May 2008

I seem to be falling behind in the 31 Day Comment Challenge. I had good intentions of working on the project yesterday but instead found myself immersed in a good book. So tonight is the night to start looking on the past day’s tasks and begin to work my way through them. It seems that I’m moving sideways through the daily challenges instead of forward because I’ve already blogged about Day 13 and completed Day 12’s task. Now as I read ahead into Day 16: Go Back and Catch Up on Something I think this blog posts fits well for that day too.

“We’re here at a little over the halfway point in our 31 Day Comment Challenge and from what I can see, a lot of us are feeling a little behind. Worse, a lot of you are totally stressing about it, too! Don’t put so much pressure on yourselves, people–this should be fun!

So here goes today’s blog post about Day 11: Write a Blog Comment Policy

“As a blogger, you’re responsible for the overall tone of your blog and the comments that are left there. Like a party host, you create a particular kind of atmosphere on your blog and when it comes to commenting, having a comment policy is the best way for you to establish commenting ground rules.”

I’d never thought about having a blog comment policy. I suppose that in my mind I’d already decided that anything that was on my blog had to be appropriate for all audiences. As an educator my blog is available to my peers, parents and even students for reading. I also thought that as the creator of the blog I’m the one who decides what comments are posted. I’ve approved nearly all of the comments I’ve received except for the ones that seem to originate from a bogus address. As I read Blog Herald‘s post “Does Your Blog Have a Comment Policy?” the following points were made.

As the blog owner, you have the following rights:

  1. Control over content and comments.
  2. Ability to edit comments.
  3. Ability to censor comments.
  4. Ability to delete comments.
  5. Ability to prevent comments by specific persons or groups.

The blog post cautions against complete censor but states that whatever you decide your audience should be aware of the playing rules.

Neville Hobson has a complete terms of use for his blog that includes the reason he writes his blog, using his blog and writing his comments. Lorelle on WordPress writes about the debate on deleting comments. She writes about her past worry about deleting comments but ultimately the publisher of the blog is in control of the site and has to live with the comments authorized. Lorelle also cautions about taking a few moments to think before you send off a quick comment back to a comment you disagree with. I really like Michelle Martin’s guide to using her blog: The Bamboo Project. I like the tone of her guide and the way it is friendly instead of a set of rules. I would use the guide to show my students how to use blogs.

So, where do I stand on comment policies? I’m not sure if I need a written policy on my blog or not. I don’t think so but maybe it’s because I don’t have a large readership. Were I to have more readers and a broader range of readers I may reconsider. I might write a guide to using my blog or my class blog because that appeals to me more. How many of you have a comment policy? Do you believe they are important or not?

This morning I asked my students to write their reflections about the 31 Day Blogging Challenge. As a class we’ve been receiving comments from other students in the challenge and commenting back to their blog my students had to say about the challenge.posts. We’ve also been commenting to our class blog blogging partners through our class blog. This is what some of my students wrote this morning.

Comment Challenge

So this morning I’m supposed to blog about the comment challenge. I think the comment challenge is a great idea. Mostly all the comments I get are from Mr. E and most of the other comments I get from other people who don’t even explain why they liked why they liked my blog. The comment challenge is where you comment on people’s blogs and read their blogs. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing for Mr. E to be commenting on mine because it’s a good thing because at least I know someone’s reading what I post. I think the comment challenge is a great idea for people because it’s better to get an opinion on your blogs then
get nothing at all. It might be something bad that maybe you made a few spelling error’s and I dont think they are trying to make it seem so bad just giving you an idea what to change about it and make it better. Blog post by crazy1.

Our class is doing a comment challenge with schools and classes all over the world . The challenge is to comment to people’s blog writing. You can get things for the most comments , the best comment , the biggest comment. This challenge is challenging bloggers to become better blog citizens.

Blog post by miss attitude.

I have to comment to people all over the world. It’s kind of like a contest. I’ve only commented to a few people so far, I should start commenting to more people. I like the idea of commenting because you can answer people’s questions and they can answer yours! So start commenting to me and others! Blog post by 0kiwifruit0.

I have not been commenting people for the comment challenge because I don’t like commenting. I only comment if it’s about something I like or something easy to write a comment about. Blog post by mac_10.

My students really enjoy receiving comments and are learning to respond to the comments. I think they are enjoying the challenge and hopefully becoming better at writing feedback to the other blog writers.

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a week since I’ve blogged about the Comment Challenge. I know I need to keep on top of my daily challenges so that I don’t fall behind. Here’s Day 7’s challenge:

“We’re on Day 7 of the comment challenge and it’s time to take a little break to see what you’ve learned. So far you’ve audited your own commenting behavior, commented on a new blog, installed a blog tracking service, asked a question in a comment, commented on a post you didn’t agree with and responded to another commenter on a blog post.

For today’s task, I want you to come up with three lessons you’ve learned from your experiences so far. Consider what you’ve learned about yourself as a commenter, what you’ve learned about the act of commenting, and how you think your recent commenting activities have impacted you as commenter and a blogger. These don’t have to be major sweeping lessons. They can be as simple as “I’ve learned that I don’t comment as often as I’d like.” The point is to reflect on what you’ve been doing in the past week and to consider how you want to use this information to improve your conversational abilities in the blogosphere. If you blog your lessons, be sure to tag them with the “comment08″ tag.”

So what have I been learning? One thing I’ve learned that sometimes cocomment can be frustrating and freeze my whole screen so that I want to yell at it. I tried to comment on a new and interesting blog using it with no luck. I’m sure I’ll be able to move on from that trauma because I’ve used it since. I’m reading new blogs and getting some different perspectives from around the world. I’ve found blogs that I’ve added to my bloglines feed because I know that I want to read more from that person.

I’ve found out that my students love commenting and being commented to. They get a bit frustrated if they can’t track someone down because the link doesn’t take them back to a blog page. Despite any little glitches my students are enjoying the dialogues that they’re having with students around the globe. As part of our comment challenge as well as part of our language arts/social studies unit my students are reading and commenting to Sergeant Parks blog who is a teacher serving in Afghanistan. The students have been reading Sergeant Park’s blog posting about serving and living on the Khandahar Air Force Base while serving with the Canadian Armed Forces. My class is reading The Breadwinner while we are working on the unit Change in Social Studies.

As I read hints about soliciting comments to blog posts and how to write good comments I’m passing on the information to my students. My hope is that as they grow their network they will develop better commenting skills that will help them create dialogues and continue their learning. I have the same goal and I already know that I’ve met new people through the challenge that I will continue to correspond with in the future.

Learning Loops by Kevin Dooley (Flickr Creative Commons)

I’m a middle years teacher in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. I was told about the Comment Challenge by Kim Cofino on Twitter. As soon as I heard about the challenge I wanted to be part of it and I wanted my class to be involved. My quest this year has been to connect my students and myself to the world. I want all of us to become global citizens and be aware of the world around us. Because I’m connected as an educator I’m able to provide my students with the ability to connect with other students around the globe.

As I checked the list of participants there were many names I recognized. The following names are people that I’ve communicated with through classblogmeister. I’ve exchanged emails with Jane Loweand Kathy Rice. I’ve participated in many on-line discussions with Lisa Parisi. and worked on collaborative projects with Barbara Bashour. I’m also involved in a global collaborative writing project called MS1001 Tales with Ann Oro along with Jo McLeay and Anne Mirtschin.

Sharon Peters was a presenter for my last grad class and Cindy Seibel was another student in the class. Many of the same people are part of my Twitter network.

Through these many connections I’m able to provide opportunities for my students to communicate with other students around the globe. My students are becoming active participants in the student comment challenge which I hope will encourage them to spend as much time writing comments as they write blog posts. I also hope that they, like me, find new blogs to read, enjoy and question in our ongoing challenge to become global citizens.

Today was the second day of the blogging challenge. My class and I have been busy commenting to our blogging partners around the globe. Today’s challenge was to comment on blogs that we’d never visited before. My students began commenting on the challenge partner’s blogs and I began to comment on people in the challenge. There are a wonderful and diverse group of people involved in the challenge. I look forward to expanding my network and learning what other educators are doing in the world of technology. So far today I commented to bloggers in North Carolina, New Zealand, Malaysia and Brazil. I’ll continue blogging and working my way around the world.
I’m reposting a blog post about the power of comments because I think it’s very relevant this month. I wish I could get all of my parents involved and interested enough to comment to their child’s blog.

The Power of Comments

February 27, 2008 · 4 Comments

I have been part of many conversations in the past week that involve the power of audience in blogging. Today I was part of a ustream presentation where Dean Shareski discussed the question of “Why is audience important?” I look at audience being the icing on the cake, the motivation to keep writing and the way to connect with the world outside our classroom. The thrill of getting comments to my blog posts never diminishes. I’m as excited to get comments today as I was to receive my first comment a year ago. I feel a bit like Sally Field at The Academy Awards when she cried out “You really like me!” It’s sad but true.vm_cr00309309_ss100_.jpg

Today I listened to other educators question Dean about the value of using technology in their classroom. I keep asking why do we need to convince teachers about the value of writing? Oh, I mean blogging.

Tonight after my EC&I 831 class where we were fortunate to have Dean as the presenter I started thinking about the value of audience again. After the class I checked my email and found this wonderful comment from one of my parents to her daughter.

View As Web Page Kimberly.Brown, A comment has been posted to darf’s blog entitled, Future

The comment is:

Hey Cutie, excellent writing skills. You have come such a long way in
your talent. I’m so proud of you and the way you express yourself. Your
writing makes me want to keep reading. AWESOME!!!! I love the idea of
being a “coroner”, you love to solve mysteries. I love you. Keep
writing,experiencing,following your ambitions and sharing everything.

This was such a powerful comment to read from a parent. This comment motivates her daughter to write, share and experience. The comment motivates me to continue on my quest to integrate technology in my classroom. This one comment from our audience validated a year of using my class blog.

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