Great new video from New Brunswick, Canada!

This morning I was checking my daily updates from one of my Diigo Groups and I was excited when I checked out this Myths and Legends Story Creator site. I can already imagine how I can use this with my students. In a myths and legends unit or integrate it into some project based learning this would be a fabulous way for the students to create stories. I can think about the discussions and planning that will happen then once the students start using the story creator their stories will come alive.

The site has free membership which is a bonus. Each year I create a class email account for my students to use for sites like this that allows me to create a class account on web sites. It’s so much easier if all of the students are using the same password. Occasionally this creates a problem if the site has difficulty managing so many users on the same account but then we adapt. I would want to see if we could embed the story on our blogs but if not we could probably using screen shots to post the story. I could also envision using the screen shot pictures and using iMovie to create a movie. I think I might be getting ahead of myself here. I’ll have to play around with the site then introduce it to my students. We could have used it for our Solar System unit to tell stories about the constellations, hmmm…maybe I can incorporate it into my current project “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.” I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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)

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