Challenge 4: After hours

Most students usually start blogging in school classes, but true blogs are usually about one topic only eg scrapbooking, quilting, NASCAR, cricket and so on. But within that topic you will have certain categories you write about. For example in cricket, you might have equipment, famous batters, famous bowlers, wicketkeepers, World Series, Local cricket, State cricket.

On the sidebar of this blog, my categories include information, March 2010, March 2011, September 2010, September 2011 and Visit these.  These are called post categories. For your school blog, you might include book reviews, literacy, numeracy, family, me and my friends, hobbies, sports, holidays. You make the choices.

Activity 1. Create your post categories

On your dashboard > posts> Categories. Type in the name of the category, then click add button at the bottom. Now to go back and categorise each post you have already written. Dashboard> all posts > quick edit under each post you want to categorise. Change category and update. Also make sure you have the widget for categories on your sidebar. The category will only appear once you have a post labelled with that category.

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There is a second set of categories in blogging and these are sometimes called links. This is where you have a list on your blog of the other blogs you often visit or could recommend your friends  go to. Usually students have a list of the other students in their class and perhaps some class blogs they might be working with. Once you start visiting other student blogs, you might make friends and add their blog to your links.

Activity 2. Create your  links or blogroll

Go to your dashboard> links> link categories. You might want to use my classmates, overseas friends, classes, favourites, get help. Under get help put the link for edublogs help (should already be there, just change the category) or if using blogspot or kidblog etc, find your user guide and link that.

Now to add the links of your classmates. Dashboard> Links> Add New. If your teacher has a list of student blogs on the sidebar of the class blog, all you have to do is hover over the name, right click and “copy link location”. Go back to the Add New and paste in the link. Make sure you don’t have http:// twice. Use your friend’s first name only just to be internet safe.

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OK, the setting up your blog activities for this week are now done, let’s get to the fun activities.

Activity 3. After school activities

Students around the world do a variety of different activities after school. Some might relate to school work such as band, cheerleading, sports teams. But what are some of the things you most enjoy doing once you are let out of school for the day. Write about this in a post but remember to be internet safe and not mention what time and place you do these activities. Class blogs might like to include a poll or survey about your students’ after school activities.

Activity 4. If I could learn anything ……

If there were one thing in life you could learn to do, what would it be? How are you going about achieving this dream?

Activity 5. Write a story beginning …….like a choose your own adventure

As other students visit your blog, they can add to the story in the comments.

Activity 6. Visit other blogs in the challenge

How does the life of students in different countries differ from your life? Leave some questions on their blogs and make sure you have their blog on your links in your sidebar, so you can go back to visit and find out the answers to your questions.

Activity 7. Find other blogs relating to topics you want to learn about

Interested in NASCAR, scrapbooking, cheerleading, bungee jumping? Find two or three blogs about the topic and write a post about what you found out. Remember to link back to those blogs in your post. If using Google to search, make sure you click on blogs down the left hand side.

It is very important to moderate and approve comments left on your blog as quickly as possible.

It is just as important to answer any questions that might be left on your blog by either replying to it in your blog comments or visiting the blog of the student who left the comment and answering it on their blog.

Challenge 3: Me on the internet

How are you enjoying the challenge activities so far?

Have you had to sign up for any web 2.0 tools you used in your posts or sidebar?

What information did you give when you filled in their forms for signing up?

Did you check the Terms of Service and privacy policy pages for the tools?

If you are under 13 did you get teacher or parental approval to join?

Activity 1. Watch video and write post about your digital footprint

Watch this video, thinking about what might be included on your digital dossier or digital footprint.

  • What sites have you joined on the internet?
  • 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?

 

 

Check out these student’s digital footprints from the last challenge: Naomi, Emily, Sahiba, Allie, Jennifer, Shania, Adam, Heather, Marshall, Aisling.

Activity 2. Create commenting guidelines page or text box for your blog

This is especially needed in a class blog.

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

  • Check out this video by Mrs Yollis and her students.
  • Check out this page by Ms Edwards.
  • Check out this post by Mrs Martinez and her students

Now that you have researched what commenting guidelines might include, create yours for your blog.

Activity 3. Write a post about your favourite tool to embed on your blog

Many students mentioned they wanted to know about some more web2.0 tools they could use on their blog. So here is your chance to promote a favourite web2.0 tool. Remember to create a link in your post so your readers can visit the site you are recommending. A new one many students in my class like using is Storybird. Your teacher can create a class account, then when your book has been moderated by your teacher they can embed a story in your blog. Or you can do what Lauren has done and create a post with links to your storybirds.

Activity 4. What type of user are you on the web?

Check out the infographic from Bloomberg Business Week in 2007. Write a post telling your readers about the type of person you are. Are you a mixture of more than one? Which one are your parents or grandparents? Perhaps question some people in each age group and see how they compare with the results in the infographic. Do you think the statistics may have changed over the four years since the infographic was created?

 

 

Activity 5. What is digital citizenship?

Play this game about digital citizenship. How well did you go? Write a post telling your readers about digital citizenship – what you should do rather than what you shouldn’t do. Maybe you would prefer to create a book, poster or video about digital citizenship. Some web2.0 tools you might use with parental or teacher permission glogster, goanimate, audioboo or flipbook.

Activity 6. Visit other student or class blogs

What are some of the different web 2.0 tools being used on those blogs. Are some of the tools in posts or as widgets? Look at the sidebars – are they too crowded or are they interesting because they are interactive? Do too many ‘flashy and glittery’things slow down the loading of the blog? Write a post explaining what you want your blog to be like by the end of the ten weeks. What will you include in the sidebar and why?

Remember to include a link back to this post, if you write about one of these ideas in your blog.

 

Check here please

We are now two weeks into the challenge and students are still registering, but I think some may have registered more than once. So can you please check the student participation list to make sure your name is only on there once. It should be under your age group area. Some students have mentors who will be visiting their blogs to give help and answer any questions you might have. If you have registered more than once, please tell your teacher to contact me via the email or leave me a comment on this post telling me how many times your name is included.

1. Check participation list for name

If you are using Edublogs and leaving comments, you should now have uploaded your user avatar. Dashboard > users> avatar

2. User avatar uploaded

On your profile page under contact information, there is a section called website. Make sure you have the URL to your own blog written there. Include the http:// part as well. This will then link with your name and avatar when leaving a comment.

3. Blog URL included

Challenge 2: My Place

Last week we learnt all about you – your interests, your favourite foods, music and lots of other things when you wrote your ‘About’ page. This week we are going to learn all about the area in which you live.

As many of you know, I will be visiting the USA and Canada (in fact I am in California now). When you write your posts or use web 2.0 tools, remember to be internet safe and not give away any personal information. Check with your teacher or parent, to find out if you can mention your school name or town.

But firstly, a few administration pointers.

Please check to make sure you have the following widgets visible on your blog’s sidebar: blog avatar, pages, recent comments, recent posts, blogroll or links, categories. If not using Edublogs, the names of these widgets might be different.

Have you made sure you are getting an email whenever someone leaves a comment on your blog so you can moderate this? It can be annoying for your mentor to go to your blog and find no comments have been approved for the last month or so.

In your profile page, do you have your blog URL included? – this links to your name for when you leave a comment.

Now let’s get to the activities.

Activity 1. Add a widget to find out where your commenters are coming from.

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

Activity 2. Add one or more widgets about your area of the world

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

When adding widgets to your sidebar, copy and paste the embed code into a text box on your sidebar.

  • Save then close.
  • If the widget is too wide, you will have to adjust the number next to ‘width’ in the embed code.
  • This might appear more than once in the code.

If using blogger rather than Edublogs, you might need to check out the instructions for adding widgets and images etc from Bling For Your Blog, written by a teacher in New Zealand. Thanks Allanah.

If your blog is an Edublogs free blog, you might not be able to put all the widgets in your sidebar.

Activity 3. Write a post about a tourist attraction in the following  states or provinces.

Miss W and Mr Davo Devil will be visiting these states and provinces: California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and back to California. They enjoy visiting national parks and historical places. Where would you suggest they go while in those states and provinces? Suggest a tourist attraction in at least 5 places.

Activity 4. A year in your town

Write a post, create a glogster, make an audioboo tape, create a Storybird or add a Voki telling Miss W about the festivals held in your town throughout the year. Which festivals do you enjoy the most and why? When are the festivals held in case she can visit one while she is travelling? If under 13, check with your teacher or parent if you want to use a web 2.0 tool rather than writing a post in your blog.

Activity 5. Visit other participants and ask questions

Visit at least five other blogs from students or classes around the world and ask some questions in your comments. We have participants from Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Russia, Colombia, Taiwan, Greece and Indonesia taking part in the challenge.

Activity 6. Questions in a post

Write a post asking questions about the different countries mentioned in activity 5. Have at least 6 questions in your post.

Activity 7. Where I would love to visit and why

Write a post or use a web 2.0 tool telling your readers about a place you would love to visit and why. Try to include some hyperlinks (links that are underlined in your post and take your readers to another website)

Activity 8. Create a game or quiz about your town, state or country

A few places to do this include: Quiz Revolution, Class Tools,  Remember to check with your teacher or parent before using these web 2.0 tools. Sometimes your teacher or parent will create an account that is moderated by them and is therefore safe for students to use. Do you know any other places to create games and quizzes?

Copy this trackback link in any posts you write about these activities: Challenge 2 Sept 2011  so I will know to visit your blog and read your post or else leave a comment on this post directing me to your blog.

Attribution:

Image: ‘party in the sky

 

Challenge 1: All about you

Welcome to the seventh student blogging challenge.

Looking through the list of participants, we have very few students who have taken part in a challenge before so the activities will be new to you all. A reminder that some activities will be about setting up your blog while other activities will be writing posts or improving your commenting skills. Each week you can choose to do as many of the activities as you like or your teacher might choose the one they want for that week.

Whatever happens – Enjoy your blogging!

When you meet someone for the first time or join a new class, you usually have to introduce yourself. Most blogs have a page called ‘About’ or ‘Sample Page’ or ‘Profile’.

Activity 1. Write or update your ‘About’ page. Tell your readers your first name only, a bit about your interests but remember to be internet savvy and not give out any personal details. Check out these  students – EmmaDaniel , ChloeSimon , Ben and Molly. If you wrote your ‘About’ page last year, things will have changed – so update the information or improve the layout of what you have written to make it easier for your readers to understand.

In Edublogs, log in to your dashboard. On left go to all pages, hover under sample page and click edit. Make sure you change the title and delete what is already written there. Once you have finished, hit the update button. Now remember to go to appearance> widgets and drag your ‘Pages’ widget to your sidebar.

If using Blogspot, check out this blog and all its hints.

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Because Sue Waters (from The Edublogger) and I want to know about student commenting skills, we would like everyone to do the next activity.

Activity 2. Leave a comment on this post to answer the following questions.

Why did you join the blogging challenge?
What do you hope some of the activities include?
Finally, what do you hope to get out of the challenge by the end of the ten weeks?

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Because we can’t all meet face to face (f2f), we have to have an online identity to represent us. Whenever I leave a comment on your blog, you will see a grey haired lady. I love wearing thongs on my feet and drinking iced tea. So that is a picture representing me – these pictures are avatars.

Activity 3 – 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.

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 or use the snipping tool

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”. Not sure what Mac users have but I am sure there is a similar button on your computers.

When you press printscreen or use the snipping tool an image of your screen or part of it  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. This might be in Microsoft office tools.

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.

Activity 4 – 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 5 – Visit 10 student blogs in the challenge where you have the same interests.

Write a post or leave a comment telling me who you visited and what post you commented on in their blog. Why did you comment on that post?

Activity 6 – Write a tutorial post about creating your avatar

This would be handy for Miss W to have for the next set of challenges. Your post could be used to teach other students or teachers about how to create, resize and upload their avatar especially if using blogspot, kidblog or a Mac computer. Mention in your post what type of computer you were using and the programs used for resizing etc.

Extra activity or as a class – Create different avatars and share them with the world.

Now create an animoto with your images to embed in your blog. Check first if your teacher has a class animoto reference code.

Maybe you know a tool to create a flip book that can show your class avatars with a description similar to activity 4.

If you don’t want to create an animoto, then add the avatars in a gallery to your blog post. Check out how Max created his animoto. Check out the post about his family by Jack.

Remember to leave a link back to this post (see below) if you have written about one of the activities in your blog.

September Challenge 1

Image: ‘merhaba

Time to register for the challenge

With the 7th student blogging challenge due to start in about one month’s time, it is now time to register. It is a very simple thing to do:

Register as a student with your own blog: Click here to fill out the form

Once you have registered, search for other students in the challenge by clicking here.

Register as a class with a class blog: Click here to fill out the form

Once you have registered, search for other classes in the challenge by clicking here.

If you are a teacher or student who has taken part in previous challenges, maybe you would like to become a mentor for a group of students. This involves leaving comments about posts and how the students could improve their blogging skills. Click here to register as a mentor. Then keep checking the student participant page here to find out the students you will be mentoring.

Image: ‘veritum dies aperit

 

 

Are you getting ready?

The next student blogging challenge will be starting in mid September. Over the next few weeks, I will be getting the registration forms ready and posted on a page on this blog. Make sure you keep checking and sign up when they have been published.

While you’re waiting for the challenge to start, here are a couple of blogs you could leave comments at:

The Blogger’s Cafe – run by students to help teach their teachers about blogging – has many classes from around the world taking part

Travelling with Mr ‘Davo’ Devil – while the challenge is on, Miss W will actually be travelling around parts of USA and Canada with a little Tasmanian Devil. Perhaps you would like them to visit your school.

Where to next? -Challenge 10 -March 2011

Well, the final challenge has arrived. Reading the posts from last week’s challenge, many students have learnt a lot about blogging, improving their blog with widgets and learning how to leave appropriate comments on blogs as well as developing a readership of their blog.

Now it is time to evaluate the actual blogging challenge. We have never actually evaluated the challenge itself.

This was the sixth blogging challenge. Each set of challenges is ten weeks long. Both classes and individual students take part as either bloggers or commenters, sometimes with different challenges for each group.

Activity 1 – students and classes

Please evaluate the challenge mentioning something about the following topics:

Registration: Is two weeks early enough for registration to begin before the first challenge?

Subscription: Did you subscribe by RSS or email in order to get the posts as soon as they were published?

Student and class pages: How useful are these pages in the header of the blogging challenge?

The challenges:

  • Did you visit the actual challenge on the blog each week or did your teacher have a post on your class blog?
  • Which challenges were the most useful?
  • Which challenges were the most interesting?
  • What would be some other topics you would like included in future challenges?
  • Are more tutorial type challenges needed? eg how to make a link in your post
  • Were the ‘Visit these’ posts useful?
  • Were the challenges where you had to embed ie polls, cartoons, wallwisher etc interesting or could you not embed due to being a free Edublogs blog or a blogging platform that didn’t allow embedding?
  • Were there enough chances to visit blogs from overseas and make links with other students/classes?
  • Classes that registered – were there enough activities specific to classes? Did you make global connections?
  • Anything else you would like to mention about the challenge in particular

Activity 2 – if you didn’t do it last week

In October/November each year, Edublogs has a nomination for best student blog, best class blog, best new blog etc and we don’t want you to miss out on nominating the blog you feel would be best in each of those categories.

If you could nominate only one student blog and one class blog for an Edublogs award later in the year, whose blog would you nominate and why? Make sure you put a link to their blog on your post, then come to last week’s challenge post and leave a comment saying who you would nominate. You cannot nominate your own blog.

Activity 3 – time to show off

For your final challenge post, you have free choice of topic. Show off to your teachers, class mates as well as family and overseas visitors. Remember to show skills in embedding as well as linking and using images.

Activity 4 – Answer Garden activity

March 2011 student blogging challenge was …… at AnswerGarden.ch.

Checking my blog -Challenge 9 -March 2011

This penultimate challenge (second last) is an audit of your blog since the beginning of March 2011.

  • 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?

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?

Some other thoughts for blog posts this week

Activity 1.

Will you continue blogging over your summer holidays (Northern hemisphere) or during the winter term (Southern Hemisphere)? Why or why not?

Activity 2.

If you didn’t get many visitors to your blog (other than your classmates), what do you think you need to do to get them to visit? Write a post about this.

Activity 3.

Do you think it would be handy to have a blogging glossary on your blog? If yes, create one as a page so it is always available to your readers.

Activity 4.

If you could nominate only one student blog and one class blog for an Edublogs award later in the year, whose blog would you nominate and why? Make sure you put a link to their blog on your post, then come to this challenge post and leave a comment saying who you would nominate. You cannot nominate your own blog.

These are some examples of nomination posts from last year: Becky, Dominique, Olivia,

Activity 5.

Check out the Google calendar on the Kids in the Mid blog and write a post about one of the celebrations for this week.

Next week, I will be asking you about the challenge itself . So please think about the good and bad things, the interesting and boring etc. Your opinion will help organize the next set of challenges in September when I will be travelling USA and Canada. Hopefully I will be visiting some of your schools.

Original image: ‘Besoins des internautes & stratégie de contenu
Besoins des internautes & stratégie de contenu
by: Raphaëlle RIDARCH

Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Pride in myself meme

Meme rules:

First paragraph: mention this is a student blogging challenge meme and include link back to this post.

Last paragraph: Make links to those students or classes you are tagging.

You may tag up to ten people but only two from your own class – tag students and classes from other countries to make sure the meme is spread globally.

Visit their blogs and leave a comment saying you have tagged them for a meme on pride.

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Describe one of the things you have done in life, that make you glow with pride.

This meme began in the March 2011 student blogging challenge.

One thing I have done in my life that really makes me glow with pride is that I earned the highest award in the Girl Guide movement: Queen’s Guide.

I joined the Brownies first in Glenorchy where I took part in a rose bush planting outside the Council Chambers. As a Guide, I went to an Olave Baden Powell rally on the domain in Hobart. As a Ranger Guide leader, I was also lucky enough to represent Australia at two overseas camps, one in Fiji and another in Hong Kong. This is where I got my love of travelling, I am sure! I also represented Guiding at a young leader gathering and shook hands with Prince Charles in 1977.

But to get the Queen’s Guide award you had to do a lot of work and earn lots of badges. I think my dislike of housework and cooking might be from having to do this as part of the badgework. I loved the camping aspect, tying knots, building tripods and cooking on an open fire. It was during my Guiding life that I learned about leadership and being in charge of a group of individuals.

I was presented with my Queen’s Guide award at Government House in Hobart in 1970. The Guide company I was a member of then had a big celebration and invited back previous Queen’s Guide awardees. That’s me in the back right hand corner with no grey hair yet.

I would now like to tag the following classes to take part in this meme:

Mr Avery and class, Mrs Krebs and class, Mrs Ratzel and class, Watanabe/Martinez and class, the Fosgreenians

Each class can have three students carry on the meme as well as continuing it on the class blog.

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Now to tag the individual students to take part in the meme. These students have left lots of comments or pingbacks on the student blogging challenge blog.

Hanna, ZacharySurya, Maite, Betty, Karrie, Duy, Teegan, Yong Min Song, Amy, Maria, AlejandroSahiba,