Our sixth graders are learning to write Slice of Life Stories (SOLS) this year. They have each written three or four SOLS and have begun transferring from pen and paper writing to blogging. I am impressed, amused, and smitten by the stories they have shared. I have said it before but I’ll say it again: Nothing brings a group of people together like writing.
The classroom teacher and I knew that commenting was the next step to building this community of writers. I have been down this road before, though, and I knew what typical sixth grade comments often sounded like.
I knew we had to be more explicit about how to leave thoughtful comments.
First, I combed through the comments on my own Slice of Life Story blog. I looked at the kinds of things people typically wrote, and I thought about the comments which moved me forward as a writer. I identified three types of comments:
Next, I projected a piece of my own writing on the Smartboard. We read the piece together, and we practiced each of these ways orally.
Then we projected a student’s Slice of Life blog on the Smartboard and read a piece together. As a class, we left six comments on that student’s blog, two of each type.
After all of this practice, we finally released the students to read and comment on each other’s blogs. As usual, they did not disappoint. Here is a sampling of some of their comments:
You will notice each of the comments goes way beyond “Nice job.” Slowly, we are becoming a community of writers.