Welcome to the fourth step in our free professional learning series on class and student blogging!


The aim of this step is to:

  1. Explain how comments are used on class blogs.
  2. Provide tips for teaching students quality commenting skills.


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Why Comments Are Important

Kathleen Morris has shared some thoughts on why comments count in a blog post:

  • Comments turn your blog from a static space into an interactive space.
  • They allow for back and forth conversation which can lead to a huge amount of learning.
  • The fact that comments aren’t instantaneous (like online chat) can fuel deeper reflections, responses, and research.
  • Comments allow for feedback, constructive criticism, and the adding of ideas and opinions to the original post. The content can grow and evolve.
  • It can be encouraging for students to know they have an authentic audience who can connect with them.
  • Commenting can be an ideal way for parents to get involved in the classroom (virtual parent helpers!)
  • A single comment can be the start of a fantastic working relationship or friendship. You never know where that can take you and/or your students.

The Blogging Cycle

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.

Blogging Cycle

It’s amazing how even just a few comments can make students realize they are writing for a global audience — for many it’s incredibly motivating.

Must Watch Video

We recommend you watch The Possibility of Student Blogging by Andrea Hernandez and Slivia Tolisano.

This video provides an excellent explanation of the blogging, the commenting process, the impact of quality blogging on student literacy, and the importance of writing as part of a global audience.

Remember, 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.

Note: Comments are disabled on pages by default and can be enabled.

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.

Here is an example of a threaded comment on a post:

Comment on a post

Dealing With Comments

The great thing about comments is you have control over moderation and approval. Refer to the following support documents for more information on dealing with comments.


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Examples Of Comments On Class Blogs

These examples of comments on class blogs to demonstrate just a few of the ways comments can be used by educators and students.

  1. Two Truths and One Lie: A Culture Exchange (Miss Jordan’s grade 3/4 students in Australia had a commenting conversation with some of their blogging buddies in the USA)
  2. Learning in 21 — You Are Invited (Grade 3 students wrote a comment to their teacher)
  3. St Charles Borromeo students run a Mystery Word competition that students can comment on.
  4. Roslyn Green’s high school history class (Night of Notables) and English class (G is for Gratitude) wrote some insightful reflections in their comments.


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How To Add Comments

To leave a comment on a post, simply:

1. Click on the heading of the post you wish to comment on or the ‘comment’ link at the top or bottom of the post.

2. Scroll down the page to the comment form or click on Reply (to reply to a specific comment).

3.  Enter your name and email address –- your email address is hidden and only the blogger sees it (If you are logged into your Edublogs account you won’t need to add these details).

4. Write your comment in the box.

5. Enter the anti-spam word.

6.  Select ‘Notify me of followup comments via e-mail‘ if you want to get an email when other people comment (so you know if people reply to you etc.).

7. Click Post Comment

Comment form

Below is a video from Kathleen Morris explaining how to add a comment for students.  

Note: Email address isn’t required in her example as the email requirement has been disabled in Settings > Discussion.

Want to make your own ‘How to comment’ video? Try a free tool like Screencastify or Loom.

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Teaching Quality Commenting Skills

If commenting skills are not taught and constantly reinforced, there can be a tendency for students to limit their comments to things like,

  • “I like your blog!”
  • “Awsom 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 :)”
  • “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, modeling, 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!

Developing strong commenting skills also provides a good foundation for when you move students on to writing posts on the class blog or their own student blogs.

The following diagram summarizes a scaffolded approach to blogging in the classroom. It begins with the teacher being responsible for the posts while the students learn quality commenting skills.

We explained this progressive model more in step three. 

Scaffolding blogging


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How To Teach Quality Commenting Skills

In her post on commenting, Kathleen Morris shares eight ideas to encourage a culture of quality commenting.

  1. Blogging guidelines: Set high standards to ensure students are using correct writing conventions and practicing things like asking questions, staying on topic, making connections, complimenting in a specific way etc. See below for examples.
  2. Be consistent: Consider spending a couple of minutes each day or a few times a week focusing on commenting as a whole class. You might read comments together, write replies together, and have students come up with constructive feedback. Embed blogging into your routine.
  3. Use mini lessons. You can embed on-the-spot commenting tutorials into whole class blogging time. You might choose a comment to reply to as a class. The teacher can model how to write a quality comment with input from students. Check out some mini lesson ideas Kathleen put together with annotated examples a number of years ago.
  4. Use explicit lessons. Come up with a few more detailed lessons on commenting. For example, Kathleen used to give her grade two students some example comments to sort. Older students could find examples themselves and analyze them on a much deeper level.
  5. Integrate. When you use literacy lessons to teach various conventions (like letter writing, editing, grammar, spelling, punctuation etc.) have students practice these concepts through commenting. If you have literacy rotations, blogging is always an excellent activity station!
  6. Involve parents. Family members have the potential to be regular commenters on your class blog. We need to bring this potential to life. Just one idea is sending parents an email asking them to comment on a specific post with their child. Well know blogger, Linda Yollis, gives parents suggestions, such as typing for their child but leaving errors for them to correct. Step six of this series offers lots of ideas on helping parents and students connect with the class blog.
  7. Connect with others. There are so many ways you can connect with other classes around the world to create authentic opportunities for both writing and receiving comments. The Student Blogging Challenge which begins in March and October each year is a good place to start. #Comments4Kids is a Twitter hashtag you can use and follow too.
  8. End with a question. A question at the end of a blog post is an invitation to comment. You can teach students about using open ended questions, and help them understand the etiquette of replying to comments too.


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Six Activities For Developing Commenting Skills

Here are some suggestions for activities you can use to develop your students’ commenting skills.

1. Commenting videos

Videos can be a great way to introduce students to the art of commenting.

Watch this video by Linda Yollis’ students about leaving quality comments.

Linda’s students have also created this excellent video with tips for quality writing on blogs.

Watch Ten Tips For Great Blog Comments by Bloggin’ Frogs students.

Silvia Tolisano’s students put together this impressive report into quality commenting. 

Check out Nicolas Weiss’ Leaving High Quality Blog comments video for quality commenting explained for high school students.

2.  Create commenting guidelines for your blog

Facilitate a collaborative discussion with your students to create your own commenting guidelines.

Here are some examples of commenting guidelines to look at from different age groups:

Tell them something you like about their work

Ask them a question

Give a suggestion

Remember, use others’ guidelines for ideas but don’t copy others’ work without permission and acknowledgment.

A page is a good place to document guidelines. Refer to Step 2: Set Up Pages for more information on pages.  

As an alternative to displaying guidelines through text, you could get your students to create their own videos on writing quality comments.

Watch this Comments video shared by Andrea Hernandez made by a 5th Grade student.

3.  Create a commenting guideline poster

How to write a quality blog comment Kathleen MorrisA poster is a great way to make a visual representation of your commenting guidelines.

A poster could be made by the teacher or the students.

Display your poster in the classroom, on a blog page, and send it home to share with parents and caregivers.

You could make a digital poster in Canva, PowerPoint, or any number of online tools

Short on time? Kathleen Morris has shared her commenting guidelines poster on her blog which you’re welcome to download and use.

4.  Develop a quality comment evaluation guide or rubric

Point system

Linda Yollis’ class uses a point system for evaluating comments. A one point comment is a general comment that doesn’t add much to the conversation. A two point comment is a good comment that adds something to the conversation.

Check out Linda Yollis’ evaluation guide and how she teaches commenting to see if you want to set up a quality comment evaluation guide for your class.

Rubric

Another idea for setting standards for commenting, writing, or blogging in general is using a rubric.

Teachers could make this to meet the needs of their class, or students could create their own.

Here are three examples:

5.  Get your students to practice commenting

Publish a blog post about commenting and what you define as a quality comment and then have your students practice leaving a “quality” comment on the post.

Check out Jan Smith’s “I’m New Here” post. It’s an excellent example of introducing students to reading student blog posts and learning how to write comments.

6.  Try paper blogging

Paper blogging is a hands-on, concrete way of introducing students to writing posts and comments using paper and post-it notes.

You’ll find a detailed explanation of how to paper blog with your students here. You’ll find an example of using paper blogging activity with students here.

An example of paper blogging. Photo used with permission from http://tvstechtips.edublogs.org/2013/09/09/when-paper-blogging-trumps-the-computer/
An example of paper blogging. Photo used with permission from Tech tips blog

Other advice and tips

The following is Fiona Stafford’s reflection on commenting and strategies she uses with her Grade 6 students:

After some time, I noticed a stand-still in commenting. It appeared that students were posting a lot but not commenting, which limited the amount of student learning from their peers via feedback. So, over time, I incorporated a number of strategies to encourage the students to comment on other people’s blog posts. The different tactics I employed to enhance feedback via commenting were: allowing some time in class to do it; setting expectations to comment as a part of their weekly home learning; making it compulsory for parents to comment somewhere on their child’s blog site as confirmation that their home learning had been completed; making the majority of their home learning via their blogs; getting them to set a blogging goal in order to move forward with the process; and introducing a ‘what’s trending?’ page to our class blog. The rationale behind this page was to encourage students to suggest other students’ blog posts that were worthy of their attention and encourage people to give feedback. So far, this has been working. But, this is still an ongoing journey. This journey into the Blogosphere has and continues to provide just as much learning for me as it does my students.

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Commonly Asked Comment Questions

There are some commonly asked questions that we receive at Edublogs Support. Let’s break them down.


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1.  How do you enable comments on pages?

Most Edublogs themes support comments on pages and by default comments are disabled on pages.

You can enable comments on pages using Quick Edit as follows:

1. Go to to Pages > All Pages

All pages

2. Locate the post or page you want to enable comments on.

3. Hover over its title to bring up its action menu.

Click on Quick Edit

4. Click on Quick Edit, deselect ‘Allow Comments’ and then click on Update.

Allow Comments

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2.  Why won’t comments display on pages?

Most Edublogs themes 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 hundreds of comments and displaying them directly under a post on the post page can make it hard to read the content.

Most teachers display the comments on their homepage by adding the Recent Comments widget to the sidebar. You’ll learn more about widgets in step five of this series. 

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4.  How do I remove the option to add email address to comments?

By default, anyone leaving a comment must leave a valid name and email address.

If the ‘Comment author must fill out name and e-mail’ is unchecked in Settings > Discussion, any visitor can leave a comment and isn’t required to enter an email address. Please note, readers will still see the name and email address option on the comment form but the email address is no longer required to submit a comment.

This option is often used when teachers don’t want students to use their email address.

Learn more about Discussion settings here.

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5.  How do you stop the “Posting comments too quickly” message?

Comments allow your readers to add feedback to your posts and pages.

Unfortunately, if all your students are submitting comments at the same time to a class blog on your school computers they may see the ‘You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down’ message and they might lose their comments.

Posting too quickly

This happens because the computers on your school network use the same IP address and Edublogs, which is powered by WordPress, has comment throttling to protect blogs against spam bots.

Find out how to prevent the posting too quickly message here.


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6.  How do I moderate all comments?

The default comment setting on all newly created blogs is ‘Comment author must have a previously approved comment before a comment appears’.

This means any visitors that have had a comment approved on the blog in the past will have their comment immediately posted and only comments from new visitors are placed in the moderation queue.

To moderate all comments you need to change it to “Comment must be manually approved” in Settings > Discussion.

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Your Task

Blogging is about sharing, collaborating, and learning from each other. So here’s your chance to ask a question, comment, and get involved!

Complete the following tasks:

  1. Choose one of the Activities for developing commenting skills, complete the activity, and then leave a comment to share what you created or to let us know how you went. If you created something for your blog like some commenting guidelines, feel free to put the link to your blog in the comment so we can take a look!
  2. Read through the most recent comments in reply to this step and leave a response to another person’s comment.

404 thoughts on “Step 4: Teach Quality Commenting Skills

  1. I love the videos made by kids about leaving comments. I am definitely going to show those to my 5th grade class. I also like the ideas about “paper blogging”. That will be a fun activity. I am interested in how to blog with other classes, especially around the world. That would be great. This teacher challenge has really been teaching me so much about blogging. I am excited to share this information with my students.

    1. Hi Noelle

      Great to hear the videos on how to leave comments helped and this challenge series is helping you! You are able to embed that video into a post or page. Let us know if you need us to show you how it is done!

      The Student blogging challenge is a great way to connect with other classes around the World. The Challenge starts in March and you can register your class blog now – http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2015/02/15/register-as-a-class/

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  2. Developing Commenting skills activity-I enjoyed all the short videos that teach about commenting. It really made me aware of the do’s and don’ts of commenting. I also like the idea of paper blogging. This could be used as a before activity. Students could practice their writing skills adding all components of a blog and students could respond using the correct commenting skills.

  3. In getting my students to write better quality comments, Step One was for me to outline what was needed. However, what I found to be the most powerful motivator was each student knowing that all the other students were reading the comments. Peer pressure probably has been more important than anything. (I teach at a community college.) I did not fully appreciate until now what a difference it would make if students thought only the teacher would see what they wrote or if their classmates would also be reading.

  4. “Now develop your own sorting blog comment activity for your students and share a link to your activity by leaving a comment.” Here it is: profrogers.edublogs.org/2015/02/20/how-to-comment/

  5. “…tell us what you learned about the importance of commenting as a result of watching the video.”
    It reinforced a feeling I’ve had that students would get more excited about writing if there was interaction with other students.

  6. Possibilities of Student Blogging-I enjoyed the girl who spoke that her blogging had gone from very short blogs to blogs that were 1000+ words and 5 paragraphs! With all our state testing requirements and writing being one of them and all the writing skills blogging lends itself to I see it as an excellent tool to use with students! Blogging expands the writers’ toolboxes and teaches them how to respond to written words by commenting.

  7. I watched the Possibilities of Student Blogging video and found it to be very charming! It’s great to see what young students are learning about proper blogging skills. I teach college students though, and I’m afraid if I showed them that video, they would either laugh at it/me or completely ignore the great points. I’m thinking about developing a Good Comments Guidelines poster to put on our class blog, but does anyone have other ideas for activities? At the college level, I’m trying to focus on the idea of digital citizenship, thoughtful commenting, and connecting class readings with personal experience. So it’s a little different than the videos posted for this week 🙂

    Any ideas/comments would be great! Thanks!
    Allyn

    1. Hi Allyn

      Most people show the Making Connections video to older students ( http://youtu.be/XgriSvP9HGo ). Is this video suitable for your students? The alternative option is to use the Three things you need to know about blogging ( http://youtu.be/ESuxYRT0GWU ) which we use in the personal blogging series.

      You may find an adapted version of English 10’s blog comments would work for your students – http://engten.edublogs.org/blog-comments/

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  8. From the “possibilities” video, I think it is so important that students can feel they are interacting with the public and doing something “real.” I also love the quad idea and the possibility of sharing with kids around the world.

  9. Hello,
    After watch the vídeo “Possibilities of Student blogging”, I’ve learned about the importance of commenting.
    About this learning, I highlight the following aspects:
    – Produce information for the world to see gives more responsibility to the creator
    – The teacher connects the student with the world
    – The teacher gives the student the opportunity to create a tool to interact with the rest of the world
    – We must teach them to connect with some teams around the world to create routines and online communication habits
    – Blogging to promote students’ writing quality
    – Produce relevant information which will be discussed by others motivates them to create more and better
    – Write with a purpose, not just write for a teacher but for true partners with authentic feedback.
    – Practice the main learning component
    – Individual space to create their expressiveness
    – Learning, reflect, share , all in one place

  10. Although I did teach commenting skills before my current group of students began making comments, I am still not completely happy with the quality of comments my students are making. What I didn’t do was model good comments and have students practice as a whole class. Thanks to Kathleen Morris for the reminder that students need examples.

    1. Hi Arlis

      Thanks for providing feedback on teaching commenting skills. Modelling what is a good comment and getting them to practice are important.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  11. The Possibilities of Student Blogging video was exceptional. I loved how excited the students were about blogging and noticed how informed they were about the commenting and reply process. Through staff development, I hope to relay to teachers how important it is to teach quality commenting skills and reinforce those skills throughout the year with blogging. If blogging is to increase students writing, then students should be using appropriate language, grammar and composition skills. The idea to put students into teams for posting and commenting is great for showcasing quality work. Another idea I got was to create a commenting guideline poster that is displayed in the classroom and can be sent home so students are aware of the guidelines as they post from home. I also liked the idea of creating a rubric that students can use to guide their comments. This rubric can be used as students practice commenting on paper before they go to live posting. There were so many great ideas for getting students commenting skills where they need to be for quality blogging. This challenge really provided me with some great ideas and resources to share with teachers.

    1. Hi dspears

      Thanks for sharing what you gained from the Possibilities of student blogging video and your thoughts on what you could do to help teach quality commenting. You may also want to encourage your teachers to participate in the student blogging challenge – http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/ The student challenge starts in March and helps connect teachers and their students with classes around the World. They are guided through the process which helps develop both their commenting and blogging skills.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  12. I really enjoyed the Possibilities of Student Blogs video–thank you for that.

    There were two take-aways for me:
    1) divide into teams and have one team write, while the remaining teams comment. This seems like a good way to build capacity, and not overwhelm a class with too many blogs (entire class) to respond to at once.
    2) I also like paper blogging as a teaching concept about blogs — this will do well with lower level English language learners too.

  13. I watched the “Possibility of Student Blogging” video and was interested in the response from the students who seemed genuinely engaged. The idea that blogging serves as a motivation for better, more creative writing is exciting. I hope to translate this to my blog not just for writing but also for viewing and analyzing artwork.

    I viewed “Nicolas Weiss’s Leaving High Quality Blog Comments” video, I will share this with my students once we are ready to start blogging.

    I also created a comment sorting activity for my students based on the example by Kathleen Morris. https://www.dropbox.com/s/nhucjx5a2yi4l4n/Comment%20Sorting.pdf?dl=0

    Amy Capalbo

    1. Hi Amy

      Thanks for sharing a link to your Comment Sorting Activity!

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

    2. I am an art teacher as well as a writing teacher, so I’m working on putting my some of the student’s art work on the blog site and having them comment on it as well! It may even be easier for them to respond to art than to writing in the beginning. Anyway, I am excited about integrating the two subjects on a blog site. If I give them comment guidelines to use in responding to a work of art, I think it will be a great way for them to learn to comment as well as to think more deeply about art.

  14. We have been paper blogging to scaffold the comment writing. It also clarified what a blog is by making it less abstract. Initially, in our discussion, the students thought it was like chat and wanted to say, ‘hi! lol 🙂 this is cool!!!!’ etc.
    A student, who I kept annonymous, posted a jesting comment that was poking fun at someone else. It was a timely opportunity to discuss protocols and guidelines and draw up a list that related directly to their paper blogging experience. The students were able to reflect and analyse the comments that were written on their own paper blog and explain what comments they preferred and why. I used their response to the comments they received to expand our discussion and do some more shared and modelled writing of comments.

    http://tmayling.edublogs.org/comment-guidelines/
    http://tmayling.edublogs.org/protocols-for-blogging/

    1. Hi Tina

      Thanks for sharing the benefits of doing paper blogging! Did you take any photos of your paper blogging that we can share?

      Really love your commenting pages. I’ve quickly edited the http://tmayling.edublogs.org/comment-guidelines/ to add the videos within an embedded player. Hope that was okay?

      I like the concept of the flashing images on http://tmayling.edublogs.org/comment-guidelines/ but the flashing images triggers headache and nausea. It’s a problem I can have but it is possible it might be an issue for others.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

      1. Hi Sue
        Thank you for the advice about the flashing images, I hadn’t thought about this at all. I will change them. Thank you also for helping out with the embedded media files. We have been using these videos a lot – kids teaching kids – there is so much power in that! My students want to make their own for helping other classes in our school, but more particularly helping their parents and grandparents understand blogging and commenting. I do have some photos of the students doing their paper blogging. I will email them to you shortly.
        Thank you again for the feedback and support. I am really enjoying this course.
        Tina

  15. I love the idea of the Paper Blog Comment and I’m looking forward to using it in my classroom. I teach year 2 and over the last 6 months have found that at times my students will simply comment along the lines of “I loved this maths game”. Though I’m pleased to see that my students are engaged in the blog and are at home sharing it with their families, I found the need to start asking questions at the end of a blog post in order to stimulate the thinking and responses of my students. This has worked (to a degree) but I don’t want to always ‘elicit’ the response and feel that the paper commenting task will really help to naturally develop appropriate comments. We already leave ‘teacher comments’ when sharing in small groups and the kids love to ‘be the teacher’ and leave a comment in their workbooks for their friends – so I’m sure the paper blog comment will help them make the connection in how to best respond to a blog comment.
    I’m really enjoying reading the comments of others in this challenge, particularly those responses from the Edublogs team and mentors. Thanks Edublogs!

      1. I love the idea of family blogging! That might help draw in some parents who otherwise do not seem to be that engaged with their child’s learning.

  16. Lots to think about regarding the possibilities and purposes for students blogging. There is a lot of emphasis and evidence that the real-world context of blogging motivates and improves students’ writing. I am wondering if teachers are getting their students to do drafts on paper first or are hopping straight into it? My students are plodding keyboarders and their word rate is quite low. They cover more ground with pencils! How many blogging classrooms teach keyboarding? Is this a redundant skill – does it matter?
    We have been involved an iEarn collaborative project. This was such an enriching and expanding experience for my students we want to do much, much more.
    The hints and insight and videos of the kids communicating what they do and know were very useful. I will be showing these to my students.

    1. G’day Tina,
      Having looked at your blog and realising you teach grade 3/4 I would suggest students work in pairs to come up with posts. They could write a draft, then type straight into the blog or on a word document and insert that in the blog.

      Personally I feel the earlier students learn to use a keyboard, the quicker their typing skills develop. Practice makes perfect or quicker in this case. Even five minutes every day on a keyboard will improve their skills. I would include a list of websites with typing games on the sidebar of your class blog. Here is a post where I mention lots of games that would be suitable http://www.eschoolblogs.org.au/blog/2012/05/20/typing-games/

      I also notice some of your students have their own personal blogs. They might like to register for the student blogging challenge which starts next Sunday.http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/register-for-september-2014/ This means they will be able to make global connections with other students their age and with similar interests. You could also register your class blog and connect with other classes.

      Sue Wyatt
      Mentor: Teacher challenge
      Founder: Student blogging challenge http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org

      1. Thank you Sue for affirming the keyboarding skills. The students are usually fascinated when I type a conversation that appears on the interactive whiteboard while looking directly at them and not looking at the keys. I am aware of ideas about tablets and touch screens making typing unnecessary and indicating that in years to come everything will be voice to text or typing in the ‘hen pecking’ fashion won’t make any difference. However, it has always sped up things for me and I have seen the benefits for the students. Thanks for the links and yes, we will join the student challenge. The idea of working in teams will allow for much more support and peer to peer learning.
        Tina Mayling

  17. I watched “the possibilities of student blogging” video. It was a great reminder of why it is so important to get lots of people reading and commenting on our blogs. This early in the year we are working on quality comments in class and introducing the parents to the importance of commenting. I need to spend time getting ‘blogging buddies’ in place – even though it is the first week of school – we need all kinds of possibilities of comments. Great video!

  18. I watched “the possibilities of student blogging”. It reminded me of how important comments are. We have been working on our quality commenting skills, but I also need going ways to get more people to read our blogs and comment. That is huge for my kids! But early in Seotember it seems to get lower on the priority list – I need to keep it at the top.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing all of these great tips for writing quality comments. I have struggled quite a lot with improving the quality of the comments from my students. Our students are quite keen to comment. However, their comments are often very brief and have lots of exclamation marks! I cannot wait to try some of these activities on Monday. I’ll let you know how I go!

  20. The Possibilities of Student Blogging is a good video to watch for inspiration. When they talk about the importance of commenting, the most striking concept to me was students commenting on blogs across the world. What a wonderful way to make global connections. Students can see the wonderful similarities and differences of their blogging friends who are from different countries and cultures. Also, I think that the more students comment on others’ blogs, the more comments they will receive as they write their own blogs.

  21. I enjoyed the video, “The Possibilities of Student Blogging”. It got me very excited about the possibilities my class can experience this year! I am hoping to use it especially in English – having them post their writing assignments and having students comment on each other’s writing to offer encouragement or suggestions (of course, after we talk about good constructive comments!). I believe that students will be more motivated to write to a universal audience and that blogging on a computer or tablet will be much more exciting than pencil and paper. I am a little nervous about convincing my parents with the safety aspect of students being online commenting and having “strangers” comment on their blog posts…any suggestions?

    1. G’day Miss Cruice,
      Sending home a parent information sheet will help with those who might be feeling anxiety about strangers commenting. I used to tell my students and parents that the blog is one in 70 million blogs in the world in 2008 – how can you find my one blog among three times the population of Australia all in one place. It is very difficult.

      Two good ways to get comments is using the student blogging challenge (next one starts in two weeks) and also using the hashtag #comments4kids on Twitter.

      When I first began blogging with my class, I would have them help with moderating the comments – they would decide if it was appropriate to have on their class blog. This would lead into discussions about cyber safety and digital citizenship. Will you be moderating all the comments on class and student blogs?

      It was also a chance to model good commenting by making changes with capital letters, the word I and fullstops (periods).

      Sue Wyatt
      Mentor: Teacher challenge
      Founder: Student blogging challenge http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org

  22. I have looked at the items on posting comments. I am going to have to do some teaching on appropriate comments and that is something I will begin to do in the next week or 2 as we have much happening at school at the moment. Certainly gives me some food for thought. I can see the value in using blogs for students to assess their current learning and as an evaluation tool. Next term more use can be made. I added another general page – it’s starting to get easier. I also deleted some old posts (made in the early days and before I had any idea what i was doing.)
    My blog (not that there is anything there yet) is at http://library1884.edublogs.org/

  23. There seems to be two facets to student commenting. One as a powerful tool to improve writing. Student’s writing becomes more purposeful with a much wider audience. Instead of just writing for the teacher, they are connecting with people in many other countries and are more accountable for what they produce. This brings up the other facet of teaching students about digital citizenship, global awareness and cyber safety.

    1. Hi Jenny,
      When I first began blogging with my class, I would have them help with moderating the comments – they would decide if it was appropriate to have on their class blog. This would lead into discussions about cyber safety and digital citizenship.

      It was also a chance to model good commenting by making changes with capital letters, the word I and fullstops (periods). Never too young to learn these basic writing tools.

      Sue Wyatt
      Mentor: Teacher challenge
      Founder: Student blogging challenge http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org

  24. Many of my students are from other countries, so blogging for a global audience could simply be their family or extended family. Great way to stay connected.

    1. Hi Laura,
      How lucky are you to have those global connections already. One way to get families involved is to perhaps have a member write a post about their culture or their school life in their home country. Your students could then compare with their family members. Would be a great way to include interviews and note taking.

      Sue Wyatt
      Mentor: Teacher challenge
      Founder: Student blogging challenge http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org

  25. I learned that commenting is really important in improving students’ writing skills. This is actually the reason why I decided to pursue a blogging project with my students. One of our staff’s main focus areas over the past few years has been improving our students’ literacy, and specifically I want them to be able to better express themselves in writing so they can achieve in my class, their other classes, on standardized tests and in life.

    My plan for a comment sorting activity is to bring up a page on a well-known blog and look through the comments with students to find examples of good and bad comments. I will have students re-write the bad comments to make them good.

    I don’t currently have students (we don’t start until after Labor Day), but I will try the commenting activities then and hopefully remember to report back 🙂 I will likely use paper blogging to begin, but not tell students that it is about the blog until after they’ve done it.

    1. Hi Mrs Wreggs

      Commenting is a really important part of improving their writing skills and reflecting on their learning.

      Love the idea of using comments on a well known blog as a commenting sorting activity. Please report back once you’ve done the activity to let us know which blog you used and to tell us how it went. Would also like to know how your paper blogging goes. If you take any photos you are willing to share — please let us know as would like to build up some more examples of paper blogging.

      PS appreciate all the different ideas you are all sharing as it gives me so many ideas I hadn’t thought of!

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  26. Thanks for sharing Nicolas Weiss’s video about commenting. It really got me thinking about how I have neglected to teach this skill to my high school students in the past years. It’s so key that they know how to offer feedback in a comment that provides meaning and/or critique and/or extends the conversation. I have added to the list of skills to develop at school start up!

    1. Hi Petra,

      Glad Nicolas Weiss’s video about commenting helped! I regularly check YouTube to see if there are any new resources created that will help. I was excited to find his video because often the resources are for primary age and commenting is just as important for high school students.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

    1. Hi María

      Thanks for sharing a link to the commenting activity you used with your students! Great idea. I’ve alerted Miss Wyatt, as she may be able to adapt the idea to use with in the student challenge series http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/,

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  27. Leaving comments on blog posts is a highly recommended habit if one wants a blog to become a really collaborative and interactive means of communication with students and among students themselves.
    Besides, it fosters reading and writing skills, it promotes reflection on one’s work and others’ outcomes, too, as well as becoming a source of inspiration.
    To put it in a nutshell, leaving comments is a must.
    Kind regards

  28. Last year my students commented on other student’s blogs and received comments on their own blogs. They were especially excited when the comments were specific and when a question was posed giving them the platform to respond to a specific idea. This year when my students are ready to blog, I will model how to comment with them starting with them blogging internally to each other and then reaching out to others once they have experience with their comments. I go through a digital citizenship course with the students and send it home for the parents too. The students also love to receive comments from their family, and are excited to blog and invite more comments 🙂 One activity that was very exciting for them was when they wrote a description of themselves in their blog and a class from another country drew what they thought the child looked like from their description and blogged the portrait to each student. It was a great way to start the blogging enthusiasm for both groups of students.

    1. Hi Bernice

      Comments can make such a difference for student motivation.

      Love your idea of writing a description of themselves in a blog post. I’ve let Sue Wyatt know about your activity as this is something she might like to adapt for the Student blogging challenge.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

      1. G’day Sue and Bernice,
        This sounds like a great idea for the first challenge of introducing yourself. They could choose a person who is no more than three away from them on the student list. Then when they write their post with the image they drew, they could add a link back to that student’s blog.

  29. I get heaps of blog comments…just not on the blog! Barely a day passes without a parent or two commenting to me about a recent blog post, or starting a conversation with their daughter about a classroom task that was featured on our blog. Last term I surveyed parents for feedback on our blog and the overwhelming positive was that it assisted families to have more meaningful conversations about their learning. Got to be happy with that. Next year we hope to go 1:1 ipads and developing student commenting skills will be on the agenda, am sure to use the great resources provided here. Thanks Edublogs and those that shared their expertise.

    1. Hi Fiona

      Thanks for sharing and it is an important tip to remember.

      Parents don’t necessarily leave comments on posts but sharing what is happening in the class and sharing student work provides a greater insight into the class and helps parents have more meaningful conversations.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  30. After watching the video about commenting on blogs, it is clear that we need to teach students about how the internet and our blogs are global and accessible to people all over the world and that we need to be careful online.

    1. Hi Katie

      I think the key is we need to be modelling and constantly reinforcing appropriate online behavior and digital citizenship skills.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  31. My tip is to be very specific. I get students that say “nice post” or “great job” and it just drives me nuts!! I really try to push them to be specific in their comments to show that they have actually read the post. I mention that I can just type “great job” and not even read the blog. I tell students to say “great job with…” so that the person receiving the comment can know exactly what stood out to the reader. As an elementary teacher, this can be difficult at first. Wish me luck!!

    1. Hi Brandon

      Being very specific is important. I think part of it is we assume that others know what we would expect from a comment or a blog post since we’re so immersed in the digital world. The reality is using technology doesn’t mean we know how to use it for learning.

      For older students it is worth having specific guidelines in terms of how long the comment is and what type of information you might want included in a comment. Ideally with commenting you want to encourage both the blogger and the commenter to reflect on their thoughts and ideas — i.e stretch their learning.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  32. By watching the videos and reading the blog, I have deep understanding on how to use comments in a creative way. This is really important to be an online teacher. I am really grateful to edublogs team.

    1. Hi Mohammed

      Glad the video and information helped. Commenting is a really important part of using blogs with students. We find the more we support educators using their blogs and model the process the more effective they are at using with their students.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  33. I would definitely have my students try paper blogging as mentioned as practice before real blogging – it’s a great idea to slowly get students ready for the blogging world!

  34. After watching the Possibilities of Student Blogging video, I see how blogging can turn into a global learning initiative rather than just a classroom initiative.

    1. Hi Dallas

      Glad the Possibilities of Student blogging video helped highlight how you can use blogs to connect with a global audience and the benefits of developing these connections.

      Would love to build a collection of paper blogging examples. Please share some photos of your paper blogging activity so we can include.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  35. Wow so many possibilities i like the idea of comments giving feedback to the author i had never thought of that before and adding the global citizenship stuff is awesome. would love to get something like that going with art classes across the world.. anyone interested. the internal stuff too with classes commenting and writing and taking turns to do it sounds like a fantastic way to start off the whole adventure too. I hadn’t really thought about comments at all when starting a blog but great to see the possibilities now… 🙂

    1. Hi Leah

      One of the best way to connect with other classes via commenting is to participate in one of the global projects. The student blogging challenge is starting soon and you could join that – http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/ Another option would be to try to connect with some of the Art blogs. You’ll find a list of art blogs here – http://www.theedublogger.com/check-out-these-class-blogs/

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  36. I love the authenticity blogging brings tot he classroom and the motivation provided by that authenticity. Silivia mentions in the video that when she was quadblogging, her students were so excited to check their blogs for comment because the Thai school was 12 hours ahead and the students knew when they arrived at school that comments would be waiting. That excitement is what motivated the kids to write longer and more detailed posts. In addition, these posts enables students to practice good writing skills in a real way.

    The idea of quadblogging is so intriguing and I love how they integrated global awareness so seamlessly. I would love to create relationships that way. I am participating in this blog challenge with a 3rd grade colleague of mine. I would love to set up a bi-blog relationship with her class as we embark on this blogging journey together.

    – Amanda

    1. Hi Amanda

      Silivia does lots of amazing work on student blogging. You can check out all the information she shares here – http://langwitches.org/blog/

      I suggest you have a look at the student challenge – http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/ It is starting soon and you can participate as a class blog. Miss Wyatt guides you through the process and will help you connect with other classes.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  37. I love reading the comments made by students on Mr Salich’s Class The Mathlete Show: “Who is Better – Messi or Ronaldo?”. When I envision my journalism blog, these are the types of comments I am hoping for. What makes them so great is the blend of enthusiasm, personality, and excellent technique.
    I plan to spend several classes teaching commenting skills.

    1. Hi mrsmacinnis

      Mr Salich’s Class The Mathlete Show: “Who is Better – Messi or Ronaldo?” post is a great example of interaction in comments. Mr Salich works hard on teaching quality commenting skills and it helps that chose a topic that they have a passionate opinion on.

      Looking forward to seeing how you use it with your journalism students.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  38. I have created two documents: One on blogging guidelines with an activity that I adapted from Kathleen Morris and one on exemplar blog posts. I think these will really help my students to see the difference between a strong post and comment and a weaker one. I am excited about trying this out with them this week! Here are the links, which I created in Google Docs. I am going to post them to my school website. I also included Linda Yollis’s steps to commenting on blogs and then another document with an activity. I plan on showing a few of the videos from this post to my students in class as well. Thanks for all of the information! One tip that I am going to share with my students is to make sure they also cite their sources. Showing them exemplar posts and comments is usually the best way to get them to do the same. Then I plan on assigning them the new blog post. Thanks for all of the information!
    https://docs.google.com/a/shorecrest.org/document/d/1HRmf-oI1JNglroeseaF5DTnd61kob0XnL7CrM-iNOpM/edit
    https://docs.google.com/a/shorecrest.org/document/d/1DC0Mmg5KgD0FM5oQdQVR4gmnh92PCnbDcZIMmuWjRNk/edit

  39. The video on Possibilities of Student Blogging was inspirational. Quad blogging is such a great idea to create student interest in blogging. Although my seventh graders this year have blogged before, I don’t believe they have blogged FOR other students in other schools. That is a mission for me this year, but it is really intimidating, I have to admit. How do I even get started in finding the right school/teacher? Global awareness is so key to the future. I know this would ignite the writing bug and push my students to do the best job they could. I am going to begin by having each of my classes write a post for the other classes. They can switch each week, then I can venture out into the global world.

    1. Hi Amy

      Thanks for sharing links to your comment sorting activity and blog post sorting activity! Also let us know how the activity goes this week.

      Starting off by helping your students to connect with each other is a good idea.

      It can be intimidating connecting with other classes. A tip from an educator who is experienced with connecting with other classes shared this advice: “It’s important to have a shared vision of what is blogging and what it can be when engaging in projects with other classes. Worth taking the time to research the other class (aka spy on them) to see if you have similar shared visions).”

      The student blogging challenge is a good place to start. You can participate as a class and activities during the challenge encourage you to visit other class blogs to leave comments.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

      1. Sue,
        Thank you for such a detailed response. I just saw the student blogging chalking and will check it out. Thank you for the advice! Thus is a wonderful experience.

  40. Possibilities of Student Blogging- a journal that talks to the world and allows for authentic conversation; the teacher needs to invite others in and cross post to allow visitors to come see their words; quadblogging connects with three other classrooms- rotates through for writers and then commenters- found that bogging improved the students writing by length, an expert on subjects, and grammar- it helps with global awareness and motivates them more to write to have a conversation with others; write for a purpose not the teacher (love this); gives each child a creative place for individual expression (teaches digital citizenship in a authentic way); learn from reflecting on a experience which is allowed/encouraged in blogging.

    For my blogging activity I used a website built on famous authors and their own blogs (http://www.internetwritingjournal.com/authorblogs/) for students to give feedback. I showed two of these on the Smartboard and we dissected these together (after going over what makes a good blog guidelines). We then discussed how we could respond to the persons blog, first going over what a good blog comment is for others. I then had the students in small groups- 3 to 4 students per group- do one one their own and share it with another group in class. I did not post anything on my blog about this, as this has nothing to do with my blog, thus I placed the information here. Here is a link for the poster we made on blogging guidelines https://www.smore.com/8wtrd.

    Lastly, my tips on quality posting habits instilled in our students is to support their writing through the blog. I have found the more interactive I am with the blog, by responding and giving constructive feedback, the better and more interactive the students are with their posts.

    1. Hi KBeal

      Thanks for sharing how you teach commenting skills and for sharing a link to the poster your class created! Great poster!

      Very important tip! The more you interact by responding and providing constructive feedback the better.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  41. A great first video! The stand out for me was the idea that it’s the teachers responsibility to make those connections for the students. We need to give students the tools and supports to be able to connect with the world in meaningful ways so that free creative expression is possible.

    I also enjoyed hearing from both the students and teachers that the depth and length of writing had improved over time. This was the same idea that Clive Thompson mentioned in a recent keynote he delivered at my school. He is also the author of ‘You are smarter than you think’. When a student as an authentic audience the feel the need to excel more than just with their teacher. A comment he mentioned was that some high school students were content to get a D from their teacher, but would not do a bad post for their assignment to Wikipedia. They didn’t want the rejection from that audience so they improved their work multiple times before being accepted. When they had a more authentic audience the work improved.

    1. Hi Melanie

      Thanks for sharing the information about Clive Thompson’s keynote. I have shared several of his articles on how online writing motivates and increases learning. Would love to have heard his keynote. Did he recommend any resources during the keynote to check out later?

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

      1. I have added the Commenting guidelines to my page. http://essexcounty.edublogs.org/blogging-and-comment-writing/. I also included some good examples for each ‘step’. Instead of the sorting activity, as my 1st graders will have difficulty with it I have created a very simple true/ false game. It contains 5 easy questions regarding what’s in a good comment.

        Here is the Kahoot link : http://goo.gl/rJMHnR

        I think one of the key tips to teaching effective commenting is to be explicit. Show them exactly what you expect them to do multiple times. Give examples through think alouds. Don’t just expect them to get it. After you have modeled it, then get them to paper blog it and offer meaningful feedback.

        Sue,
        He did not really identify anything other than his book in terms of resources. If you look up the hashtag #TLDWpeel you can find all of the tweets regarding his keynote. (pictures/ key points, etc) Hope that helps. I found his discussion very enlightening. A great speaker!

        1. Hi Melanie

          Thanks for sharing a link to your commenting guideline page. I’ve hyperlinked the Kahoot game so it is easier for students to visit the website. The guidelines look great but I’m having trouble reading the green text. Might be worth changing the color of the text.

          Thanks for letting me know where resources for Clive’s speech was shared. I’ll see what I can find!

          Sue Waters
          Support Manager
          Edublogs | CampusPress

  42. Henrietta Miller has it very right: there is a difference from what our students will write and what we adults should put. I also like her point about eliciting comments. The easy way is to simply make it a requirement; however, if I can manage to word my posts in the right manner, I’ll probably be able to get more natural responses, and, thus, more genuine ones.

    I’m in my forties, and, like many men, I all too often retain the maturity of a teen. That’s not always a bad thing, though! For example, I’m downright giddy when receiving positive feedback, and I feel that emotional response helps me to remember the importance of feedback. I love reading positive comments, and I’m sure my students are like me and will re-read parts of their assignments which I have pointed out are smart, funny, original, etc.

    I have made commenting on three other students’ posts a requirement because of that love of positive feedback, and i hope it helps to inspire each of the kids.

    Phil Hinkle

    http://daeguinternationalschool.edublogs.org/

    1. Hi Phil

      I’ve found that different strategies are needed with different student ages. Older students you are more likely to need to make commenting on other students’ posts a requirements; and may need to include some more detailed guidelines.

      Love how you embedded the video into the post as it is a great explanation of commenting for older students.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

    1. Thanks for sharing a link to your blogging guidelines page and to your comment sorting activity.

      I’m just adding some notes in here about how the commenting sorting activity works for those that missed reading about it in the post.

      With a comment sorting activity you create a page of good and bad comments to share with students. The students need to sort through the comments and place them into two columns. Appropriate comments (or thumbs up) and inappropriate comments (or thumbs down).

      Here is a link to Kathleen Morris’s sorting activity – http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/files/2011/02/Sorting-blog-comments-activity-1b7gdwx.pdf and here is a link to Mudcake’s sorting activity – http://mudcake.edublogs.org/files/2014/08/CommentSort-2io6hsv.docx

      You could also expand on the comment sorting activity to get students to highlight why the comments were good or bad.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  43. If commenting skills are not taught and constantly reinforced, students will limit their comments to things like “I like your blog!” or “4KM 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.

  44. I’ve been doing a lot of reading this summer and make up list of guidelines on my blog site for the kids to read. I embedded the video by Nicolas Weiss for them to watch. I had already bookmarked the paper blogging activity to do with my students and that included the sorting of comments. I plan to use bits of the rubric shown and have students self reflect on how well they wrote their comments.

    1. Hi There, loved your how to write a great comment page and loved how you added the video to the page. I’m adding a link to the page so others can check it out – http://mrshaskell.edublogs.org/how-to-write-a-great-comment/

      Paper blogging is a good way to introduce students to the concept of blogging. Might even be worth showing the What is a blog video before starting the paper blogging activity – http://youtu.be/oDxg5ODEXEQ

      Would love to check out how your students go with paper blogging. Please share some photos of your paper blogging.

  45. In encouraging students to write high quality comments, I should be careful to ensure that they write comments that show that they connect to the post, and their comment adequately responds to the post and their comments continue the conversation. In effect, the comments should inspire the domino or ripple effect, if you will. Very inspiring video!!

  46. A really helpful post Sue and one I will share with my staff. We use all the examples given to teach our students how to write comments. I think from a teacher’s perspective it is important that we distinguish between student and adult written comments. When we ask our students to comment I think it is vital that we model and they complete ‘quality’ written comments. Especially if we are completing this task during a literacy lesson. Using blogging to meet literacy outcomes has to be done properly or it will just become a time filler and so a waste of time.

    The next point though is how to elicit any comments at all. And here I am referring to a class blog. I think that if this is your objective then posts need to have questions in them.. Questions that either your students or perhaps your parent body will engage in. We often deliberately write a post aimed at our parents and we encourage this as a way of engaging them in our community.

    For my personal blog I am just happy to know that people read it and that I am sharing my ideas and thoughts. Comments are a bonus. I know that I read many blogs and just do not have the time to comment oftern.

    This post is a quick one, written on the go using my IPad edublogs app. I am sure it will elicit responses from both our student body and a wider audience.
    http://year6rc.edublogs.org/2013/08/21/100-days-of-school/

  47. I definitely agree with the any comment is better than no comment – though I write a lot of instructional / help posts like you Sue and find that they rarely, if ever, elicit comments. There is a flip-side to this conversation which is about when you’re the writer, how you go about eliciting quality comments…

    I think that a quality comment shows that someone has actually read what you’ve written. When I get very short comments which don’t refer to the post, I tend to be sceptical and worry that they may be spam. The best kinds of comments (in my opinion) are those that expand upon the discussion, ask further questions or add their own opinion.

  48. This is a really well written description of how to post quality comments, why we should teach writing quality comments and how quality comments fit into a cycle.

    But I am kind of surprised it doesn’t seem to address the question “What is a quality comment?”

    And this is actually really, really important.

    The answer from my experience is “It depends”.
    A lot of teachers discredit the whole “that was cool” kind of comment-however in reality ANY comment is better than none, and these simple but to the point comments do provide bucket loads of encouragement to most of us. As the post points our, a usual ratio of commenters to readers is 1:100.

    We provide a help blog in our school, of which I added many of the posts and tutorials. We had just on 7,000 hits for the year, and not one comment. Believe me, even a “thanks” would have been like winning the lottery.

    Don’t get me wrong-we would all love it if our posts prompted long drawn out discussions, but the fact it, they just won’t.

    1. Hi Phil, thanks for your input and I agree! What makes a quality comment and sometimes any comment is better than none hasn’t been covered adequately enough. Let’s see if I can get some educators to share their thoughts on this topic — so we can address this better!

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