Commenting on Blogs

Posted on April 2, 2010 by mathblogger.
Categories: Web 2.0 Impacting Learning Environments.

It is easy for teachers to become isolated; they spend so much of their life sequestered inside their classroom engaged in the day-to-day responsibilities and routines inherent to teaching. Often, at my school, the faculty lounge is empty except for the buzz of the microwave warming the food of a teacher who ran to make copies while her food cooked. We are too busy planning lessons, responding to parent email, writing discipline referrals, writing comments on student work, updating online grade reports, giving IEP updates to learning support teachers, and proctoring make-up tests during our lunch breaks to exchange more with our colleagues than a quick hello.

Blogs like those collected on The Discovery Educator Network (DEN), keep busy teachers like me connected to the larger community of educators. I can pull up Netvibes and scroll through the newest posts in seconds and mark those I want to revisit when time allows. Reading blogs from fellow educators across the country gives you insight into current trends in education. For example, I learned by browsing the most recent posts this week that teachers everywhere are concerned about the stress and anxiety our students feel while taking high stakes tests. In my school, PSSA exams for math, reading, and science begin next week and students are already getting anxious. Failure to demonstrate proficiency in math and reading on the PSSA means failure to graduate from high school. Period. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a teenager.

I read and commented on three postings related to this issue:

Tackling Test Stress Tip 19: Unban Handheld Devices

Tackling Test Stress Tip 18: Play Games

Tackling Test Stress Tip 16: Watch Something Engaging


These caught my attention because they are all forbidden in my district and I was interested to see how they were being used in other schools. In my school, if a cell phone is visible or heard during PSSA testing, the student can be written up for academic dishonesty (an offense that carries severe consequences and remains on your transcript permanently.) The PSSA test is not timed, so students finish different sections at different times. They are instructed to put their heads down and silently wait for the next section of testing to begin. Giving them use of a handheld device with headphones to unwind watching a video, playing a game, or texting with a friend would relieve their stress and eliminate the behavior problems associated with severe boredom during testing week. Its being tried in some schools, but not mine.

For each post, I commented with suggestions that I would use during testing week, if allowed. A few of the comments that followed mine were directed to me by use of the @Robyn beginning the comment. Generally, the comments agreed with or expanded upon the thought I’d made. It’s nice to be validated and know that someone took the time to read and respond not only to the original post, but to my small contribution as well.

The comments that readers left to the original post, including my own, were typically providing examples of what educators do in their own schools to address the topic. I very rarely comment on professional blog posts. I am more likely to participate as an eavesdropper who gleans what she can from the discussion over a hectic lunch break. But following up on the comments I left for this assignment showed me that people out there really do listen and professional blogs are a place where my voice can be heard.

7 comments.



Comment on September 2nd, 2013.

I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems? A few of my blog readers have complained about my website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any tips to help fix this issue?

Comment on September 3rd, 2013.

I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems? A few of my blog readers have complained about my website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any tips to help fix this issue?

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