Day 1: Do a Commenting Self-Audit

One of the goals of the 31 Day Comment Challenge is for us to improve our commenting skills and draw more people into blog conversations. So to kick off the 31 days of activities we’re going to start with a commenting self-audit. You can use this to get a better picture of your blog commenting skills and strategies.

For this activity, do the following:

1. Answer the following questions:

  • How often do you comment on other blogs during a typical week? When I go through my Bloglines feeds I usually comment on half of the the blogs I read. I also comment on my partner teacher’s students blogs once a week.
  • Do you track your blog comments? How? What do you do with your tracking? I track blog comments that I make on other wordpress blogs. My blog keeps tracks of these for me.
  • Do you tend to comment at the same blogs or do you try to comment on at least one new blog per week? I comment on many of the same blogs but I also try to comment on new blogs I’m reading.

2. Now review Gina Trapani’s Guide to Blog Comments and ask yourself how well you’re doing in each of the different areas. Are there any specific areas where you think you need to do some work? What do you want to do to address these issues?
I’d like to leave more informative and interesting comments. I do read any other comments that have been made and try not to be redundant

Whew, I’ve made it through day one of the challenge. I want to keep up with the daily activities and not let the challenge down. I hope I’ll be able to do it. I wonder if you can double up if you miss a day? I also look forward to getting to know other bloggers in the challenge.

Today, May 1st, is the start of a month long comment challenge. I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into but I’m up to the challenge. Kim Cofino sent out tweets about the challenge so I checked out the wiki and wanted to get involved. There are currently 77 bloggers challenging themselves to be better at commenting or at least be more prolific for the month of May.

Welcome to the 2008 Comment Challenge!

Challenging bloggers to become better blog citizens. Challenge runs from May 1 – 31, 2008.

Coordinated by Sue Waters, Silvia Tolisano, Michele Martin and Kim Cofino
Sponsored by coComment and Edublogs

We would like to challenge participants to be better blog citizens tracking who is the commenter with:

  • The most comments on a wide range of blogs (not just the “top” edubloggers)
  • The most high quality comments that thoughtfully reflect on the topic
  • The comments that provoke and promote the most learning
  • And one more – we need your input! add to the activities page please

As I looked through the wikispace I noticed a page devoted student groups and student activities. Because I’m always looking for ways to expand my students writing and use of Web 2.0 tools I joined the student groups. My students leave comments to other classes but like anyone they need to learn how to write good comments. I sent out the challenge to my class on our class blog this morning. I now need to think of any easy and efficient way to keep track of their blogs. I’m looking forward to this challenge. Let the comments begin!

My collaborative partner, Jim, and I have been experimenting for two and a half weeks with our own Thinwalled Classroom. Each Friday we are giving our classes a shared writing assignment. One week I assign the writing topic and the next week Jim does. We post the assignment on our own class blogs each week. In my room we use the data projector and read the assignment together. If the students need to look at the assignment again they look at our blog pages. Students then do their writing in their notebook prior to writing on their blog. Jim reads and comments to my class’ writing while I read and comment to his. The students are really enjoying feedback from another teacher and look forward to our comments. Both Jim and I are pleased with the writing our students are doing as well as the comments we’ve received from them about our collaboration.
It’s my turn this week so I better get going and prep for the assignment.


Tonight there was discussion on the benefits of blogging. Once you start looking through journal articles there many articles about blogging. Some of the articles are a bit old but still relevant.

In Instructional Blogging: Promoting Interactivity, Student-Centered Learning, and Peer Input Stuart Glogoff (2005) explains, “ . . . instructional blogging offers additional opportunities to engage students and extend the virtual classroom.” Glogoff (2005) examines the opportunities that blogging provides
to students including reading, critical thinking, commenting, real-world experiences and meaningful ways to interact with others. Glogoff (2005) also discusses the three instructional techniques that blogging in the classroom use: receptive, directive and guided discovery.Glogoff (2005) also discusses the pedagogy behind the use of blogs in teaching and learning.

In Using Blogs to Integrate Technology in the Classroom Mollie Crie (2006) explains the basic information about what are blogs, the educational benefits of blogs and ways to use blogs in the classroom. Crie (2006) also discusses some risks to consider when using blogs in a classroom.

In Content Delivery in the “Blogosphere” Richard E. Ferdig and Kaye D. Trammel (2004) examine the potential benefits of blogging for educators. Ferdig and Trammel (2004) also describe the pedagogy of blogs and why blogs should be used as an educational tool. Ferdig and Trammel (2004) list some practical ideas for teachers beginning to use blogs in their classrooms. According to Ferdig and Trammel (2004) there are four benefits of student blogging: The use of blogs helps students become subject-matter experts, the use of blogs increases student interest and ownership in learning, the use of blogs gives students legitimate chances to participate and the use of blogs provides opportunities for diverse perspectives, both within and outside the classroom.

In The Educated Blogger: Using Weblogs to promote literacy in the Classroom David Huffaker (2005) explores how blogs promote literacy in schools. Huffaker (2005) questions how blogs can enhance learning environments and if classroom settings are appropriate settings for their use. The article hypothesizes that blogs are an important addition to any school because they promote literacy through storytelling, allow collaborative learning, provide anytime-anywhere access, develop an on-line community of learners and provide for self-expression. Huffaker’s article focuses on the implications for storytelling because he believes it is the beginning of literacy.

Laurie Armstrong, Dr. Marsha Berry and Reece Lamshed focused their research and article on the use of blogs by students as learning journals. In Blogs as Electronic Learning Journals (2006), the authors developed a blog site for their research and used three different groups of students to participate in the study. The study explored the potential of blogging technology in education and training for student communication. The authors also studied how the use of blogs could be adapted to learning content delivery, student mentoring, professional development, collaboration and knowledge management. The study found that the use of blogs provided an interesting and innovative way to improve communication skills of their students. The authors also found that the use of blogs improved educators’ communications with their students. The research also found that blogs create a group of students that are more eager to interact and commit to writing in their blogs. The authors also found that individual students have a sense of control over their learning when they can document their learning and immediately publish their work in order to have immediate feedback. The disadvantage to this study was that it focused on the use of blogs for university but the goals and findings of the research can be transferred to many groups of students.

Here’s the title of another article in jstor about distance writing and audience. Blog Your World has some interesting thoughts and links on the benefits of blogging. The same author offers a slideshow with blogging information. Here’s some information from a survey of classblogmeister teachers from May, 2007. In Classroom Blogging A Teacher’s Guide to the Blogosphere David Warlick (2005) has created a step-by-step guide for teachers to use blogging in their classroom. Warlick (2005) makes the point that blogging is communication in the new millennium. Warlick (2005) states that:
Literacy = Communication (reading + writing)
Blogging = Communication (reading + writing)
Blogging = Literacy (p. 110).

I’m obviously a fan of blogging in the classroom.