Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Power of a Comment

I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge, writing each day for the month of March. Today is day 15. (Sponsored by Two Writing Teachers)


I'm a first time slicer. I signed on to the challenge this year hoping to grow as a writing teacher and coach. On March 1, I read with care the essential information about posting and then continued to read the details about commenting on three other posts per day.  I was so focused on how to make time to write comments for other slicers that I never really gave much thought to the fact that other people would be commenting on my posts.  Nor did I ever think that these little comments would bear much weight.  

So on day 15, I am reflecting on the power of comments. Each day after posting I look forward to reading the comments that are left for me.  When I get notification that a new comment has been left, I want to read it right away. The comments I have received encourage me to continue writing, especially when I judge a particular piece to be unworthy of publishing, or when I judge that I might have been too vulnerable.  Each time I have been hesitant to push the publish button, I have been rewarded with uplifting words.  The slicing community has been incredibly supportive and this has left me with a new appreciation for the power of a writing community

As I bring these thoughts into my teaching and coaching, I wonder how I can guide the kindergarten and first grade children in my school to experience some of the positive feedback and encouragement to write each day like I have received?  I believe the answer is in the form of strong partnerships, building a writing community in the classroom and scaffolding the students to the understanding that their comments are powerful and helpful.  Maybe it is message to teachers reminding them of the importance of partner time, and the teaching of skills to be strong partners should not be overlooked or undervalued.

Comments have made such a difference for me and my writing, leaving me committed to spread the message so that my students can be lifted up in their writing communities much like I have been from this community.
Thank you!  

14 comments:

  1. Positive feedback and encouragement are important at any age, aren't they? We all long to know that someone is reading what we write.

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  2. Thoughtful connections about words and the power they hold. Thanks for sharing them.

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  3. It is so true -- it would be great to think about how to get this going in a classroom of young writers. I have seen a "gallery walk" done daily (not every writer every day).
    Some are posted on the wall in the classroom and people can give comments on post it notes. I like how simple that is - I am sure you can do it with technology as well. This is an important post for us all - response is part of our purpose and audience as writers and we need to provide this for our students.
    Clare

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  4. This is my third year doing the March challenge and I slice every Tuesday as well. Even after three years, the power of the comments has not diminished. It might even have become more powerful. It is a good reminder for me as I work with the writers in my classroom.

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  5. This writing community has really helped spur my writing on in so many ways. I've done Slice of Life for 5 years and written every day in March each year. This marks my 6th year. The friends you make during March stay with you, and get to be old buddies that you could stop and have a coffee with someday! Hope you continue to reflect and put your thoughts out there. We love making new friends!
    And it certainly helps grow each person as a writing teacher. The information you get from others, the confidence, and the understanding of the importance of writing all contribute to helping students gain those same things. Glad you took the plunge!

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  6. Every comment is powerful---I wrote about this as one of my slices earlier this month. I admire how you are taking this challenge to mean so much for you personally and professionally as you think about the implications for your young writers. Lucky kids!

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  7. You are so right. The comments give us the courage to keep on writing. I think it does so much for the children in our writing workshops as well. Thanks for helping us think about our carefully chosen words when we confer with children.

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  8. This is so good! Our comments are feedback on so many levels. And feedback is fundamental to learning! (I must tell you that my brain is going absolutely crazy with thoughts about "feedback" and "comments" and "grades" ... I had to stop in the middle of posting this comment to jot them down.) Anyway... here is a snapshot. Think of the rock in the water creating ripples image. You write and learn as you do, and then you throw the rock in the lake-- click publish. I catch the ripple -- read your piece and learn and comment and learn as I comment. Then you catch the next ripple-- you read my comment and learn. Others catch the ripples-- they read your piece and the comments--they learn and they comment and learn through their own comments. Another ripple goes out. This is endless learning. And I love it! A side note: Scores (grades and rubrics) are stop signs in learning.

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  9. You're so right about the power of the comments, and I never thought about it as connected to school until you brought it up. I try so hard to be positive and uplifting with my comments--am I always treating my students' work like that? Am I giving them the positive feedback they need to continue? Great food for thought!

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  10. Comments fuel writing. They lift the mood of the day. Sometimes the readers notice angles and shades in our writing that we may have missed ourselves. I like how you instantly think how you can use this experience with young writers.

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  11. I'm a total comment junkie, and it's been a few years of this March tradition. It definitely expands our understanding of writers' needs to just have responses--not teaching always, not corrections--just reactions and an authentic audience who is really paying attention. I'm glad you've joined the community. It's exhausting, but so worth it.

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  12. First, my apologies for just making it around to your blog. I try to get around to everyone's blog in the challenge at least twice. The month is almost done so I've almost succeeded.

    I'm delighted I stopped by today when you wrote about comments. Like Terje said, they fuel writers. I teach graduate school (a writing course, big surprise, right?) and my students are in peer groups now. I can tell they're working hard to leave one another thoughtful comments. When they do, I notice they not only comment on the writing, but they build up the writer. And that's what we want for ourselves (and for our students), right? We want people to connect with us and to push us to be the best we can be.

    Delighted you're joining us this month, Christine.

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  13. I couldn't agree with you more! One of the perks of this community is the commenting and I love the way the comments are set up for 1st year slicers. It gives the boost that is needed to say "I can do this". I enjoy meeting new friends in the blogging world and I visit every blogger who visits my page. My blog reader is growing and growing thanks to SOL.

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  14. This is a very encouraging community and I look forward to March each year. It is the perfect way to move past the need for every piece of writing to be perfect.

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