Visit these – week 4

Over the Easter break here in Tasmania, I will be visiting every blog, class and student, and any blogs that don’t have a post regarding the challenge during the month of March, I will be deleting off the participant lists. We are now half way through the challenge and I feel anyone participating should have at least one post written by now.

I have been so impressed with the work being done by students and classes in this set of blogging challenges. Some of the global issue posts are very thought provoking.

Back to the good stuff!!

Global posts

Kerry, 3rd Graders dreaming big, Connor, Caroline, Olivia, Hannah, Caroline, Kiley, Lev, Scott, Natalie, Mrs Kelly, Spencer, Colum, Jonathon, Jane, Malia, Kristin,

Water problems

Science Girl Em, Ilaria, Carly, Collin, Adem, Nick, Riley, Chasen, Eli, Toby, Matthew, James, Cate, Shane, Aidan,

Earth Hour

Mr Woods, Joey,

Please translate

Emma in Korean, James in Chinese, Gabrielle in French,

My interests

Ashley,

Women and their rights in the world

Olivia, Caitlin, Jason,

Week 3 work

Colum comments, Mikayla on blogrolls, Bigfoot on blogrolls, Julie on blogrolls, Adi on blogrolls,

Previous weeks

Paige, Rikki, Emmet, Emily, Alyssa,

Week 4: Make it global

Not many activities this week as I know many classes have been on spring break and need time to catch up from previous weeks.

Student and teacher reminders

  1. Have you checked the student/class list to make sure your URL is accurate? Leave a comment on this post with corrections.
  2. Have you uploaded your user or comment avatar?
  3. Is your ‘About me’ page up-to-date and is there a link to it on sidebar or in header?
  4. Have you added links to student and class blogs on your sidebar?
  5. Are all your posts categorised now?
  6. Have you changed the name and tagline on your blog? Shouldn’t see johnpar12’s blog anymore
  7. Have you changed the theme or appearance of your blog?
  8. When I mention ‘Write a post’ in the challenges, remember to use some web 2.0 tools as well like wallwisher, voki, polls, posters etc. Check out what other teachers and students are using in the ‘Visit these’ posts.

Global activities from January through March

Did you or your class discuss or take part in any of these events?

Activities for both classes and students:

  1. Check out at least one of the websites linked above. Write a post about what you have learned.
  2. Write a post in your mother language. Make sure you have a translator widget on your blog.
  3. Research a famous woman in the world. Write a short biography including reasons you consider her famous.
  4. What are the roles women have in your family, community, country? What rights do women have in your country? Compare to another country from Asia, Africa or South America.
  5. Students from middle or high school, take the human rights quiz. Research one of the people mentioned and write a post about them.
  6. What are some of the water problems you have in your area? How can you help solve the problem?

Free Rice

Last year, we started a group for the student blogging challenge at Free Rice.  As at writing this post, we have

Members count: 45

Grains donated: 47 950

Are you going to join and earn grains of rice? Our group is called ‘Student blogging challenge’.  If under 14, you need teacher or parent permission to join.

Earth Hour

Are you, your family and other members of your class, school, community going to take part in Earth Hour on Saturday 31st March at 8.30pm? Visit the Earth Hour website to find out what you could be doing. Add a widget or banner to your post or blog. Check out what the World Wildlife Fund are doing. Write a post about your participation.

Visit these – week 3

I really enjoy checking up on those blogs where students have left trackbacks to the post in the student blogging challenge. Here are some more from the last week for you to look at.

Where I live, our school

Mrs Jundef, Awapuni school, Mr Fachet, Gabby, Mr Gonzalez, All about Sage’s crew, All about Vogt’s crew, student entries at the Idea Hub, Jerry, Mrs Zwettler, Mrs Swift Vokis, Napoleon Primary, Mrs Norton – Quiz, Sophie – sliderocket, Summer – sliderocket, Sciencegirl Em, George, Kyle– sliderocket, Colton – sliderocket, Caitlyn – sliderocket, Hannah -Prezi,

Great conversations

Molly and Mrs Watson,

Need answers to questions

Mrs Martinez,

Avatars

Mrs Norton, Brandin, Joshua, Mrs McKelvey uses voicethread, Mrs Lucchesi, Mrs Barinova’s class, James, Toby, Eli, Hailey, Adem, Alyssa,

All about commenting

Tarron – glog, Mr Ross and his knights, Grade 5 Napoleon video, Spencer, Haley, Adem, Teegan, Ilaria,

Widgets

Mrs K – poll, Room 15,

Interesting posts

Mrs Kolly, Yes that’s me poems, Mrs Lucchesi, Mrs Kelly – video, Ozz Man, Noah, Lupita,

Visiting others

Casey, Dante, Daze, Ethan, Joel, Joseph, Maraea, Reef, Satriani, Te Whaitiri, Terira, Travis, Anahi, Gisela, Kaylee, Sam, Kiley, Caroline, Eli, Jeff, Caitlyn,

 Favourites

Gabrielle, Joey, Joey again, Quinn, Carson, Alexis, Sam, Molly, Mrs Kelly,

Mentors recommend you visit

  • Vic and Em – evolving story with polls to help the story along
  • Raiven MP – lots of humour
  • Peyton – well organized
  • Amy – lots of different features

Week 3: Let’s visit and comment

An update first: we now have as at today 141 classes, over 1300 students and 44 mentors from 25 countries taking part in the 8th student blogging challenge. I hope you are all enjoying the activities and making the most of visiting other classes and students around the world.

In your profile, have you included your user name and your blog URL? Before leaving a comment on another blog that is the same platform as you eg Edublogs, Blogger, make sure you are signed into your blog. This way you won’t have to fill in lots of information when leaving a comment. Will also mean the owner of the blog you commented on will only have to click on your name or avatar and they will be directed straight to your blog.

As you visit and read other blogs, you might want to leave a comment and then add that blog to your blogroll or links. These are going to be the two things we look at this week  in the challenge.

Blogging

What makes a good comment?

How can I get visitors to leave comments?

Are you going to accept all comments?

  • Some comments you receive are actually spam – Nike shoes, handbags, essay dissertations etc Often these comments will have a link in them directing you to a website where they want you to buy something.
  • Other spam comments often have facebook.com or google.com or yahoo.com in the email address. Sometimes these comments make sense but they will often have a spelling error and they usually have nothing to do with the post you have written.
  • Make sure you don’t approve these type of comments but click  spam instead.
  • Some people might leave a comment like ‘Wutsup?’ – this would go in the trash.
  • Some students who don’t know about quality comments might say ‘This is a cool blog. Please visit my blog at ……’  This would also go in the trash. Or maybe you visit their blog first and thank them for leaving a comment on yours but mention it was not acceptable as it didn’t relate to the post.

Adding great blogs to your blogroll

  1. To make it easy for visitors to find the blogs of your classmates and friends you need to add their link on your blogroll.
  2. If using Edublogs, in your dashboard> appearance> widgets> drag across links or blogroll to your sidebar.
  3. If you want to group your links, then use link categories. These might be ‘My classmates’, ‘Class blogs’, ‘Overseas friends’.  You might also include links about your hobbies so you might need a category for ‘Cricket’ or ‘Tasmanian Devils’ or ‘Online Games’.
  4. To create these link categories, go to dashboard> links> Link Categories> put in the name of a category and save.
  5. Back to your dashboard> links> add new link.  Fill in the name of the person, then under web address put in the URL of their blog. Remember to include the http:// part. Choose which category you want the link to be under then click add link.

Students

  1. Make sure you have read the information above under blogging and checked out the links to other students regarding commenting.
  2. Write a post, create a video or create a poster about commenting. Might be tips to get more visitors,  guidelines for acceptable comments on your blog, examples of good and bad comments – think outside the square.
  3. Most student blogs are created at school, but to personalise your blog, add some posts about topics that are of interest to you – your favourite sports, hobbies, colours, books, games etc. Remember to leave a question at the end of the post as this will invite comments to be left.
  4. Learn some HTML code to include a link in a comment. Mrs Yollis explains this in her post link above. Might be a way to include a link to your blog whenever you leave a comment.
  5. Make sure your blogroll has links to at least ten students – at least five of them who are not your classmates.
  6. Visit some overseas blogs, leave a quality comment which includes some HTML code – a heart, a smiley or your blog URL as an HTML link.
  7. Check out teacher activity 4 on this post to create post categories. These are different to link categories.

Teachers

  1. Make sure you have read the information above under blogging and checked out the class comment links.
  2. Look at your class sidebar. Do you have lots of links for students to visit? Would these be better in a page rather than your sidebar? Check out the subject links on my IT blog and how I have created links to websites.
  3. If your students don’t have their own blogs, but you want them to write posts on the class blog, then add them as users to your blog. Then create a post category or tag  for each student. Check out some classes who do this: WPPS Grade 1 use tags, Climb High use categories, Mr Fachet has contributors on this Blogger blog,  Shirley has categories, Mrs Lucchesi has categories, Mrs Bliss uses categories.
  4. Notice all posts can be categorized. This makes it easier to find posts on similar topics. Create some post categories on Edublogs by going to your dashboard> posts> new category.  Once you have created the categories you need to go back and change it on your posts. To do this simply,  go to dashboard> all posts, hover  under a post and click on quick edit> change the category and save.
  5. Visit at least ten other class blogs. What widgets do they have that might be suitable for your blog and student age group? eg Shelfari, Wonderopolis Write a post about the widgets you have added and why. Maybe include a poll (perhaps using Poll Daddy) about which widget your visitors enjoy the most.
  6. Have you discussed commenting guidelines with your students? Have you included them as a page on your blog? Do your students’ parents know about your blog? Have they started leaving comments? Write a post directed at your parents. Ask them some questions or ask for some answers eg How are computers and technology used in your job?

Remember if you don’t use Edublogs, check out the links in the ‘Get Help’ section of this blog to find tutorials and support pages for your blogging platform.

Next week we look at adding images, using creative commons and giving attribution. We will also look at Earth Hour 2012.

Image: ‘Comment is free . . .

Visit these – week 2

Some more great work this week. I know that spring break will be happening soon for many schools in the northern hemisphere, so I will keep posting challenges and you can decide which activities to take part in. For those keen bloggers, remember you can do this on any computer or iphone or iPad etc in the world that has an internet connection.

Remember to check your blog spam in case my welcome message was put in there by mistake.

Quiz created

Craigburn – Aust,

Avatars

Ilaria, Hannah, Bryan, Carly, Julia, Yegor, Alexander, Artem, Mrs Brooks, Quinn,

Where I live

Ilaria, Jarrod, Polina, Sasha, Room 7, Kaity, Lam, Astaneh, Angie, Mya, Miss Gorton, Sam, Cai,

Week 1 work

Teegan, Jacob, Elizabeth, Annalisa, Abbey, Katherine, Kelly, Erika, Patrick, Climb High, Julia, Artem, St A’s 6th grade, 5VW, Penbank, About us from Turkey – click student links on sidebar,

Questions or comments when visiting other blogs

Paloma, Eddie, Dharyl, Deven, Jose, Tristan, Julia, Giovanni, Steph, Kyle, Colton, Gemma, Daniel, Letty, Cassidy, Ana Maria, Julie, Lauren, Paige, Jason, Jade, Kaylee, Cheyenne, Lupita, Adilene,

Image: ‘J’avais dit deux!!!!

Visit these week 1 + Reminders

Some fantastic about pages or posts created by both students and classes. Check these out. Also check out the reminders at the bottom of this post.

Classes about us pages
Third Graders,Dreaming Big, Grade 3/4B, Mr McCleary’s class, Mrs Jones’ Fab Five, Room 7 NZ, 6th grade window, Penbank6, MrsK’s class (leave comment on a post),Room 2.1, Mrs Martinez, Radical Room 2, Grade 1 WPPS, Mrs Yollis, Mrs McKelvey, 6/7T and teacher, Room1 and Mrs Black, Mrs Hamman, Huzzah, Mrs Bliss, Knights of the Ross Table, Room 15 NZ, Class 6b Vietnam, 6a Vietnam, Mrs Zwettler, Grade 3/4, Pod 1, Grade 5 at Napoleon, Harley 3A, Ms Hanna, Mrs E and Bookblog, Ms Meredith, Kereru,

Classes exchanging info already

Mrs Heckstetter, Mrs Garvar, Grade 3/4 B, Third Graders, Mrs Jundef, Room 24 (NZ slang), Learning2gether, Ms Olen, Ms Simonsen, Mrs Phillips, 6b Vietnam, Grade 3/4, Mrs Caudill, Room 9 Einsteins,

Students about me pages

Jarrod, Madeline, Dawso, Raiyaan, Samantha, Cam, Ethan, Ilaria, Oscar, Kristina, Acrostic poems from Mr Fachet’s class, I am posts from Shirley’s 6th grade, 8LD Poems about themselves, comment on student about me pages on sidebar of Mrs Martin’s class, Alex from Russia, students used Prezi to create ‘About me’ pages in Mr Cave’s class, Alina from Russia, Marina from Russia, Dasha from Russia, Kirill from Russia, Stas from Russia, Kathy from Russia,

Students recommending blogs to visit

Summer, Jack, Jane, Carly, Ilaria,

REMINDERS:

  1. Both teachers and students: Please check that the link to your URL is correct. If it is not, leave a comment on this post with the correct URL, your name as registered and your age(students only), so I can make the change more easily.
  2. Teachers: There are still some Kidblog blogs that are set to “login to leave comment or post”. Please change this.
  3. Both teachers and students: Remember to moderate or approve your comments at least once a week in case either Miss W (me) or your mentor has left a comment.
  4. Both teachers and students: Please make sure your link comes back to the exact URL of the post of the activity in the student blogging challenge, not just the URL of the blogging challenge.
  5. Students: If you have already created your blogroll, make sure you have the link for your class blog on there as well if your class has one. Mentors might then visit blogs of other members of your class as well as yours.
  6. Mentors: If you find some great posts written by the students you visit, feel free to email me with a link so I can add them to another ‘Visit these’ post.
  7. Mentors and teachers: If using Twitter to mention some great posts, use the hashtags #12sbc and #comments4kids  Please don’t add any links onto facebook pages as many schools have this banned or filtered.

Image: ‘Liberty 1

Week 2: About my place

Widget examples

Last week, you introduced yourself to your readers. This week we look at telling them about the place you live in – such as your school, your town, your state or province. You also get a chance to add widgets and  to create an avatar for your blog. When you leave comments this is called your user avatar in Edublogs.

Blogging

Create your avatar – instead of me writing out all the information about creating your avatar, I am sending you to a previous post where you can read about this activity. Go to number 3 and read through the three steps mentioned.

Widgets – when you first get a blog, there are some widgets included in the sidebar. Once you change themes, some widgets disappear and you need to go to your dashboard> appearance> widgets and drag them across to your sidebar. It would be handy for your teachers and your readers if you could have at least these widgets: blog avatar, recent comments (10), recent posts (10), links or blogroll, pages, categories, archive and meta.

Linking your name and user avatar – To make sure your user 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.

If you are not using Edublogs, remember to check the “Get Help” section of this blog and look for the tutorials for your blogging platform.

Students – lots of choice this week

1.  Visit other student and class blogs – check out what widgets they have on their blog.

  • Do some of the widgets detract from the blog?
  • Do some of the widgets overlap into the writing area?
  • Are some widgets too noisy?
  • Are there too many widgets on some blogs?

Write a post about the extra widgets you have added to your blog and why you chose them. Remember to add a link back to where you can sign up for that widget. Did you check the minimum age for having that widget on your blog?

2.  Widgets – add some to your blog

  1. About your place: This could include weather, time, history
  2. About your visitors: could be a clustrmap, feedjit, flag counter
  3. To help your visitors with translating your blog to their language

When adding widgets to your sidebar:

  1. Go to your dashboard> appearance> widgets.
  2. Drag a text box to your sidebar.
  3. Copy and paste the embed code into the text box.
  4. Save then close.
  5. 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 your blog is an Edublogs free blog, you might not be able to put all the widgets in your sidebar. Instead put them in a post, but remember to change your post tab in your dashboard to HTML instead of visual when you are pasting in the embed code.

If using another platform rather than Edublogs, then check out the “Get Help” section in the sidebar of this blog.

3. Avatars

  1. 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. Check out this post from Nicky, Katelyn,
  2. Create more than one avatar that represents you. Put them together in a slideshow of some sort – what Web2.0 tool could you use to do this? Perhaps animoto or an app on your phone. Check the post from Kate and Abbi.
  3. Create your family in avatars and include them in a post. How does that avatar represent your family member? Check out this previous post from Candice, Katelyn,

4. Your place

  • Write a post about tourist attractions in your state. Try to include at least five places that Miss W , Davo the Tasmanian Devil or Squirrel would like to visit.
  • Write a post, create a glogster, make an audioboo tape, create a Storybird or add a Voki telling your readers about the festivals held in your town throughout the year. Which festivals do you enjoy the most and why? Remember to include the date of the festival in case your reader might want to visit.  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.
  • Visit at least five other blogs from students or classes around the world and ask some questions about their town, school, country in your comments. We have participants from 24 countries taking part in the challenge.
  • 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?

Teachers

Widgets

  1. Which widgets do your students consider should be on every class blog? Why? Write a post about your class widgets.
  2. Create a poll asking visitors to your blog to vote for their favourite widget on your blog? Why do you think that widget was so popular?

Avatars

  1. Display your student avatars in a slideshow such as Animoto. Did you allow students choice of website to create their avatars?
  2. Where else could you display your avatars? Perhaps in your header like the 26 Bay Bloggers have.

Your place

  1. Create a slideshow about your school and embed on your blog. Check out examples from Miss T and Mr Lamb. Maybe you could use a Prezi as suggested by Justin from Penbank.
  2. Write a post with questions you would like your visitors to answer in a comment. Try to find out some interesting information about where they live.
  3. Create a quiz about your state/province/country. Embed in your blog and see how well your visitors or locals know your area.

Commenting

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.

It is also important that you don’t just copy and paste the guidelines from someone else. Discuss with your students, show examples, then come up with your commenting guidelines. We must teach the students not to plagiarise by setting the example ourselves as teachers.

Involve parents and other family members 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.

Week 1: All about me

Welcome to the first week of activities in the 8th student blogging challenge. As at writing this first post, we have 112 classes, 748 students and 36 mentors taking part in the challenge. We cover the following 22 countries:

  • Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA – majority of students and classes from these countries.
  • United Kingdom, Russia, Vietnam, South Korea, Turkey – more than one participant.
  • Netherlands, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Taiwan, South Africa, Colombia, United Arab Emirates, Iran, El Salvador, Bangladesh, Uganda, Malaysia and Indonesia – only one participant or mentor.

Activities will be divided into three sections:

  • Blogging – check if you have done these activities before going on to the other sections. It is here where you will learn how to improve your blog.
  • Students – activities for writing posts or adding comments.
  • Teachers – activities for your classes either writing posts or leaving comments.

Let’s get started!!

Blogging

With participants from so many countries coming to your blog, you will need to have a post or page all about yourself – your interests, your favourites, your family and so on. Remember to be internet safe and not mention personal information like your last name, phone number, email, school name. Check out these great examples: Mara, Colton and Reece  A slightly different version from Nolan

If using Edublogs, go to your dashboard> pages>edit sample page or about page. Remember to rename the title. If your blog header doesn’t include pages, then you will also need to go to appearance> widgets> drag  ‘Pages’ into your sidebar.

You will also need to make sure visitors can leave comments on your blog – you might need to create a text widget to explain how to leave a comment. Check out this blog for an example: Image a Day  To know how to cheat and put this info in your sidebar, visit this post from The Edublogger and start at part 6.

If using other blogging platforms, check out the Get Help links on the sidebar of this blog. I have tried to find tutorials for improving blogs for each of the other platforms. If you know a good tutorial site leave a comment on this post and include the link. I will then add it to my sidebar.

Students

  1. You might need to re-visit your ‘About’ page and update it for this year.
  2. Otherwise check out some interesting ‘I am’ posts from students in Mrs Kelly’s class. You could write one of these for your blog.
  3. Find your name on the student participant list, check that the link works, then visit at least ten blogs with the same colour as yours and leave comments on one of their posts. Write a post, recommending at least three different blog posts to visit and why you think they are interesting.
  4. Who is your mentor? Check on the student participant list, then go to the mentor registration page and find out about your mentor. Write a post as if you are interviewing your mentor. They might visit in the next couple of weeks and leave some answers for you.

Teachers

  1. You might need to re-visit your class  ‘About’ page and update it for this year.
  2. Otherwise check out some interesting ‘I am’ posts from students in Mrs Kelly’s class. You could write one of these for your blog but instead it will be ‘We are’ as a class.
  3. Find your class name on the class participant list, check that the link works, then visit the class on either side of you. Leave a comment on their blog and some of the student blogs if linked on the blogroll.
  4. Write a post posing  some questions to be answered by the visiting classes which might come to your blog.
  5. Check out this post about commenting from Mrs Smith. What type of comments do your students leave?

Everyone:

If you have any great ideas for activities in this challenge, please leave in a comment on this post.

Remember to create a link back to this post if you have completed any of the activities where you are asked to write a post. You might copy and paste this to the bottom of the post: I got the idea for this activity from Student Challenge Blog March 2012

Image: ‘Welcome Piggies

Less than two weeks to go

Are you ready to start the challenge?

The first set of activities for the March 2012 challenge will be published on Sunday March 4 – Australian time.

Remember if you want a reminder of each set of challenges as they are published, you will need to subscribe via your reader or email.

A few statistics for the challenge so far as at 21 Feb 2012:

Mentors: 24 registered (not all assigned students yet) – from Australia, USA, Canada, Malaysia, Indonesia, Russia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Uganda

Classes: 54 registered from grades 1-12 and University – from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Netherlands, Iran, El Salvador, Turkey

Students: 240 registered from age 6-16 – from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, South Korea, Hong Kong, Colombia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Vietnam

Image: ‘sack race starting line