Over the past week we have spent time reading award-winning and nominated student blogs on EduBlogs. The idea was to expose my students to other student’s blogs as the first step to becoming a better blogger by reading and getting ideas from others. While we explored other blogs, I encouraged the students to think about their own posts and to try commenting on a post or two that they enjoyed reading or found of interest to them
This coming week we will be working on perfecting our commenting skills. Commenting is a great way to help build a learning network while engaging in more critical thinking and reflection. But, first we will turn back again to the LangWitches website for great tips on how to improve the skill of commenting.
LangWitches provides simple tips for commenting along with samples of good and poor commenting reminding us that blog comments are not the same as other social media messages. LangWitches provides the following tips on model commenting:
- Read comments (…lots of comments) to learn to distinguish between poor, mediocre and quality comments.
- Model commenting to your students by leaving QUALITY comments on their blogs
- Avoid comments, such as “Great job”, “Way to go”, or “I really liked what your wrote”…
- Commenting is about continuing a conversation started in a blog post.
- Commenting is about helping to (potentially) push the author of the post in a new direction, give a new perspective or connect them to new resources.
- Commenting is about relating the thoughts, ideas, experiences or resources of the blog author to your own. Sharing them will paint a better picture of the issue, perspectives, or research.
- Ask yourself if your comment CONTRIBUTED to the conversation, the learning of the author or other readers?
- 21st century skills include critical thinking, problem solving and QUESTIONING. The comment section of a blog is a great place to practices these skills in an authentic environment.
As the teacher, I must also keep these tips in mind and model when I reply to my students. It will be tempting to make comments that affirm their work in general like “great post“, but if I do that I need to make sure that my comments also go deeper by engaging with the content of their blog to add to their conversation and their learning. I feel that in the beginning my comments might be more technical and then will evolve into comments that are more engaging on their topic. I think I have to do both so they get the feedback they need on the technical stuff plus the engagement to push their thinking on their chosen post topic.
Keep things simple to start. This video from yourwonderfulteacher of elementary students is helpful no matter what grade level you are learning how to blog and comment at.
Blog writing and comment writing are both important parts to improving the quality of our blogs and engaging with others. My goal for this week is to comment 2 times for each of my students keeping the model tips in mind. I`m excited to see how my students respond to my comments and from others as we practice this skill though-out the week.