Last week, you introduced yourself to your readers. This week we look at telling them about the place you live in – such as your school, your town, your state or province. You also get a chance to add widgets and to create an avatar for your blog. When you leave comments this is called your user avatar in Edublogs.
Create your avatar – instead of me writing out all the information about creating your avatar, I am sending you to a previous post where you can read about this activity. Go to number 3 and read through the three steps mentioned.
Widgets – when you first get a blog, there are some widgets included in the sidebar. Once you change themes, some widgets disappear and you need to go to your dashboard> appearance> widgets and drag them across to your sidebar. It would be handy for your teachers and your readers if you could have at least these widgets: blog avatar, recent comments (10), recent posts (10), links or blogroll, pages, categories, archive and meta.
Linking your name and user avatar – To make sure your user avatar is linked to your blog URL, go to dashboard> users> profile and make sure you have a nickname and your blog URL is in the website box. This means whenever you leave a comment, the reader will just have to click on your name or avatar and it will take them to your blog. Include the http:// part in the URL.
If you are not using Edublogs, remember to check the “Get Help” section of this blog and look for the tutorials for your blogging platform.
Students – lots of choice this week
1. Visit other student and class blogs – check out what widgets they have on their blog.
- Do some of the widgets detract from the blog?
- Do some of the widgets overlap into the writing area?
- Are some widgets too noisy?
- Are there too many widgets on some blogs?
Write a post about the extra widgets you have added to your blog and why you chose them. Remember to add a link back to where you can sign up for that widget. Did you check the minimum age for having that widget on your blog?
2. Widgets – add some to your blog
- About your place: This could include weather, time, history
- About your visitors: could be a clustrmap, feedjit, flag counter
- To help your visitors with translating your blog to their language
When adding widgets to your sidebar:
- Go to your dashboard> appearance> widgets.
- Drag a text box to your sidebar.
- Copy and paste the embed code into the text box.
- Save then close.
- If the widget is too wide, you will have to adjust the number next to ‘width’ in the embed code. This might appear more than once in the code.
If your blog is an Edublogs free blog, you might not be able to put all the widgets in your sidebar. Instead put them in a post, but remember to change your post tab in your dashboard to HTML instead of visual when you are pasting in the embed code.
If using another platform rather than Edublogs, then check out the “Get Help” section in the sidebar of this blog.
- Write a post describing your avatar. How much does it look like you? What sort of personality does your avatar have? What makes it typically you? Remember to include your avatar as an image in your post. Check out this post from Nicky, Katelyn,
- Create more than one avatar that represents you. Put them together in a slideshow of some sort – what Web2.0 tool could you use to do this? Perhaps animoto or an app on your phone. Check the post from Kate and Abbi.
- Create your family in avatars and include them in a post. How does that avatar represent your family member? Check out this previous post from Candice, Katelyn,
4. Your place
- Write a post about tourist attractions in your state. Try to include at least five places that Miss W , Davo the Tasmanian Devil or Squirrel would like to visit.
- Write a post, create a glogster, make an audioboo tape, create a Storybird or add a Voki telling your readers about the festivals held in your town throughout the year. Which festivals do you enjoy the most and why? Remember to include the date of the festival in case your reader might want to visit. If under 13, check with your teacher or parent if you want to use a web 2.0 tool rather than writing a post in your blog.
- Visit at least five other blogs from students or classes around the world and ask some questions about their town, school, country in your comments. We have participants from 24 countries taking part in the challenge.
- Create a game or quiz about your town, state or country. A few places to do this include: Quiz Revolution, Class Tools, Remember to check with your teacher or parent before using these web 2.0 tools. Sometimes your teacher or parent will create an account that is moderated by them and is therefore safe for students to use. Do you know any other places to create games and quizzes?
- Which widgets do your students consider should be on every class blog? Why? Write a post about your class widgets.
- Create a poll asking visitors to your blog to vote for their favourite widget on your blog? Why do you think that widget was so popular?
- Display your student avatars in a slideshow such as Animoto. Did you allow students choice of website to create their avatars?
- Where else could you display your avatars? Perhaps in your header like the 26 Bay Bloggers have.
- Create a slideshow about your school and embed on your blog. Check out examples from Miss T and Mr Lamb. Maybe you could use a Prezi as suggested by Justin from Penbank.
- Write a post with questions you would like your visitors to answer in a comment. Try to find out some interesting information about where they live.
- Create a quiz about your state/province/country. Embed in your blog and see how well your visitors or locals know your area.
Create a class poster or video about your commenting guidelines
Commenting is one part of our digital footprint, so it is important students know how to comment in an appropriate way.
- Check out this video by Mrs Yollis and her students.
- Check out this page by Ms Edwards.
- Check out this pdf by Kathleen Morris.
- Check out this glog by Mrs Allen.
It is also important that you don’t just copy and paste the guidelines from someone else. Discuss with your students, show examples, then come up with your commenting guidelines. We must teach the students not to plagiarise by setting the example ourselves as teachers.
Involve parents and other family members in leaving comments on your class blog
- How many parents are involved in your class blog?
- Do they check it out regularly or is the blog just something you and the students do at school?
- How could you involve parents more in the blogging process?
Kathleen Morris and Linda Yollis have some great ideas about involving parents or grandparents. Check out this handout about blogging, navigating the class blog, family blogging month winner and grandparents comment.