  4. Disabling comments

Video

Watch the video below to learn how to manage comments

Your challenges

1. Watch this video by Linda Yollis’ students about leaving quality comments. Depending on your students’ age, you could watch it with your class.

2. Create your own poster to guide students on how to write a quality comment. Remember, don’t use others’ work without permission and acknowledgment.

Option 1: Create the guidelines poster and share it with students.

Option 2: Facilitate a collaborative discussion with students (perhaps after watching the video) to create the guidelines poster together.

3. Make parents aware of your expectations of quality comments. Send a copy of your poster home, have students create their own version of the poster to take home or email parents about the process.

4. 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. Leave a comment on this post with the URL of your blog post.

Here is where you find the other activities from this series:

Thanks to everyone who is participating in the 30 Days to Get Started Blogging with your students!

And if you missed out, it is never too late to work through the challenges at your own pace!

You can always form your own team with other educators and work together!

  1. Student Blogging Activity 1 (Beginner): Setting Up Your Class Blog
  2. Student Blogging Activity 2 (Beginner): Setting Up Rules & Guidelines
  3. Student Blogging Activity 3 (Beginner) – Teaching Quality Commenting
  4. Student Blogging Activity 4 (Beginner) – Helping Parents Connect with your Class Blog
  5. Student Blogging Activity 5 (Beginner): Add Students To Your Class Blog So They Can Write Posts
  6. Student Blogging Activity 6 (Beginner): Add A Visitor Tracking Widget To Your Blog Sidebar
  7. Student Blogging Activity 7 (Beginner): Set up your student blogs
  8. Student Blogging Activity 8 (Beginners): Add your student blogs to your blogroll
  9. Student Blogging Activity 9 (Beginners): Add Your Student Blogs To A Folder In Google Reader