In March I participated in the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers sponsored by Ruth Ayres and Stacey Shubitz. During the challenge the comments that others would leave for me on my blog helped encourage me to continue writing. On the last day Cathy Mere blogged, Do You Reply to Comments? I began to think about not only the importance of commenting on blogs, but responding to those comments on my own blog.
Cathy Mere’s post also made be reflect on what an amazing job Wonderopolis does responding to every comment left on their website. As part of our morning routine in my second grade class, we will leave a class comment about once a week about a Wonder. I have done this to model how, why and the importance of writing a quality comment. Our comments include predictions, new learning or to tell what we thought of a Wonder. Everyone likes to know that their comment matters and is valued. Wonderopolis makes us feel valued each time we leave a comment, which in turn makes us want to continue leaving comments and keeps us coming back. After leaving class comments, we look forward to checking back later in the day to see what their response is.
We have also created a class checklist for leaving comments. We created the checklist after noticing that some other comments left at Wonderopolis were kind of silly and didn’t really pertain to the Wonder. I was also noticing some of the comments my student were leaving were not very good. The checklist has help improve the quality and content of the comments my students leave. Originally, I was going to make the checklist a rubric, but later changed my mind. We did discuss as a class what a 4, 3, 2 or 1 comment would look like and spent time scoring other comments left.
I do not make leaving comments a job or any kind of in class or out of class assignment. As part of our morning routine with Wonderopolis, we will read the comments that students in our class have left both in and out of class. This is always an exciting time for students to see what comments others wrote, to see their own comments posted at Wonderopolis and see what the response is from Wonderopolis.
I encourage having my students leave comments on Wonderopolis because:
- Students are writing for a purpose.
- Students are reflecting on learning and thinking.
- It is authentic writing.
- It improves writing skills.
- It enhances written communication skills.
- Motivates students to leave more comments (write more).
I encourage you to not only use Wonderopolis, but for you and your students to leave comments!