Week 10: Farewell from the 18th challenge

This is our last post for the Student Blogging Challenge until we start again in October 2017. 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 the mentors for taking time to visit and comment on student blogs. I would also like to thank those students aged 16+ who took on the role of mentors.

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 two things to do:

  1. Evaluate your own blog
  2. Evaluate the actual blogging challenge

1. This is an audit of your blog since the beginning of March 2017.

  • 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 eighteenth 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

Thanks again for taking part in this challenge. Hopefully you will take part again in October this year. If you have taken part in at least two sets of challenges, you can also become a mentor, so watch out for the mentor post in late September.

Keep writing, keep reading the magazine, and if you have a great post you would like me to add to the magazine over the summer/winter break, feel free to leave a comment here.

Week 9: Have I improved?

O, Let Me Ne'er Forget

Mike Trimble via Compfight

So we are one week away from the end of the challenge. Do you think you have improved your blogging skills since you began earlier this year?

Now is your chance to prove your skills

Activity 1

Write the very best post you can for your teachers and visitors to read.

Remember essentials for a great post:

  1. catchy title
  2. includes at least one visual (with attribution) whether photo, cartoon, video or another web 2.0 tool like padlet or glogster
  3. interesting topic with the passion of the author coming through
  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. ends with a question to lure your visitors into leaving a comment

Your choice of topics: only write about one of them

  • History
  • Inventions
  • Travel

When you have finished your post and your teacher has published it, then return here to leave a link to the post. We still have some students just leaving a link to their blog rather than the exact post.

Activity 2

Do you have a favourite blog (not from your class though) that you visit often?

Write a post about that blog and why you keep going back there. Remember to include links to a couple of posts they have written. Also leave a comment on their blog to say you have written a post about them.

Still got time left

Visit other blogs and leave quality comments.

Read the magazine and visit posts to leave comments on.

Week 8: Games and more games

content-marketing_cover

Creative Commons License Hurca! via Compfight

There are two activities this week and they are in the form of a game. They involve visiting other blogs, leaving quality comments and writing a post about the comments you left.

Before playing the games, make sure your blog is ready for visitors.

  1. You have lots of interesting posts for visitors to read and comment on.
  2. Visitors can find posts by using tags or categories on your sidebar.
  3. You have a visitor widget to see where your visitors are coming from.
  4. You have at least five student blogs from other places around the world on your sidebar.

Game week is all about visiting other blogs.

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.
  • included a link to their own blog or a similar post on their own blog

Game 1: 

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:

  1. click on a blog on the student list or class list– count one
  2. now click on a blog from the new student’s blogroll – count two
  3. finally click on a blog from that new blogroll – count three
  4. leave a comment on an interesting post at this third blog.

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.

Game 2:

This is a new one I have thought of to add to the challenge. Many great student posts are being flipped to the #17stubc Flipboard magazine, but I am not sure how many of you have actually checked them out. So here are the instructions for this game.

  1. Click on the flipboard magazine link here
  2. Click on the title of the post of what looks like an interesting image or a catchy title
  3. You should now be taken to the actual blog post, read it and leave a comment
  4. Come back to the magazine again and repeat two more times

Write a blog post mentioning the blog posts you read and the comment you left.

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?

Write a post about the commenting you have done this week or throughout the challenge so far.

  • What have you enjoyed about commenting?
  • What is annoying about commenting?
  • How have you found interesting posts to comment on?
  • Are your posts getting lots of quality comments? Why or why not?

Create a list of great comment starters to help new students to blogging. There are some lists on the web but try to create your own. Here are a couple of examples from Anne Davis:

  •  Another thing to consider is…….
  • I can relate to this…….
  • This makes me think of…….

Write a quick post then include 5 great examples of comments as part of the post – use some interesting comment starters for each comment.

Week 7: Footprints

This week we are talking about our digital footprint.

Being connected with all this technology means everyone is leaving a digital footprint.

Activity 1. Watch the following 2 videos then leave a comment on this post about something that you found very interesting in one of the videos. Write a post explaining the differences between the videos. Which did you prefer and why? These show how easily a footprint can be created. It is not only you but your relatives, friends, newspapers etc also add to your footprint.

 

 

Activity 2. After watching the two videos, write a post about your digital footprint. Is it positive or negative? Would you be proud to have your grandparents or your future grandchildren look at everything you have included in your digital footprint? Why or why not? Maybe Google your name to see what is online about you, that you might not have put there. Remember to Google your nickname used in online games etc as information might be included there.

Activity 3. Imagine you are debating this topic: It is better to have a negative digital footprint than no footprint at all. Give three reasons to support each side of the debate.

Activity 4.  With so many students now involved in social media such as facebook, instagram, pinterest and twitter, how much information are they leaving by not checking their privacy settings but leaving things on default?

Watch this video to see how easy it is to find out information about you. Jenny Luca, director of ICT and eLearning at a college in Australia used this with her grade 7-12 students. Read her post to find out their reactions. Jenny then directed me to another tweet from Doug Peterson in Canada linking to this post from lifehacker.

Why is it important to check out the settings whenever you buy a new device? Default settings often allow the manufacturer to gain information about you without you realising it.

 

Activity 5. Should all teachers,principals and parents have a digital footprint in this time of technology? Google your teacher or principal (with their permission first) or even your parents. What have they got online? Do they have some information you think should not be there? Discuss it with them. Write a post about the discussion you had without giving away personal information to your readers.

You also leave a footprint when you sign up to join websites such as Moshi Monsters, Voki, Animoto and photopeach.  Do you ever check the terms of service or privacy settings? Have you joined a site that says you must be over 13 years old yet you are only 10?

During 2017 I am going to be adding to our list of web tools to use in the challenge (see list on sidebar) I am going to be sorting them according to how old you have to be to use them, whether they are free or you have to sign up, whether there is an education version or not and whether that is free or paid and finally what is the tool/app used for.

Activity 6. I would like your help to get the list organized. Write a post about 5 of your favourite web tools or apps. In your post mention how old you need to be to use it, whether you had to sign up to use it and what type of tool or app it is eg mindmapping, poll/survey, slideshow. Also tell me why you enjoy using the tool or app.

Activity 7. Here are some websites to visit related to cybersafety and digital footprints. Visit some of them and write a post, create a poster or glogster, create a cartoon about what you found out. Your teacher might also give you other websites to visit.

Activity 8. Mainly middle and high school students – There are 9 elements to being a good digital citizen. Read this post then write your own post about what you consider are the most important parts of the nine elements. Are there certain areas you need to improve on? Why?

Activity 9. There are both advantages and disadvantages to being able to connect and communicate more easily. Write a post or run a debate on this topic. Maybe create a comic strip showing each side.

Security

Teachers

Here are some links to  sites relating to digital footprints and internet safety

Still time left

Check your widgets. Do you have one called Class blogs? If yes, then add it to your sidebar. Use the drop down arrow and make sure the number is 30 or so to cover all the students in your class.

Visit other student and class blogs, read our new flip magazines, add links to your blogroll of blogs you visit often. Try to categorize these eg class blogs, overseas students, my friends etc.

Before playing the games next week, make sure your blog is ready for visitors.

  1. You have lots of interesting posts for visitors to read and comment on.
  2. Visitors can find posts by using tags or categories on your sidebar.
  3. You have a visitor widget to see where your visitors are coming from.
  4. You have at least five student blogs from other places around the world on your sidebar.

 

Week 6: What to write about??

Cabra hispanica Montserrat

Pedro Luna Guillen via Compfight

In a couple of weeks, we will be playing a commenting game. But you need to get prepared for this.

Make sure you have at least 5 other student blogs linked on the sidebar of your blog, in a page near your header area 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.

Have some visitor widgets on your blog sidebar – maybe a revolver map or a flag counter – this way you can see where your visitors are coming from. Remember only one visitor in 30 will actually leave a comment.

Make sure your blog looks interesting:

  • Maybe change your header to suit what you are writing about.
  • Do your pets make a noise as soon as your blog is opened in a tab? That can be annoying so make sure the visitor can click on the sound button if they want to hear your animal pet.
  • Have you changed the tagline under the title of your blog?
  • Have you included some tags or categories to help your readers find a great post?
  • Does your background image make it hard for your visitors to read your posts?
  • Have you written some interesting posts for your visitors to comment on?

This week’s activity

Have some interesting posts for your visitors to read when they get to your blog.  I am not going to give any clues as to what to put in your posts but remember the following, especially if you want a post flipped to our magazine.

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

  1. catchy title
  2. includes at least one visual (with attribution) whether photo, cartoon, video or another web 2.0 tool like padlet or glogster
  3. interesting topic with the passion of the author coming through
  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

When you have finished your post, please come back here to the blogging challenge and leave a comment on this post. Mention what topic you wrote about and leave a link to your post. Those posts covering the seven things mentioned above will be added to the flipboard magazine. Many students are forgetting to add links to other websites relating to the topic they have written about.

Mentors:

Can you please check your students blogs this week and get back to me via email or comment with names of students who are not really participating in the challenge activities? By now students should have an about me page or post and at least two other posts relating to images, avatars, their family or culture, a global issue or how to comment.

Still more time left this week

  • Read some of the posts in the flipboard magazine – your teacher might want to create a class flipboard magazine to add to your class blog
  • Visit other classes this time in the lists above the header of the challenge blog.
  • Reply to any comments left on your blog especially if from a mentor.

UPDATE UPDATE

Some of you will notice the name of your country is in pink. This means you have not written enough posts for the challenge so far or mentors and visitors can’t leave a comment because they are being asked to login to your blog. When I am in Darwin over the next week, I will be starting to delete those student blogs and re-allocating other students to mentors instead.

I am on holidays

Just a note to everyone that I leave for a month holiday around Australia. As I am not sure what the internet connections will be like, I wont be able to check the blog every day and approve comments. I will try and do it at least once a week and also to flip posts that can be flipped to the magazine. I will also be checking those blogs that are in pink or have been mentioned to me by the mentors as students not completing activities.

As I have already scheduled the posts for the rest of the challenge, I wont be able to add other blogs to visit at the bottom of the post. So please check the comments on each post and visit student posts from there.

I will be writing about my trip on either of the following blogs if you want to follow my trip.

Davo Devil who will be with me or when using the iPad, Image A Day.

Week 5: Culture and family

How are you going getting comments from people other than your classmates?

Have you received comments from overseas visitors?

Has anyone in your family left a comment? Remember you might need to teach them how to leave a comment.

Activity 1: Write a post about your family – include their interests, where you might have been together as a family. Remember to include grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

Activity 2: Encourage family members to leave comments on your posts over the next few weeks. Check out Mrs Yollis and her class who celebrate family blogging month in November.

Activity 3: How can you increase the number of comments on your blog? Write a post about ways to get more comments on your blog. Be creative and think outside the square – can you find at least ten ways to get more visitors and comments? You might want to make a poster for this activity.

Activity 4: Have a family member write a post for you to add to your blog. They could write it and email or post it to you. Does this post attract more visitors or family members leaving comments? One family member regularly blogs on Mrs Yollis’ blog – Where is nonno?

Activity 5: Interview a family member and write a post about them – include the interview recording. You could use audioboom online or from your phone then upload the file to your blog. Make sure you ask permission first before putting it on your blog.

Activity 6: As a family, are there any cultural activities you do together? This might relate to food, celebrations, festivals. Write a post about at least one of them.

Activity 7. Add a widget to find out where your commenters are coming from.

There are many different widgets you can use – clustrmaps, flag counter, feedjit or revolver map.  Have you seen any others while visiting blogs of other students? Maybe you could write a post about why you chose the commenter widget you have put on your blog.

Activity 8. Add one or more widgets about your area of the world

This might include a clock or weather or a translator widget in case students who don’t speak your language can translate your post.

When adding widgets to your sidebar, copy and paste the embed code into a text box on your sidebar. 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 using blogger rather than Edublogs, you might need to check out the instructions for adding widgets and images etc from Bling For Your Blog, written by a teacher in New Zealand. Thanks Allanah.

If your blog is an Edublogs free blog, you might not be able to put all the widgets in your sidebar. If using Kidblog or Weebly you might not be able to add widgets so put them in a post instead or a widgets page on your blog.

Activity 9 Visit other participants and ask questions

Visit at least five other blogs from students or classes around the world and ask some questions in your comments. How many countries are represented in the challenge participants? Have you been to a blog from each of these countries?

Activity 10 Questions in a post

Write a post including at least 6 questions about the different countries mentioned in activity 9.

Image: ‘Connecting Communities

Still got time left:

Check out these posts from previous weeks

Global issues: Emily, Lauren, Angel, Claudia, Isabella, Logan, Mohamed, Iqra,

Series of posts on one topic: Shahreen on HIV/Aids,

Odds and ends: Molly using scratch, Thunyama , Chloe and Ella want you to finish the story, Chloe on idioms,

UPDATE   UPDATE

As next week is Easter here in Australia, there will be no post on the 16th April. The  next post will be Sunday 23rd April.

Maybe you could use this time to visit other blogs, have a go at some activities you haven’t finished or just write some interesting posts.

Have you been checking out the class blogs as well? Many of these have student blogs attached on the sidebar.

Week 4: Let’s look globally

Earth Hour 2010

Creative Commons License Alice Popkorn via Compfight

Did you or your class remember to take part in Earth Hour last weekend?

This week we are going to continue on similar topics about global issues.

Global activities from January through March

Did you or your class discuss or take part in any of these events?

What do you think are some of the worst global issues at the moment?

There might be some that are more specific to your area of the world. But this week research one of the following topics:

  • hunger
  • water
  • racism
  • use of resources
  • global warming
  • specific aspects of the environment
  • unemployment
  • war and unrest
  • use of land
  • terrorism
  • HIV/Aids
  • child labour
  • women’s rights
  • education and literacy
  • another global issue of your choice

Activity 1: For this challenge we are looking at research skills, attribution, links and creativity in how you have presented the work.

For the topic you have chosen you might want to create two or three shorter posts rather than one very long one.

In your posts, include links to where you researched and some images with attribution. You might also want to include a poll or survey, a collage of images, a slideshow you have created. You may have found a great video you could also include.

Teachers – Here are some links to where you might get some ideas –  Global Concerns Impact, educating for global citizenship, ACEE – student voices,

Activity 2: Global issues in your classroom

Have you or your class taken part in some work associated with a global issue? Create a post about what you were involved in. Check out what some classes did a few years ago relating to Uganda. Here is a wonderful newish website about projects students and classes can join in.

Activity 3: Visit other blogs

Visit at least ten other blogs not from your country. Ask questions about some of the issues they might have in their country. Make some comparisons between the countries taking part in the challenge. Here are some classes from Turkey who are working on global issues – 5B Plewes, 5C Plewes, 5A Ecosite, and 5B Ecosite.

Activity 4: Be creative

Use a web 2.0 tool to be creative about global issues. This might be a poll or survey, a quiz, write a poem, create a poster, draw a picture, write a story or cartoon about a super hero saving the world – just be creative.

Activity 5: Do something

Do something about a global issue. Here are links to games and activities for kids about global issues. What did you choose to look at? Write a review in your post.

Teacher resources – Action Aid resources, Know My World, iEarn in many countries of the world, World Savvy,

Still more time to spare?

Visit students and classes from the other countries involved in the challenge. Leave a comment or question relating to a global issue that might be affecting them.

Leave a comment on this blog telling Miss W. the global issue you think is most important to be solved. It might not be one of those mentioned in the post. Give reasons why it should be the first issue solved.

Great posts from images week

Zoom out – Claudia, Angela,

Jigsaw puzzles – Emily, Natacha, Thunyama, Ella, Summer, Thanumi, Anisha, Maddison,

Poems from image – Summer,

Finish the story – Allegra, FluffyWhiskers, LaurenSophie, Shahreen,

Slideshow – Anisha (includes punctuation),

Idioms from images – Madison,

Fluffy Whiskers completed at least 7 of the image activities – check it out

Devi sets out a challenge for a meme you have created.

Devi has created a fantastic explanation of how to comment on her blog.

Mentors and students: please read this

We are getting close to Easter Break here in Australia. That means we are half way through the blogging challenge. Over Easter, when I am travelling around Australia, I will be starting to remove students on the participants list if they haven’t completed the following:

  1. An about me page or post
  2. A post or page relating to commenting
  3. A post relating to images including attribution

Why do I do this?

Most students in the challenge don’t have a mentor, so the first students to be removed will be those who do have mentors but are not keeping up with the challenge activities. It is unfair on the other students who are taking part, that they don’t get to have a mentor.

Mentors By the beginning of Easter, can you please send me via email or in a comment on this post, the blog URLs that I should be deleting.

High school students: If you have some time and would like to mentor a group of 5-10 younger students, please leave me a comment on this post and include your URL so I can check you out first. If I do allocate some students to you, it will be mentioned as a reply to your comment. So remember to click the little box about notifying you of replies to this comment.

Teachers: please read this

Many thanks to those teachers who are allowing their students to take part in the March 2017 student blogging challenge.

There are many comments being left on the challenge posts but some students are only leaving the URL of their blog rather than the URL of the specific post or page they want me to visit. Also some posts I go to visit, but I need to login to view the blog or post.

If you are using Edublogs or WordPress platform, there have been some changes made to the default settings from previous years. This means I often can’t flip a great post to the blogging challenge magazine.

To change these settings, do the following:

  1. On your main blog dashboard> settings> reading>  site visibility to allow search engines. Save the changes.

Now if you are using ‘My Class’, you also need to do the following:

  1. Dashboard> My Class> settings> Privacy> Allow all visitors to all blogs. Then save the changes. This may take a while as it has to update this setting to each student blog attached to your main class blog.

Please check previous challenge posts to see if any of your students are mentioned in the list of posts I couldn’t publish to the magazine. If they are there, then you probably need to change your settings as mentioned above.