Monday, October 26, 2015

Monstrously Fun Collaboration

Having a classroom blog provides a plethora of opportunities to collaborate and create with classes all over the world. Recently, we were invited by Miss Jordan in Victoria, Australia, to participate in a monstrously creative writing project. 

Miss Jordan's pupils are grade 4 students. 
They have a classroom blog just like us!

The directions for the Monster Project: 

Step 1:  Students draw a monster using their imagination.

Step 2:  Students write a paragraph detailing the monster. 
Important descriptive details to include are color, shape, and size

Step 3: Students trade the descriptive paragraphs with a blogging buddy. This was done via Google docs.

Step 4: Students draw their buddy's monster using only the descriptive paragraphs. 

Step 5: Students share and compare the original drawings. We used a Google slide show. As you compare the two drawings, what do you notice? (Sometimes a detail or two gets left out of a paragraph. Sometimes students miss important words when reading. )

Step 6: Publish the results on the class blog and have fun reading and comparing!   

Rulers were employed to be sure the measure was correct. Since our Australian buddies are on the metric system, we used centimeters. 

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 

Students made a chart of attributes. 

Describe each body part: Color? Shape? Size? 

Although we tried our best, we learned that it is very difficult to give written instructions. It is important to include all relevant details!

Visit our blogging buddies' site with their monstrous slide show!

TODAY, we looked at the monsters in our Google Presentation. In groups, we compared the monster drawn by our Australian buddy to what we actually wrote. We made a T-chart and labeled it Correct or Incorrect. 

By Thursday, leave a comment! 

What words or phrases did you use that were effective? 

What did you leave out? 

What sentences would you add to make your drawing better? 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Teaching Commenting Skills

WHY have a classroom blog?

Here is a video I made with my second and third graders about the value of blogging. I hope it convinces you to start a class blog!

Blogging has many parts: the post, the comments, and the sidebar.

If you do a good job with all of the parts, your blog will be more interesting.

Today we will focus on quality comments!

Content is key!

In our class, we evaluate our blog comments. A one-point comment is a general comment that doesn't add very much to the post.   Example: I like your blog. Please visit mine! 

A two-point comment adds something to the comment conversation. A commenter might compliment the writer in a specific way or add new information. Another idea is to make a connection. Maybe the post reminds you of an experience that you've had. Share that connection!  Try to end your comment with a relevant question. That way, an interesting conversation can develop.

What should I say in my comment?

Here is a video made by Mrs. Yollis' students called How to Compose a Quality Comment!  It offers FIVE tips to help you take your comments to the next level!

We like to open our comments with a greeting and end with a closing. We choose to do this as it makes it easier for us to follow the conversation within a comment section.

-For Advanced Bloggers-

Some bloggers like to use HTML code to make their comments better.  Learning to write HTML code, or HTML tags, is a somewhat simple way to take your comment to the next level.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is a language.

*     *     *     *     *

To write HTML code, use the following symbols:

Important: Do not add a space between the HTML tag and the word or sentence.


1.  To put text in italics, place this HTML code around the text:



The sentence will look like this when published:

Bloggers should always proofread a comment before publishing.


2.  To make text bold, place this HTML code around the text:


The sentence will look like this when published: 

Bloggers should always proofread a comment before publishing.



3.  To make a hyperlink, it gets a little tricky.

Use the following HTML code around the URL and add your own link word/words:

  [The URL is the address of the web page. It starts with http://www…]

The HTML code below:


Will become this hyperlink when published:

                                                                 Mrs. Yollis’ Website

Sometimes it is hard to remember the HTML codes. I keep an HTML word document on my desktop with all the common codes, especially the one to create a hyperlink. Here is a video demonstrating how easy it is to a create a hyperlink if you have the code set up in a Word doc.

If you like to add fun are those codes!

What did you learn about quality commenting? 
 Why is it important to proofread a comment before pressing publish? 

Have you ever had a conversation in a comment section?