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Week 3: Fun With Photos

This week’s topic is an important and useful one to know about. We’re going to have fun using photos while learning how use images easily, legally, and safely.

  • Some people find this topic confusing but don’t worry. I’ll break it down for you in this week’s post!
  • This post is long as there’s lots for you to learn. Remember to use the menu on the right hand side if you’re on a computer.

Next week we will be having a catch up/free choice week so you can catch your breath!

Week three of the Student Blogging Challenge is all about images and Creative Commons. We'll learn how to use images easily, legally, and safely.

Week Two Recap

Trophy image -- great workThere were so many great posts submitted by classes and students.

You can find the participants’ week two posts by click on the purple link on the sidebar.

Many students have also submitted a week one task late. Check these out by clicking on the green link on the sidebar.

Let’s take a look at just some of the fantastic work we spotted for week two:

  • Mrs. D from Arizona had her 6th graders vote on their commenting guidelines which they then put into a fabulous poster. Check it out here. 
  • Noe is an experienced student blogger who shared his views on how to leave the perfect blog comment.
  • Jerry from Taiwan shared some tips about quality commenting. Using bold words to make certain things stand out was a good idea!
  • Miaomiao from Australia included a cute comic where a dolphin and turtle learn about quality commenting. Her classmate Lauren made her own respectful commenting graphic which she put on a page. If you’d like to leave Lauren a comment, you can do so on this post. 
  • Manav from Mr. Balak’s class in the US got creative with Scratch and made a game. You can find the link to the game here. 
  • Mrs. Yollis made a wonderful infographic using Canva and Bitmoji to share her expectation for quality comments. Also, check the creative work of her students “Dr. Hagle” and “Sarah Gold” who used Puppet Pals to explain quality commenting using a Fairy BLOGmother!

If you ever come across any outstanding work in your class or another class I’d love to know about it so I can share it with others. Email me, leave a comment on a STUBC post, or tweet me!

Flipboard

Click here to view the new 2019 Student Blogging Challenge Flipboard for more notable posts.

View my Flipboard Magazine.

Flipboard is a digital magazine that brings together stories and articles from the web.

You can use Flipboard on your computer, or via the app on your phone or tablet.

iOS | Android | Window

Reminders

A few days ago our commenting team leader, Sue Wyatt, published a post with suggestions for adding a visitor tracking widget to your site. Read that post here.

Here are a few more challenge reminders:

  • Are you on our mailing list? Sign up here and make sure you add support@edublogs.org to your email contacts so it doesn’t end up in junk/spam. I send an email every Sunday.
  • Please keep approving comments quickly. Some students don’t realise they have comments waiting to be approved in their dashboard. Remember, it’s good etiquette to reply to comments.
  • You don’t need to request access to view/edit the spreadsheets with participants’ posts that are linked on the sidebar. They are ‘view only’ and open to everyone. Please let students know.
  • Edublogs/CampusPress users with student blogs — If all the students in your class have blogs and your teacher uses ‘My Class’, you should have a widget called ‘Class blogs’. Make sure this is on your sidebar. This video shows you how.
  • Some people have put a link to a Google Doc/Form/Slide presentation in their post BUT it can’t be viewed without logging in. This resource shows you how to make your Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms public.
  • Haven’t caught up on week one and two? Don’t worry! You can complete your tasks late, or skip some tasks. Please submit your task in the correct form (e.g. if you complete a task from week one, go back to the week one post and add it to the form). The forms are closed 3 weeks after each post is published.

Let’s Learn About Images

A blog without images would be pretty boring, wouldn’t it?

Images can really jazz up our posts, pages, headers, and widgets. Students and teachers also need images when they’re making a presentation, video, or other digital creations.

But where do we get those images?

Can’t we just use Google Images?

Do you know how to find pictures using Google? It’s so easy. You just type in the word you want, find the image you like, and save it to your computer.

But stop right there!

Should we be doing this? Should we be getting any image we like from Google and using it in our own work?

The answer is no.

As Ronnie Burt’s cat has told our community before…

Just because you find it on Google doesn't make it free
Photo by Ronnie Burt used with permission

Most images on Google are protected by copyright. This means, they are not free to use and you can get into trouble if you do use them without permission.

You can use Google Images advanced search filter to find images that you are allowed to use but this isn’t as simple as it seems. You need to know what the usage rights mean and how to attribute correctly.

We have some easier options to share with you this week.

Including the source is not enough…

A situation we commonly see on blogs is where someone uses an image they found online and then include a link to the site they got it from.

For example,

Image from Kathleen Morris www.kathleenamorris.com

Just because you link to the source of an image, does not mean you can use it. You would need to ask the image creator for permission.

Unless stated otherwise, everything on the web is protected by copyright.

Let’s take a look at some options for finding images…

Where Can You Find Images?

I have a post on my own blog that goes through the 5 main ways to find images for blog posts or other digital work.

Here is a summary. Feel free to use this poster on your blog or in your classroom if it’s helpful.

5 options for finding images Kathleen Morris

Let’s take a closer look at each option:

1) Making your own images is an excellent option

This can be done either by drawing, taking your own photos, using computer software, or using online tools.

Just be mindful of two things:

  • This can take a long time and leave you with less time for your writing or other work.
  • Many online tools have age restrictions (often over 13).

2) Many businesses purchase stock photography

We often do this for our posts on The Edublogger.

We pay a hairdresser when we get a haircut, pay a baker for a loaf of bread, so why not pay a photographer for their work?

This is good to know about as an option but isn’t something schools or students would usually do.

3) Using Google Images is not usually a good idea

We talked about this above.

Most images that you find on Google are protected by copyright. Find out more about copyright by watching this short video.

4) Creative Commons is worth knowing about!

Everyone’s work is protected by copyright unless stated otherwise.

Many people are happy for others to use their work (as long as they give them credit etc.). They give their work a Creative Commons license to tell everyone what they can or cannot do with their image (or text, videos, music etc).

  • Copyright means the person who took the photo (or created the work) does not allow anyone to use it.
  • Creative Commons means the person who took the photo (or created the work) does allow people to use it IF they follow certain rules.
    • Usually, these rules mean saying who created the image/work and where it’s from.
    • Sometimes the rules state that you can use the image/work only if you don’t change it or don’t use it as part of something you’re selling.
    • These rules are called licenses.
    • There are a number of Creative Commons licenses creators can choose from.
    • No matter what license is used, you must always attribute the creator of the image/work (unless it’s a Creative Commons Zero license — see point 5). Attributing means crediting the author. In a blog post, this usually means putting the attribution under an image as I’ve done below.

Cute koala image
By Erik Veland [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Here’s a short video by Nancy Minicozzi that explains Creative Commons.

A plugin to make attribution easy

The trickiest part of using Creative Commons images is often the attribution (crediting the creator: saying who the creator is, where it’s from, what the license is etc).

If you’re using Edublogs or CampusPress, there’s a plugin you can use to find and insert Creative Commons images without worrying about attribution. It’s called Pixabay.

Important notes about the plugins:

  • While the Pixabay plugin provides safe filtered options, nothing is foolproof. Younger students should be supervised or use Photos For Class for the safest option.
  • If you’re familiar with the old Compfight plugin, this is no longer available as it doesn’t work properly with the latest versions of WordPress.

5) Creative Commons Zero or royalty free images are the easiest choices

If your mind is spinning with all that talk of Creative Commons licenses and attribution, don’t worry!

Creative Commons Zero (CC0) or royalty free images are easy to use.

These are the least restrictive licenses so anyone can use the images freely and attribution is optional.

There are an increasing number of sites where you can find CC0 or royalty free images but remember:

  • Many sites contain inappropriate content if you search for it
  • Many sites have age restrictions

I made this comparison chart to show you some of the best options to find images that you can use freely without attributing.

You can read a detailed description of each one in my blog post if you’re interested.

Comparison chart of free images teachers students Pixabay Unsplash Pexels Photos For Class Openclipart Pics4Learning

In the activity section below, you’ll also find some task cards to help you easily source images.

Help With Images

Adding an image to a post or page on your blog is quite straightforward.

If you haven’t figured out how to do this yet, check out these help guides:

Week Three Tasks

This week there are five tasks to choose from to help you learn more about using images. The third task links with doing either task four or five.

Here is a summary. I will explain each task in more detail below with some examples and ideas for how classes can approach each task.

STUBC week 3 tasks summary

Task 1: Educate Others

Many teachers and students around the world know very little about using images legally, Creative Commons, attributing Creative Commons images etc. You can help them learn while learning more about this topic yourself.

Do some more research into any of the topics discussed this week and make a blog post, poster, video, slideshow etc.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, perhaps students could work in small groups to create a poster or video to share in a post (or a series of posts). Or, all the students could make a slide for a slideshow. 

Example:

This video is the reaction of students in Mrs. Yollis’ class when she mislabelled their artwork. It helps people learn about the importance of correct attribution.

Coincidentally, one of Mrs. Yollis’ students “Jodie Bloom” wrote a blog post about this activity yesterday.

More examples:

  • Georgia summarized the places you can find images and included a slideshow.
  • Chris explains why you can’t take images off Google.
  • Izzy wrote a fabulous post about not using copyright materials.

Task 2: Make An Image

Creating your own images for your blog posts is a great idea! You don’t have to worry about copyright and Creative Commons.

You can:

Remember, some online tools have age restrictions.

Leave a comment on this post if you know any other good tools for making your own images.

Add your image(s) to a blog post and tell us a bit about the images and how you made them. If you used an online tool, include the link so others can try it.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, all the students could make their own image and the teacher could compile them into a Google Slide presentation or simply add them to a blog post (or series of posts). 

Example:

  • Alicia used MakeBelifsComix to share a message about the environment.
  • Jena made a word cloud.
  • Wesley shared an original photo he took for a photography class.
  • Sue Waters from Edublogs took this funny photo of something odd she spotted at the supermarket. What can you find in your surroundings that makes you feel surprised, happy, amused, frustrated etc?

Photo of watermelon with a label that says chicken

Task 3: Image Task Cards

This connects with task 4 and 5. 

In the blog post I wrote about images for teachers and students, I prepared two task cards.

Depending on your age, use one of these task cards to find an image or a series of images to add to your post.

You could add a slideshow with some of your favourite images you found and write about why you like them. Or, you could use your images to complete task 4 or 5 below.

Tip: If you’re using Edublogs Pro or CampusPress, you can use the slider feature in the Live Shortcodes plugin to quickly add a slideshow to a post, page, or sidebar. Instructions are here. (Another option is the Metaslider Plugin) Find the instructions here.

Examples:

  • My son's favourite animal is a tiger.

  • My daughter's favourite animal is a peacock.

  • We love going to the beach.
  • I'm currently teaching music to prep (kindergarten) students!
  • We enjoy going on bike rides.
  • Tomatoes are one of my favourite foods.

Task card for under 13s

Task card for over 13s

You’re welcome to print these task cards, or add them to your blog. To do this, you’ll need to click on the download button under the task card. Find out how to add a PDF file to your blog using Edublogs or CampusPress here.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, perhaps all students could use the task card to find an image. They could create a story, poem, or description for the image and these could be placed in a blog post (or series of blog posts). Or, the teacher could add some images to a post and ask the students to write an imaginative response in a comment. 

Task 4: Write A Poem

Find an image using one of the task cards above. Or you can try the Pixabay plugin if you’re an Edublogs/CampusPress user.

Now write a poem about your image.

Need some inspiration or advice? Check out Ken Nesbitt’s site which has lots of poetry resources.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could write a poem as a class, or have students write their own poetry and publish them as a series of posts. Alternatively, the teacher could publish a photo and have the students write a poem in a comment. 

Examples:

Task 5: Picture Prompts

First, find an image or series of images using one of the task cards above. Or you can try the Pixabay plugin if you’re an Edublogs/CampusPress user.

Next, you have two choices:

1) Add an image and write the start of a story. Ask your readers to complete the story.

Examples:

2) Or, make a sentence guessing game. Come up with a sentence and find a series of images to illustrate your sentence. Ask your readers to tell you what the sentence is in a comment.

Examples:

  • Emily asks you to guess her sentence.
  • Keylee asks you to guess her favourite food.
  • Lily included a great introduction for her post.

Tip: You might need to visit some other bloggers and invite them to look at your post and complete your story or guess your word. Remember to leave the URL of your post for them to click on.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could publish a series of posts with the students’ picture prompts. Perhaps students could work in small groups. Or the teacher could publish the picture prompts and invite the students to respond in a comment. 

Final Tips

Beware of advertisements

Remember, some of the free image sites have advertisements for paid image sites. We don’t want to click on those ads.

For example, on Pixabay, I typed ‘dolphin’ into the search box. The top row of results has a Shutterstock watermark on it. Clicking on this takes me to the Shutterstock website which is a site where you can pay for images.

Pixabay ad example

Note: You won’t see advertisements when using the Pixabay plugin.

Do you need to go back and fix images in old posts?

Have you been using images from Google on your blog so far? Whoops. You might want to go back and fix these up when you have time. Remove the image or replace with a Creative Commons image.

Have you tried using categories, tags, or labels yet?

Categories, tags, or labels are all ways to organise your posts. It’s a good idea to set up a category (or label in Blogger) called Student Blogging Challenge or STUBC. You can assign this category to all the posts you write for the challenge.

Submit Your Post URL ⬇

If you want a commenter and other participants to visit your blog, remember to fill in the form below for your week 3 post.

Do you have a post on your class blog and student blogs? Awesome! Feel free to submit the class blog post and student blog posts.

You need to submit the URL of your post. You can submit the URL of a page if this is what you’re working on but make sure comments are enabled. 

This video shows you how to find your URL…

Note, this isn’t a real class blog. Just one I used for testing 😉

Remember:

  • Click on the title of your post/page and then copy the URL from your address bar.
  • This graphic below should help you understand what a post URL looks like if you’re using Edublogs/CampusPress/WordPress

Examples of post URLS for STUBCThe Google Form

Edit: Enter your details in the form below or click here to open it in a new tab.

Teachers, feel free to put the form URL on your class blog if it’s easier for your students to access.

https://goo.gl/forms/XJqLKRv5ZV7ISfOW2


Next week’s topic: Free choice/catch up!

Have you had visitors come to your blog?

Now that commenting has started in the challenge, you might be receiving lots of visitors. Do you know where they are coming from? Are they only your classmates and teacher or are they from another country?

There are some interesting widgets you can add to the sidebar of your blog to keep a record of where your visitors are coming from.

  • Clustrmap
  • Revolver map
  • Flag counter

The team at Edublogs has put together this post giving links to get the widget and also instructions to follow to add the widget to your sidebar.

  • If you’re using Blogger, then you add a gadget to your sidebar using a similar method. It will be the HTML gadget.
  • In Kidblog, I think themes and sidebars are connected, I have seen visitor widgets on at least the class blog.
  • If using the free Edublog account, you might not be able to embed widgets on your sidebar.

I wonder how many of our commenters will visit your blog and leave a quality comment?

They come from the following countries:

Australia, Canada, England, USA, India, Portugal, Turkey, Egypt, Romania, Bahrain, Ghana, Kenya, Scotland and China.

 

Week 2: Connect Through Commenting

Great work on your first week of the challenge!

We now have 1050+ students and 135 classes taking part in the challenge. Can you tell which new country has been added to our participant list?

(Let me know if I missed any countries!)

Student Blogging Challenge Participants Oct 2018 - 6 continents and 27 countries

This week we are talking about commenting. And not just any old commenting, quality commenting.

Remember, if you’re on a computer, the menu on the right sidebar will help you navigate this post.

STUBC Week 2 Quality Comments

Week One Recap

Before we begin, let’s recap our first week…

Our commenting team was very busy BUT they did run into some difficulties with leaving comments on some posts.

If you can’t see the URL you submitted on the spreadsheet here or haven’t received a comment, please read this post by our commenting team leader, Miss W (Sue Wyatt).

If you’re ever confused or need help, just leave a comment on one of the posts or email me.

Email support at edublogs dot org

A big thanks goes to Miss W and her team of 80+ commenters!

Remember to approve any comments you receive in a timely manner and write a polite reply.

Some notable posts and comments

Trophy image -- great workWith so many amazing posts and pages written last week, it was hard to choose just a handful to showcase.

Let’s take a look at just some of the great work we spotted last week:

  • Mrs. Yollis is a role model blogger from California, USA. Her students are setting up their own blogs with Edublogs for the first time (they are using pen names).
  • Have you ever heard of a country called Kazakhstan? Meet Mrs. Matveyeva’s class and learn about their interesting country. Her students would love you to comment.
  • Allie in New Zealand wrote a wonderful About page and included a cute watermelon avatar.
  • Cora from the US updated her About page and it includes some fun facts in a nicely presented format.
  • Aleira from Australia wrote her About information as a post. If you’re into dance, music, gymnastics, circus, or traveling, you might like to stop by and say hi.
  • Jemimah from Australia put together a wonderful A-Z post to tell us all about herself.
  • Ash Eryn from the Philippines (a regular STUBC participant) introduced herself in a poetic way.
  • Faye’s grade 8 class from India would like you to leave a comment and say hi.
  • The Fabulous 4MM are new bloggers from Australia. They put their avatars together in a great slideshow. Learn more about this class by visiting their About page. They’d love to hear from you.

Flipboard — Sharing more great work!

Flipboard is a digital magazine that brings together stories and articles from the web.

You can use Flipboard on your computer, or via the app on your phone or tablet.

iOS | Android | Window

Click here to view the new 2019 Student Blogging Challenge Flipboard. Our commenters will be adding some notable posts and pages to the magazine over the coming weeks.

View my Flipboard Magazine.

Reminders

If you didn’t read the reminder post published in late February, please check it out here. 

The two most important reminders this week are making sure people can view your blog and comment.

Is your blog password protected?

To take part in the challenge you need to make sure that visitors can view your blog without signing in.

  • To check this, open your blog in a browser you’re not logged into (or something like Chrome Incognito). Does your blog appear? Or is there a prompt for a password?
  • If your blog is password protected (and you use Edublogs or CampusPress), go to your dashboard > settings > reading. Please select “Discourage search engines from indexing site but allows normal visitors to view” OR if you have a pro/CampusPress blog you can select “Allow search engines to index this site”
Edublogs/CampusPress users will need to allow one of the top two options to allow visitors (free blogs don't have the
You need one of the public options enabled

Teachers, if you have student blogs, you don’t need to do this individually. In your blog dashboard, go to My Class > Settings and choose one of the public options as per the image above.

Using a different blogging platform? Check out this reminder post which has links to the help guides you need to change your settings.

Can people comment on your blog?

Some blogs don’t allow comments on posts or pages or they need visitors to log in before commenting.

If you’re using Edublogs/CampusPress, go to settings > discussion and ensure you don’t have “Users must be registered and logged in to comment” selected.

Edublogs and CampusPress commenting settings

  • Pages on Edublogs/CampusPress blogs are turned off by default. Some people don’t like comments on pages but you will need comments enabled if you’re submitting a page as a task. Find out how to enable comments on pages here.
  • If you’re using Blogger, make sure anyone can comment using the Name/URL option (so they don’t need a Google Account). Blogger commenting instructions are here.
  • If you’re using Google Sites, make sure it’s easy for people to leave a written comment. Some students only had the option to leave a voice comment.

Reminders over, let’s get on with our topic… 🙂

How To Comment

Before we look at quality commenting, let’s revise the basics of how to comment.

This Google Slides presentation might be useful to use in the classroom with beginner bloggers. It explains how to comment on Edublogs or CampusPress blogs.

Using a different blogging platform? Maybe you could make your own slideshow and share it with us for this week’s second task option!

The Benefits of Commenting 

What’s so special about commenting? Why not just publish blog posts?

Here are ten reasons why I believe comments are important:

  1. Comments turn your blog from a static space to an interactive space. This means it’s not just you talking. There is interaction.
  2. Back and forth conversations are fun and you can learn a lot.
  3. Because comments are not instantaneous (like online chat or text messaging), you can have more time to reflect, research, or think about your response.
  4. When someone leaves a comment, they can leave feedback, constructive criticism, or give you new ideas. This can help you grow and learn.
  5. A commenter might suggest something that you didn’t include in your post. You can learn new perspectives.
  6. When you have an authentic (real) audience, it’s more motivating! You know someone will read your post, so you will probably put more effort into it than if you were just writing something in a notebook.
  7. Commenting can be an ideal way for busy parents to get involved in the classroom.
  8. You can learn how to interact politely and how to have conversations.
  9. You can meet new people and form friendships.
  10. Students who don’t have their own blogs can enjoy the benefits of blogging by being a participant in the comment section.

Could you add anything to this list? Tell us in a comment!

What Is Quality Commenting?

Which of these comments do you think is better?

Comment one

Comment two

Some students are young, learning a language, or just starting out and no one expects students (or teachers!) to be perfect.

However, when we aim to do certain things in our comment, we will learn more and develop skills that we can use in all areas of our life. We’ll also have a better chance of forming strong connections with others.

So what makes a quality comment? Here are some ideas. You might have your own ideas.

Elements of quality comments:

  • Written like a letter with a greeting, body, and sometimes a closing.
  • Correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and spacing.
  • Questions, compliments, and/or relevant new information.
  • Making connections without revealing personal information like surnames, addresses, birthdays etc.

You won’t always include all of the above in your comments but these are the sorts of things you might aim for.

Quality commenting videos

This is a video about quality commenting that Linda Yollis made with her third-grade students back in 2010! Many classes still enjoying viewing it.

For older students, this video by Nicolas Weiss is popular.

Sling’s 7/8 class in Canada created this must-watch video on commenting during the last Student Blogging Challenge.

Commenting Help

When someone leaves a comment on your blog, it won’t show up straight away (unless you have turned off moderation in your settings which is not recommended).

Whoever has permission (teacher/student) will need to approve the comment first. Try to approve comments quickly, especially during the Student Blogging Challenge.

If you need help with managing your comments, take a look at these guides:

Week Two Tasks

This week there are four tasks to choose from to help you learn more about commenting. 

Here is a summary. I will explain each task in more detail below with some examples and ideas for how classes can approach each task.

This week there are four tasks to learn about commenting STUBC

Task 1: Commenting Guidelines

How would you like people to write their comment on your blog? This task involves coming up with your own commenting guidelines. 

You can put your commenting guidelines in a post, but they might be better suited to a page (find out how to allow comments on pages using Edublogs).

You can just write your guidelines down as text or make some sort of poster, graphic, or slideshow.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could come up with your guidelines together and all the students could make a graphic or poster to share on a page (or a series of posts). Perhaps a small group of students could illustrate one step each. Or the teacher can make the page and the students can comment on it. 

Examples

You might make a How To Write A Quality Comment poster like I did below. Teachers, if you want to use this poster for your own class blog, feel free. You can grab a PDF copy here.

If you want to make your own poster, try a tool like Canva, Adobe Spark, Google Drawings, or even PowerPoint.

Of course, if you make your own poster, please personalise it and don’t copy my exact wording.

How to write a quality comment Kathleen Morris

Check out the creative way Mrs. Vazquez made a commenting poster using a web tool called Thinglink. If you hover over the blue circles you’ll find more information.

More examples:

  • Aubrey shared some examples on her page to explain what sort of things make a quality comment.
  • Caleigh made a mind map to share key ideas.
  • Rajyashori used emojis to explain her commenting guidelines.

Task 2: How To Comment

Many themes and blogging platforms have different ways to leave a comment.

You might need to click on the title of the post, or click on a number in a circle, or click on the words ‘Leave a comment’.

This task involves writing a page (or post) for your blog explaining how to leave a comment. (Remember, if you change themes in future, you might need to change your instructions).

You could write it as a set of steps or perhaps create a video showing what to do. Alternatively, make a slideshow like the one I shared in this post.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could come up with your instructions together and all the students could make a graphic, poster, or video to share on a page (or a series of posts). Or the teacher can make the page and the students can work on other activities. 

Here’s a quick video I once made for my colleague’s class blog.

How to make your own video

  • I used a free Chrome extension called Screencastify to make the video above.
  • Loom is another good tool for making screencast videos if you use the Chrome browser.
  • If you use an iPad you can make a screencast without any special app. Tony Vincent shows us how to do that in this graphic…

Tony Vincent screencast iPad

Tip: Find out how to add a video to an Edublogs or CampusPress blog here.

Need Pro? If you have a free Edublogs blog, you won’t be able to embed the video into your post or page. This is to prevent misuse by spammers. Contact me to get a free upgrade to Pro for the duration of the challenge.

Example pages:

Task 3: Comment With HTML

This is a task for bloggers who are after a challenge!

HTML is a computing language for making blogs and websites.

If you’re using Edublogs/CampusPress and you switch from Visual to Text in your post editor, you’ll see the HTML code that makes up your post.

Switch between text and visual when you're writing a postYou can use some code in your comments to make your words bold, italic, or to add a link or symbol. ♥

HTML code tutorials

Check out these tutorials to add HTML code to a comment:
Cheat sheet: bold, italics, link

The instructions below show you how to use bold, italics, and add a link.

Remember, coding is about troubleshooting. So if something doesn’t work, take a closer look at your code. Maybe you’ve added a space or missed a symbol.

Now try commenting using HTML

Visit one of the participants’ blog posts then write a post telling everyone about the HTML you used. You might make your own tutorial for others.

Tip: If you want to include a demonstration of HTML code in a blog post, it can be best to write it in another program like Word, Google Docs etc. and take a screenshot of the code. Then insert the screenshot into your post like any other image.

  • This article shows how to take a screenshot on any device.
  • Click here to find out how to add an image to an Edublogs or CampusPress blog.

See this example below from Mrs. Yollis: she didn’t write it straight in the post. She made it into an image…

Mrs Yollis' codeIf you’re working as a class on this activity, you could try leaving some comments with HTML as a whole class activity. Or perhaps the teacher can publish a post with instructions for HTML and the students can leave a comment trying out some codes. 

Task 4: Comment On Other Blogs

We know the benefits of commenting, so let’s leave some comments!

  1. Find three or four blogs you’d like to leave a comment on. Check out the green week one list or purple week two list on the sidebar. These are the lists of students and classes who have submitted a task so far.
  2. Leave a quality comment on one post on each blog.
  3. Write a post on your blog mentioning who you visited, which post you left a comment on and why, then include the comment you left. Include a link to the blogs you commented on too. Hint: make sure you copy the comment or take a screenshot before you hit the submit button.

Example posts:

If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could try leaving some comments as a whole class activity. Or perhaps each student could leave a comment on a different blog and write about the experience. The students’ writing could be compiled into one post or multiple blog posts.  

Final Tips

Encourage comments: end with questions

A great way to encourage your visitors to comment on your post is to ask a couple of questions at the end of the post. You might make these bold or coloured so they really stand out.

Try using open-ended questions. So, instead of saying, “Do you have a dog?”, you might say, “Please comment and tell me about your favourite animals”.

Examples: Ending with questions is something Mrs. Yollis’ students are doing really well. Have a look at some of their blog posts for inspiration (links on their sidebar)!

Sarah ends her post with questions
Here’s an example from Sarah’s blog

Tip for more advanced bloggers: organise your posts

If you’re new to blogging, try this later on!

Will visitors to your blog find it easy to search for a post they might be interested in commenting on?

Categories, tags, or labels are all ways to organise your posts.

It’s a good idea to set up a category (or label in Blogger) called Student Blogging Challenge or STUBC. You can assign this category to all the posts you write for the challenge.

Safety first!

Remember when you’re commenting or writing posts, don’t yap about your YAPPY! Be internet safe -- don't share your YAPPY

Submit Your Post URL ⬇

If you want a commenter and other participants to visit your blog, remember to fill in the form below for the post you publish about your week two task.

You need to submit the URL of your post. You can submit the URL of a page if this is what you’re working on but make sure comments are enabled. 

This video shows you how to find your URL…

Note, this isn’t a real class blog. Just one I used for testing 😉

Remember:

  • Do not submit the URL of your blog or your dashboard.
  • Click on the title of your post/page and then copy the URL from your address bar.
  • This graphic below should help you understand what a post URL looks like if you’re using Edublogs/CampusPress/WordPress

Examples of post URLS for STUBCThe Google Form

Edit: Enter your details in the form below or click here to open it in a new tab.

Teachers, feel free to put the form URL on your class blog if it’s easier for your students to access.

https://goo.gl/forms/0Ec2cY4FZgAAdPW52

 


Next week’s topic: Fun with Photos! 📸

Commenting team have started but ….

G’day from the commenting team,

We started visiting blogs over the last couple of days but have found it difficult to leave comments on some student posts. If you haven’t had a comment by the end of the weekend, students please check the following:

  1. If you wrote an About me page, did you remember to change the default setting to allow comments?
  2. Check the green week one task link on the sidebar (or click here) to see if your blog post URL is still on the list. If it isn’t, Miss Wyatt probably deleted it as the URL didn’t go to a specific post or page. Check the chart below showing what URL types are not being accepted.
  3. Some students have left links to posts that are nothing to do with the challenge tasks. Usually, commenters won’t leave comments on these posts.

Well done to the students who have left links to great posts. Remember to check the Flipboard magazine to see if yours has been flipped or not.

Hints for teachers

If you are moderating comments on student blogs, please make sure this is done regularly as students might think they don’t have any comments, but there they are waiting in the moderating queue for you to approve.

Do visitors to your class blog or student blogs have to login to leave comments?

  • Check here for settings if using Kidblog. You need to change both the post settings and comment settings.
  • Check here if using My Class in Edublogs or CampusPress.

If using Google Sites, please make sure students know how to enter the correct URL in our form as we have been receiving some that go to an error even though the URL looks okay for me. Also, some students have a Google form to fill in for comments while others have ‘leave a recorded message’. Not everyone has a microphone attached permanently to their desktop computer (e.g. me) so some students might miss out on comments.

Need help? Leave a comment on this post

From Commenting Team Leader Sue Wyatt

Founder of the Student Blogging Challenge

Week 1: Let’s Get To Know Each Other

Welcome!

It’s time to start the challenge and time for some introductions!

This post is quite long because we have some reminders to go through.

Tip: there is a menu on the right-hand side of this page this will help you navigate the post (you might not see it if you’re reading this on a phone or tablet).

STUBC Week 1 Let's Get To Know Each Other

Who Am I?

For those of you who are new to the challenge, let me introduce myself.

My name is Kathleen Morris. I’m a primary school teacher in Geelong, Australia.

I wonder what hemisphere you live in? I live in the Southern Hemisphere so it’s the start of autumn although still very warm. We have had lots of days close to 40 degrees Celsius this week!

I work with Edublogs to help teachers learn about the wonderful world of blogging while teaching casually.

I have a husband who’s a teacher, a 5 year old daughter, and a 4 year old son.

I began blogging with my students in 2008. I have my own blog for teachers where I write about things like global collaboration, blogging, digital citizenship, and online tools.

All of these things keep me very busy and I also enjoy running, hiking, reading, cooking, and exploring nature with my family.

Collage of emu, kangaroo, and beaches Kathleen Morris

I’m looking forward to getting to know you too.

Want to know more about our commenters? Check the comment section of this post. 

About Our Participants

So far we have nearly 800 individual students and 115 classes registered.

Our participants represent 25 countries and 6 continents.

Are any of the continents of the world not represented? I wonder why?

STUBC participants by continent March 2019

Are You A Past Participant?

The first 3 weeks will be similar to the last challenge BUT then we’ll be diving into different topics.

So, hang in there! Use the first few weeks to improve what you’ve already done on your blog and make connections.

You can be a role model for our new participants!

Getting To Know Each Other

We usually have a choice of tasks each week, however, this week, we have three important tasks we’d like everyone to complete.

The tasks involve:

  1. Making an avatar (and there are a few choices for extra avatar activities)
  2. Creating or updating your About page
  3. Making connections with other students

You’ll find more details about these tasks below.

Firstly, we have some challenge information and reminders to go through.

Administration

The Weekly Process

Each week, we’ll follow the same process.

There will be some information on a blog post to read so you can learn more about our topic and then some tasks to choose from. Once you publish your task response on a blog post, submit the URL of the post in the Google Form at the bottom of the weekly post. Then, go ahead and connect with others!

Read more about our four step weekly process here or watch the video below.

Here is a summary of the weekly process. Feel free to copy this graphic and display it on your blog.

4 Steps To Participating in STUBC smaller

This A4 poster version might be handy to print out for students or use as a classroom display.

4 Steps To Participating in STUBC A4 Poster

General Reminders

  1. Is your blog public on the web? To take part in the challenge you need to make sure that visitors can view your blog without signing in.
    • To check this, open your blog in a browser you’re not logged into (or something like Chrome Incognito). Does your blog appear? Or is there a prompt for a password?
    • Need more help with changing your settings? Check this post for details. 
  2. Can visitors leave comments on your blog posts without logging in? Double check this. If you’re using Blogger, make sure anyone can comment using the Name/URL option (so they don’t need a Google Account). Find more instructions to change your commenting settings here. 
  3. Check our registration pages to make sure your details are listed correctly. If your details are incorrect, just leave a comment on the page so we can fix that up.
  4. Edublogs/CampusPress users with student blogs — If all the students in your class have blogs and you use ‘My Class’, you should have a widget called ‘Class blogs’. Make sure this is on your sidebar. This video shows you how.
  5. Add the challenge badge to your sidebar. There is a post showing you exactly how to do this. Click here to go to the badge post.
  6. Please moderate comments regularly — at least once a week if not once a day. It’s in the comment section where the most powerful learning and connections can take place!

Now onto the tasks!

Week One Tasks

While you don’t have to complete every task each week, this week we encourage you to try to do all three. They’re very important tasks and will get you off to a great start!

Here is a summary. I will explain each activity in more detail below with some examples.

Summary of week one tasks STUBC Avatars About Pages and Connecting

Stay Safe Online

Remember, as we’re sharing information about ourselves, we need to be internet savvy and avoid sharing too much information or personal details.

I like to tell my students to never share their YAPPY online. There is some other information that’s more of a ‘grey area’. These are things you should discuss with your teachers and parents.

Further advice for teachers:

Be internet safe -- don't share your YAPPY

Task 1: Avatars

Do you know what an avatar is? It’s simply an image that you use to represent yourself on the internet. It’s like a character that represents your online identity.

A lot of adults have a real photo as their avatar, like this:

Kathleen Morris image

It can be a better idea for children to use a cartoon representation of themselves (check with your teachers/parents if you’re not sure).

Avatar example Kathleen Morris

Here are four avatar activities to choose from. 

For students: Create your own avatar 

Students can create an avatar to use on their blog.

💡 There are many different avatar creation sites on the web:

  • Some tools allow you to save the avatar to your computer to then upload into your blog.
  • Others tools require you to take a screenshot of your avatar and save it as an image. Tip: This article shows how to take a screenshot on any device.
  • The Symbaloo below was compiled by Miss W (Sue Wyatt) to share links to sites where you can make an avatar. If you want to embed the Symbaloo on your own blog, click on the share icon at the bottom and copy the embed code.
  • Some of the tools listed require Flash to work. This means they won’t work on mobile devices and you might have to manually allow Flash if you’re using Chrome (instructions here).
  • Know any other avatar creation tools that aren’t on the Symbaloo? Leave a comment on this post.

Once you’ve made your avatar, you need to add it to your blog so it shows up when you comment.

To complete this task, it’s time to write a post 👇

Now write a post about your avatar

Tell us how your avatar represents you. Include a link to the website where you created the avatar. Remember to include your avatar as an image in your post.

Alternatively, you might want to create a custom avatar for each of your family members. Include the avatars in a post and tell us a bit about each family member (remembering not to give away too many personal details).

Tip: when writing a post about your avatar, choose an interesting title not just ‘avatar’ as this could cause an error on your blog.

💡 Examples:

  • Here is an example of a great post from Naho in Hawaii.
  • Braeden made a Lego avatar and wrote about it here.
  • Josh used a range of tools to make avatars for the members of his family.
  • Amelie-Rose made avatars for her family members.

For classes: Compile your student avatars

Got a class blog? Students can make an avatar using one of the tools mentioned above. You can then share all the avatars on your class blog.

There are a few ways you could do this:

1) Slideshow

You might share your students’ avatars by writing a post that includes a slideshow of your avatars.

💡 There are a number of ways you can make a slideshow:

💡 Here are more examples of Google Slide presentations from Mrs. Slingerland’s 7/8 class and Mrs. Holliday’s Second Grade Class. 

2) Custom header image

You can make a custom header image that includes all the avatars. See this example from the Birney Bulldogs (they’ve also added their avatars to their About Page).

How to make a header image for Edublogs or CampusPress users:

  • You will need to use a program like PowerPoint, Google Drawings, Google Slides, or Canva.
  • The first step is to check what size your header is by going to Appearance > Customize in your blog dashboard. If you don’t see the Header Image section in the Customizer it means your theme doesn’t support the use of a custom header image.
  • When you click on Header Image in the Customizer, it will show you the dimensions of your header image. Make a note of this. For example, it might say 1000 x 150 pixels.
  • In your program, you need to change the size of your blank canvas to the size of your header.
  • You’ll then upload the avatar images and arrange them how you like them.
  • Save your creation as a PNG or JPEG and then follow these instructions to upload the header image to your blog.
  • Need more help? Check out these instructions by Stef Galvin.
3) Sidebar slideshow

You can add a slideshow of your students’ avatars to your sidebar using the gallery widget. Follow these instructions to find out how.

Task 2: About Page

For students or classes: Write or update your About page

Posts Vs Pages

Do you know what the difference between a post and a page is?

  • Posts are where you publish your regular updates.
  • A page is for more static information that you don’t expect to update too often.
  • You might publish lots of posts but only have one or two pages.

Find out more about the difference between a page and a post in this article on The Edublogger. 

Remember, we don’t say, “I wrote a blog”. We say, “I wrote a post” or, “I wrote a page”.

Page instructions

If you’re using Edublogs or CampusPressclick here to find out how to add an About page, or watch the video below.

  • If you’re using Blogger, these instructions will help you add pages.
  • If you’re using Kidblog, you might need to add a post instead of a page.
About pages

The most important page on your blog is your About page.

Whenever I visit a blog for the first time, I always look for an About page. It’s a way to find out who’s writing the blog posts, what their background is, where they’re from etc.

Some bloggers forget to edit the default ‘sample page’ that appears when you set up a new blog. Or they forget to update an About page that they might have written years ago.

This task involves writing an About page for your student or class blog. If you already have an About page, check to see what else you can add or edit. Be creative!

There are many ways to write an About page.

You might want to include:

  • You first name
  • Your approximate location (even just state or country)
  • Your age or grade level
  • Some of your interests
  • What your blog is all about. Tell us what you’ll be writing about

Remember to be safe online: don’t include personal details like your YAPPY (see above).

You can get creative when writing your About page.

💡 Here are some ideas and examples that classes or students could use:

  • Write a poem. It could be a traditional rhyming poem or any other style of poetry. Learn about different styles of poetry here. Here is an example from Daniela.
  • Ms. Mack created a “fun facts” list that links to the students’ blogs.
  • Rina wrote 15 things about me for her About page. Check it out. 
  • Write an A-Z about yourself (e.g. I am an athletic and brave child who decided that saving the environment is one of my future goals). Check out how commenter Dinah created her A-Z About page especially for the Student Blogging Challenge a few years back.
  • Zaprina made a creative About post that’s an acronym of her own name. It includes paragraphs and coloured text.
  • Write a ‘Who am I?’ or list of things people might not know about you like Ms. Herring, Mrs. Keane, and Mrs. Lyttle.
  • Students in Ireland paired up to create a line for their class About page and Ms Seitz’ class did the same.
  • Mrs. Moore’s class wrote about their school and where they live on their class blog About page.
  • Huzzah! class included a map to show where they live.
  • Student Rajyashori wrote a creative interview script.
  • Year 5/6 Class at Westwood with Iford School made a Thinglink.
  • If you prefer a traditional style of writing, that’s fine too. Be sure to use paragraphs like in these examples from Grace and Madison.

Task 3: Visit other blogs

For students or classes: Start making connections!

One important aspect of blogging is commenting on other blogs.

Remember: The more you put in to making connections during this challenge, the more you’ll get out!

There are two places you can find other participants’ blogs to visit:

  1. The pages at the top of this blog. There is a page for student bloggers and a page for class bloggers. These are sorted by age. Student bloggers have hobbies listed so you hopefully can find someone who is not only a similar age to you but shares some of your interests.
  2. The green link on the right-hand sidebar of the blog. This will show you the spreadsheet of students/classes who have submitted their posts in the weekly Google Form. This is the direct link to the week one spreadsheet. Note: You do not need to request access — it’s “view only”.

💡 Idea: You might even like to write a post about your commenting experiences like 7th grader Cashton did for the last challenge. He even included the links in his post.

Commenting advice

We’re going to talk more about quality commenting next week but for now, you might want to remember:

  • Write your comment like a letter
  • Ask a question, make a connection, or give a compliment
  • Leave your blog URL so the blogger can also take a look at your blog

Don’t forget to approve your comments and politely reply to any comments as soon as you can!

Tips for classes

If you’re working as a class, you might start by writing some comments together as a whole class activity. Students could then write comments individually or in small groups. 

This video by Mrs Yollis’ third grade class demonstrates how they approach commenting as a whole class activity.

Submit Your Post URL ⬇

If you want a commenter and other participants to visit your blog, remember to fill in the form below for the post you publish about your week one tasks.

You need to submit the URL of your post. You can also submit the URL of your About page if this is what you’ve been working in. Find out how to turn comments on About pages on here.

This video shows you how to find your URL…

Note, this isn’t a real class blog. Just one I used for testing 😉

Remember:

  • Do not submit the URL of your blog or your dashboard.
  • Click on the title of your post/page and then copy the URL from your address bar.

This graphic below should help you understand what a post URL looks like if you’re using Edublogs/CampusPress/WordPress

Examples of post URLS for STUBCThe Google Form

Edit: Enter your details in the form below or click here to open it in a new tab.

Teachers, feel free to put the form URL on your class blog if it’s easier for your students to access.

https://goo.gl/forms/68RDzpQ7h9vIWmJ63

 

Next week’s topic: Connect Through Commenting