Challenge 2 – Sept 2010

Lots of choices again this week in the challenge.

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. If using Blogger, here is a link to show how to add a photo to your profile.

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

2. As a class, put together a post, movie or slideshow including your avatars.

Mrs Yollis’ class made lucky hat avatars last year.  Here is an example using animoto.

3.  Create a quick brief tour of your classroom or school (walking around showing the grounds/playgrounds/classroom) and then  embed it or upload it to the classroom blog. You might use vimeo , a slideshow, photopeach, YouTube, Smile Box etc.  Next week visit other classes who did the same activity and compare your schools or classrooms.   Thanks Mr Webb for this suggestion.

4.  In a post, please answer this question: When do you think it is appropriate for students to use real photos of themselves on their blogs and why? See if you can research this on the net and find responses from other educators. Remember to link to their post if you use information they mentioned. Hyperlink as well to this challenge post, so I can read your answers. Andrea wrote a great response in March this year.

5. Visit this website and leave a comment on the topic posted.  Look at the other topics to write about at Ignite to Write.  Create a couple of these to put as posts on your blog.  Thanks Tatiana for this suggestion.

6.  Create a Voki to put on your blog sidebar or post. Have the Voki talk about a place you would love to visit. Give at least three reasons why. Try to use an appropriate background for the Voki relating to that place. Don’t actually tell us the place eg Egypt, let your readers guess from the information you mention.

7. Visit Mr Pepper’s blog and leave a comment on this post.  If you are a new blogger, answer the grade 7 question.  If you have been blogging for a while, answer the grade 8 question – you might want to create your own ‘Commandments of blogging’.

Remember, whatever activity you choose to do, create a hyperlink back to this post somewhere in your writing. That way I can visit your blog and add you to one of my ‘Visit these’ posts in the future.

Being internet savvy

Having visited all class and student blogs to check out the ‘About’ pages, some of the helpers and myself are a bit worried about how much information some of you are putting on your blogs.

Remember you do not give out lots of personal information.

We saw birthdays, full names, sports teams you play in and names of your schools.  It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to privacy.  You could be having hundreds of  people visit your blog over the next ten weeks.  The majority will be teachers and students taking part in the challenge, but you might also have other visitors looking for information to use.

So remember:  First name only

Do not include: birthdays, addresses, school names,  sports team names, phone numbers,  email addresses

Original image: ‘privacy

privacy

by: Alan Cleaver

Responses for the first challenge

Many classes and students wrote some great posts relating to why you should visit their blogs. Check them out here.

Teegan – NZ,  World Star Academy – USA, Mental Weight – USA,  Simone – NZ, Mr Carson – a little school in Canada, Calie – USA, Connor – NZ, Indy – Australia, Coleman – USA, Mason – USA, Digiridoos – NZ, Abbey – USA, Mrs Yollis – USA, tj at Hyden – Australia, Mrs Tieppo – Australia, Braxton – NZ,  Rachel – USA, Bree - NZ, Finn – NZ, Alice – NZ, Jakob – NZ, Mrs Davis-Louis – USA, Mrs Melton – USA, iCubed – USA, Robert – USA, Derek – USA, Brenna – NZ, Daniel – NZ, Miss T – NZ, Daiki – Thailand, Chloe – USA, Dakota – USA, Christian – USA, Addison – USA

Fantastic ‘About’ page

Mr Baldock – Australia

Which of these blogs would you visit again?

Make sure you add a link to their blog on the blogroll on your sidebar. For Edublogs users go to dashboard> links> add new  If your blogroll is divided into categories, decide which one to add it to.

Original image: ‘Come Here Often – brand spanking new video!

Come Here Often - brand spanking new video!

by: id iom

Challenge 1 – Sept 2010

The first week of challenges 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.

1. 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 use Kidblogs I don’t think you have a choice of themes, so you won’t be able to do this activity.

2. 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 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 – classes

About pages – students

  • Abbey
  • Skye – changed since previous challenge – notice comments
  • Loretta
  • Amelia – new to blogging like three weeks only
  • Kylie – same as Amelia

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.

3. Added your blogger, commenter or helper badge to your sidebar.

As you are taking part in the challenge, a designer Tammie at Edublogs has created a badge you can put on your blog sidebar.   Click on this underlined link and it will take you to the post telling you what to do. If you can’t add it to your sidebar, you could put it in a post instead.  Make sure you have added your ‘Recent comments’ widget to your sidebar.

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 September 2010 challenge. Highlight ‘Challenge 1′  then use the Link icon  – chains joined – and type in the URL for this post. Check out how Abbey has created the trackback here.

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.

5. Leave a comment on this post telling me three interesting things about you then ….

Check out the page called “Sept. 2010 students’ and visit ten blogs there 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.

6. Classes only

Each week you will need to have visited the blog of the class on either side of your name on the ‘Sept. 2010 classes’ 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.  If browsing with Internet Explorer, remember to use the ‘Sept 2010 classes use IE’  link.

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?

7. Now students like Abbey who have already taken part in the challenges in March will already have done most of these things, so I want you to write a post on the following topic.

Think about something important you have learned outside of school – remember we should all be life long learners not just learners while at school. How did you learn it? Why is it important to you? Who or what taught you about it? How has this learning helped you in your life?

This idea is from a prompt at this website - Teaching that makes sense.

Original image: ‘Dive off!

Dive off!

September blogging helpers

While this 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.

Sue Waters from TheEdublogger sent out an urgent request for helpers in the challenge.  You can read the post here. Within an hour of the post being published and a few tweets sent out on Twitter, we had six helpers for commenting.

Role of the helper

I will allocate about 20 blogs for each helper to visit. By the end of the challenge, they will visit each of those blogs at least twice. Each helper 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: ‘Trust

Trust

Students and classes – grab a badge

We thought some of you might like to add badges to your blogs to let your readers know you’re participating in the Student Blogging Challenge.  So here they are!  Thanks to Sue Waters at The Edublogger for this post.

For Better Bloggers

Better Blogger participant

For Better Commenters

Better Commenter participant

For Student Blogger Helper

Student Blogger Helper

Adding your badge(s) to your blog is as easy as:

1.  Download this Student Challenge Zip file – contains the HTML code for all badges with links back to the Student Blogging Challenge blog
2.  Unzip the downloaded file to a folder on your hard drive.
3.  Open up badgecode.txt (contained inside the zip file)
4.  Copy the HTML code for the required badge(s)

Copy the HTML code

5.  Go to Appearance > Widgets in your Dashboard
6.  Drag and drop a Text Widget from the Available Widgets or Inactive Widgets areas on the left into the Sidebar area on the right
7.  Now just paste your HTML code into the text widget, then click Save and Close

Just over one week till the challenge starts. Hope you are all getting excited and have started visiting the other classes and students who have already registered.

Want to connect now …..

So, you can’t wait until the challenge starts?

You want to start connecting with other students RIGHT NOW.

Well here are a couple of sites you might want to visit.

Bringing us Together was created after the first blogging challenge because the students wanted to keep in touch. We haven’t been using it for a while but maybe you can find something there you would like to comment on.Maybe you would like to write a post ready for other students to comment on.

A teacher in Sydney, Australia has just set up a student Blogging Cafe. You might like your class to join the cafe, so students during their lunch hour or a spare half hour could complete some of the short challenges and activities.

Of course, you could always start reading and commenting on class and student blogs listed for September 2010 linked on the header. If using Internet Explorer and checking out class blogs, please use the link saying ‘use IE’.

So far, as at 3pm on Thursday 9 September, we have over 250 student blogs and 100 class blogs from about 10 countries registered for the challenge.

Using Web2.0

Throughout the challenge we will be trying out new tools and learning how to use embed code in our blogs. Here is an animoto I made using only images. Teachers, if you sign up for the education version of animoto, you will receive a classcode that students then use when they signup. Allows you to see their animotos and videos can be more than 1 minute long. Code lasts for 6 months then ask for a new one.

One Day on Earth

On October 10, one of the blogging challenges will relate to this fantastic idea from a ning called ‘One Day on Earth’. Teachers, please join your classes in the ning or be prepared to complete a similar activity on your blog around that date.

When you join, you can receive details for an educational pack that will help you download the films you have taken and also how to look at that downloaded by others around the world.

This is certainly global community at its best, showing off your land and culture to others around the world.


Visit One Day On Earth

Ideas for challenge activities

This is the fifth challenge I have organized and I seem to be running out of ideas for challenge activities. I wonder if the students and teachers who have taken part in previous years, or those who will be joining us for the first time, could think of some interesting topics we could include.

Many of the students  will be blogging for the first time so everything will be new, but some students  will have been blogging for over six months. Perhaps some of you took part in the challenge in March – I don’t want to repeat the same challenges so, please

“Give me some ideas!”

Original image: ‘Green Elephants Garden Sculptures

Green Elephants Garden Sculptures

by: epSos .de  Released under an Attribution License