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.

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 3: Using images

A Picture Says A Thousand Words

Duncan Hull via Compfight

 

A post looks a lot more interesting if you have included an image, as long as it relates to the topic you are writing about.

But where can you get these images?

I’ll Google it

NO NO NO

Not every image on the web can be used in your blog. You need to find ones that have a creative commons license and then you need to give attribution to the owner of that image somewhere on your post.

What’s attribution?

A note to show that someone else took the photo and they have given you permission to use it.

But how can I know that?

Using the correct images, clip art, music and videos is a very necessary skill for both teachers and students. Sue Waters has written a brilliant post showing how to find images, how to give attribution and how to add them correctly to your blog posts.

Please read this post before doing the work this week.

If you want lots of other activities for using images correctly, check out our post from the March challenge. This includes a couple of videos you could use in class regarding images.

compfight1

If you are using an Edublogs blog, you have a plugin called Compfight. Here is part of the teacher’s post that Sue Waters has written about using this on your blog.

To activate, go to dashboard> plugins> find compfight and click on activate> then go to settings and change to look like mine above – #4 is what I actually change.

………………………………………………….

Time now to get to the activities:

Many students mentioned in their About Me posts about their love of family and doing things with them like playing volleyball with cousins, or going camping during summer.  So the activities for this week will need an image included.

Activity 1: Write a post about a favourite time with your family.

Include an image with attribution. If using an actual image of your own family, you need permission from your parents and everyone shown in the image. Make sure you mention in the post that you have permission to use this and maybe that it is copyright to your family so no one else may use it without your family’s permission.

Activity 2: Write a post about a person who has passed away.

Maybe a family member who you have a picture of in your family archives. Or maybe a famous person from your town or country.

Activity 3. Have a relative write a post about their parents or grandparents

They could tell you about their parents/grandparents or you could interview them and ask questions. Find an image of something that was happening in the world during that person’s lifetime. Remember to give attribution.

Widgets

  • Many of you are now starting to get visitors to your blog. They may come from your own country or maybe from overseas.
  • How do you keep a record of that?
  • You add widgets to your blog sidebar. Sue Waters from Edublogs has written a post including 42 widgets including ones mentioning visitors to your blog.

Activity 4. Add at least one new widget to your sidebar and write a post explaining why you chose that particular widget.

Activity 5. What have you learnt about using images on your blog? Write a post, create a poster or video explaining your understanding now.

Activity 6. Write a post in your native language using an image as a prompt. Make sure you have a translate widget on your blog for your visitors to use. Check out the Serbian students linked on this sidebar.

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. Look out for another special event post coming soon – lots of creativity for this one.
  3. Check out the magazine on the sidebar – are you featured in there yet?
  4. Also check out the One World Our World magazine – this is where I am flipping the Raise Your Voice posts

Visit these posts from previous weeks which can’t be flipped to our magazine:

Online vs real life – Rachel & Kelly, Walaa, Shay, Isabel, Brianna, Pailyn, Jessica,

Avatars – Miss Brunton’s class,

About me – Kaitlyn, Anthony, Hannah, Elijah, Kaylynn, Jaaron, Emilee, Logan, Cheyanne, Cade, Michael, Chase, Jason, Taylor, Mrs Powers, Autumn, Hailey, Kendall, Brieanna, Zoe, Isabel, Roque, Liam, Grace, Mary Ellen, Caitlyn, Liam,

Commenting guidelines - Lucy used Powtoon to create a video, Mrs McKelvey’s Bloggin’Frogs have created a video, Dinah used bitstrips for her guidelines,

Commenting post – Kataeya, Michael,

Check out the comments on this post: Faithful Leadership students,  Blog action day suggestions

Darcey included a video she created for her RaiseYourVoice post

Raise your voice posts: Mrs Black,  RoybelJoscey, Jared, Jesse,  Isabel, McKayla, Noah, ChloeKathryn, Daniel, Calvin, Dalton,  Larissa, Kaya,  Maddie, Daltin, Ty, Skylar, Nathanial, Alicia, TyW, Addie, Shane, Trae, Shaylee, Amber, Jayden, Kadi, Clove,

Miss W visiting your blogs

Starting next week, I will only be visiting blogs where students or classes have left the URL to the post in a comment with an explanation. 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/

Special event: Raise your voice

Next Friday is Blog Action Day 2015.

Every year the students and classes taking part in the blogging challenge also take part in #BAD2015

Blog Action Day is one day each year when thousands of bloggers write a post on the same topic.

Read this post to learn about the history of Blog Action Day.

The theme this year is “Raise your voice”

Read this post about why that theme was chosen.

Teachers and students over 13 might want to register their blogs to show they are participating.

You can add a badge to your blog if you are writing a post for Blog Action Day. Click on the badge and save to your computer, then go to your widget dashboard and drag over an image widget – add the image then copy the link they ask you to add

Remember to publish your post on October 16 and not earlier in the week

What could you write about?

Ever been inspired by the actions of a person in your community?

They could be an unsung hero who spends their holidays working with the underprivileged, travelling overseas to help build schools, spends Christmas in a soup kitchen dishing out meals to the homeless. Might be a student who spends their holidays volunteering somewhere rather than going to the beach with friends.

Is there an issue that inspires you?

Maybe animal abuse and what you are doing about it. Think about Malala and her role in improving education for girls around the world.

In some countries, you could be put in gaol for blogging about issues that the government doesn’t agree with. Raise your voice for these bloggers and journalists.

How can technology help in times of disaster?

Often the people of a country can quickly work together in times of disaster, before government departments get organized. Think about bushfires, floods, tsunamis, cyclones and hurricanes- how could you raise your voice at this time?

Indigenous people in your country

Often the indigenous people do not have their voices heard especially when it comes to land rights, voting, the environment and multinationals on their land. Raise your voice for the indigenous peoples.

Refugees and immigration

Often the people of a country are prepared to have refugees live in their country while governments may take a more negative route. What is your opinion on how you can raise your voice for refugees?

One group of students in our challenge have a blog about pressing problems from a student perspective. Maybe you could raise your voice with them.

Remember the power of images in your post or videos or audio - maybe interview someone who has been a refugee or is an indigenous person in your community. Ask them about how their voices were suppressed and what you can do to raise their voice!

So your post is schedule to go live on Friday but you still have time for more blogging. More things to do:

Visit some of these great posts from our week 1 activities: Dinah – mentor, Mrs Black – teacher,

Check out these students from the Huzzahnians – Talia, Alinna, Kassy, Ben, Nate, Elijah, Autumn, Connor, Kalea, Morgan

Read some of the posts that got flipped to our flipboard magazine in the sidebar – Mrs Shirley’s grade 6 students are there

Visit the student or class list and start leaving some quality comments – start making connections.

Other admin for week 2

  1. Check that your name appears only once on the list of participating students. Leave a comment on that page if I need to remove your name from the list – give me your name, URL and age so I can find you easily.
  2. If all the students in your class have blogs and your teacher has a section called ‘My class’, you should have a widget called ‘Class blogs’. Make sure this is on your sidebar.
  3. Add the challenge badge to your sidebar – here is link explaining how to do that.
  4. Can visitors leave comments on your blog posts? If your country is in bright pink, then you might need to change your privacy settings or give me your correct URL. Check this post for how to do this using Edublogs, Blogger and Kidblog.

How do I know you have done your activity?

You come back here to this post and leave me a comment. Make sure you include the URL of your post so I can visit and leave comments. Tell me what you enjoyed most about the activity.

Also great posts get added to our Flipboard magazine on the sidebar of the challenge blog. Your blog must allow search engines to find you to ensure I can flip your post.