One of the great things I like about my personal blog is that there are people I’ve never met who keep coming back to leave comments. There is a certain camaraderie among us that keeps us all writing. In the classroom, I found that an iron wall sometimes had to come down just to get the kids to write. It wasn’t actually because they didn’t write, but because they wanted to share every paragraph they wrote. Peer review is important because their audience is often their peers and getting that feedback often helps them groom their piece and work it into a better product.

Blogs are perfect for that purpose. I have seen students so taken with the classroom blog that they run home and start up their own. Who do they share it with? Their peers. They write and their friends leave comments. A teacher’s opportunity would be to harness that in the classroom. In a daily blogging environment, the blog prompt does not have to always be the teacher’s. Introducing the ‘Guest Blogger’ program would create additional student interest in the medium and give students a real opportunity for feedback.

For example, every Tuesday and Thursday is Guest Blogger day. Students who have a piece they want to share can type it up and post it as that day’s entry. Not only do they include their text, but just as an oral review would have, the student would also tell the reader what kind of feedback they were looking for.

We are all writing a new ending for Hatchet right now. In my ending, I’m introducing a new character who saves the day. What do you think about him? Does he fit the story? What questions did my character cause you to have after you read this? My story picks up in chapter 17.
“Brian woke up to the sound of singing in the distance. At first…..

As peers read the post, their comments can be valuable notes for the writer to use while working on that story. Peers must leave some comment in order to get their ‘active blogger’ grade for that class. Knowing they must write something can be that activator that makes them read for meaning and write with purpose. As the comments become more useful and written peer review grows more accepted, so to can the writing community in the classroom.