Monday, October 11, 2010

Building Audience

Over the past few years I have noticed a growing phenomenon. Kids are getting into commenting.

My students start to comment from the first posts of the year.  I have just had them do a math profile.  How do you see yourself as a math student etc. I asked that they comment and they have.  But how did they get there? I am lucky that the Grade 7 teacher uses blogs too.  Together we create quite a team.  He and I give the Grade seven students the basics and by the time they hit Grade 8 they are ready to really do some spectacular things.

But still how do you get them to comment. At first you entice them with the possibilities of getting marks for commenting.  You need to build a routine for the students to follow.  I follow the "Whose line is it Anyways" approach.  You will get one gazillion marks if you...

The points were just there. They did not mean much. Kids in my classes get marked for blog work. Posts and assignments are one category and comments are another. The students think they are worth "lots" of marks but in reality they are not. It does not matter however.  Soon after the first term is over and they have a routine of reading the blog regularly and have been trained at giving great comments the work other students produce improves.  Kids that get blog post comments create better posts than kids that do not.  All blog posts are being commented on so ALL posts are done better.  Some of the advice in the comments are amazing.  On average posts are receiving 4 comments each.  Some are getting over 10.  After the first term the students do not ask about "comment marks" anymore.  They just leave comments.  When they get to Grade 9 and are in their third year of commenting they are truly an audience of peers who help each other.

Kids are amazing.  Train them and teach them to be a community of learners and they will take themselves places together they could not get to alone. 

I am one lucky teacher... really I am.  You can be too.  Get the kids to comment.  Get them to blog.  You will be glad that you did.

1 comment:

Melanie Holtsman said...

You're so right. Blogging and commenting is a habit. You're rewarding your students for their good habits and then naturally they just continue without the reward. I find elementary math teachers struggling with what to blog about and I love that you are sharing your teaching, learning and thoughts...not only about math but everything teaching... :) Thanks for joining the challenge!