I reinforced to students that they are beginning to post well when asked to, yet that posting wasn’t the only way to use their blog. We recapped ‘why’ you post; and decided in our case it was mainly to share and reflect with the possibility of inspiring others … if they are actually being read by others.
I asked students how many people had read other people’s posts and about 3 hands went up. The students seemed shocked and unsure of how to respond to this. When I asked them how they were feeling, a few said that they were a little upset that they had made a few posts and that nobody had read them, making their posts meaningless. They soon began to realise that they were all ‘posting’ and none were really ‘commenting’ so they were all guilty of not being an audience to each other. This was a great moment to highlight the other reasons we comment; to reflect and learn from each other. The students decided that they wanted to do more of this, so I told them that I would do my best to structure commenting into our morning routine. As of last Thursday, in the 10 minutes we have in Homeroom before the beginning of our learning sessions for the day, students in my class are now encourage to get organised, check their e-mails and then comment on someone else’s blog post. There has already been an improvement on how they are conversing with each other through their commenting online, yet not as much as I would have liked.
After seeking feedback from a critical friend, I intend to start instilling commenting as a part of our reflecting at the end of some of our learning sessions. I would like to model posts with students on our class blog and then have students respond directly to it by leaving comments after the session; that way I kill two birds with one stone – model good posting and also encourage commenting. In each post I make I will set the expectations that they are to comment.
Hopefully this increases their commenting on the class page and combined with the time set aside to comment on the posts of others during our Homeroom time, there will hopefully also be an increase in the commenting they make on the pages of others.