What’s this challenge about?

So you are thinking about taking part in the Student Blogging Challenge in March but you want to know more about it and what it involves.

The basics of the challenge

The challenge is run twice a year beginning March and October for a 10 week period each time.

It is organized by Miss Sue Wyatt (@tasteach) and help is given by Mrs Sue Waters and her team at Edublogs.

There are three registration forms:

  • educators who would like to mentor a group of students
  • teachers who have a class blog who want to connect with other classes globally
  • individual students who have their own personal blog and want to connect globally with other students

Forms are published as posts in mid February and mid September. Once the form is filled in results are shown in the page area above the header. This way you can start connecting immediately.

Students, mentors and classes taking part can add a special challenge badge to their blog.

A twitter hashtag created each year  #16stubc

All blogs must be set to open to the world – the reader doesn’t need a password to leave a comment etc

Blogs can be any platform eg edublogs, wordpress, blogger, weebly, kidblog etc but when full instructions are given in the challenge they will be for edublogs users. There are links on the sidebar to help with other platforms.

The activities each week

Each week a post is published with a list of activities for students to choose from. They only need to complete one activity each week, but if they want to do more they can.

Some weeks are the similar every time the challenge is run – that is because they are important skills for both teachers and students to have.

  1. About me – creating their avatar and about me page so visitors get to know them – includes being digital citizenship and cybersafety
  2. Let’s comment – teaching what makes a quality comment, how to connect through commenting and again cybersafety and digital citizenship
  3. Using images – teaches about using creative commons images, giving attribution for images, videos etc, tools for using images in posts

The other weeks of the challenge are based around a topic eg food, games, government, history, maths, nature etc

The final post for the challenge is an evaluation and audit of what they have done over the 10 week period of the challenge.

OK, so you think you might be interested in joining the next set of challenges?

Fill in the Subscribe by email in the sidebar so you will be notified when a new post is published.

Check out the Teacher Challenge run by Edublogs where they give lots of hints about blogging with students

 

 

Congratulations

I have just been checking the shortlisted blogs from the Edublog Awards and noticed there are many student and class blogs from the challenge included.

Remember to vote for the blog you feel is best, not just one of your friends. If you have been visiting other blogs throughout the challenge, you might have left comments on some of the blogs mentioned.

Please vote from computers outside the school as only one vote per IP address counts – most school computers all have the same IP address.

You have until 16 December to vote.

Click on the Vote Here  on this page.

Week 10: So long, farewell

And the wind carries them off, and all of the hope in their hearts is carried with them until they are gone...

Dee Ashley via Compfight

 

This is our last post for the Student Blogging Challenge until we start again next year in March 2016. I hope you have enjoyed the activities and the chance to make connections with other students and classes around the world.

I would like to thank Sue Waters from Edublogs for writing a few of the challenges this time, but also thank the mentors for taking time to visit and comment on student blogs.

We have had a great 10 weeks of blogging. You have learnt so many skills to help you improve your blogs. Many of you have improved those writing skills or maybe digital skills with using a variety of tools to embed on your blog. But it is now time to evaluate your progress as well as the progress of the blogging challenge itself.

This week there are three things to do:

  1. Evaluate your own blog
  2. Evaluate the actual blogging challenge
  3. Keep watching for the post from Edublogs about voting for the best student and class blogs

1. This is an audit of your blog since the beginning of October 2015.

  • How many posts did you write?
  • How many were school based, your own interests or set by the challenge?
  • How many comments did you receive from classmates, teachers or overseas students?
  • Which post received the most comments? Why do you think that happened?
  • Which post did you enjoy writing the most and why?
  • Did you change blog themes at all and why?
  • How many widgets do you have? Do you think this is too many or not enough?
  • How many overseas students do you have on your blogroll?
  • Which web tools did you use to show creativity on your blog?

Now ask another student and teacher/parent from your school who might not have read your blog to do an audit.

Sit beside them while they navigate around your blog, record what you observe as they interact with your blog. When finished, ask them the following questions:

  1. What were your first impressions of this blog?
  2. What captured your attention?
  3. What distracted you on the blog?
  4. What suggestions can you give me to improve my blog?

Write a post about your blog audit.

2. Evaluating the challenge.

This is the fifteenth challenge and sometimes I feel like the activities are getting stale especially for those students who have taken part in more than one set of challenges. So over the next few weeks I will be adding new pages that you all can contribute to. Every month of the year, there are special events, festivals, birthdays of authors etc. Which ones do you think it would be interesting to write about? Find the post ideas page for that month and add your ideas in the comments. (These are found above the header area)

I usually have a form to fill in here but this time I would like you to leave a quality comment giving your opinion of the challenge. You might want to mention some of the following things:

  • the most interesting challenge for you
  • how often you visited other blogs and left comments
  • whether you read the challenge flipboard magazine
  • a PMI or plus/minus/interesting point about the challenge
  • the most important thing you learnt while doing the challenge

3. Voting for blogs – I will include a link here when I know more about the voting for the best class and student blogs. I know there were nearly 400 nominations for student blogs and about two hundred for class blog. The team at Edublogs have had to short list these down to about 40 in each category, so if you were nominated congratulations. If you made it to the shortlist for students then your blog will have been nominated many times or will have at least 10 posts or will show great conversations in the comments.

If you missed out on the shortlist for this year, keep your blog going next year, keep making connections with students around the world and perhaps you will make the shortlist for 2016.

Week 9: Nominations

IMG_6731

Hibr via Compfight

Every year, Edublogs present a digital award for those best educational class and student blogs. You get a chance to nominate then vote for the one you consider deserves the award. There are a few rules about nominating so you will need to

go to this link,

read the post then put forward your nomination. You don’t have to nominate an edublogs blog it could be from weebly like our Serbian bloggers or from blogspot like many of our New Zealand bloggers. It just has to be an educational blog.

Nominations close on December 2nd at 11.59pm EST time in USA

Once you have nominated, the blogs will be shortlisted and then I will write another post including a poll for you to come and vote for the blog you think deserves the award. If you are over 13 you will be able to vote via Listly on the main edublogs voting page, but if under 13 you will need to vote here on the student blogging challenge poll.

If you hope to have your blog nominated, then I suggest you have some fantastic posts ready for any visitors to read and comment on.

When being shortlisted for student blogs, we look for quality of posts, appearance of blog as well as commenting.

Good luck, get nominating and writing.

Week 8: Game time

Mormon Visiting

More Good Foundation via Compfight

I loved reading your posts about things in nature you are passionate about.

So many of you wrote about space and the universe. One student Rachel, wants you to visit her post, create your own planet and leave the answer in her comment area. Her instructions for this are below the wordle in her post. Sophie taught me a lot about stars and how they develop. Mia’s post was written in a very personal way about our mind boggling universe. Jack combined his love of space and oceans in his post.

Reece wrote a great post about the comments he left and from that I found a few more posts about student nature passions. Kathryn wrote about interdependency and  Sarah wrote about camel coolness. Joaquin also wrote a great post about comments he left.

Many of our Serbian students wrote about the natural scenery and tourist attractions in their country. Check them out from the sidebar of their class blog. Remember to use the Translate button if they have written their post in Serbian.

Mr Woods class in New Zealand has tadpoles in their room. Two of their caretakers wrote a great post.

Ian showed his passion for rivers in his post while Penelope tells us much about a smelly plant.

Dane, whose class recently began the challenge activities, showed his passion for volcanoes. I learnt some interesting facts about guide dogs from Kaylie’s post.

Bradley thought outside the square to look at nature from a mathematical perspective.

Now to this week’s activity

Before you start, please make sure you have at least 5 other student blogs linked on the sidebar of your blog or in a recent post that your visitors can find easily. Make sure these are blogs from other students around the world, not just those in your class or school. Perhaps have a blogroll or link category called Global students or Global classes. Here is how to add a blogroll if using Edublogs or Blogger. If using Kidblog write a post mentioning at least 5 great blogs you enjoy visiting.

Game week is all about visiting other blogs.

Student and class blogs – new bloggers and old hands at the blogging – mentors as well as participants.

Remember one of  the main aims of blogging includes commenting and carrying on conversations with the author of posts and their other readers.

A good commenter will have:

  • read the post carefully,
  • checked out the links in the post
  • read the previous comments before they leave one of their own
  • added to the conversation with a quality comment – remember that video from Mrs Yollis’ class.

Game rules

This is a game we have run for many challenges and allows you to connect globally.

Those who have taken part in a challenge before know the game of  ‘Count Out Three’. Here are the instructions:

  • click on a blog on the student list or class list– count one
  • now click on a blog from their blogroll – count two
  • finally click on a blog from that blogroll – count three

Leave a comment on an interesting post at this third blog. Remember to include the URL of your blog, so that person can visit you as well.

Teachers: If you are moderating student comments, please make sure you are up-to-date with that this week as students can be very disappointed when they think they have no comments, yet many are in the moderation queue ready to be published.

Students: Make sure you are also replying to any comments that have been left for you.

Do this activity at least three times and finally, write your own post saying which blogs you visited and which posts you left a comment on. Why did you choose that post? Remember to include a link back to the post you left a comment on.

Get to it – start visiting and leaving quality comments that show you have read the post. 

How many quality comments could you leave this week? Can you leave 10, 20 or maybe 50?

 

Week 7: The World of Nature

Wish You Were Here

Creative Commons License Jose Roberto V Moraes via Compfight

This week is going to be a chance for you to write about something you are passionate about relating to nature.

For this activity, nature is defined as everything not made by man.

What topics might this include?

  • animals
  • plants and trees
  • rocks and fossils
  • stars and planets
  • landscapes – mountains, rivers, volcanoes, oceans etc

As long as the topic has nothing to do with being made by humans, then you should be able to write about it.

Having read many of your posts, I came up with the following essentials in a great post.

  1. catchy title
  2. includes at least two visuals whether photo, cartoon, video or another web 2.0 tool like padlet, glogster, wordle etc
  3. interesting topic with the passion of the author coming through, shows well researched topic
  4. well written and not copy/pasted from somewhere else
  5. shows it has been proofread and spellchecked
  6. written in paragraphs – at least three of them
  7. includes links to other websites on similar topics – at least two of these
  8. attribution for any images, video, music or clip art used – including those used in slideshows etc

Remember to come back here and leave a comment including the URL of your post once it has been published by either you or your teacher. I will only be visiting those that have the correct URL in the comment.

NEWS FLASH FOR NEXT WEEK       NEWS FLASH FOR NEXT WEEK

Next week we will be running a game about visiting other blogs, so if there are a few students or classes you love visiting, add them as links on your sidebar.

Also make sure you have an up to date widget for gathering visitor data. I notice clustrmaps on Edublogs blogs needs to be updated to their new clustrmaps. Click on the map on your blog, and you will be directed to a post written by Sue Waters about how to get your map working again.

 

 

Week 6: Go visiting

Project 365: February 24

Maia C via Compfight

Make sure you have a great post on your blog that visitors will want to leave a comment on because that is the only activity to do this week.

Visit other blogs and leave quality comments.

Hopefully you can visit at least 10 blogs (not your classmates), leaving a comment on each one.

  • Use the list of student or class blogs to find some posts you could read. Remember those class blogs with names in mauve have a list of students in the sidebar or in a list on a page on the blog.
  • Or click on the flipboard magazine and find some great posts in there. Click on the writing of the post in the flipboard and it should open to the actual blog post. I am adding about 100 posts there each week so lots for you to choose from.

Your comment should:

  1. Be addressed to the writer of the post
  2. Make a connection to the writer or add extra information about the post or relate to something you have seen or done relating to the post
  3. Be proofread for spelling and punctuation
  4. Include your blog URL or class blog URL

Below are some great posts written for previous activities throughout this challenge. You might want to visit some of them to leave comments. (These couldn’t be flipped)

Mel, Ellie, Jared, Aiden, Mason, Hoow20, Kathryn, Victoria, Wilao, Gisele, Mary, Farhiyam,

Summary posts written by classes

Mr Helpern on Halloween, McDowell media on foods, Mr Dawson’s class now have avatars, Mrs Smith’s class on food and using wikimedia images

NEWS FLASH   NEWS FLASH

There is no need to leave me a comment when you finish this activity. I will be spending this week getting the student lists updated and adding mentors to some students. I will also be looking at some of the class blogs I haven’t visited yet in the challenge.

Week 5: Our food

An important part of blogging as part of a global community is learning more about each others’ culture.  Food is often one of the first things you notice when visiting another country.

This week we’re going to learn more about each others’ culture by sharing stories about food popular in our country or asking other participants questions about food in their country.

To help you get started I’m going to tell you about food that is popular in Australia.

Vegemite

VegemiteVegemite is uniquely Australian and most Aussies have a jar of Vegemite in their house.  We even have our own Vegemite song! It’s a dark brown food paste made from leftover brewers’ yeast, vegetables and additives.

Our favorite way of eating Vegemite is on toasted bread with a layer of margarine (or butter) spread with a thin layer of Vegemite.

While some might say Vegemite is an acquired taste — the true secret to eating Vegemite is the thin layer of Vegemite on toast.  Most of the hilarious taste testing Vegemite videos on YouTube are caused by trying to eat Vegemite like you would Peanut butter, Nutella or Jam.

Aussie Meat Pies

The Meat pie is considered iconic in Australia and New Zealand.  These are hand-sized meat pies made up of diced or minced meat and vegetables.

Most Australian bakeries sell a wide variety of meat pies, sausage rolls in addition to bread and cakes.  Meat pies and sausage rolls are a common lunch food here and you can also buy them at most lunch bars and petrol stations.

Pies

Selection of pies and sausage rolls at a bakery

Home made meat piesEach bakery has their own unique recipes.

You might enjoy making meat pies with your students.  It isn’t hard.

Here are some tips:

  • Follow this Curtis Stone Meat Pie recipe.
  • Make the filling in advance and wait until it is completely cooled until you use it to fill the pies (I don’t add the chicken livers).
  • You eat the pie by holding it in your hand.

Food in other Countries

A challenge with visiting other countries is sometimes the food you are used to isn’t available or is hard to get.

Watch Brian Lockwood video where he discusses the challenges of buying bread in China.  Brian is an American teacher who works at a school in Nanjing, China.

Activity 1: 

Write a post on food that is popular in your country.

In your post, include links to where you researched and some images with attribution. You might also want to a collage of images or a slideshow you have created.

Activity 2:  

Visit Inside Scoops Taco Tuesday post to learn what their students eat for lunch.  Leave a comment on Taco Tuesday post to let them know what you eat for school lunches in where you live or write a post to share what school lunches are like where you live.

Activity 3:  

Create a poll or survey and embed it into a post to find out more about the types of foods eaten by your readers.

Activity 4:

Visit at least 5 blogs from countries other than your own. Leave a comment on a post at each blog to ask them questions about food in their country. Now write your own post including the comment you have left and linking to each post you commented on.

 

Check out these posts that couldn’t be flipped:

Add to Allegra’s story, Alice, Rachel’s creative commons video, Kloey, Teagan, Tayah, Chelsea, Tahlia, Ella, Mia’s video about widgets, Milica from Serbia – use the translation widget, Emily, Angel, Camille created a glogster on commenting, Aisho’s tribute to her grandma, Mary Ellen, Alexis on commenting, Gauri, Mary Ellen,

Classes with links to student posts

Huzzah – cat, dog or both with images

Mrs Arendts grade 5 class – have introduced themselves and would love some comments

Room 19 Allstars  have done some great Blog Action Day posts

Mr Helpern’s students used images with attribution

Students writing in comments

Favourite family time,

Here is the link to the flipboard magazine where many of your #RaiseYourVoice posts were flipped.

A range of topics were raised from looking at diseases to girls education and of course bullying online and in real life.

Decorating your blog

Rhea, Ella, Mikaila, Victoria, Caitlyn,

UPDATE IMPORTANT    UPDATE IMPORTANT

Make sure you read the admin post from earlier this week. Important information about being taken off the student or class lists.

 

 

Admin post

studentlist

Students

We are coming up to half way through the challenge and as I mentioned in one of the earlier posts, some students will be taken off the student list in early November if they have not completed certain activities.

Why do I do this?

We have over 2000 students registered for the challenge but only about half of them get to have a mentor. So if students are not doing the challenge activities I feel they don’t deserve to have a mentor.

Which students will be taken off?

Students who already have mentors need to have completed the following to be left on the list:

  1. An about me page or post
  2. One other post related to the challenge
  3. Settings on their blog must allow comments to be left by anyone
  4. The URL of their blog must be correct on the list

Mentors

I will be asking you to check the students on your list to see that they have completed the above things. If they haven’t could you please email me the names of students I should be taking off the list.  Their country will be left in pink until the end of next week, then if changes have not been made, they will be removed off the student list on November 7. I will then add new students to your list. If you can take extra students please notify me as well.

Classes

I will be removing classes with incorrect URLs or those where the settings don’t allow comments – these are with pink countries. I am presently putting mauve colour on those classes where student blogs are listed on the sidebar. This makes it easier if teachers want to pair up students for commenting.

Week 4: Celebrating creatively

Halloween is a fun time of the year and a great opportunity to show your creativity while developing connections with others.

Jack

Mr. Evil Cheese Scientist via Compfight

Feel free to adapt these activities to any other celebration, festival or event that is held in your country, state or town.  It doesn’t have to be Halloween.

Activity 1: Dress up your blog for Halloween

Events like Halloween and Christmas are ideal for dressing up your blog.

Here’s some ideas on how to dress up your blog:

  • Add a Halloween picture to your header or background.  You’ll find lots of great Halloween images that are free to use on Pixabay.  For help, refer to uploading a custom header and uploading a custom background.
  • Add an animated gif to your background.  You’ll find some free animated gifs on FG.A.com
  • Add some fun Halloween Widgets.  You’ll find a list of cool Halloween widgets on Homeschool Towers Spice up your blog for Halloween post and lots of other ideas on how to make over  your blog for Halloween!  The instructions on how to add a text widget show how to add a widget using embed code.
  • Change to a Halloween Style theme.  The theme Monster on Edublogs was originally designed for Halloween.

Once you’ve dressed up your blog write a post explaining where you found all the headers, images, widgets and tell your readers why you choose each one.

Activity 2:  Write some poetry or spooky story about Halloween.

Write a poem or a spooky story about Halloween and remember to include some images to show what you learnt from last week’s challenge on using images.

Activity 3:  Write a post about how you celebrate Halloween or the History of Halloween. 

Halloween is celebrated in lots of different ways around the World.  Read If Only Best Birds Sang ‘Halloween traditions with photographs‘ post to learn how they celebrate Halloween in Ireland.

Now write a post to tell us how you celebrate Halloween where you live or write a post on the History of Halloween.

Activity 4:  Show off your Halloween creativity using some different tools such as powtoon, thinglink, padlet, glogster, soundcloud, poll daddy and embed them into a post.

There are many cool interactive tools that you can embed into post that create opportunities to grab attention and engage readers in ways that aren’t achievable using text and images.  You’ll find examples of popular tools that you can embed here.

Now choose one (or more of these tools) to show off your Halloween creativity and write a post that includes your embed tool.  Classes – you could get students to work in groups using a different tool.

Still got more time?

  1. Visit other blogs either class or student – choose bloggers from other countries, maybe you will start getting some dots on your clustrmap or some flags on your widget.
  2. Check out the magazine on the sidebar – are you featured in there yet?
  3. Also check out the One World Our World magazine – this is where I am flipping the Raise Your Voice posts
  4. Leave a comment on a challenge blog post linking back to your post so Miss W can visit and leave you a comment.

Miss W visiting your blogs

Starting this week, I will only be visiting blogs where students or classes have left the post URL in a comment with an explanation of why you chose that activity.

If your teacher is moderating your posts, you will need to wait until it has been published before giving me your URL.

Check out the difference between a blog URL and a post URL.

Blog URL: http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org

Post URL : http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2015/10/10/raise-your-voice/

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE

There will be a special admin post this week, so please make sure you read it. It will affect mentors, students and classes.