Week 10: End of journey

Photo Series: Lego @work: "Our family thanks you"

Ken Whytock via Compfight

Thank you all very much for taking part in this ten week blogging journey with me. As something comes to an end, we usually reflect back on what we have learnt, what we will change next time and so on. So this is what the activities will be about this week.

I would like to thank the commenters for taking time to visit and comment on student blogs. I would also like to thank those bloggers who allowed me to use their blog posts as examples in the challenge.

Over the past ten weeks, 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 2018.

  • How many posts did you write? How many were school based, your own interests or set by the challenge? How could you improve your posts in future?
  • How many comments did you receive from classmates, teachers, commenters from #stubc or overseas students? Which post received the most comments? Why do you think that happened?
  • How many other blogs (roughly) did you visit and comment on a post? Why choose that post?
  • 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.

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 (97 stories so far)
  • whether you left your post URL weekly on the google form
  • a PMI or plus/minus/interesting point about the challenge
  • the most important thing you learnt while doing the challenge
  • did you use the challenge sidebar to find posts by other students
  • something about the statistics below

Some statistics from this challenge:

  • 964 students aged 8-56 registered for this challenge under 54 different teacher names
  • 78 class blogs were registered with 54 of them having student blogs attached to their sidebar
  • 22 countries represented by students who registered
  • 12 countries represented by class blogs of which 6 were not mentioned on student list

Number of post URLs left each week via the Google form for commenters to visit:

  • Avatars: 366
  • Commenting: 181
  • Images: 120
  • Global issues: 92
  • Free choice: 23 left on blog
  • Quotes: 171
  • Visiting: 31
  • Games: 36
  • My Best: 70

Thanks again for taking part in this challenge. Hopefully you will join me again in October this year. If you have taken part in at least two sets of challenges, you can also become a commentor, so watch out for the commentor 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. No Google form to fill in this week. Leave comment here on the post instead.

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Week 9: My best work

Well, this is our second last week in the March challenge for 2018. Over the last 8 weeks, you have learnt a lot about blogging if you have done most of the activities and checked out the links included in my posts.

It is now your time to do your best and show your teachers, the special commenters and myself what a great blog post looks like.

The one and only activity for this week:

Write a post on one of the following topics

  • Money
  • Bucket list
  • Favourite

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 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 fill in the form below so our commenters can visit. Those posts covering the seven things mentioned above will be added to the flipboard magazine.

Still more time left this week:

Visit other student and class blogs.

Read posts and leave comments.

 

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Week 8: Games

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 and or class 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. Remember to check the spam section in student blogs as comments with links in them often get put in spam.

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.

Here is how Rachel , Mia, and Olivia wrote their posts for this challenge a few years ago. Notice how Jazzy included links in her post.

Yacob looked at the blog overall, not just the posts.

Thanumi created a video about this week’s challenge.

Game 2:

Many great student posts are being flipped to the 2018 #stubc 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 post title 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.

Leave a link to the URL of a post you wrote this week about the games.

 

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Week 7: Visiting and commenting

 

I wonder how many comments you have received on your blog? How many are from your teacher or classmates? How many from a commenter in the challenge?

But most importantly, how many are from other people around the world?

When I first began blogging back in 2008, I had a personal blog and after a week of writing posts, I had only 6 comments yet my clustrmap showed lots of visitors had been there. Why weren’t they commenting?

So I wrote a post titled “Why has no one commented?”  Suddenly I had 16 comments on just that post. Here are some hints from the educators who left comments:

Write for yourself, put your heart into it, and you will start to see your map light up like a Christmas tree!  David

I still find those posts I expect to get a lot of comments don’t – whereas posts I didn’t expect any response to seem to get more.  Tim

What also helps to enhance comments is writing posts that give guidelines, how to’s or provide explicit opinions on things that are relevant. If you keep your posts open to interaction and truthful to yourself, the comments will start coming in. Inge

I’m here because YOU commented on MY blog, so you can see how that can help you make connections! In my experience if you practice what you preach and take the time to read and share on other blogs, more people will be inclined to do the same for you. Kate

Tried and true way to get comments – make comments. Susan

One person told me a couple of ways to develop readers, and this may also help with comments. And that is to treat every post as a conversation. If someone comments on your post, you comment back, and from your own blog. Cathy

Commenting activities

  1. Follow Cathy’s example – if someone has commented on your post, comment back. If they have left an URL, check it out and leave a comment there as well
  2. Follow Kate’s example – read at least 10 blogs and comment on those that really interested you

Visiting activities

  1. Follow Susan’s example – visit some blogs from the free choice or global issues posts and leave some comments – include your blog URL if you want them to visit your blog – or leave your post URL if you want them to visit a specific post to comment on. I’ve also included some great posts to visit below.

Writing post activities

  1. Follow Inge’s example – write a post that gives guidelines or how to do something or expresses an opinion. Invite visitors to comment by finishing with a question.
  2. Follow David’s example – write a post for yourself showing your voice and putting your heart into it.
  3. When you have finished commenting and visiting this week, write a post explaining:
  • which activities you did
  • which blogs you went to
  • posts you read and /or commented on
  • what you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy about this week’s activities

 

Some posts I spotted when checking out comments:

Mrs Vazquez’s class created a thinglink explaining about commenting on their blog and also have a great image for their zoom story.

Give your opinion on pizza by visiting Figgy’s post here.

Arabella wrote a great story with an unexpected ending

Ben certainly researched for his expository on dinosaurs.

Rajyashoril asks what are some of the problems facing democracy and how can they be solved.

I can tell McKenna wrote with passion on Jerry Lee Lewis.

Lily notices lots of little things.

Shanta looked at one topic for her photo gallery – grass.

Check out the conversation happening between Allison and Shanta – also note how Allison has started her Blog Buddies list on the sidebar of her blog.

ADMIN UPDATE

Next week is game time, so make sure you have a blogroll on your sidebar or in a post or page. Have at least 10 links to other students or classes around the world that you have enjoyed visiting to leave comments on.

Also make sure you have a visitor widget somewhere on your blog – clustrmap, flag counter, revolver map are three of the most popular.

 

Fill in the form with the post URL for what you have written about this week

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Week 6: Quotes

This is a guest post from Kathleen Morris. 

Kathleen is a primary school teacher from Geelong in Australia. She began blogging with her students in 2008.

Kathleen writes on her own teacher blog and also on The Edublogger. 


All About Quotes

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

~Dr. Seuss

Have you ever tried adding a quote to your blog post? A quote is simply where you write someone else’s words.

You might use quotes from:

  • well known people
  • books or movies
  • other bloggers
  • your teachers or friends

Reasons To Use Quotes:

  • You can back up your thoughts and make your writing more credible (that means true or believable).
  • The readers of your posts can get new ideas by hearing from others.
  • A quote can be an interesting way to start or end your blog post.
  • You can learn a lot from researching quotes.

How Do You Put A Quote In Your Post?

You can just type your quote into a post and put it in quotation marks, but to really make it stand out and break up your text, try blockquotes.

Using blockquotes is easy. Below are the instructions for Edublogs.

When you’re in your visual editor:

  • type the quote
  • highlight the words in your quote
  • click on the quotation mark icon

It will then display like this…

You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. ~A.A. Milne

Note: The way the blockquotes display depends on your theme.

Where Can You Find Quotes?

You might already have some favorite quotes stored in your memory.

You might do a Google search for articles on your topic and find quotes from others.

You might browse your favourite blogs or books for quotes.

There are some online collection of quotes such as GoodReads Quotes and LitQuotes (Note: these aren’t designed for children so we recommend only teachers or older students use these sorts of sites).

Using Quotes The RIGHT way

We know we can’t just take images that we find online, and we certainly can’t copy others’ writing and publish it as our own. So, many people might wonder about using quotes.

It’s fine to use quotes from others but there are a few things to be aware of:

  • Make it obvious which words are your own, and which words belong to someone else (you do this by using quotation marks or block quotes).
  • Make your quotes brief. Perhaps a few sentences. Never copy the whole post.
  • Always include the person’s name (also link to their site, article, or book if you can).
  • If you’re using blockquotes, the attribution could be before the quote, inside it, or below it.
  • If you shorten a quote, use an ellipsis (…) in place of the missing words.
  • If you’re adding any words or corrections to the quote, use brackets.

Your Weekly Activities

Now you know a little about the how and why of using quotes, it’s time to get creative! Choose one or more of the following activities.

Activity One: Make Your Quote Visual

Write a blog post that has one or more visual quotes.

There are many ways to add quotes to an image. You can do this offline using a program like PowerPoint or Paint.

There are also many online tools for turning your quote into an image. Some of these include:

Here’s an example I made in Canva.if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

Don’t forget to add the image you create to your blog post.

Activity Two: Quote other students

Interview some of the students in your class or around the school and include their quotes in a blog post.

You could choose a specific topic to interview students about.

For example:

  • opinion on your school uniform
  • favourite things to do at lunchtime
  • best places to play around your town
  • reasons why your school is great

Activity Three: Explore a quote in a post

Choose a quote from a fellow student’s blog post as a topic for a post of your own. Write the quote at the top of your post. Explore the quote in detail and add your own thoughts and opinions.

You might want to look back at some of the posts from the Global Issues topic in Week Four for some inspirational quotes.

Activity Four: Make a post full of quotes

Create a blog posts that is a compilation of quotes.

For example:

  • If you were studying World War Two, you could put together a collection of important quotes from this time in history.
  • If your class went on an excursion, like the museum, you could add quotes from all the students about the day.
  • If you were studying a divisive topic, like animal testing or closing a local library, you could interview members of the community and include their quotes in the post.

Still more time to spare?

Complete another of the above activities or consider doing the following:

  • Visit the blogs of other students and classes involved in the challenge. Leave a comment of one of their recent posts. Don’t forget a question and compliment can be great to include in comments.
  • Leave a comment on this post sharing your favourite quote with me.

Fill in the form with the URL of the post you have written

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