Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Comments on Comments

The students began commenting on each other's blogs today, and it was a joyful experience.

They poured over them and our usually quiet blog session was suddenly punctuated with shouts of, "Hey! I'm reading your blog right now," or "This is so cool!" Their comments spilled out into the pages.

We'd set the guidelines that comments should focus on what was written or how it was written. As we explained it, they had worked hard on these posts and deserved thoughtful comments.

For the comments regarding what was written, we likened it to their book club strategy of making text-to-self, text-to-text, or text-to-world connections. A number of students followed through on this. For example, when responding to one student's post about how much she disliked wearing a school uniform, another student wrote...
I agree that it's not that maybe it's alittle boring to wear that same kind of cloth every day! But it's good, too. because in Sweden, where I come from, people got teased because they wore something ugly, etc. But of course I agree to you!

Another student responding to a post on go-carts, commented that...
I need those tips so thanks! I thought it was a real awesome blog! What are apexes? And although it rocked mabey you could tell people where you can go to go - kart. Other wise it was awesome!

Another student took literally the idea of commenting on how the blog was written. She made the accurate observation that...
...maybe you should change the yellow writing into a different color because it really hard to read.

Another type of comment that appeared quite frequently made reference to their personal connections outside of the blog. For example, the class is preparing to perform an adaptation of Shakespeare's MidSummer Night's Dream. When responding to a post about the blogger's dog, one student wrote...
... it must be very sad losing your dogs, but you are always happy. Good job being Prospero!!

A final type of comments made by the students really has me thinking. One of the quieter students went in and left friendly little comments in many of the blogs. Here is an example...
I can't help commenting your blog!!!! Happy B-day!!!! I love chocolates too!
I'm going to watch to see if she gets responses. I wonder if they will go to her blog to comment, or leave a message in their own blog, or if the messages will go unremarked upon. I'm willing them to respond to her.

Overall, the students were very equitable in their commenting. Many of them started at the top and responded to every child's blog, even if they had nothing to say about it. At first this distressed me a bit, but as I read on, I realized that what the "say nothing" posts were really saying was...
I heard you! You sent your ideas out into the world, and I heard them. You are part of our blogging community.

Wow! How could I have thought they weren't saying anything when they were really saying something as powerful, as validating as that?

[Correction: Kent's class is performing "MidSummer Night's Dream". Prospero is from "The Tempest" which is the play Tammy's class is performing.]