Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Extending the Conversation

I have started a new round of blogging, this time with my English students. We are using ClassBlogmeister as a place to reflect on their readings as they do research on a variety of topics.

Today, we started talking about leaving comments. I began the class asking a few students to share what their topics are about. For each student, I made a generic, related but throw-away comment, like "I like black holes, too." Even as we were talking, the students would make faces at my comments, knowing that what I said really wasn't that important.

Then, we talked about why my comments weren't well received. Ultimately, students felt that I wasn't being very helpful. I agreed, and we discussed how bad comments can stop us but good comments help to develop a conversation, a give and take between the people and ideas.

During fifth period, once students had been working for awhile on their entries or leaving comments for classmates, one of my more reluctant bloggers turned to me and said, "Now I get it. I can see why this would be helpful." Then, while visiting with a student after school, I was asked, "How do I comment on a comment?"

They have been bloggers for about four days, now. Already, some of them are grasping what they can do with this tool.

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