Yesterday, Bonnie wrote a wonderful post about how challenging it can be to comment. It took me back to my early days of slicing and blogging- when I fretted much more about the process of writing posts and crafting comments. Three years later, and thanks to blogging and slicing on a regular basis, the writing comes more easily…but commenting remains a challenge. You want to say something meaningful, to acknowledge the substance of the post, but you need to be brief (especially in March – when there are so many slicers!). Most importantly, you want to let the writer know that you had stopped by and appreciated what you’d read – that it took thought and effort, and so (as Bonnie likes to say,” Bravo!”).
For my students, who slice every Friday, all year, as part of our writing workshop routine, commenting was something that had to be modeled, taught, and practiced. Some of my kids are comment counters – they want to amass the most comments, but not necessarily return the favor! Some of my kids read every slice (they are only required to read and comment on 5) and write thoughtfully back to each and every classmate. But all of my kids have learned the value of commenting and really appreciate it when their classmates say something thoughtful about their slice. And all of my kids have also learned the value of slicing every Friday and sharing bits and pieces of their lives.
How do I know this? Because they thank each other in class for this or that comment, not ostentatiously but quietly, in passing, as they move from one thing to the next in our daily routine:
“That was nice what you said about my slice!”
“Thanks for the smiley face on your comment.”
Best of all, they appreciate the slices their classmates have crafted and enjoy the shared experience of writing about their lives together, learning about their lives together. How do I know this? Because they talk about their classmate’s slices, also as a matter or course, and that has become a part of our classroom conversations:
“How cool that you finally got a dog!”
“I didn’t know your grandma was sick.”
“You finally saw that movie, wasn’t it awesome?”
If you haven’t tried slicing with your kids, you might just want to begin now… writing posts and comments has helped my students become much better writers, I think…and awesome commenters too. Here’s a sample from last week:
It has been three and a half years since the very day I brought him home to be my pet forever. My teacher had given me three anoles to take home so that I could feed them, care for them and love them. Comet and Fire-bolt both died the first year, sad to say, but Tiny lasted long and stayed my close friend all the way. He was a bit shy but learned the soft feel of my hands and would crawl up them every time he sensed me. I would spray the sides of his tank every day and give him a few meal-worms once and a while. I missed those evenings were he would crawl up my arm and down again. I can’t believe he died.
I already missed cuddling him in my hands and feeling his rough scales through my fingers. I wanted to go to Pet-Co and buy him crickets and meal-worms to eat right that second. I wished I could run up stairs and peer into his aquarium to see if he was a brown color, or a green. It felt like a big part of our family was missing and it felt uneasy.
I may not wake up every day to find his bright yellow eyes starring curiously up at me, but Tiny will be in our hearts and memories forever. I won’t forget the love he contributed to my family, and my third grade class. He was a special one and the last of his kind that lasted from my third grade science project. Rest In Peace Tiny.
Our “weekly winners” – we vote for our favorite slices every Monday.