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


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.


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!


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


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


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  6. Thought your blog is a brilliant way to teach students how to blog.
    I have shared your blog with the teachers at my school as best practice to introduce and get students blogging and commenting on blogs in a meaningful way.
    I have also shared it via my blog http://www.digitallearningmedia.com



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  11. I wrote my first post today. I also really liked the idea of teaching students how to comment by hanging posts around the room and having students move from post to post with sticky notes, writing specific comments about the content of the post. I intend to use this method!

    • Elaine Fugate
    • Hi Elaine,

      Congrats on your first post! Having them practice their comments on sticky notes is a great idea, I’m glad you are giving it a try.

      Kind regards,

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  16. I think you have great tips for everyone.
    Thanks for shearing them; I hope you drop by mi blog
    I am new at this blogging if I make a mistake take me out of it, please
    Love your students’ confidence, Congratulation!

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  19. Hola from Brazil! I just watched your video with my class and we loved learning how to make quality comments. Great job on the video. It shows some awesome thinking!

    • Ms. Ballon's 5th Grade Class in Sao Paulo, Brazil
  20. Dear Miss Morris,
    We are having some trouble understanding how to reply to comments, so that our comments appear on the blog that we are replying to. If we reply to someones comment it appears on our blog while we want it to go to the person who wrote the comment. Can you help us work out what we should do to solve this problem.
    From Sam

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  23. I read Kathleen Morris’s Blog and poster about commenting with interest. After a discussion with the students of Room 9, we came up with a similar poster for our class. You can see the results on Room 9’s Blog View the Comments page. Thanks to Kathleen Morris.

    • Ruary Laidlaw
    • Hi Ruary, Kathleen will definitely love the colorful nature of your commenting guideline. While I have to say I really love your embedded slideshow about Messaging as it really grabs your attention as it works through the slides.

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  26. frequently talk to class/students about commenting – needs to be an ongoing thing and not just taught once!
    they need to practice sharing the love in the hopes that others will share the love too
    we frequently have ‘time’ to view and comment on blogs we follow and discuss appropriate blogs also
    they get better with practice

  27. Thank you, Kathleen, for the wonderful information. I love your poster — short and to the point. The video link will definitely help me start my students commenting well.

    We have started commenting on our wiki, and did it similarly to you: starting with class comments and then sharing comments to see which ones were effective. We’ll repeat that process for our blogging.

    Thanks, Sheri

    What Else Comment Poster

    What Else Comment Postt

  28. I would like to link to your video as well. I want to start a class blog but my 8th grade students are very reluctant. I think by showing them your student’s enthusiasm at that grade level might motivate them to get involved as well. Please let me know! I’m hoping that this could be a great kickstart and get their ideas running….and then use their discussion to create a poster to send home.
    Thanks in advance!

  29. That video about posting comments was great. I am a 4th grader in Adrian Michigan. Even I could learned from your students. Would you mind if I linked the video to my website? I hope to here back from you soon.

  30. Thank you Kathleen for this great information. With all that youo put on this post I have material for my own students to formulate their own rules based on what you have modeled. From the video, poster and your guidelines, I hope that my own students will be able to synthesize their own rules based on their needs.

    I teach teacher trainees at http://teachingknowledge.wordpress.com and a gorup of budding Mexican adult writers in their foreign language which is English and I am setting up http://writingcu.wordpress.com. We will be setting up their blogs this Saturday and using your post as a jump off point to set up our own guidelines and blogging rules. Only two of these 75 students have blogged before. This is going to be fun!
    Thanks for all the info. I’ll be letting you all know how it goes afterwards. I can do this…Ellen

    • @ Ellen,

      Thanks for your comment. It sounds like it is an exciting time for you and I’m sure your students will enjoy setting up their blogs.

      I look forward to checking out our blogs and do let us know how you get on!


      • kathleenmorris
  31. Hey there, I am not participating in the student blogging challenge. However I have been reading the posts and enjoying what others are doing. I keep my blog seperate from my school site. I don’t believe my district would fully embrace the idea of students using a non ditrict monitored and controlled service. Our email client does allow for blogging however it comes with its own limitations. Also broadband access and speed limits productivity online. How do others overcome some of these issues?