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Giving Students Guidelines: Writing a Blog Commentary

December 2, 2010

While the free-for-all feeling of blogs exists, I had to do my part and find a way to teach my students something–something more than simply “What is a blog?”

After the blogs were set up, class became a series of group presentations. Their only real task: Bring in something to help start a conversation. The result was fantastic. We had students bring in music videos, commercials, song lyrics, and advertisements. Students performed mini-skits, they argued, they discussed, and then, of course, they wrote blogs about it.

The assignment: Write a commentary blog (based on a chapter in our textbook, Writing Today)

These commentaries had to do three things:
1. Discuss the Pros of a controversy by addressing the arguments of a complete Believer
2. Discuss the Cons of a controvery by addressing the arguments of a complete Doubter
3. Synthesize these two sides into where the student stands

Here are a few examples:

Jocelyn’s Blog: This is a blog titled “The Sex Effect.” Based on arguably the most memorable viewings in class, Jocelyn addressed an Axe Commercial advertisement (referenced in many other student blogs). Her blog literally moved me.

A Cinderella Story: This blog is titled “Just Another Game of Tetris or a Misinterpretation of Women?” and is another good example of how Axe affected our classroom. Rather than women running in bikinis in a commercial, Krista looks at a still Ad that uses modified tetris images. I do have to say this much about Axe: I might not like their commercials, but they were by far the most memorable!

Looking for Prince Charming: This blog, “Sex Sells Yet Another Commentary,” was based less on the class discussion, but advertisements that use sex in general.

And yet, not all the students stuck with the class content. Many came up with content of their own.

Trials and Tribulations: Jessica’s Blog “The New Deathbed” is about Cyberbullying and she integrates some really interesting research to make her point.

Ideas of Notsteve: And this one is by far the most creative. An “Uncommon Common Commentary” takes a very close look at the government’s preparation for: ZOMBIES!

From advertisements to song lyrics to the TSA’s role in the holidays, commentary blogs were everywhere and I was really proud of them.

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