Comment rules

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Dis is da best blog in da world, eva!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Is this comment suitable for a school’s blogsite? Some might argue that since it’s a child’s own language it should be respected as such and approved. Indeed, there has been some research that shows that children who regularly text have greater language skills than those who don’t. Here is an very interesting article about “textese” from the guardian last year. It is an argument that is far from being resolved and my suspicion is that headteachers will be very wary of allowing full use of text language on a school’s blogsite – I can read the Daily Mail’s headlines already!

Having said that, I firmly believe that this will change over time and many text abbreviations will become normally accepted forms of words, especially online. Since we already teach children to distinguish between formal English and other more colloquial forms, I see no reason why text language cannot be seen as another form of written language.

I also believe that children need to understand that a school blogsite is slightly different from other social networking sites they might use and as such clear parameters need to be drawn up to guide them as to what is appropriate on there (I would hope that parents have done this for the sites they use out of school). Quite often I will go through the comment moderation process live in the classroom to show children what I will approve and what I will delete. Note: I always check my list of comments to be approved prior to the lesson – safety first. I explain to them that I won’t edit comments (one exception to this is when a child has made a perfectly valid comment, but has put their surname or other personal data in the comment) and I will simply approve or delete.

Reasons why I delete comments:

  • The comment is, or could be, construed as offensive or rude;
  • The comment contains random collections of letters or excessive punctuaution;
  • The comment is negative about a post or person;
  • The comment contains excessive amounts of txt spk;
  • The comment doesn’t relate to the post concerned.

Early on in any blog project you may get examples of all or any of the above, but very quickly children learn what is expected of them.?

Commenting on blogs is a very useful skill that can be taught. One of the best ways of doing this is the peer review process. Have the children all write an individual post on the class blog, then get them to peer review each other’s posts. Show them the difference between, “Your spelling is rubbish.” and, “Lovely poem, but you need to check your spellings.” Explain to them that, “Great post.” on its own is not very meaningful, they need to explain why they like it. Most importantly the teacher needs to model commenting through her own comments.

Why not spend ten minutes each week visiting somebody else’s class blog, reviewing it with your class and leaving some positive comments? This will have the double bonus of building audience for your own blog and creating dialogue as well as improving children’s commenting skills.

Here is a comment rule to be adapted for your own purposes:

On our school blogsite comments must be:

  • Respectful of the writer;
  • Positive and Constructive;
  • Relevant.
  • I don’t think there is much more to be added than that, but in practice this will need lots of discussion, modelling and practical examples. I’d be interested to here other people’s views and experiences on this subject, especially on the ‘textese’ issue.



    About john sutton

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    4 Responses to “Comment rules”

    1. Peter Rafferty January 28, 2009 4:23 pm

      I think that the three “Golden Rules” are very appropriate. Sometimes the language used, “Dis is the…….. ” can sometimes depend on the situation…sort of like spoken and written language.


    2. AllanahK January 28, 2009 6:30 pm

      I also delete comments, however nice they seem, from linked sites that could lead children to places that they have no need to visit.


    3. John Sutton January 28, 2009 8:10 pm

      That’s a great point, Allanah, thanks for the comment.


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