Comments vs Compliments – a mini lesson

Comments vs Compliments – a mini lesson

Last week I had the pleasure of running a lab site in an Enumclaw 5th Grade class as part of my work with the district over the past couple of years. It’s a lesson that I first taught in 2009 and is still as relevant today as it was then. The students were working on opinion writing. They were writing in Google Docs which made it easy to have students peer edit with their editing partner. At the same time, there was an opportunity to have them experience commenting not just on someone you know and are in class with, but also learn to leave a comment on someone you don’t know and probably will never meet. That is a whole new level to commenting. So here’s the lesson….it took about an hour: Have students share their opinion writing with their editor buddy giving them “comment only” rights to their document. (Students in this class had shared their writing with their partner before….this time we change the permission to be “comment only”). Take time to read your partners writing and leave comments on their work. Now close your computer and have a discussion about the difference between a compliment and a comment. What a great conversation to have with students. We started listing what makes a compliment and what would be a good comment. The image to the left shows what the students came up with. We then talked about how you might give both to someone. Everyone likes compliments but they don’t really help the author with their writing. But if you make a compliment/comment sandwich you can do both! So we practiced in table groups what a good compliment/comment sandwich might sound like. An example: “I really enjoyed reading your post. I am wondering if you could add more details when you talk about the house. I couldn’t quite see it in my head. I really like the way your story ended, it made me laugh” The day before the lesson I went to Twitter and did a search for #comments4kids 5th to find 5th grade classrooms that were blogging and looking for comments from others. In no time at all, I found the two following classes: My 5th Graders Published Opinion Writing on @KidblogDotOrg and we are looking for some #comments4kids. #5thChat https://t.co/HxLCNfp27h pic.twitter.com/0aPVqVibaD — Mark Grundel (@MGrundel) January 10, 2017 Posts in Mr. Udy’s Class – Kidblog...

Read More

1000 Blog Posts

1000 Blog Posts

So…this is blog post 1000. Crazy to think and yet at the same time I’m pretty late to the game for someone who started blogging in September of 2005. A quick look of others who I know started blogs around that same time. Dean Shareski is at 2800+ blog posts and Clarence Fisher is 3100 and counting. Both making this 1000th blog post look like nothing! I still remember setting up this blog in my computer lab in Shanghai. I downloaded WordPress and followed the directions to install it on the little server I was running at the time. I remember coming to the page that asked to name the blog and not knowing what to call it. It’s not something you think about usually until you are faced with it. So I looked around the room and there in the corner was “The Thinking Stick” a wooden bat my friend had given me and that I used when teaching. Mr. U was always known for walking around the room with “The Thinking Stick” when we were doing some really deep thinking. So that’s how this blog got its name. If I knew that day that my professional life would forever be changed would I name it something else? Absolutely! But you don’t know…..you don’t know if anyone is going to read your blog. Even now some 9 years later I don’t know if anyone reads this. The difference is I blog for me now, for my thoughts, for my own reflection and allow myself to think through things and to share my own learning with anyone that happens upon it. So 1000 blog posts and probably the turning point for me was this blog post here. I still go back and read it every once and awhile just to remind myself of sitting on the couch and writing that one….a moment for sure. Not that I have this out of the way…..I can go back to blogging about stuff that actually...

Read More

NYT Summer Reading Contest…What If

NYT Summer Reading Contest…What If

A teacher brought this contest ran by the New York Times to my attention the other day as they were starting to prepare for teaching summer school. This is the third time the New York Times has ran the contest where they ask students to submit 350 word responses to articles they read on the site or in the newspaper.  Each week they will choose a winner who’s winning response will get posted on the website as well as shared on Twitter and Facebook. A great way to promote student work through the NYT. Also not a bad way for parents to get their students involved in reading and writing over the summer. Reading and writing for a purpose around a contest.  But I think it could be more….what if….. CC: By Mike Licht What if students had a blog where they could write as much as they wanted and linked back to the articles they were writing about? From what I can tell the New York Times doesn’t show/allow trackback links which kind of stinks as then students would automatically be linked to the piece they were writing about. Of course the way around this is to simply leave a comment on the article or piece of media you are writing about. Just like I’ll do on the link above in a comment. What if your child or students where responding to articles and wrote 1000 word responses or 1500 word responses or 200 words? What if we connected those responses to the articles they were writing about, reflecting about and learning from? What if some other readers of those articles followed the links to the students’ blogs and continued to read their reflections there? What if someone left a comment, or tweeted, or shared on Facebook one of the students’ responses to an article? What if we taught students how to build a network, how to use hyperlinks, and how to write for the audience that reads the New York Times. Of course students could still enter the 350 word contest and in writing blog posts probably make those 350 words more precise giving them an even better chance as winning the contest one week to the next. Once students realize they’re writing is linked to the New York Times and they start getting readers, then we start talking about improving the writing, working on technique, voice, grammer, etc. Because now there’s a purpose to be a better...

Read More

Virtual Bulletin Board

At ISB we’ve struggled over the past couple of years in defining our web spaces. Although we’ve been getting better at using the “Core 3” (Moodle, Google Apps, WordPress) we still need to define spaces based on purpose and audience.  One thing I’m focusing on this year is creating what I’m calling a Virtual Bulletin Board for our high school students. A place where they can find and post announcements in whatever format they choose.  Here’s the site: http://inside.isb.ac.th/high Audience: High School Students at ISB Purpose: To get announcements out to students, information from the office, campus updates Once we have defined the audience and purpose we can then start to create and mold how the site will work. I know there are probably better bulletin board systems out there than a blog….but I’m committed to showing teachers and students just how flexible the WordPress platform can be. The platform of WordPress is so dynamic, so powerful and so customizable that really your imagination is the limit. If you have clicked on the link above to the bulletin board site you’ll be thinking to yourself “it still looks like a blog to me” and you’re right…it does for now and probably will for awhile yet.  Steps to making it a virtual bulletin board. Step 1: Every school computer in the high school has this page as its default start page for every browser. So we are forcing eyes on the page to begin with. It becomes crucial that we spend this year gaining the trust of students and showing them this is the place for them to come for information. Next year we roll out 1:1 in the high school where we will no longer control the home page of the browser. We need to get this right or we’ll loose them. Step 2: We have created the “quick link” section that links students to all the other applications they need in the high school. Step 3. Work with the high school administration to push announcements and updates to students on the site. Step 4: Train students to post things to the site Step 4 is what I’m most excited about and I think shows the true power of WordPress and going with a blogging platform. My idea is that we’ll have students post announcements on their own blogs (every student already has one) and then have them tag the announcement with the word ”hsannouncement”. Using the AutoBlog plugin I’ll then grad the RSS...

Read More

Blogging Process – Find Your Flow

Brian Grenier wrote a blog post back in 2007 that I think I missed where he asks the question how do you write a blog post? Miguel Guhlin just wrote a great post in response to Brian’s thoughts. In my COETAIL course yesterday we had a great discussion around how blogging was going for those in the class. All of them just 5 weeks into blogging. It was interesting to hear that many of them say blogging as publishing. That they had a lot of drafts waiting to be published but they wanted them to be “perfect” or “publishable”. “The thought that other can read this, that a future employee can read this makes me want it to be publishable.” It was great to listen to them talk among themselves and the different feelings they had about being a blogger. They asked me what I thought and along with Miguel talking about how he writes a blog post I thought I’d share my thoughts. 1. Blog topics are all around youYou are passionate about something whether teaching, technology, your kids or your car. Be passionate and writing is easy. If your not passionate about the post, or idea, you’ll know cause you just won’t do it. This makes it hard when a teacher (like me) asks you to blog about something you might not be passionate about. That makes blogging an assignment….not real blogging. Real blogging is about you….about your thoughts, your feelings, your ideas…..the blogging you do for classroom, is just classwork. 2. Write down ideas or topicsAt least two or three times a day I think to myself “that’s a blog topic” and for a while I would sit down to write a blog post and not be able to remember what it was that spurred that moments thought. So I’ve started writing blog topic ideas down. I use the stickies app on my MacBook and Google Tasks via a Chrome extension that lets me quickly jot down topics. I also have a notebook in my backpack for those times when a computer isn’t near to jot stuff down in. Everything from grocery lists, to blog topics. Lastly, I use my iPhone where I have a page of notes that are blog topics. No, you don’t have to have as many places as I do, but I know those are the spots I look for when I...

Read More