My nominations

I am having to do a lot of thinking about who I am going to nominate for this year.  There are so many great student, class, teacher and new blogs out there but I have to get it down to just one in each section. So here we go:

Best new blog or best student blog

This student has only been blogging since February this year and she has established a great blogroll with many return commenters to her blog. She is extremely creative and this is seen in her many and varied posts. She took part in the recent September student blogging challenge and wrote 33 posts over the three month period. Most of these were her own choice rather than just those suggested by the blogging challenge. She is extremely quick at responding to comments left on her posts and she has many long conversations with her readers. Congratulations on being nominated by me – Amy of the creative mind!

Best new blog or best class blog or best group blog

I’m not sure which category to put this one in either.  A group of 6 students are organizing their blog ready for the new school year in 2013. This is actually a class blog but totally run by students. The teacher is there in the background but all posts and comments are being written by the students who are all administrators of this blog.  They are all grade 5 this year but will be the mentors for any classes at their school who wish to start a new blog next year. Congratulations on being nominated by me – FEASTS – acronym for their names!

Best teacher blog

This one was also very difficult to decide who to nominate but this teacher always writes extremely informative posts relating technology to how it can be used within the common core curriculum and in the classroom. She reflects upon her learning all the time and has many conversations with her large following of readers. Comments are quickly added to with her special way of writing. She is always there for both the school district she works in but also for her large PLN who follow her blog all the time. She is also a great tweeter and always has many links in her blog posts to allow her readers to follow up the topic by visiting other writers as well. Congratulations on being nominated by me – Tracy Watanabe!

Best Librarian blog

This teacher is an inspiration to her students. As well as teaching in the library about skills needed in this digital world, she has students creating book trailers, writing book reviews, connecting globally with other readers. She presents at conferences and always reflects on what is happening in her digital world. She has a strong PLN who thoroughly enjoy her postings. Congratulations on being nominated by me – Julie Hembree of the Bulldog Readers!

Best twitter hashtag

Again there are so many to choose from but as an educational blogger I couldn’t go past #comments4kids  Will Chamberlain developed this hashtag so teachers and other educationalists could visit great student posts to leave comments for the students. I use this hashtag often when I read a great post by a student who is in the student blogging challenge or on one of the blogs at the eSchool blogs I run. Congratulations on being nominated by me – #comments4kids

Best ed tech or resource sharing blog

I accidentally came across this blog late last year and have since had it in my Google reader. The author writes many posts about all topics relating to educational technology and mobile learning. I don’t  really know how he also has time to teach. Congratulations on being nominated by me – Med Kharbach from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Best Educational wiki

If you want lots of handouts for staff PD or student use relating to Bloom’s Taxonomy, web 2.0 tools, learning styles etc, then this is the wiki to go to. Run by a teacher in New Zealand, I am always recommending this great wiki to teachers – even for a fantastic read about the different topics in 21st century learning or for ideas in the classroom. Congratulations on being nominated by me – Andrew Churches at Edorigami.

Thanks to Edublogs for allowing us to nominate blogs, wikis, tweets etc. It doesn’t really matter who wins, it is the connections we make and the new blogs we find out about that allow us to further develop as educators – retired or otherwise!

Challenge 10 – Evaluate

I am sure that your teachers ask you to evaluate your work at the end of a topic. We are doing the same here in the challenge. You also have the chance to nominate blogs for the Edublog Awards. Nominations close on 26th November, so get in early and check what you have to do to make your nomination count.

There will be two evaluations:

  1. a survey of the actual student blogging challenge – we want your ideas about the challenge. Most questions are tick a box or write a short answer.
  2. a survey of your blog by someone who has not seen it before such as your principal, another teacher, your parent, a sibling or cousin, next door neighbour.


Survey of your blog

This is an audit of your blog since the beginning of September 2012.

  • 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?

 Nominating a blog for the Edublog Awards 2012

This year we would like classes to nominate blogs they feel are excellent student blogs and or class blogs. They can be blogs from anywhere in the world. Choose a student from your class to write about the nominations in a post after you have discussed this as a class. eg best student blog or best new blog. Make sure you have a link back to this post of the challenge otherwise we wont know you have nominated for the awards.

Teachers you may also take part in the nominations but you might like to check out the other sections where nominations are now available.

Mentors we would also like you to nominate one or two of the blogs you have been mentoring to go in either the best student blog or new blog sections.

Students we would prefer you work with your teachers to nominate some great student blogs, but if there is a student blog (not from your class or school) that you feel deserves a nomination then write a post and make sure you have a link back to this post of the challenge otherwise we wont know you have nominated for the awards.  Remember, as a student, you can’t nominate a blog from your class or school.

Make sure you read the instructions at the Edublog Awards site so your nomination is written correctly. Write post on your blog, include links to blogs you are nominating and to this post in our challenge. Then send email to edublogs via their nomination form on the awards site.

After the challenge is over


Challenge 9 – using language

This is our penultimate challenge – appropriate use of language since this week looks at the subject of English or language arts.

The Australian English curriculum is divided into three areas: Language, Literature and Literacy. Students are assessed in listening, reading and viewing as well as speaking, writing and creative. This week’s activities will include all these things.

Activities to try

Remember to check out the web tools to use section on the sidebar of this blog.

Watch this video about Dove evolution then explain what the producers wanted you to get out of the video. What was their aim in creating this? What techniques did they use? What is real beauty in your eyes?

Create the following to embed on your blog:

  • a comic strip related to internet safety
  • a Voki trying to persuade listeners to read a particular book
  • a collage about social values such as co-operation, sharing etc

Write a book, film or game review. Remember to rate it out of 10 and mention what age group you would recommend it for.

As a class, create a voicethread about a book you have read recently. Dawso also wrote about a book she was reading.

Hand write the first paragraph of a great story – take a photo before you do any corrections. In your post put the photo then type what the paragraph looked like after you had done some revision work.

Write a recount, explanation, persuasive piece of writing. Find an image relating to it and remember to add correct attribution.

Create an A-Z dictionary relating to English – this could be done as a class using voicethread with a different group of letters on each slide. It could be added to throughout the year as students learn more vocabulary relating to English.

Find a very interesting image. Add it to your post then write a description or a set of questions about it.

Create your own images and add to a post of your choice  Other options for creating your own images include:

  1. Image Generators such as
  2. Comic Generators like,  kerpoof, ToonDoo
  3. Photo Editors like Befunky, fd’s Flickr Tools
  4. Tag Cloud Creators such as Wordle
  5. Graph Creators including GraphJam and Crappy Graphs

Mixing up your images using these types of tools can really spice up your posts! Leave a comment on this post, if you or your class can recommend some other image sites to add to this list.

Tell the story of the picture   From Bill Ferreirae – I sometime find a picture and tell students to use that picture to come up with a story. It can be about the picture, what happened before, what will happen next, etc. So, at the top of this post is the image I have chosen for you to start with. Copy the image to your post, then write the story. Remember to give attribution. If you don’t have your own blog, tell your story in a comment here.

Write some poetry on your blog. Here are some examples: Dawso’s acrostic, Afrah’s 6 room poem, Lilli’s 6 room poem

These pictures tell a story. Visit the website to leave your story.

Next week

Next week is our last set of activities and it will include an evaluation of your blog and blogging skills as well as a chance to nominate some great student and class blogs for the annual Edublog awards. So make sure you have visited lots of different blogs and found those you would like to recommend win an award. You will be able to nominate one student blog from your class, one student blog from the rest of the world and one class blog. You will not be able to nominate your own blog. But more about this next week.

Image: ‘Moonbow = Rainbow at Night

Challenge 8 – freedom again

I hope students and classes are finding these free choice weeks useful. It is a chance to catch up but also time to show off your passions. I am also using it as a chance to show you more blogs to visit, instead of writing a separate post for that.

Mentors, how are you going? Have you been visiting blogs regularly and leaving comments? Many thanks for taking the time to do this and I am sure the students appreciate that.

My passion post for this week

I have never enjoyed gardening but now that I have retired, I seem to get out there more often. I now have 4 vegetable patches and the following growing well – strawberries, brocollini, cabbages (with their moth grubs), brussel sprouts, lettuces, radishes, carrots, snow peas, runner beans, butter beans and tomatoes. I have also been out weeding the plant garden area. I am trying to attract some more smaller birds to my garden, so mainly have Australian native plants. This might be difficult though as the next door neighbours all have dogs, cats and chickens, so the smaller birds might be too frightened to settle on a shrub. Do you have your own garden at home?

So what is your passion for this week? Books, girl’s education, global climate change, Hurricane Sandy, One Direction, Lego, caffeine and kids, cyberbullying, reality shows – wow too many to think about.

Science games to look at, play and review


  • Automatoon will not work with Internet Explorer but great way to create an animated movie.
  • Another great site is goanimate – teachers there is an education version of this as well
  • Kerpoof is great for all ages

Visit these blogs that have left pingbacks or trackbacks over the last month or so

CJ on gala day, Nick on top ten travel destinations, Chloe on Amanda Todd cyberbullying, Amy and her sayings, Chris looked at his clustrmap, Hannah loves free rice, 5G Legendz tessellate (and teacher learns to pingback), Bridget enjoys the season Fall, James’ mum asks a question, Esha talks about inventing, Mrs Flowers class and M&Ms, Matt on trees, Becky on endangered animals, Nickolas on Mars Rover, Dawso on micro-organisms, Hannah on horses, Jess on astronomy, Kara on hurricanes, Isabelle makes an erupting volcano, Jess wrote about Fred Hollows, Esha wrote about dolphins, Morgan likes microscopes, Harry hangs with a moose, Angie quizzed her noodle, Chris looks at cells, Natalie thinks about future technologies, Kaela created an A-Z of science

Visit some classes that are the same grade as you.

Image source: Miss W – will be in flickr account soon.

Challenge 7 – the sciences

Sorry I am late getting this post out, but a few problems with my computer.

How scientific are you?

Most students nowadays are very scientific even if they don’t realise it. There are so many topics that come under the heading of science – physics, chemistry, botany, biology, astronomy, magnetism etc

The Australian science curriculum is divided into three areas:

  • Science Understanding – covers physical sciences, chemical sciences, biological sciences and space and earth sciences
  • Science as a human endeavour – development of science, use and influence of science
  • Science inquiry skills – questioning and predicting, planning and conducting, processing and analysing data and information,evaluating and communication

Activities to try

Create an A-Z about science – you might prefer to think about only one area of science. This could be a written post or maybe a collage of images you have drawn or found with creative commons licences.

Research a famous scientist from your country. Why are they famous in their field?

Write a post on a science topic you are passionate about. It might be deadly snakes, mini-beasts, Mars Landing, periodic table, vaccines, de-forestation, endangered animals, ozone layer, melting of ice caps – the list is endless. Make sure your post includes:

  • an image or video with correct attribution
  • at least one link directing your readers to somewhere else on the web where they can find more information
  • if possible, a link to a webcam relating to your topic
  • a question for your readers to answer in a comment

How did a knowledge of science help the early sea explorers? How has this changed over the centuries?

Write a post about your favourite animal. Give lots of information and include links as mentioned above.

 Try this ultimate weird but true test – can you beat my score of 4 correct on the first try?

Has your class taken part in a scientific online program like Go North, bugscope, birdwatching, saving forest, orangutans? Write a post about your experiences.

Write a post about something scientific you are doing in your classroom or at home this week.

Check out the winners in the 2012 Google Science Fair – have you ever done anything like that at your school?

These places might give you some ideas for other posts:

Visit these websites – National Geographic Australia, National Geographic USA, Australian Geographic, Discovery Channel USA, Discovery Channel Australia, YouTube Discovery Networks, NASA home page, PBS Science resources,

If doing grade 9/10 physics, chemistry, biology or earth science, check out this wikispace.

Remember to also keep visiting other student blogs especially those who don’t have a mentor listed on the participation page.

Image: ‘Charles Darwin: The Origin Of Species: 1859

Challenge 6 – More choices

How are you going with the challenges?

Are you keeping up?

Have you been visiting other blogs and leaving comments?

Have you been checking out those blogs I have been recommending you visit?

This week is another free choice – catch up on earlier posts or write one of your own.

Admin first:

Have you joined freerice and our student blogging challenge group? I know Becky and CJ have because they have written posts about it. So far we have had:

Members count: 75

Grains donated: 106 130

Have you taken part in the M&M tallying activity? So far only one student from Russia and one student from the Ukraine have left results at this link.

Again, if you can’t think of your own you might like to try one of these:

  • How could you do mathematical activities using your clustrmap? Remember if you click on the map, you will get more statistics and numbers. Write a post about the usefulness of your clustrmap when it comes to mathematics.
  • Create an A-Z  about mathematical terms – try to take your own photo of each term and add it to a slideshow.
  • Write your own story relating to mathematics. Research some that have already been written.

Read some blog action day posts: Angie, Mrs Black’s Russian class, Ms Fernandez class, Jarrod, Mrs Miller’s class, Room 2.1, student power in Serbia, Mrs Krebs

Visit other blogs to comment:

Mrs Ligon wants to know where in the world you would like to visit and why

Kaela thinks maths is boring. Do you agree or not?

Hannah has a great maths reflection post

Check out the posts by Shirley’s class about geocaching

Image: ‘catching up

Time for a break and visiting other blogs

We are now half way through the set of challenges, and many schools have either been on holiday or are about to go on holiday for a couple of weeks. So this week there are no formal activities to do. It is a chance to catch up on those you might not have completed or those you wanted to do but didn’t have time to get done.

It is also a chance to check that each post has been categorised and has had tags added to it, to make sure your visitors can find posts easily. You can also go back through the images you have used and make sure you have used correct attribution or else find another image to use on that post.

But there is one activity you can do this week and that relates to Blog Action Day. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned we would be taking part in BAD 2012 where the theme is “Power of We“. Once you have written your post, make sure you tag it with #powerofwe and #BAD12 then publish it on October 15, 2012.

One way we, as in the student blogging challenge participants, can make a difference is by taking part in Free rice where the blogging challenge has its own group. Make sure you join up, you can be a member of more than one group, but choose the group you want to have the rice added to when you first login each time. So far only 5 people have signed up since the beginning of October 2012.

Have time to visit other blogs then check out these:


Challenge 5 – Let’s get data

This week’s subject area is Mathematics. Meaning lots of data gathering and presenting. This also relates to our ‘ improving your blog’ activity about using categories and tags.

Improving your blog

How easy is it for people to find posts they want to read on your blog? If a visitor is interested in book reviews and you have written some, how will they find them easily?

Answer: They will look at your post categories and/or your tag cloud.

Here is a link to a post written by Sue Waters from Edublogs explaining more about categories and tags and how to use them with your posts. If using blogspot, you have labels like Em has on her blog. In Weebly, they interchange tag and category but they suggest no more than twenty tags.

Categories are like the chapter headings in books while tags are like the index words at the back of a book.

These relate to the posts you write about.  These categories appear in the header area or at the footer section of each post you write. My post categories for this blog are on the left sidebar and named ‘Challenge Sections.’ My tags are in the right sidebar and named ‘Find posts about.’

What are your posts mainly about?

  • Check out the categories and/or tags these students are using: Daniel (left), Teegan(right), Isabella, Harry, Sabastian
  • Classes check out Miss T’s categories at bottom of left sidebar – notice it is a dropdown box and she has included names of students in case they write a post on the class blog.
  • Miss W has a moving box for her categories on the right sidebar – need to be a pro blog to use this.

Go back through the posts you have already written and put them in one of your categories. Get into the habit of ticking the category and adding the tags before you publish your post.

Why are categories and tags important when writing your posts?

Where else do you find tags used in technology?

Write a post about the importance of tags and categories

  • Why should regular users of the internet be using tags and categories whenever they leave a footprint on the web?
  • Where are users asked to use tags?
  • What is geotagging?
  • Why did you decide on those categories for your blog?

Ideas for posts related to mathematics

  • Add a poll or survey on your blog – make sure you include a link in the post so I can visit and promote it in a ‘Visit these’ post. Check the webtools links on the sidebar for suggested websites to use.
  • Join Free Rice and then find the group Student Blogging Challenge and join that. Can we raise 1 million grains of rice by the end of the challenges? So far we have over 80000 with Ethan having raised 10000+ on his own. Lots of large numbers when talking about this website.
  • Maybe you could run something like the Oreo cookie challenge in your school and post the results on your class blog.
  • Use diagramly or Google sketchup or something similar to create your idea of a dream school. Add your image to your blog. You might want to include some measurements.
  • Visit this website suggested by Ronnie Burt, check out the examples of math art. What could you create and then add to your blog?
  • Take part in the student blogging challenge milk chocolate M&Ms data gathering. I saw this run by Mrs Smith but she used Smarties which we have in Australia. As most countries in the world now have M&Ms, I would like you to buy a 50 gram packet of milk chocolate M&Ms and count the number of M&Ms in the box. Sort them by colour  and add your data to the form at this link. Try not to add in one packet at a time, but multiple packets to save space on the spreadsheet. At the end of November I will publish the results but here is a link so your class can see the spreadsheet.
  • If doing the M&M data gathering as a class, use your M&Ms to create a pattern before eating them. Take a photo of your pattern and add to your blog with a post about what you did.
  • Have you used the programming website called ‘Scratch‘? If you have you might be able to give us a link to the scratch game you created.
  • Use a digital camera or camera phone or iPad and take photos of maths terms you can find outside. Think about angles, shapes, geometry, numbers, statistics, probability, patterns. Now create a slideshow and put on your blog for others to guess which maths words you have photographed.
  • Your class could look at this International weather investigation  This includes a skype lesson on climate change You might like to take part.
  • I saw a post on a class blog about the Global children’s challenge website. Are you taking part?
  • Write a post about a project relating to maths that your class has taken part in.
  • Find out about geocaching in your area. Could you create something similar in your school grounds?
  • What do these words have to do with maths? – Fibonacci sequence, fractals, wolfram alpha, networks Find some other words using this maths dictionary. Write a post about your words.
  • Add a widget to your blog relating to maths
  • Write a post estimating how many days, weeks or months until you have 100 posts or 100 visitors or even larger numbers. Let’s find out how accurate your estimation is.

 Still got time left this week

Visit other blogs to leave interesting comments.

If you know of any other great maths websitesm leave a link in a comment on this post, so we can include them next week.

Make sure your blog is registered ready for Blog Action Day next week. The theme is ‘The Power of We’ which fits in well with maths and groups of people.

Whatever you do make sure you include a link back to this post.

Image: ‘Geometric M&Ms

Visit these weeks 2 and 3

Lots of great posts being written. Classes, students and mentors have been adding links to their posts, allowing me to visit and leave a comment. I don’t think links are coming through from weebly sites so you might need to leave a comment back here at the challenge blog until I find out how to solve the problem.

Check these out:


Dinah created a prezi about herself so her students could know more about her, Astaneh wrote about his country,


Bonfigli Beat students photographed their school, the students from this virtual classroom are noticed because of their links back to the challenge, Room 2.1 writes about their passions, this school has a theatre, Mr Waugh’s class researched the Eureka flag,


When checking out these posts, remember to also read other posts written by the student and check out their blogroll for more student posts to read.

Challenge 4 – Lots of choice

Some excellent posts being written, but I am only finding out about them by accident. Many students are still not adding a trackback or link on their post that leads back to the blogging challenge post they are writing about.




Improving your blog

Instead of me writing about copyright and creative commons, finding images and including attribution, I am giving you a link to a post written by Sue Waters from Edublogs as part of the teacher challenge blog. Before including any images in your posts, please read this very carefully. It is a very long post, but worth reading especially for students with their own blogs and for teachers to use when teaching about images in blogs and creative commons.

Recently I have also written a couple of posts about using pics4learning, flickrcc and google advanced search to find images. These are not as detailed as the post by Sue Waters.

Here is a link to the post I wrote in the March set of challenges. It includes two movies you might wish to use about creative commons and copyright and suggestions for posts relating to using images.

Again this week, you have freedom of choice 

  • post about a topic of your own choice
  • your passions, your favourites
  • start a series of posts
  • write your own story and have your visitors help guide the next part of the story
  • an activity mentioned in a previous challenge that you didn’t have time to complete.

But if you are stuck for ideas

Check out these history, geography and languages activities I found on the web. You might like to write a post about which sites you visited.

Play these online games: Remember don’t click on any ads as they often have spyware and viruses

Still more time to spare

  • Keep visiting other classes and students. Read their posts, answer their questions, leave comments – make connections.
  • Write a post about your visits to other blogs. Which ones do you recommend others visit and why?
  • Find some widgets relating to history, geography and/or languages that you could add to your blog sidebar. Remember to copy the embed code then go to your dashboard>appearance> widgets and drag a text box widget across. Paste in the code and save. If using other blog platforms, check out the “Get Help”section on this blog.

Image: ‘Postcards

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