I am constantly amazed at how much students learn from the comments they receive on their blogs. The other relevant aspect to this is that the learning is so applicable to the standards we are asked to teach. Today I browsed through the student blogs and reread some comments they received over the past school year. I just thought of one standard for each- I could have selected many more standards but this will give you the feel for the awesome power of commenting on our students’ learning.

Anni and Donna

Anni on her post entitled Water stated lots of good reasons supporting the need for a water fountain on her school’s playground

Donna, a teacher from Queensland, Australia commented back to share how each of their schools had rows of “bubblers” outside for student use. She congratulated Anni on her foresight in regards to this issue. Then she added more good reasons for installing a water fountain that Anni could think about as she tries to persuade her school to consider this action. Donna made the point that adequate water consumption is required for optimal brain function! Now I’d say that’s pretty relevant to student learning, right?

Here’s one standard that applies:

ELA5R3

ELA5R3 The student understands and acquires new vocabulary and uses it correctly in reading and writing.

Anni’s learning from the comment. I’ve seen her search for a word or head over to the dictionaries in the lab. Plus we now have Answer Tips installed on each blog and that makes it even easier. I love that tool! Anni will remember lots of these words because they are relevant to her. They were meant just for her. New words to add to her vocabulary – bubblers and foresight for starters in this comment.

Eddie and Darren

Eddie’s post on The Language of Math prompted a response from Darren Kuropatwa, a high school math teacher in Winnipeg, Canada. Darren made math come alive in his comment to Eddie. He explained numerous ways math is everywhere. This led Eddie to further explore and communicate about all these concepts. Were they communicating mathematically? IYou can count on it!. And that post fostered lots more comments that kept coming in over the following days. New conversations about math continued both inside and outside our classroom.

Here’s one standard that applies:

M5P3

M5P3 Students will communicate mathematically.

Eddie sums up his feelings here:

I have made new friends outside of school because of blogging. I have had teacher form other states and countries comment to my blog. I had a teacher from Winnipeg, Canada named Mr.Kuropatwa comment on my blog. He teaches senior math and the children in his class were overwhelmed because of what I knew. He even showed his class my blog and they made a podcast and sent it to me. I have also had a person named Lani comment to my blog and she is from Chardon, Ohio. She’s always trying to encourage me to write better. She always gives me tips and strategies on how to read and write better.

(The above is from The End of My Blogging Year)

Victoria and Kate

Victoria‘s post, Melting Down the Ice , explains that the ice in Antarctica is melting and she points to a movie that shows how this may cause the polar bears to drown and become extinct. Victoria picked up on this concern by reading joey girl, a blog by Kate. Kate is a student in Mr. Fisher’s class in Snow Lake, Canada. Several commented on this post and information was being shared and ideas were exchanged.

This standard applies:

ELA5LSV2

ELA5LSV2 The student listens to and views various forms of text and media in order to gather and share information, persuade others, and express and understand ideas.

Victoria has done an exceptional job of applying the above standard. Her post Are We There Yet? says it all.

Now I could find many more examples and in most cases more than one standard applies. Students need practice with the standards that are being taught. Blogging is a great way to provide that practice. Blogging helps make it authentic and important to the student. They have ownership. Now again the classroom discussions are very important- it is crucial to take the time to share and reflect on how the comments are shaping our learning.

I may come back to some more of these. Better yet wouldn’t it be neat to let the students find samples. Hmmmm I’m going to ask the blogicians what they think about that.