Preparing Students for Commenting with Wall Blogging

All of our classroom teachers are working hard on their classroom blogs. They are using the blog as a platform to allow parents to have a peek into the classroom. It is a communication tool between school and home. It has been a steep learning curve for some to write, post, embed and upload in this new media until it is becoming a daily routine.

I wrote about this learning curve and process of teacher blogging before. My vision includes a step ladder approach as teachers are moving from a purely informational, static, one-way-communication site to a global communication center.

Step Ladder of Blogging

I am proud of how our classroom teachers are continuing to work hard and move forward in the blogging  process.

A few weeks ago, our second graders created a video tutorial to teach their parents how to navigate their classroom blog. They are excited and self-motivated to check their classroom blog from home to see if their teachers posted something new. Both teachers and students are now ready to take the next step with the ultimate goal of making a global learning community out of their blog. These 7 & 8 year olds are ready to start commenting!

Taking the idea from the “paper blogging“activity, which originated from the No Matter, There blog, the second grade teachers and I decided to prepare students for commenting with “wall blogging”.

In class, teachers had read two books about pilgrims to the children. Outside of the classroom, teachers prepared a wall as a designated “wall blog”. They used push pins to “post” a handwritten piece of paper about their reading and added a few questions at the end. They also wrote a poster with “commenting guidelines” in addition to two images and books and a Venn Diagram poster (to compare and contrast the two stories).

Blogging Wall
Blog Post

As a class, we read the post and went over the commenting guidelines.

Commenting Guidelines

The teachers had also prepared some pre-made comments and students had to decide if they were appropriate comments following the guidelines or not. If they were not, they helped re-write the comments to make them appropriate to be pinned to the wall blog.

Comments

Then it was time for the students to comment. Each one of them received a colorful sentence strip and was instructed to then answer one of the questions from the original (paper) blog post or to comment on one of the comments that were already pinned to the wall.

Adding Comments to our Blog Wall
Writing Comments

There was a lively buzz going around. The students wrote great comments and it was amazing to see how their  minds worked as they were trying to figure out the “best” spot to place their comments. We wanted to make sure that comments who answered the same questions were placed in close proximity to one another. We also talked about the “nested” aspect of comments.

Wall Blogging

We talked about the difference between writing on a piece of paper and writing online. What does it mean when you underline a word on a piece of paper and what does it mean when a word is underlined online?

The wall blogging exercise did not involve ANY TECHNOLOGY! It was all about reading comprehension, writing, categorizing, comparing, contrasting, reflecting, documenting and collaboratively working towards exploring a text. The students will now be able to transfer these skills  to a new medium.

A new medium that allows them to practice the skills mentioned above in addition to:

  • be able to do this from home
  • learning how to read and write in an online environment
  • connect and share with a worldwide audience (not just the people who physically can stand in front of our wall blog)

How are your preparing your students to comment? Please share your ideas.

18 thoughts on “Preparing Students for Commenting with Wall Blogging”

  1. This looks like a great way to teach kids about the modern world! It is nice to see schools that are preparing children for what communication is actually like in our world.

  2. > The wall blogging exercise did not involve ANY TECHNOLOGY!

    Yes it did. It required a bulletin board of some sort, which had to be manufactured. It required pushpins or tacks. It required construction paper and scissors. And it required coloured markers.

    You may say, this is not technology, but imagine giving such an activity description to a teacher working even as late as the 1950s. Bulletin boards were a lot more scarce, paper was available, and so were tacks, but not pushpins. Students would have to use crayons, which are not nearly as crisp and clear.

    Now imagine a teacher from the 1910s. No bulletin boards anywhere. Paper was scarce, not cheap, and did not come in colours. Crayons existed but were scarce. Tacks were available, but were normally used for leatherwork. You’d probably use a knife to cut your paper (if you had any).

    Saying ‘no technology was used’ means ‘we used the technology I grew up with’. This a very different thing.

    1. @Stephen You are right, paper, bulletin boards, pencils, pens, etc “can” be called technology…in a different time…in a different place…:) But using the term “technology” in 2010, “most” people will not think of these items as technology. Unless we want to put the disclaimer you mentioned of “technology I grew up with” next to the term “technology” every time we write about it.
      I safely assumed when writing the post that a teacher from 1910 would not be reading it and be confused. 🙂
      Good point though and thanks for raising awareness…

  3. What I like about your activity is that is removes the emphasis on “the tool” and places it on “the learning,” and reminds us that we should be able to adapt what we doing for multiple venues and multiple ways of learning. I’ll be the tactile learning really appealed to some of your kids more than the blogging will. That’s just a hunch.
    Kevin

  4. AWESOME IDEA!! Love this!! I think I will borrow this to work with my special needs students – before we begin using a class blog or twitter. I will also share this with other teachers at my school.

  5. This is a wonderful way to connect children’s thinking and understanding with the familiar to the not so familiar, and to appreciate the similarities and differences.

    I have passed this onto the staff at my college.

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thanks for the wonderful idea! This is such an awesome way to introduce the students to blogging, or let them blog when internet access in unavailable/blocked. Many thanks!

  7. Hi Langwitches,

    Its Clarrie from ricmac.edublogs.org and I think thats a great idea I will sugest it to my teacher. Could you put our blog on your blogroll. If you could it would be great. Bye from Clarrie

  8. This is such a wonderful idea! What a great way to introduce students to blogging. I cannot wait until I get into a classroom to begin using all of your ideas.

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