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

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quality Commenting Audit Meme

I have been invited to participate in the Quality Posting and Commenting Meme, begun at the Langwitches blog.  Thank you Tracy for passing on the challenge, it has challenged me to stop and reflect on the commenting that my students engage in.  

Commenting is an important part of blogging.  At its best it carries the conversation on, adds ideas, enables others to think further about the topic, to agree or not agree with the writer of the post.  It also allows the person commenting to give support and encouragement to the writer.  Every writer likes feedback! 

As teachers we would like our students to engage in writing quality comments.  There are teachers out there that certainly model this and set high expectations.  Two such teachers are Linda Yollis and Kathleen Morris. Although they are two that come to my mind readily, there are other teachers endeavouring to do the same with great success. For example, just read the wonderful posts linked in my first paragraph.  These teachers challenge me by their professional approach and expectation of high standards from students.  They awaken in me the need to reflect on my own journey teaching commenting to students.

As a class we have talked about commenting and together we have set guidelines.  However as I reflect, I have not followed that up enough to ensure that quality commenting is taking place.  We haven't examined quality comments enough, nor examined our own comments and worked on developing them further.  Therefore it is very timely to examine the kinds of comments that are happening in my classroom and to plan for some intervention when we return to school in February 2012.

The two comments I examine below are really the pre-assessment.  What is happening with commenting in my class?  Let me examine that and see where I need to go.  At the end of the term I am going to commit to another teacher post on this blog  in April to  reflect again on where my class is with the making of quality comments.

                Commenting Guidelines
"It is better to make one quality comment than many poor comments"

Ø Be positive and respectful.
Ø Give details about what you agree with or like in the post.
Ø Write a comment that might make the reader of your comment think further, or connect to in some way.
Ø Share your feelings, opinions, ideas and questions in relation to the topic of the post.
Ø Make sure you write everything so that the person reading the comment will understand what you want to communicate.
Ø Use correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Ø Begin your comment with a greeting and end with a signature.
Ø Use formal language – think about your word choice, sentence fluency and paragraphing.
Ø Double check your comment before posting – reread it.
Ø Finally ask yourself how will the person feel when they receive your comment? 
Ø Publish it.
Ø Remember to check back so that you can respond if the person you left the comment to furthers the conversation.
Ø Copy your comment into your word document, My Commenting, so that later in the term you can reflect on your commenting.

Tip: Clicking on each comment image will enlarge it for easier reading.

On the very first day back in 2012 I commit to sharing with my students a powerpoint that I have begun with the four slides above, we will revisit our guidelines and refine them if necessary.  I am also thinking of setting some kind of challenge - for example make 15 -20 quality comments in Term 1.  (10 weeks)

Your turn.
I would now like to nominate two more teachers to take a turn at sharing in a meme how they see quality commenting.

J Salsich   on Twitter @jmsalsich
Stephanie     on Twitter@traintheteacher.  Stephanie I know you may not want to do this post straight away, but in your time.


  1. Dear Kathryn,

    I'm so glad you continued this meme! I'm going to put the link in my blog post now.

    I loved reading your audit and your comment annotations. Like you, I want to show my new students my comment annotations when we go back to school and maybe have them annotate/analyse some of their own.

    I just love your idea of having a quality commenting challenge. I think that would be an ideal task for Term One.

    Hope you're enjoying the break,

  2. Kathleen
    Thank you. It was a challenge for me to continue it, but it has been worth it. No pain, no gain!

    Thank you too for the idea of annotating comments in powerpoint and then saving as a jpeg. Well the idea of annotating actually too.

    Yes I intend having my student analyse some of their comments as part of the mini lessons on commenting.

    Yes I am enjoying the break, love holidays!

  3. Dear Kathryn,

    This is such a fabulous post! I am so inspired by your taking it to the next level by sharing some goals with your class in this post, and creating a plan to carry it through. I look forward to hearing how your reflection(s) later on.

    I also appreciate the guidelines you created, with the motto of creating one quality comment is better than many bland comments.

    The student learning in your class is such high caliber, and I'm thrilled you wrote this post. I hope to hear your student's perspectives on how to create quality comments. I'm particularly interested if there are some tips they can share with other students their ages? I'd love to have classes from around the globe learn from your class and vice versa.

    Kind regards,

  4. Dear Tracy
    Thank you for your support and encouragement. I appreciate it. I do believe that intervention and then reflection is important,

    I hope as this meme does its journey around the globe more educators will realise the importance of good writing by students when they are commenting. My aim will be to do my part! Firstly I will need to get the students on board.

    Warm regards


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