Blogging Lesson Plan- Commenting


Difference between social and academic commenting.

You could create a blog for your young students, in order to allow them a safe online space where your young students can socialize and “practice” in an online environment. This type of blog fosters a virtual kind of classroom community that can spill over (positively or negatively)  into the physical classroom as well.

Here are some examples of social comments.

I am soooooooooooooo exited about giving my present tommorow!!!!!  I do think the time is wronge. ytou are sooooooooooooooo right!!!!! Will someone talk to me! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

you are ridiculous!

what its funny and sweet!! hahah ohhh welll ur missing outt!!! =)

I’m am definitely NOT a pro at it lol.
Lol!!!!!!—- You should come skiing/snowboarding with me some time 😀

whats up??
did you do your homework for geography?

What kind of comments are we aiming for on an academic oriented classroom blog?

  • Related to the content of the post.
  • Continuing a conversation started in the post or in other comments.
  • Connected to content learned or discussed in the classroom.
  • Challenges someone’s point of view.
  • Add something to the author’s post in form of a :
    • link
    • connection
    • idea
    • reminder
    • new perspective

Commenting etiquette

While we hope that the content of a comment is meaningful and related to the post and learning, there is yet another dimension to commenting. Students need to be aware and observe proper “commenting netiquette”. Just like any other classroom rules at the beginning of each school year, this netiquette needs to be discussed, practiced and reviewed. It is also important to let students know your expectations of proper grammar and spelling in their online writing. Do you value content above all and are willing to close an eye to spelling? Or are you willing to take less content in exchange of time spent on grammar and spelling? You need to communicate your expectations clearly to your students.

Here is a short and simple commenting guide for my elementary age school students:

  • Acknowledge the author of the blog post.
  • Let the author know if you agree with him/her and why.
  • It is also ok to disagree with something, just let the author know why you feel that way.
  • One word comments are not very useful. Writing just “cool” or “nice” are not very helpful and don’t let the author of the blog post really know what you are thinking.
  • Always make sure you follow “netiquette”. Think if it is appropriate BEFORE you hit the submit button.
  • Always be polite . It does not matter if you agree or disagree with what you are reading in a blog. Don’t write anything you would be ashamed of saying to someone’s face. Don’t hurt somebody’s feelings.

Video Clip: Kitchen table conversation

I believe the video below is a valuable conversation starter for 5h grade and up. Those kind of conversations ARE happening, our students need to know how to react to them.

I think it is a good idea to practice commenting as a class. Ask yourself the question:

What does a quality, meaningful commenting look like?

Pick a classroom blog from around the world, read and then discuss what a good comment to that post wold be. Submit the comment, sign it as “your class“.

Read through the following comment starters with your students and then keep a running log of starters your class comes up with on their own.

Comment Starters
( from Youth Radio blog Netiquette– which in turn was adapted from  Excellence and Imagination

  • 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…
  • I can relate to this…
  • This makes me think of…
  • I discovered…
  • I don’t understand…
  • I was reminded that…
  • I found myself wondering…

Mrs. Yollis has published an incredible valuable post about student commenting on her blog. The main message is CONTENT IS KEY!

I have used Mrs. Yollis‘ image of quality commenting below to start the conversation with teachers. It is  important to spell out blogging and commenting expectations for students depending on grade level and your own personal preferences or learning goals.

Mrs. Yollis' Commenting Guidelines

The video below is a wonderful example of how to get students involved in teaching others!