Heads and feet Challenge 2-March 2011

Much of this post has been cross posted from my class blog, ‘Kids in the Mid‘.

What an unusual title? I wonder what we are going to be doing this week in the challenges?

Answer: Heads (avatars), feet (digital footprint)

Once you are starting to create online, you often need to have a special identity. This is usually in the form of an avatar. You created them for World Maths Day, you have them in Facebook and, of course, you have them when leaving comments on blogs. So, this week’s activities relate to avatars and online identities including creating a positive digital footprint.


Activity 1 – make an avatar

Step 1. Create an avatar for your blog and for you to use when leaving comments.

Avatars are a representation of yourself. Check out this post about avatars.  Create your avatar using one of the websites below. Sue Waters from ‘The Edublogger‘ has written a great post about avatars, including giving instructions on how to save them and then upload to an ‘Edublogs’ blog. Many of the sites mentioned below are included in her post.

Most important is remember to save as a jpeg file if using Edublogs.

MyHero[1] avatar2 avatar3 avatarbig

Any age can use these avatar sites:

From abi-station:

But over 13, need parental or guardian permission for these.

14 or older with parental permission

Step 2. Using printscreen to save your avatar

So you decided to create an avatar like “Hero Factory” or “Build your wildself” or “Mini Mizer” where you can’t save it easily. You need to take a picture of the screen first. Most computers have a printscreen button on the keyboard or if using Windows 7 you have an icon called “snipping tool”.

When you press printscreen an image of your screen is now copied to your clipboard. You will still need to crop and resize to get an avatar that fits well on your blog.

Open MS Paint and click control V to paste your image from the clipboard. To save, you need to go to File>Save As> change the name of the file to yourname with ava eg  sueava then underneath change the file type to JPEG. Make sure you save your avatar to your drive.

Go to your drive, right click on the icon for your avatar image and choose “Open with” choose MS Picture Manager.

In the icons at the top, go to View> task pane.  On the right go to edit pictures > crop.  Now move the black bars on the side of your image in, to crop your picture to what you want in your avatar.

Click OK, then back to edit pictures. Now click on resize. In the box “custom width and height” put  97 in both boxes. These numbers might be slightly different but one has to be 97 and the other smaller than 97. Click OK.

Back up to file>save as> call it sueava2 or similar> make sure it is still JPEG. Make sure you have saved it to your drive again.

Step 3. Upload avatar to your Edublogs blog

Now to upload to your blog.  Go to your dashboard> users>your avatar> browse to find your image on your school H drive>alternate upload.  This is your comment avatar.

Now for your blog avatar. Dashboard>appearance>widget> blog avatar drag to your sidebar.  To upload the avatar, dashboard>settings>blog avatar> browse to find your image on your school H drive>alternate upload. Go to your blog page and refresh. Your blog avatar should appear on your blog now.

If it now looks like a black coloured square then you haven’t cropped the image to the correct size in step 2 using printscreen. Or maybe you didn’t save the image as a JPEG in step 2 using printscreen.

Step 4.  Linking avatar to blog URL

Lastly, to make sure your avatar is linked to your blog URL, go to dashboard> users> profile and make sure you have a nickname and your blog URL is in the website box. This means whenever you leave a comment, the reader will just have to click on your name or avatar and it will take them to your blog. Include the http:// part in the URL.

Activity 2 – Write a post describing your avatar.

How much does it look like you? What sort of personality does your avatar have? What makes it typically you? Remember to include your avatar as an image in your post.

Activity 3 – Create a slideshow or gallery of avatars

You really enjoyed creating your avatar on line. Create them for your family or multiple versions of yourself. Now put them in a slideshow using animoto, smile box or photopeach. Or use the gallery format on Edublogs. Are there any other great slideshow tools you could use?

Activity 4 – What is a digital footprint?

Watch this video, then write a post about what might be included on your digital dossier or digital footprint.

  • What sites have you joined?
  • How much information did you give them when you joined?
  • Have you filled in more than the *asterisk questions?

Google your name or nickname but include your town as well.

  • What did you find?
  • Are you on the web for sports teams, named in newspapers and where else?
  • How many cookies or footprints are you leaving behind?


Activity 1 – Create a class avatar slideshow similar to activity 3 for students.

Activity 2 – Create a class poster or video about your commenting guidelines

Commenting is one part of our digital footprint, so it is important students know how to comment in an appropriate way.

Activity 3 – Involve parents in leaving comments on your class blog

  • How many parents are involved in your class blog?
  • Do they check it out regularly or is the blog just something you and the students do at school?
  • How could you involve parents more in the blogging process?

Kathleen Morris and Linda Yollis have some great ideas about involving parents or grandparents. Check out this handout about blogging, navigating the class blog, family blogging month winner and grandparents comment.

Next week we look at global activities getting ready for Earth Hour at the end of March.

Visit these – March 2011 – Week 1

Every week, I create a new post suggesting some blogs to visit. But remember, I need to know which blogs to add to my list. You need to add a link in your blog post to the challenge blog post where you got the idea or you need to leave a comment on my blog post.

Here are some great examples for this week.

My theme
Daria, Siabhaon, Chloe, Tamara, Mimi, Miranda,

Visit my blog

JonC, Heather, Connor, Amy, Mikaela, Kylee, Anna, sd21, Emma, Molly, Matthew, Kim, Kenneth, Melody, Oscar, Michael, Marcos, Javier, Science Girl Em, Dakota, Sahana, Gabe, Rachster, Weyshin,

Blogging makeover

Dominique, Aisling,

Recommended posts to read

Alejandro, Abbey, Teegan, Simone, Jennifer, Emily, Kyra, Aiden, Lexi, Liam, Eli (love the Tassie Devil connection lol), Jennifer, Ryan, Connor, Isaiah, Jakob, Dakota, Kaylee, Greg,

Students recommended these blogs to visit

Bree, Maria Paula, Megan, Cameron, Ta-Layza, Carter, Anna, Grace, Katherine, Zachary, TeenInk, Michelle, Sam, Hypathia, Megan, Sumayah,

Introducing our class or school

Miss T, Mark, Mr Lamb,

Thanks to the class who were advertising why you should join the challenge. I am glad students who have previously taken part are recommending others join this year.

Who are you? Challenge 1-March 2011

Welcome to the new set of challenges for March 2011!

Here are a few tips about navigating the blog and getting the most out of the challenges.

  • Every weekend, here in Australia, I will be posting a new set of activities for the week. Complete as many of the activities as you want.
  • To find the post with the activities, look on the right sidebar under ‘Latest challenge posts’.
  • If you want to be emailed as soon as I post a challenge, then fill in your email address in the right sidebar above the clustrmap then hit the subscribe button.
  • If you have a Google Reader or Netvibes etc, then subscribe by RSS – top of right sidebar.
  • If your teacher wants to join our mailing list to receive a newsletter every month or so, then have your teacher fill in the mailing list on the left sidebar.
  • To find the students taking part in the challenge, look in the header and click on ‘Students – March 2011′
  • If you are participating as a class and want to find other classes to link up with, check in the header for ‘Classes – March 2011′
  • If you are a teacher/educator commenter and want to link your class with some classes of the students you are commenting with, please contact me and I will give you their teacher names to allow skype etc. Often though, students will have their class blog listed in their blogroll on their sidebar.
  • If you want me to visit your blog post, you need to leave me a comment on my post or include a link from my post on your post. Here is a page to show you how to create a link in your post .
  • Most of the instructions in the challenge are given for Edublog users, but there is a link for Blogspot users in the ‘Get Help’ section on the right sidebar.

OK, time for the activities now.


The first week of activities involves lots of things which I hope you have already done to your blog. Just go down the page like a checklist and tick off as you get the activities completed.

Activities in purple are for beginner bloggers, those in green, suggestions for more advanced bloggers. Anything in blue and underlined is a link to another blog or post. Remember to right mouse click, open in a new tab when clicking on a link.

1. Are you on the list?

Some students filled out the wrong registration form and joined as a class. Please check the page in the header labelled ‘Students – March 2011′. Find your age group – check very carefully if your name is on there. If it isn’t then click on this link to fill in the correct registration form.

If you find your name on the list, you will probably find the name of a teacher in the same colour as you. This teacher or educator is going to visit your blog over the next ten weeks and leave some comments on your posts. Try to create conversations with these people – most of them have their own blog as well. Find out about them by visiting the post linked here and check out the comment they left.

Some students don’t yet have a commenter allocated. This will happen in the next few weeks.

avatarbigIf you are on the list, you will probably have received a ‘Welcome to the challenge’ comment from Miss W or tasteach. I usually leave these comments on ‘About’ pages or a post you have written about yourself. If you have not received a comment from me yet, please leave a comment below on this post and include the URL of your blog so I can come and visit you.

2. Changed your theme.

All Edublogs blogs begin with the same theme. There are over 100 different themes to choose from. Some have one sidebar, some have two sidebars, some allow you to change the headers. But you need to decide which theme suits you best. Check out this post about themes To change your theme, go to your dashboard > appearance > themes.

You might like to write a post about why you chose that particular theme. How difficult was it to choose? What were you looking for in a theme?

If you have been blogging for a while, is it time for a blog makeover? Have a look at some of the newer themes that are now available and update the look of your blog. Write a post explaining the changes. Perhaps a ‘before’ and ‘after’ shot of your blog.

If you use Kidblogs  you don’t have a choice of themes, but you could write a post about what you would like to have in a theme.

3. Written your ‘about’ page.

Remember pages stay in the one place and are located in your header or in the ‘Pages’ widget. What you will be writing normally are posts and they will gradually disappear off the bottom of the major column on your blog.  If using blogspot, you have an ‘About’ area in your profile, those using Kidblogs will need to write a post about themselves instead. Check out the example ‘About’ pages below:

About pages – students I have found when leaving welcome comments

Be creative but internet savvy when writing your about page. Those students from Mr Puchinsky’s music class might like to re-write the lyrics of a song or nursery rhyme and tell about yourself in the new lyrics. If you are a singer, why not use Audacity or Vocaroo to record your song about yourself and embed it in your about page in your blog.

If you have already written an about page last year, you might need to update it for this year. Things will have changed. If you know of a great example of an ‘About’ page, please leave a comment on this post.

Make sure you have added the ‘Pages’ widget to your sidebar. Dashboard> appearance> widgets> drag ‘pages’ across.

4. Write a post about why students and classes should visit your blog.

Why is your blog going to be interesting? What will you be posting about? What could they learn from reading your blog? Make sure you hyperlink back to this challenge post  somewhere in your post. That way, I will get a trackback or pingback and I will be able to visit your blog to read your post, otherwise I won’t know if you have written anything about this challenge.

eg. This post is for Challenge 1 in the March 2011 challenge. Highlight ‘Challenge 1′  then use the Link icon  – chains joined – and copy and paste in the URL below


This is one of the most important skills to know when blogging – how to make a link – if unsure check out this post for Edublogs or this post for blogspot.

If you have been blogging for a while, write a post highlighting some posts you have written that you would recommend new bloggers read. Remember to give an explanation why – what will they learn from reading that post? Make sure you link to the posts you are recommending so your readers can actually visit them.

5. Visit the student list then leave a comment here …

Check out the page called ‘Students – March 2011’ and visit ten blogs  where students have similar interests to you and leave a comment on their blog. Then come back here and leave a comment mentioning a blog you found really interesting – remember to tell me the student’s first name, country and blog URL so I can then go and visit them as well.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Each week you will need to have visited the blog of the class on either side of your name on the ‘Classes – March 2011’ page. This will make sure each class gets visited by at least two other classes. Remember to check out any student blogs that are on the class sidebars.

Then choose some other classes from the list that you would like to visit – students of similar age perhaps.  Add links to these classes on your blogroll to make it easier for your students to visit them.

If you are a teacher commenter you might also like to add the classes or student blogs you are visiting to your blogroll.

1. On your class blog, write a post about why students and classes should visit your blog. What will they learn from reading your posts? Are there any skills your class has that they could pass on to other classes and students? Perhaps highlight and link to some great posts your class has already written that newer blogging classes would find useful or interesting.

2. Make sure your class about page is updated.

Check out these below. Each page is so different. What do you and your students think should be included in a class ‘About’ page?

Check out at least ten other class blogs from the list. Write a post in your blog about the similarities and differences you found while reading their ‘About’ pages. Remember to include links back to those class blogs.

3. Introduce the world to your classroom or school.

Create an animoto with images of your classroom or school taken by your students. This might be included as a post or on your about page. Make sure you join the free education version where both you and your students can create longer length animotos.

4. Visit your buddy classes (those on the side of your class on the ‘Classes – March 2011′ page.) Introduce yourself and get a conversation started.

Have pairs of  students in your class visit a different class blog and check it out. What did they like about it? What caught their eye? Did they find an interesting post?

Now on your class blog, write a post about visiting other class blogs. Highlight those things your students found interesting and add links back to the blogs they visited.

Next week we look at avatars – fun, fun, fun

Wanted: teachers/educators to comment

While this ten week challenge is on, I try to visit each individual student blog at least three times, but with more and more students registering their own blog, I am finding this more difficult to do.

Teachers/educators who want to be a commenter for this challenge, please leave a comment on this post giving a small bio of yourself. As students will be grouped by age, please tell me what age group you want to leave comments with. If you have a class blog, also leave the URL of this for students to visit.

As each student registers, I will leave a welcome comment on their blog.

There will be a page in the header titled ‘Students March 2011′   This will be a spreadsheet listing all students by age and you will be allocated about 20 blogs to look after. Your name will be put at the top of your list of students.

Students: Role of the commenter

I will allocate about 20 blogs for each commenter to visit. By the end of the challenge, they will visit each of those blogs at least twice. Each commenter will leave one or more comments on the blogs. The comments might be on your about page, or on a post and might include some tips to improve your blog. Hopefully the comment they leave will also allow you to keep carrying on a conversation with the helper.

If you want to know more about your helper, look at the comments on this post as they will be writing a short little bio in the comments.

Original image: ‘My little helper

My little helper

by: Emory Allen

Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial License

March 2011 challenge

Is your class going to take part in the March 2011 challenge with a class blog?

Have you set up your class blog yet?

If your answer is no, then check out the second teacher challenge which will be starting mid February. They will be walking you through setting up the blog and using it with students. There will also be discussion questions where you can network with other teachers.

If you want to get ahead then work through these pages from the Edublogger – these activities will be similar to those in the teacher challenge sessions.

Keep checking this blog for a registration form for classes that will appear in mid February.

If you have students who will be registering their own blogs, there will be a separate form for them to fill out also mid February.

Original image: ‘Say Hello to Pudú

Say Hello to Pudú

by: Lizette Greco

Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Challenge 10 – Sept 2010

Well, this is it!! The last challenge post for the year 2010.

Usually when you finish a project or area of study at school you have to evaluate how well it went. That is what we will be asking you to do for this final challenge.

This final challenge is an audit of your blog since the beginning of September 2010.

  • 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?

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:

  • What were your first impressions of this blog?
  • What captured your attention?
  • What distracted you on the blog?
  • What suggestions can you give me to improve my blog?

Other activities for this last challenge include:

1.  Change the theme on your blog to reflect that it is Christmas time and the month of December – remember though to change the theme again early in January.

2.  Do you still want to take part in some challenges or write posts for other students to comment on? Then visit these two blogs:

Blogger’s Café,    Bringing us together

3. Write a post you think would be suitable to add to this international student blog.  It will need writing, a question at the end, images, perhaps other media like a poll or slideshare.  What topic will you choose?

If you would like to be an author on the international blog, leave a comment here on this post.  Also remember to hyperlink to this post when you write your challenge so I can visit.  The best challenges will be added to the international blog.

Teachers - if you would be interested in having your class join the international blog, please leave a comment under the page heading “Join us”. I will start organizing the calendar again so each class has about two weeks or a fortnight in which to have control of the blog.

4. A few teachers are starting to put together a teacher challenge blog similar to this student challenge blog. What hints or tips would you give teachers who are starting out on the journey of blogging for themselves or with a class blog or individual student blogs? Write a post with your hints and link it back to this post, so we can then add your hints to our teacher challenge next year.

Finally, I would like to say a big thank you to all the students and classes who took part in this challenge.  I hope you learnt a lot and will be sharing your knowledge with your new teachers in the coming years. Remember the next challenge will start in early March 2011, so visit here again in February ready to register for the new challenge.

Original image: ‘seidener faden

seidener faden

by: Nils L.

Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Challenge 8 and 9 – Sept 2010

What an exciting last two weeks in the challenge! You have had a chance to win big by taking part in the Edublogger’s competition. I have visited there often and noticed there are over 150 comments and links. If you win, congratulations on having a 12 month Pro blog subscription. How will this change your blog?

You also had a chance to nominate blogs for the Edublog Awards. I read on their blog that they had thousands of nominations and had to shortlist all the categories. Again, congratulations to those students, teachers and classes who were nominated for a category. Make sure you visit the Edublog Awards page and vote for your favourite blogs.  Be sure to check out the other blogs as well, because they can give you ideas on how to improve your own blog.

While checking out the Edublogger competition, I noticed Sue Waters had created a post relating to one of the topics in the competition. It was about what you would include if you were in charge of the student blogging challenge.

The challenges for week 9 are:

1.  Use one or more of the tools mentioned in this post on the EdubloggerEmbed your result in a post explaining why you chose that particular tool. Be careful though, some of the tools require you to be 13+ to use it. Make sure you check out the terms and conditions first before adding it to your blog, unless your teacher joins with a class account.

2. Vote for your favourite blogs in the Edublog Awards (see link above).

3.  Visit these class blogs to leave at least three comments altogether – Mrs Ratzel, Mrs Buist, Mrs YollisMr MillerThe Ripple Effect, Miss NicholsClimb HighFreeville Room 5, Mrs Ross’s class,   Through our window ( a competition for December), CO-Connections, Huzzah4/5/6/Learning Centre and 5th grade bobcats.

4. Have you been having some regular visitors to your blog? Maybe it was a teacher who left some comments or some students. Write a post thanking them and explaining why you appreciated them visiting your blog. Find your name on the September Students list and you should find the name of the teacher who was supposed to visit you at least 2 or 3 times over the last few weeks.

5. Start thinking about your post for next week. It will be about reflecting on your blogging journey so far – wait till next week though before writing it as I will leave a few suggestions of what to do for this last challenge.

Original image: ‘Camp Taji obstacle course

Camp Taji obstacle course

Time to nominate

blankmeHave you been reading some class blogs lately where teachers are nominating blogs for the ‘Edublog Awards’? These blogs do not have to be Edublogs platform but can be WordPress, blogmeister, kidblogs etc.  The important thing is you only have until

December 3, 2010

to nominate your blogs.

Here is how Mrs Yollis wrote her post with the nominations – notice she included a link to every blog she was nominating and gave lots of reasons why she was nominating that blog. She also included the category she was nominating for.

Ms Woodward also nominated mainly by including links.

Miss W. has also nominated some blogs at her personal blog. Many of them are student blogs from the challenge.

Students could nominate for one or more of these:

Best individual blog
Best group blog
Best new blog
Best class blog
Best student blog
Best resource sharing blog
Best teacher blog
Best librarian / library blog
Best school administrator blog
Best educational tech support blog
Best educational use of audio
Best educational use of video / visual
Best educational wiki
Best educational use of a social network

So this is the challenge for this week

What do you have to do?

1. Write your post including your nominations. Make sure you include a link to each person’s blog that you nominate. Remember, you can’t nominate your own blog.

2.  Include a link to this blog post so I get a pingback.  http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2010/11/27/time-to-nominate-2/

3.  Now come to this post and leave a comment that includes the link to your post where you have written your nominations.

4.  If you don’t do all three things then your nominations won’t be included.

I will be closing off comments on this post on December 3 once the whole world is on December 4.