Registering a student blog

Before filling in the registration form please read the following:

Who should register 

  • Only students who have their own personal blog can register
  • Students who are going to do the activities otherwise mentors’ time is wasted *** this one is very important
  • Students who want to connect with other students around the world
  • Register only once – I can usually work out incorrect URLs by visiting class blogs or contacting teachers

A few days after  you have registered

  1. Check the student participants page which will appear in the header area to make sure you are there. Check very carefully under your age group as we don’t need names being doubled up – again that would be wasting time of the mentors.
  2. If you are not on the participants page, register again being careful that your blog URL is correct.
  3. If you are on the participants list, start visiting other students your age or with your interests.
  4. Fill in the subscription by email so you are notified when posts are published each week – first challenge will be October 2 or if you have Edublogs reader, click on follow then you will be able to read posts in your reader.
  5. Make sure you have some great posts written so others can start leaving comments.

If you have a twitter account, use the hashtag #16stubc to notify others of your posts

So you have read everything above this line, now is the time to register

Registering a class blog

Before filling in the registration form please read the following:

Who should register

  • Teachers who have their own class blog can register, can be any blogging platform
  • Classes which want to connect with other classes around the world

Reminders before registering

  1. If your blog URL is very long, then use a shortener such as this one from Google  Also handy when students are registering their blogs on their form (especially if kidblog as the URL is usually long).
  2. In case I need to contact you, an email is the easiest way, so please fill that in on the last question on the form. This is not published but other teachers could contact me in case you don’t have a contact spot on your blog.

A few days after  you have registered

  1. Check the class participants page which will appear in the header area to make sure you are there.
  2. If you are not on the participants page, register again being careful that your blog URL is correct
  3. If you are on the participants list, start visiting other classes of similar grade level.
  4. Fill in the subscription by email so you are notified when posts are published each week – first challenge will be October 2 or if you have Edublogs reader, click on follow then you will be able to read posts in your reader.
  5. Make sure you have some great posts written so others can leave comments.

If publicising any posts on twitter, please use the hashtag   #16stubc

You have read everything above, now is the time to register

 

Do you have time to be a mentor?

The next student and class blogging challenge starts on Sunday 2 October 2016.

Why do we need mentors in the blogging challenge?

When I first began the challenge back in 2008, there were only about 200 students taking part and I could visit each of them three times over the ten week period.

But in the last few challenges, there have been  over 1300 students and there was no way I could visit them regularly.  So in 2010 I started asking people in education to mentor a small group 20-30 students over the ten week period of October to December or March to May.

If you register to be a mentor, please keep checking back on this post as I will allocate the students to you and mention in your comment reply who you will be visiting.

Once students start registering next week, I will be allocating mentors immediately so please keep checking out the student participant’s page in the main header above to find out who you are mentoring.

Who can be a mentor?

  • classroom teacher or homeschool teacher
  • principal or senior staff or faculty members
  • trainee teachers
  • students who have taken part in at least two sets of previous challenges or been invited by the organizers
  • educational coaches or trainers
  • regular blogger about educational matters
  • authors of children’s books with their own website

What do you do if you are a mentor?

  • Visit your allocated student blogs at least three times throughout the challenge
  • Leave comments on posts written by the students
  • Continue conversations in the comments
  • Remind them about visiting the main blogging challenge page each week
  • Contact me by email or a comment if having concerns or problems (contact is on right sidebar)

So you have read the above and have decided you have the time to visit the student blogs, now it is time to register.

In a comment below, mention the following:

  • A short bio of yourself including some interests
  • Link to your own blog, especially a class blog or your personal blog – allows me to check validity as an educator
  • Age group you would like to mentor and how many students

Are you getting ready for the October challenge?

So you are thinking about taking part in the Student Blogging Challenge in October 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 – this is usually a post rather than a form
  • 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.

  • About me – creating their avatar and about me page so visitors get to know them – includes being digital citizenship and cybersafety
  • Let’s comment – teaching what makes a quality comment, how to connect through commenting and again cybersafety and digital citizenship
  • 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

Poster session at ISTE2016

Tracy and I had a fantastic time talking about the student blogging challenge at this years conference in Denver, Colorado. We set up a poster session that was created by three students who took part in the March set of activities. It was great to hear the response from other teachers about the skills of the girls in creating their posters and the letters they included about what they have learnt about blogging.

We had about 300 teachers and educators stop by our display to find out about the challenge and how to join the next one in October 2016. Many thanks to Meghana from New Zealand, Anna from Canada and Olivia from Portugal for taking the time to connect with each other to make sure all the posters were different and covered various areas of the challenge.

20160628-124232.jpg

Week 10: Time to say goodbye

This is our last post for the Student Blogging Challenge until we start again in September/October 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 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 2016.

  • 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 sixteenth 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 September.

Week 9: Doing my best

From Darkness to Light - please read
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Evan Leeson via Compfight

Well, this is our second last week in the March challenge for 2016. 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 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

  • What makes a great family
  • A global issue you would like to help solve
  • My future
  • Visiting overseas

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 leave a comment on this post. Mention which 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.

Still more time left this week:

Visit other student and class blogs.

Read posts and leave comments.

Decide on a student blog and/or class blog you would like to nominate for the Edublogs Awards in November/December this year. You will get a chance next week to write a post about the blog you have chosen. HINT: Can’t be your own blog nor one from another student in your class.

Week 8: Game time

Before you start, please 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.

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?

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 comments as part of the post – use some interesting comment starters for each comment.

Still got time left:

  • Have you been checking the flipboard magazine?
  • Is one or more of your posts included?
  • Miss W has included some great examples up to week 5. Remember to include the URL of your POST in the comments here at the challenge blog if you want to be included in the magazine. Miss W checks the posts first before adding them. Sometimes she also leaves you a comment.

Week 7: Work then play

Monopoly Night 2010

Creative Commons License Jono Martin via Compfight

Once you have finished your work at school, you can often go and play with something in the room.

But let’s also think about people with unusual jobs – what did they do for play or relaxation?

I think about my great great grandfather who was a whaling captain in the 1870’s. He was stuck on a boat with thirty other men, maybe his wife and a child was also on board. What sort of things did the sailors do for relaxation out in the middle of the ocean?

Here in Australia and New Zealand we have just celebrated ANZAC Day and we are thinking about the soldiers of the Great War – World War 1. If they weren’t fighting in the trenches or charging across the open ground, what could they do for relaxation? If they had been injured and were recuperating in a hospital tent, what could they be doing?

Activities to choose from:

1. Research board games – when, where and why were they invented?

2. Create a new game for someone to de-stress from their lifestyle.

3. Your family are stranded on a deserted island, with nothing but your clothes. How will you entertain yourselves?

4. Research ball games around the world – find out the rules and then try playing something similar at school or home. How did it go?

5. Find out the ways soldiers and sea captains used to relax over 100 years ago.

6. The electricity grid went out in your country. What would change in your lifestyle? How would you relax?

7. Survey class members about games they have at home. Are you going to include computer games? Create some interesting graphs about results.

8. Find an image that has a relaxing feel to it. Write a poem remembering to give attribution correctly.

Try to use a variety of web tools to create your post not just basic writing.

 

Make sure you are ready for our game next week.  To take part in this game, all classes and students will need the following:

  •  a user avatar if possible
  • an ‘about me’ PAGE if using Edublogs or a post if using other platforms
  • a clustrmap or flag counter widget – if your clustrmap is greyed out, check my post here to fix it if using Edublogs widget
  • at least four interesting posts – could be topics of your choice not necessarily from the challenge
  • your ‘Recent Comments’ widget on the sidebar with 10 comments as the choice – Edublogs
  • your ‘Recent Posts’ widget on the sidebar with 10 posts as the choice – Edublogs
  • Your ‘Pages’ widget on the sidebar or pages in the header – Edublogs
  • at least 10 student and/or classes linked on your blogroll
  • at least three overseas blogs on your blogroll
  • posts tagged or categorized to make it easier to find interesting posts on each blog
  • the more students or classes you have linked on your blog, the more fun the game will be

The most important of these are the links to other student blogs on your sidebar. Try to have a couple of different headings like

  • My Friends
  • Class Blogs
  • Overseas Blogs

Having lots of  links to student blogs from other countries will help spread the game.

Check out the lists of friend’s blogs on these: Clara, Mrs Rombach has hundreds of links to other blogs for her students, Travis has a page for fellow bloggers, Meghana has other awesome blogs in her sidebar as well as a page of other bloggers

 

Still have time left this week:

Then keep visiting other student blogs and leave great comments including your blog URL. Find some interesting bloggers then add them to your sidebar links. Write some posts about great blogs you have visited, include a link to that blog in your post.

Read the flipboard magazine to visit bloggers who are writing great posts and are then leaving comments on Miss W’s challenge posts.

Have you and your teacher been checking out some of the class blogs? They are also looking terrific and often have lists of students in the sidebar as well.

Week 6: Our food and culture

An important part of blogging as part of a global community is learning more about each others’ culture.  Food is often one of the first things you notice when visiting another country. (If you completed this activity last year, you might want to change the topic to stories, songs or clothing from your culture)

This week we’re going to learn more about each others’ culture by sharing stories about food popular in our country or asking other participants questions about food in their country.

To help you get started I’m going to tell you about food that is popular in Australia.

Vegemite

VegemiteVegemite is uniquely Australian and most Aussies have a jar of Vegemite in their house.  We even have our own Vegemite song! It’s a dark brown food paste made from leftover brewers’ yeast, vegetables and additives.

Our favorite way of eating Vegemite is on toasted bread with a layer of margarine (or butter) spread with a thin layer of Vegemite.

While some might say Vegemite is an acquired taste — the true secret to eating Vegemite is the thin layer of Vegemite on toast.  Most of the hilarious taste testing Vegemite videos on YouTube are caused by trying to eat Vegemite like you would Peanut butter, Nutella or Jam.

Aussie Meat Pies

The Meat pie is considered iconic in Australia and New Zealand.  These are hand-sized meat pies made up of diced or minced meat and vegetables.

Most Australian bakeries sell a wide variety of meat pies, sausage rolls in addition to bread and cakes.  Meat pies and sausage rolls are a common lunch food here and you can also buy them at most lunch bars and petrol stations.

Pies

Selection of pies and sausage rolls at a bakery

Home made meat piesEach bakery has their own unique recipes.

You might enjoy making meat pies with your students.  It isn’t hard.

Here are some tips:

  • Follow this Curtis Stone Meat Pie recipe.
  • Make the filling in advance and wait until it is completely cooled until you use it to fill the pies (I don’t add the chicken livers).
  • You eat the pie by holding it in your hand.

Food in other Countries

A challenge with visiting other countries is sometimes the food you are used to isn’t available or is hard to get.

Watch Brian Lockwood video where he discusses the challenges of buying bread in China.  Brian is an American teacher who works at a school in Nanjing, China.

Activity 1: 

Write a post on food, songs, stories or clothing that is popular in your country.

In your post, include links to where you researched and some images with attribution. You might also want to a collage of images or a slideshow you have created.

Activity 2:  

Visit Inside Scoops Taco Tuesday post to learn what their students eat for lunch.  Leave a comment on Taco Tuesday post to let them know what you eat for school lunches in where you live or write a post to share what school lunches are like where you live.

Activity 3:  

Create a poll or survey and embed it into a post to find out more about the types of foods eaten by your readers or songs sung, stories told or clothing worn.

Activity 4:

Visit at least 5 blogs from countries other than your own. Leave a comment on a post at each blog to ask them questions about food, songs, stories or clothing in their country. Now write your own post including the comment you have left and linking to each post you commented on.