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Houses need a sturdy foundation to remain standing. Likewise, blogging needs a sturdy foundation of digital citizenship and quality commenting.
Introducing your class to digital citizenship is the first step. They will learn most of this in the context of blogging. However, setting guidelines is important for safety and netiquette expectations.
When it comes to learning about quality commenting, I turn to Linda Yollis. She teaches us to break commenting into two parts: the content and the editing. Here is a summary of some of their tips:
- Start with a compliment.
- Add new information, especially facts.
- Connect with a personal story of how it's relevant to you.
- End with a question.
Comment Prompt Starters
During one of our Edublogs Blogging Professional Development Classes*, Sandy Rollefstad noticed the comment starters on the Scattergood Biology blog. Based on that idea, here are a few I'd try with various grade levels:
- This made me think about …
- This reminds me of …
- I appreciate that your post ...
- I feel that we should …
- I can relate to this because ...
- Another thing to consider is …
- What I'm wondering is ...
What if my kids still don't have the prior knowledge to start?
Gina Fraher quickly realized her 3rd grade students didn't have the prior knowledge to successfully start creating quality comments.
Fraher created an assignment to help them analyze quality commenting:
She modeled her expectations with a real blog post and several comments.
After the students worked on their own for a little bit, they collaborated to share their thoughts and worked through their ideas together.
Their dialogue was amazing, filled with critical thinking. Students asked each other if the topic sentence could also be a compliment? They realized that the conclusion could also be a question. They recognized "Your blog is cool," was not a quality comment, then explained why, and how they'd improve it.
Some great examples of quality commenting can be found on these blogs:
- Teegan's Terrific Blog -- Student blogger from New Zealand
- 2KM and 2 KJ @ Leopold Primary School -- Mrs. Morris' and Miss Jordan's class blog
- Eagles Write -- Mrs. Edwards' Class Blog
- The Edublogger -- Sue Waters, Blog Editor
- Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom -- Kathleen Morris' professional blog
Blogging should be engaging and fun for the kids. It's important to hook them right from the beginning. Sue Waters from Edublogs shares great tips on getting your posts and commenting started.
- What are the key "ingredients" to hooking your class on blogging?
- How do you introduce your class to your blog?
- What does a responsible digital citizen look like?
- What tips would you recommend for writing quality comments?
*We are aligning our Professional Development classes with the Edublogs Teacher Challenges, which have been an awesome way for us to build PLN within our district and around the globe!
This post was inspired by all the new bloggers in our district. Thank you for your dedication to creating 21st century learning-centered classrooms!