Commenting Guidelines for Students

The folks over at the 31-Day Comment Challenge ask us to consider what kind of commenting policy or suggestions we have for students when they use blogs. This is very important and when we start the year, we spent a bit of time talking as a class about the responsibilities of the person who is going to leave a comment and the respect they need to show to the writer.

Over out our Youth Radio site, Gail developed a nice set of guidelines for students who participate from around the world. We call this the Youth Radio Blog Netiquette (a term used elsewhere) and this is what we provide as guidelines:

Please do:
  1. Remember that the Internet is a public forum. Keep your communication appropriate.
  2. Discuss ideas and issues that concern you and your fellow students, especially as they connect to learning about the Youth Radio community.
  3. Back up your statements with examples, reasons, or other supportive evidence.
  4. Read through all the posts in a discussion thread before you respond to one (so you are not asking a question that has already been asked or repeating something that someone else has already posted).
Please do not:
  1. Post your full name or others’ last names, phone numbers, home addresses, or other personal information.

  2. Attack others. Agree or disagree with others’ ideas using reasons and examples to support your view.

  3. Use language that may be offensive to other users.

  4. Initiate divisive discussion topics (e.g., regional sports teams)

  5. Change font sizes and/or colors unless you are trying to emphasize a point. It’s the content of your message that counts, not the style.


Here are some suggestions on for creating good comments for each other. The richer the comments, the more likely it is that someone will answer you back. You can begin your comment by writing and explaining:

  • This made me think about…….
  • I wonder why…….
  • Your writing made me form an opinion about…….
  • This post is relevant because…….
  • Your writing made me think that we should…….
  • I wish I understood why…….
  • This is important because…….
  • Another thing to consider is…….
  • I can relate to this…….
  • This makes me think of…….
  • I discovered…….
  • I don’t understand…….
  • I was reminded that…….
  • I found myself wondering…….

(Much of this was adapted from Excellence and Imagination)

My friend, Paul Allison, and his colleagues in a social networking site called Youth Voices have also explored in great detail how to help students see comments in a productive light. You can view Paul’s guide to blogging at his Hypertextopia space, where he created a hyperlinked document for students.

Basically, they suggest a model for students and although they admit that some of the comments may come across initially as a cookie cutter, the template allows students to get a feel for commenting and then expand beyond that mode.

Dear Writer’s Name:

I <past tense verb showing emotion> your message, “<Exact Title>,” because… <add 2 or 3 sentences>

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “<Quote from message.>” I think this is <adjective> because… <add 1 or 2 sentences>

Another sentence that I <past tense verb> was: “<Quote from message>.” This stood out for me because…

I do/don’t <adverb> agree with you that… One reason I say this is… Another reason I agree/disagree with you is…

Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because… add 2 or 3 sentences explaining what will bring you back to see more about this person’s thoughts.

Peace (in comments),

Comment Challenge and the Googlish Rosetta Stone

Today’s task for the 31 Day Comment Challenge was to find a blog in another language, translate it and then post a comment on that blog in the language of the owner. Intriguing. But interesting, and certainly it was something I had not yet ever done before. I keep to the English language, which seems so parochial these days, doesn’t it?

I should have known that Google would come to the rescue, though. I tapped into Google Translater and then translated the key words “elementary education” into spanish, and then used Google Blog Search to find some Spanish blogs. I toggled back and forth with Google Translator, trying to find a blog that interested me. So many were pure political blogs, talking about revolution and insurrection. Perhaps that is a glimpse of the underground world where blogs are the main platform for activism against governments.

Anyway, I found Fermin Tellez, a blogger from Monterrey, Mexico.

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Fermin was writing about a historical figure from his community (Michael Martinez). Martinez was an educator, but also a musician, artist and writer. That is a combination of talents that interests me. So I was curious about the place Martinez has in Fermin’s community. I went into Google Translater and created this comment:


Please forgive my language here, as I am using the Google Translater to go from English to Spanish. I am visiting your blog as part of a project called the 31 Day Comment Challenge, and one of the tasks is to visit a blog from another language than our own.
I teach 11 and 12 year olds in Western Massachusetts, United States. I am their writing teacher.

I was interested in the blog post you created because I am intrigued by music and education, and the place that musicians have in society. It seems clear that Michael F. Martinez was important figure in your community. Senor Martinez clearly had many skills (musician, artist, politician, educator).

Did you create this blog post to remember him?

Thank you

Kevin Hodgson


SaludosPor favor, perdone mi idioma aquí, como estoy utilizando el traductor de Google para ir de Inglés a Español. Estoy visitando su blog como parte de un proyecto denominado el Día 31 Comentario Challenge, y una de las tareas es la de visitar un blog de otra lengua que la nuestra.
Enseño 11 y 12 años de edad en el oeste de Massachusetts, Estados Unidos. Estoy escribiendo su maestro.

Yo estaba interesado en el blog que ha creado porque estoy intrigado por la música y la educación, y el lugar que los músicos tienen en la sociedad. Parece claro que Michael F. Martínez fue figura importante en su comunidad. Señor Martínez claramente había muchas habilidades (músico, artista, político, educador).

¿Te ha crear este blog para recordar él?


Kevin Hodgson

Of course, I wonder if Google Translator did a good job with my words. And I wish that Fermin had an About Me page at his site, so I could have learned more about him. Then, I thought, do I have an About Me here at my site? Need to check. I used to but I think it is gone now.
Have you gone off to any non-native language blogs today?
La Paz (en una gira mundial),