I am currently in the process of introducing my Grade Two students to blogging. Our 2KM class blog is proving to be very popular with students and families.
As I have previously blogged about, I like to follow these steps when introducing blogging to students.
This is my third year of blogging with young students and I am still learning all the time. In previous years I believe I progressed much too quickly from having students comment on the class blog to writing posts. My students never really learned how to compose a quality comment and I believe I didn’t set my expectations of the students high enough! I was happy for them just to be commenting.
This year I am taking a different approach. Inspired by the amazing commenting skills of Mrs Yollis’ Third Grade students, I am putting a lot of effort into teaching my students how to write quality comments on posts before we move on to writing posts.
By “quality comments” I mean
- writing the comment like a letter (greeting, body, closing, signature)
- using correct spelling, punctuation and spacing,
- reading over the comment and editing before submitting,
- complimenting the writer in a specific way, asking a question, and/or adding new information to the post,
- writing a relevant comment that is related to the post,
- not revealing personal information in your comment.
I really wanted to limit the “I like your blog!!!” or “2KM is cool” type comments and I am finding this explicit teaching of what a quality comment looks like is really working.
I am teaching students commenting skills through
- modelling and composing comments together on the IWB,
- teaching students about the “letter” format during writing lessons,
- giving examples of a poor/high quality comments and having students vote whether the comment should be accepted or rejected,
- having students read and comment on a post on our blog as part of a literacy rotation on the computer each week.
I collaborated with my teaching partner, Kelly Jordan on this poster “How Can I Write a Great Blog Comment?” to teach students about blogging skills. We will also send a copy of this poster home with each child.
Linda Yollis has written a fantastic article about how to teach commenting skills. It is well worth a read!
I have “borrowed” many ideas from Linda such as recording a screencast video that shows how to leave a comment on the blog. I recorded my screencast through Jing. I also used Linda’s idea of sending an email out to all parents to encourage them to leave comments.
As Linda says, “commenting is what keeps the blog alive” and “teaching and encouraging good commenting skills makes your blog more interesting for everyone.” I agree!