Taken from a painting of Kapiti Island at Sunset.
by Sonia Savage.

Friday, February 25, 2011

11 Things to Know about Commenting and Students.

1.  I have come to know that we need to teach our students the skills needed for commenting.  I have been mainly guided in the last year or so by L Yollis and the work she does.  Last week while attending the webinar run by Tech Talk Tuesday, I realised just how precise we need to be.  If you weren't at it,
I advise you listen to the recording.  The enthusiasm of the teacher and the modelling by the teacher is really important.

2.  As a teacher encourage thoughtful commenting.  How many times have you, on your class blog received a comment?  "Your blog is cool, come and visit our blog."  It's a start but there is no real engagement.  So teach your students that they need to read the post and respond with a positive comment, perhaps a connection or a question, or added information or an opinion with reasons.

3.  Many of your students may see commenting as something similar to comments they send each other by
  texting!  So commenting needs to be taught!  So correct spelling, grammar and punctuation are important.

4.  Students love to receive comments.  Many of mine watch the count and celebrate with a post when they get to 75 or 100.

5.  As a teacher value the adults who leave comments on your class blog or your students' blog.  Email them and thank them.

6.  Especially value other teachers from other classrooms who leave comments on your class blog or your
student blogs.  Students feel very special when they get such comments.  Once I left a comment on a student blog of a student in the USA.  Later an aunt of his ( a teacher) emailed me to thank me, he couldn't believe that something he had written was read and responded to, from so far away.

7.  As well as students loving getting comments from other teachers, as their teacher it thrills me when I see a comment from another teacher coming in for them.  I feel like someone else is helping to develop them. It
seems to be like we are all fostering their writing and web 2.0 skills.  I also love comments that tell a student their post is being used by a teacher in some way. 

8.  Teach students that pingbacks are something to savour as well.  It means someone has valued their post and has linked to them.

9.   Teach students about spam comments.  Examine some together so that they know just to delete them.

10.  Be aware there are various kinds of comments.  Not all comments call for a detailed comment.  Perhaps
 it's just a short one.  For example today on our class blog we got a query asking were we okay, because
of the recent earthquake in Christchurch.  Or it might be a quick comment of some other kind.  There is a time and a place for a variety of comments.

11.  Yes one more, it takes time!  Not all comments are going to be what you quite want, but what counts I think is the evidence that they are improving at commenting.


  1. Dear Ms. T,
    I think you're right about so many things you've mentioned in your post.
    I've been working on how to make this an easier process for students and know that I am getting better at teaching this skill but still have a long, long way to go.
    I hadn't thought about the trackback/ping importance to them. It seems so abstract for 11 year olds to understand. I mean I know they can understand it, but can they really "like" it. I will definitely consider that.
    I was also personally encouraged by your comment that students value other teacher's comments. I started commenting on a set of students from last September's challenge. While I was very faithful during the challenge and thoroughly enjoyed reading their blogs, I was never sure if it made a significant difference or if they thought I was just some weirdo teacher who loved to work too much!!! I have another group to add onto my list of reading...and it's getting so long now. But I will admit that I was shocked when one of the bloggers I followed last September announced she was in high school now...somehow you don't think about these middle schoolers ever going to HS. I know it's silly but they seem so innocent and open to the world.

    Again thank you for your ideas and help. Please feel free to read what I found out about my student's attitudes towards commenting this week


  2. Marsha
    Thanks for calling in. Imagine and I used the comment you made on Teegans blog. I know you have commented on at least one other student in my class too. They do appreciate them. They quietly puff their chests, and it helps them to feel heard I do believe. It encourages them to go on writing. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

  3. Hi Kathryn, this is a comprehensive post outlining some important facts about commenting. I thought that the session with Linda Yollis was great too and there is so much to think about from the material that she presented. How do your students keep track of their comment count? Does your blogging platform track the comments for them? I like the fact that they write a post after the 50 or 75 to celebrate.
    I feel it is important to try and think of a question that might be asked from the post being read as this encourages conversations.

  4. Murcha
    Yes Edublogs gives the information on how many comments. I must say I have never looked at the class comments total, but I think that's different to a personal blog!

  5. Kathryn,
    I just had the delight to see your sweet student Breellen's blog. She is a very talented girl! She has been busy commenting on some of my students' and our class blog at http://krebs.edublogs.org/

    I love this post. It was good to be reminded of some important aspects of commenting. Bree certainly has learned to make excellent, well-thought-out, and proofread comments. You must be so proud of her. I just added her to my "Students From Around the World" Blogroll.

    Kudos to you and yours,
    Mrs. Krebs

  6. Denise
    Thank you. Breellen works hard and her parents support her very much. I am now teaching her for her third year and her test scores show amazing improvement. When a student works hard and parents support and teachers trudge on, a student delights. She is the kind of student that warms my heart.

  7. This is a really good list - and you know I love them, right?

    Comments are real evidence that people have read and engaged with the post...they came and they stayed awhile. I wonder if anyone ever gets jaded about this and take for granted the time that their visitors spend on their blogs?


  8. Denise,

    Thanks so much for the kind words and for the links to our class blog and the Tech Talk Tuesday presentation! Like you, I'm passionate about blogging, but especially love the comments! I think the comment section is such a rich place for continued learning and connection with others.

    I agree with you about getting comments from teachers. Whenever we get a comment it is exciting, but from a teacher...the students feel so proud. Keep up the great work!

    Your friend,
    Linda Yollis

  9. Linda
    Thank you for taking the time to drop in and comment. I have learnt so much from you about commenting. And other things as well.


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