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Significant Comments

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 11 months ago



Excerpt from Comments make a difference post:

I’ve blogged before about comments. They make such a difference. It’s the connector for our students. It also provides so many teachable moments. It provides “thinkable” moments for them. Some of our best classroom discussions emerge from comments. We share together. We talk about ones that make us soar, ones that make us pause and rethink and we just enjoy sharing those delightful morsels of learning that occur. You can construct lessons around them. You get a chance to foster higher level thinking on the blogs. They read a comment. Then they may read a comment that comments on the comment. They get lots of short quick practices with writing that is directed to them and therein it is highly relevant. Then they have to construct a combined meaning that comes about from thinking about what has been written to them in response to what they wrote. It’s such a good way to begin the process of teaching reflective thinking. I like to see the progress the students make. They start off with statements such as “I like this blog.” We get to expand their thinking and they begin to take note of the delight of language and then reasons for writing become more apparent. They have ownership. I have been so fortunate to have crossed paths with so many wonderful people who take the time to comment on my student blogs as well as my own. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. They are the ones making a difference for our emerging writers/bloggers.


Darren Kuropatawa shares the essence of The Artful Comment.


Lani Ritter Hall continues the conversation with       The Art and Aspirations of A Commenter.


Posts about comments:


Shaping Our Learning Through Comments by Anne Davis



One technique I used to push the learning connections and stretch students to higher levels of thinking is suggesting the use of comment starters to students. I encourage them to use these and encourage them to add to the list. These help students compose responses to posts at higher levels than just "I liked what you said" type of replies. It is a starting point.


These were my suggestions for comment starters.......


  • This made me think about.......


  • I wonder why.......


  • Your writing made me form an opinion about.......


  • This post is relevant because.......


  • Your writing made me think that we should.......


  • I wish I understood why.......


  • This is important because.......


  • Another thing to consider is.......


Then I posted "More Comment Starters.


  • I can relate to this.......


  • This makes me think of.......


  • I discovered.......


  • I don't understand.......


  • I was reminded that.......


  • I found myself wondering.......



Asking good questions is so important in our classrooms. We use them to guide our discussions and push our students to a higher level of thinking. So the questioning and the discussion part is crucial when blogging. Then, the comment feature on blogs has the potential to really push those learning connections. I discussed these comment starters with my students and encouraged them to use them in the beginning of their comments. It was not required. I just encouraged them to try it out and perhaps add to the list themselves. It seemed to help the students get to deeper type thinking. I think the important thing for us to remember is that we're fostering cooperative work and guiding the process. We teachers have to be knee-deep in this process. We can't just say, "Get in groups and critique each others posts or comments." We can't just expect our students to know just what to do. We have to model it, teach it, guide it, discuss it and most of all have fun with it. Show them the joy of language. I often share parts of my blog with my students and walk them through how I have replied to someone. I read a post and then share my thinking as I prepare to respond. I show them great examples from other blogs.


I focus on the need to be sensitive to others' feelings and the need to place the emphasis on the writing and not each other. I give suggestions on how to word responses. We talk about it. We share good thoughts. We support each other.

I also encourage them to write thought-provoking questions at the end of their posts. Hopefully this will be an enticement for those reading their posts and may spur them on to commenting. Those thought-provoking questions are an art. I work at steering them away from empty phrases like "This is good.", "I like this." We work at being specific.





Here are the links to the printouts for the comment starters:


Comment Starters


More Comment Starters



Here are a few examples of actual comments:


Patrick is a fifth grade student who wrote a passionate post about passing fifth grade. SeeFifth Grade post. I wish you could have seen his face as he read the comments listed on his post. Then see Patrick's reply to the comments on his original post: My Thank You. It touches your heart.


This example has a parent, Robin, responding on her son Zachary's school blog. It is profound. This student's blog is peppered with comments and they are all terrific.


Check out the thinking going on in Lani and Tim's exchange on Black History. Tim is a high school student and Lani is a former classroom teacher and currently is an instructional designer for online professional development courses. She is one of the best "commenters" around and makes quite a difference through her "commenting" in the lives of many young and older bloggers!


Ian, a second grader, is blogging his thoughts about writing. Look at the variety of comments that come from fifth graders, his mom, his teacher, and others.


Here are comments between Jason and Emerson following the podcast listed on the class blog. The podcast features Jason giving Emerson feedback on his blogging.


Here is my podcastintroducing the podcasts the fifth graders created.


What if an inappropriate comment arrives on a student blog? Here's my response:


Inappropriate Comments=Teachable Moments


Then this is so very powerful. Darren Kuropatawa of A Difference asks his students how they would feel if their blog went offline and could not be recovered.


Here are their comments.


It's just one day out of my workshop for this wiki and one of the participants has posted a comment that needs to be shared. Check Theresa's comment to Jerrie here.

Theresa thought it had nothing to do with blogging but actually it has everything to do with blogging. See my post, A comment that has everything to do with blogging



Now it's time to have a little fun! Let's make trading cards!


A trading card example featuring "commenters" as the ones who are making statements your kids will want to treasure and save! The student's post title and date are at the top with an excerpt from the comment in the text portion.







Summary of Lani's Skype call:

Anne, thank you so much for inviting me to skype in! And to everyone welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!


I have learned so much from the dynamics, conversations, and thinking that permeate the edublogging community. And from the voices of students on blogs, I’ve witnessed the power of this technology to engage students in meaningful, constructive learning. Because I am not currently in the classroom with students, (and if I were, we all would be blogging) I’ve chosen to comment to students to encourage and nurture positive, honest conversations that I think can extend and celebrate learning.


I rarely comment on teacher/edublogger postings. I am drawn to the student voices, wanting to make a connection, in some way to support their learning and let them know that their thoughts, and their feelings are valued far outside the classroom. I hope that I can help them maintain their engagement and extend their learning by affirming what they have written and asking additional questions. Sometimes the comments are light and celebratory. At other times they are extremely serious, as you read in my conversation with Tim.


If I had students now, I would want to guide them to becoming good commenters. It seems to me that the ability to comment on others’ post in a way that continues a conversation and deepens learning is an extremely valuable skill. And it is one to be nurtured and scaffolded.


You won’t find comments rolling in to your students’ posts initially. You may want to find some good commenters among people you know at church, in various activities, or in business. Many would welcome an opportunity to work with youngsters. I daresay, retired teachers, of which I’m one, are probably another good resource. And seeking and gaining parent commenting can be an extremely powerful strategy for involving parents in their youngsters’ education. Another option might be working with another teacher and having your students exchange comments. In addition, a posting on your own blog requesting comments from other edubloggers can yield comments to your students too.


What potential to foster incredible learning -- writing, a comment with a question, reading, rethinking and a response in kind. Through dialogue— making thinking clear, extending thinking, accelerating learning. Whew!


Again, I welcome you-- to blogging, to commenting, and to great conversations!


Summary of Darren's Skype call:


As I was thinking about what I was going to share with you today I asked myself how you might be feeling on the 3rd day of your workshop. Two thoughts came to mind:


(1) How do I begin?

Start small. Take a look at the post How Will I Orchestrate It This Time? from my blog. My first semester I had a small number of instructional goals. I blogged with only one class. My second semester I blogged with all my classes. The ways in which I used the blog to enhance and structure my students online learning ecology grew exponentially. Don't compare yourself to experienced edubloggers; they've been at it for a while. Give yourself a chance to learn. The learning curve is steep, but the growth happens quickly. Start small. It'll come.


Another reason I wanted to share this post with you is because it concretely demonstrates what edublogging is all about; reflection, converstaion and community. I posted this list of my thoughts; thinking out loud online. Someone comes along and reads what I wrote, thinks about it, then writes a comment starting a conversation. The end result is that we both learn from it. Blogging will not only enhance your students learning, it will accelerate your learning as well. I learned more about teaching and learning in my first 10 months as a blogger than I did in the previous 10 years. You will too.


(2) How can I keep my students "safe" online?

Using social software in a political enviroment where legislation such as the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) is being seriously considered can be intimidating. The larger (international) community of edubloggers is opposed to this legislation. (Excellent grassroots resources on the DOPA wiki Will Richardson started.) You see, it's not the case that kids will not use these tools if they are banned from schools. It is the case that they will go home and use them in all the inappropriate, dangerous and uneducated ways that have lead to the proposal of DOPA. Where better to educate kids than at school? A place where we can turn the inappropriate actions of students into teachable moments. (Like this one, where a student posted profanity on the class blog. The teacher, students and adminstrator had this open discussion on the teacher's blog that turned it into a teachable moment for them and an educational example for us.) I have a collection of Safe Blogging Resources on my blog that I try to update regularly. (I have some catching up to do.) Feel free to use the material there to address the concerns that may be raised by parents and administrators as you begin to explore the rich educational opportunities facilitated by blogging with your students.


Some other links I mentioned ...


Learn about scribes and scribe posts at The Scribe Post Hall Of Fame.


You've already seen this scribe post: Scribe 15 Why Me? Will showed it to you the other day. What you may not know is that this is from a student who says she hates math. ;-) Also, you might wonder how I know what you saw in your workshop the other day. Your workshop animators are also bloggers. They've been blogging about what you're learning. When I learned that you had seen Regine's scribe as an example of quality edublogging I shared it with her. You should have seen the pride and joy on her face. That's blogging for you.


In the question period I was asked about how I deal with students who don't have computer/internet access at home. I was recently asked the same question by another teacher from Alabama. Here's my answer:



As for students who do not have computers at home I have arranged with the tech at my school to have special internet accounts for them. They use these acounts exclusively for their blog work and nothing else. Essentially, those accounts give unfiltered access to the internet. I have also had occasion to let students use my computer in my classroom to complete their online work. To be honest, this issue is a red herring. While I always have one or two students who "need" these special accounts each semester, by 2 or 3 weeks into the semester they have found another computer (friend's house, library, purchase) that they can use outside of school.


Thanks for allowing me to participate in your day. I had fun! Feel free to email me anytime.



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