5 Smart Ways To Get #Comments4Kids On Your Blog

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This post was copied verbatim from Shaun Wood's blog A Learning Odyssey. Thank you, Shaun for permission to post it here.

#Comments4Kids is a Twitter hashtag started by @wmchamberlain aimed at promoting more comments for class and student blogs. It mostly relies on teachers to provide these comments. Comments4Kids Blog is the new home of #comments4kids, where you can add your class blog to the database. It also has some suggested rules for commenting and a cool badge for your blog.

1. Get comments on your blogs by using #comments4kids hashtag in your tweet.
- classblogs: a summary of what they are learning then the url for the blog post e.g: Student writes about Flax Weaving, please comments4kids http://goo.gl/muIh (Tweetdeck shortens my urls automatically but you could use goo.gl)

- if your blog contains multiple student blogs like our student blogs then expect you may only get comments on a few of the lastest blog posts. I usually choose students who have not had any comments yet. Commenting on 25 students is a big job for a single teacher, but a small one for another class of 25 students!

2. Follow #comments4kids in a column in your TweetDeck or equivalent tweet software. 

3. The Rule of Return
For every comment you get on your class or student blog's, give one back to someone in the #comments4kids community. It doesn't have to be the same class/teacher who commented on yours. This is the least we all need to do for #comments4kids to flourish, and for all our students to get that buzz of excitement when they get a comment on their blog, you know the one, I do! 

4. Get your students engaged in #comments4kids, let each of them make a comment or two as a computer time starter. This is how I do it http://brs-team17.wikispaces.com/ICT+Skills. Look down the page for Comment4Kids Thursday subheadings. It is a great chance to teach; model; review; or assess commenting skills, language skills, basic computer skills, etc. Sometimes I have the whole class read and comment on one class blog, or to a class with individual student blogs. Other times I send my reading groups to different blogs aimed at their level. 

5. Leave your class blog link when commenting, e.g: http://baileyrdteam17.blogspot.com
If like KidBlog.org the comment field does not offer this option then just paste it into the comment field. We love to know where our comments come from so we can also reciprocate the comments. If you use KidBlog.org or similar get all students to leave your class page url. Have the url in you blog or for students to copy and paste.

We use Blogger for our class blog which is easy to manage a range of comment functions. However here are some things that I have found to be barriers when leaving comments :
 Below left, is the best situation where my students are able to put in their own first name and our class blog url. Below right, is a Word Verification window which I personally hate. I know many of you disagree because of security, but if you are moderating all your comments why is this extra barrier in place?

Now it is your turn! Promote your class and student blog's with #comment4kids. Have fun getting comments but please make comments too. Blogging and commenting are both great literacy activities that offer many teaching moments based on real communication. I enjoy reading about what all those creative classes are doing. I get inspired to teach new ways, try new web 2.0 tools, and build wonderful learning relationships; all thanks to #comment4kids.

Have you tried #comments4kids? Do you have any other ideas to add?