After we had a chance to try out commenting for ourselves on our friends’ paper blogs, it was time to get down to the REAL business of REAL commenting on REAL blogs with REAL people! This was one of those places where I added in some extra lessons to the version of Blogging 101 I have done with 5th graders. I just felt like my little bloggers needed more opportunities to practice before they graduated to their own blogspace.
With many things we are learning and practicing for the first time, turn-and-talk or partner conversations are a good way to work through concepts with a friend. This allows for each to teach and learn (based on what they know), and also to help ensure that everyone is on the same (or at least a similar) page before we move on to doing things independently.
As we gathered for Writers’ Workshop, I had kiddos sit with their elbow partners and explained that I was going to give them a “blog” to read and that they were then supposed to turn-and-talk with their partner about how they would respond to that “post.” I made sure to write examples that they could relate to, and encouraged them to remember to include what they had learned about how to leave a good comment: respond to the writing, say more to give details or reasons, and to ask a question to keep the conversation going. Together with their partners, everyone had a chance to role-play with at least 5 or 6 of these scenarios:
I tried to write posts that seemed real and relevant to first graders (like ones that they might read on others’ blogs and that they would eventually write on their own!), as well as ones that had examples of the parts of a blog post that we would talk about soon after this.
As a check-in to assess how kiddos had been doing, and to give those that might need more support some ideas, we went through each “post” and shared out some examples of responses. Together we “graded” the responses by giving thumbs-up if all of the components were there. Like I said before, this was a new step to my blogging process, but I’m really pleased with how it went and how excited they were about learning it!
The next day I gave them their first go at trying these newly acquired skills on someone else’s blogs. Together with their partner (the same one as the previous day), they read blog posts and commented. This day also add a separated but related lesson of its own: QR codes! Since I knew that this would be a quick and easy way to get websites and other links to my kiddos, but since I also knew they hadn’t heard of them before, I introduced the concept as the way to get to the blogs we would be visiting. Yep, a two-birds-one-stone situation. 🙂 They learned how to use the QR reader, how to find the site they were looking for and then also how to manipulate the interface of KidBlog.org itself (which would soon come into play as they saw their own KidBlog site!).
They had a great time and did a great job practicing their new commenting skills. The downside? The only links I could find to 1st Grade KidBlogs (at the time) were archived ones from classes that were not able to respond to the comments we left. 😦 Oh well, we got to practice on our end anyway, right? 🙂