Do you have time to mentor some students?

The next student and class blogging challenge starts on Sunday 5 March 2017.

Why do we need mentors in the blogging challenge?

When I first began the challenge back in 2008, there were only about 200 students taking part and I could visit each of them three times over the ten week period.

But in the last few challenges, there have been over 2000 students and there was no way I could visit them regularly. So in 2010 I started asking people in education to mentor a small group 20-30 students over the ten week period of October to December or March to May.

If you register to be a mentor, please keep checking back on this post as I will allocate the students to you and mention in your comment reply who you will be visiting.

Once students start registering this week, I will be allocating mentors immediately so please keep checking out the student participant’s page in the main header above to find out who you are mentoring.

Who can be a mentor?

classroom teacher or homeschool teacher
principal or senior staff or faculty members
trainee teachers
students who have taken part in at least two sets of previous challenges or been invited by the organizers
educational coaches or trainers
regular blogger about educational matters
authors of children’s books with their own website

What do you do if you are a mentor?

Visit your allocated student blogs at least three times throughout the challenge
Leave comments on posts written by the students
Continue conversations in the comments
Remind them about visiting the main blogging challenge page each week
Contact me by email or a comment if having concerns or problems (contact is on right sidebar)

So you have read the above and have decided you have the time to visit the student blogs, now it is time to register.

In a comment below, mention the following:

A short bio of yourself including some interests
Link to your own blog, especially a class blog or your personal blog – allows me to check validity as an educator
Age group you would like to mentor and how many students

Class blog registration

Before filling in the registration form please read the following:

Who should register

  • Teachers who have their own class blog can register, can be any blogging platform
  • Classes which want to connect with other classes around the world

Reminders before registering

  1. If your blog URL is very long, then use a shortener such as this one from Google  Also handy when students are registering their blogs on their form (especially if kidblog as the URL is usually long).
  2. In case I need to contact you, an email is the easiest way, so please fill that in on the last question on the form. This is not published but other teachers could contact me in case you don’t have a contact spot on your blog.

A few days after  you have registered

  1. Check the class participants page which will appear in the header area to make sure you are there.
  2. If you are not on the participants page, register again being careful that your blog URL is correct
  3. If you are on the participants list, start visiting other classes of similar grade level.
  4. Fill in the subscription by email so you are notified when posts are published each week – first challenge will be March 5 or if you have Edublogs reader, click on follow then you will be able to read posts in your reader.
  5. Make sure you have some great posts written so others can leave comments.

If publicising any posts on twitter, please use the hashtag   #17stubc

You have read everything above, now is the time to register

 

Are you getting organized?

So you are thinking about taking part in the Student Blogging Challenge in March but you want to know more about it and what it involves.

The basics of the challenge

The challenge is run twice a year beginning first Sunday in March and October for a 10 week period each time.

It is organized by Miss Sue Wyatt (@tasteach) and help is given by Mrs Sue Waters and her team at Edublogs.

There are three registration forms:

  • educators who would like to mentor a group of students – this is usually a post rather than a form
  • teachers who have a class blog who want to connect with other classes globally
  • individual students who have their own personal blog and want to connect globally with other students

Forms are published as posts in late February and September. Once the form is filled in results are shown in the page area above the header. This way you can start connecting immediately.

Students, mentors and classes taking part can add a special challenge badge to their blog.

A twitter hashtag created each year  #17stubc

All blogs must be set to open to the world – the reader doesn’t need a password to leave a comment etc

Blogs can be any platform eg edublogs, wordpress, blogger, weebly, kidblog etc but when full instructions are given in the challenge they will be for edublogs users. There are links on the sidebar to help with other platforms.

The activities each week

Each week a post is published with a list of activities for students to choose from. They only need to complete one activity each week, but if they want to do more they can.

Some weeks are similar every time the challenge is run – that is because they are important skills for both teachers and students to have.

  • About me – creating their avatar and about me page so visitors get to know them – includes digital citizenship and cybersafety
  • Let’s comment – teaching what makes a quality comment, how to connect through commenting and again cybersafety and digital citizenship
  • Using images – teaches about using creative commons images, giving attribution for images, videos etc, tools for using images in posts

The other weeks of the challenge are based around a topic eg food, games, government, history, maths, nature etc

The final post for the challenge is an evaluation and audit of what they have done over the 10 week period of the challenge.

 

OK, so you think you might be interested in joining the next set of challenges?

Fill in the Subscribe by email in the sidebar so you will be notified when a new post is published.

Check out the Teacher Challenge run by Edublogs where they give lots of hints about blogging with students

Great blogs to visit

In one of the last challenge posts, I asked for nominations of great blogs. Because there are no Edublog awards this year, I have decided to add to this post all those blogs you have nominated and who nominated them.

Please visit these blogs and decide why some students thought they were great. Now read the post written for the nomination.

Is your blog on this list?

Remember to keep coming back as I add more blogs that have been nominated to each list.

Student blogs

Jayden – nominated by Margaret

Thanumi – nominated by Maria’s English on the spot students, Summer, Danika,

Jagga – nominated by Anisha, Rit,

Jada – nominated by Sabrina

Alyssa – nominated by Aya

Seb – nominated by Fauzan, Marianne Ella,

Alexandra – nominated by Karah

Anna – nominated by Philip – need to be Edublogs user to read Anna’s blog

Jennifer – nominated by Thunyama

Be That Girl – nominated by Angela

Abby – nominated by Tosita

Eli – nominated by Hannah

Ella – nominated by Emily

Louisa – nominated by Bryan

Fernando – nominated by Ashton

Ryan – nominated by Ryder

Ella – nominated by Leila

 

Class blogs

Story behind a photo – nominated by Owen

Eugene’s SA blog – nominated by Maria’s English on the Spot students

5C in Qatar – nominated by Emily

 

Week 10: Farewell until March 2017

This is our last post for the Student Blogging Challenge until we start again in March 2017. I hope you have enjoyed the activities and the chance to make connections with other students and classes around the world.

I would like to thank the mentors for taking time to visit and comment on student blogs. I would also like to thank those educators who wrote a post for one of the challenges this time round.

We have had a great 10 weeks of blogging. You have learnt so many skills to help you improve your blogs. Many of you have improved those writing skills or maybe digital skills with using a variety of tools to embed on your blog. But it is now time to evaluate your progress as well as the progress of the blogging challenge itself.

This week there are two things to do:

  1. Evaluate your own blog
  2. Evaluate the actual blogging challenge

1. This is an audit of your blog since the beginning of October 2016.

  • 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?
  • Which web tools did you use to show creativity on your blog?

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:

  1. What were your first impressions of this blog?
  2. What captured your attention?
  3. What distracted you on the blog?
  4. What suggestions can you give me to improve my blog?

Write a post about your blog audit.

2. Evaluating the challenge.

This is the seventeenth challenge and sometimes I feel like the activities are getting stale especially for those students who have taken part in more than one set of challenges. So over the next few weeks I will be adding new pages that you all can contribute to. Every month of the year, there are special events, festivals, birthdays of authors etc. Which ones do you think it would be interesting to write about? Find the post ideas page for that month and add your ideas in the comments. (These are found above the header area)

I usually have a form to fill in here but this time I would like you to leave a quality comment giving your opinion of the challenge. You might want to mention some of the following things:

  • the most interesting challenge for you
  • how often you visited other blogs and left comments
  • whether you read the challenge flipboard magazine
  • a PMI or plus/minus/interesting point about the challenge
  • the most important thing you learnt while doing the challenge

Thanks again for taking part in this challenge. Hopefully you will take part again in March next year. If you have taken part in at least two sets of challenges, you can also become a mentor, so watch out for the mentor post in February.

Keep writing, keep reading the magazine, and if you have a great post you would like me to add to the magazine over the Christmas break, feel free to leave a comment here.

Week 9: Show off

O, Let Me Ne'er Forget

Mike Trimble via Compfight

So we are one week away from the end of the challenge. As some schools finish soon, I will be posting the last challenge early this week instead of next weekend. Look out for it about Wednesday.

Do you think you have improved your blogging skills since you began earlier this year?

Now is your chance to show off.

Activity 1

Write the very best post you can for your teachers and visitors to read.

Remember essentials for a great post:

  1. catchy title
  2. includes at least one visual (with attribution) whether photo, cartoon, video or another web 2.0 tool like padlet or glogster
  3. interesting topic with the passion of the author coming through
  4. well written and not copy/pasted from somewhere else
  5. shows it has been proofread and spellchecked
  6. written in paragraphs – at least three of them
  7. includes links to other websites on similar topics – at least two of these
  8. ends with a question to lure your visitors into leaving a comment

Your choice of topics:

  • Favourites – eg music, author, colour, holiday etc Just write about one of these.
  • Science – any topic within science – astronomy, chemistry, physics, the environment, animals etc
  • Travel – where to go, where you have been, future travel, what to take when travelling, planning a trip etc

When you have finished your post and your teacher has published it, then return here to leave a link to the post. We still have some students just leaving a link to their blog rather than the exact post.

Activity 2

Do you have a favourite blog (not from your class though) that you visit often?

Write a post about that blog and why you keep going back there. Does the author deserve to be nominated in the Edublogs Awards? Give reasons for you nominating them.

Still got time left then visit other blogs and leave quality comments. Read the magazine and visit posts to leave comments on.

Week 8: Community

Bioretention Gardens in Detroit

Creative Commons License University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment via Compfight

A week or so ago, I took part in a global education conference. The people who presented and listened to all the sessions are part of a network of educators around the world. They have their own little community or network.

As a student or teacher what type of communities or networks do you have both in school and outside of school hours?

These communities might include

  • sporting groups
  • after-school activities
  • networks online such as Twitter, Facebook, Minecraft
  • local community groups eg gardening or Boy Scouts
  • country level groups
  • global groups

This week the theme to write about is community.

You might like to think about the following and mention some in your post.

  • The pros and cons of being in a community
  • Which communities you are part of now
  • Which communities you would like to join or be part of later in life
  • Roles within a community
  • Responsibilities when part of a community
  • How to find out about communities to join
  • Value of being in a community

Remember to have your post flipped to the magazine you need to have a great post as mentioned in previous posts in the challenge. This week I have flipped about 200 new posts to the magazine but I have also left comments about making sure you have included images and links within your great posts.

Keep visiting other students and reading posts from the magazine.

Next week

You will have a chance to nominate a great student and class blog for the Edublog awards. These blogs do not have to be from the Edublogs platform but just be a blog about education.

You will also have a chance to show how well your blogging has improved since beginning this challenge.

Week 7: Let’s talk school

It has been interesting reading posts from students in different countries of the world. I wonder how similar or different your school day is! So this week’s theme is all about school. I am going to give you some suggestions but what you post about is up to you. Use one of my ideas or think of something for yourself. Check out what these three students have done:

Kaiya – lunch time choices

Brooke – interview a staff member – make sure they know beforehand you will be putting it on your blog for the world to see

Maraya – report on an event at school

I have included a few videos and links  you might like to check to give you ideas for posts.

So what could you do for a post this week?

  • Create polls about how people get to school or work, or favourite school subject or …..
  • What is your weekly timetable like, compare with other students – time you start and finish school, number of lessons each day, breaks during the day, days in year you go to school
  • Choices of subjects at school – remember to explain abbreviations you might use eg LOTE , ELA
  • Your dream of what you will be doing once you leave school
  • If you were principal for a week, what would you do? If you were a teacher for a week, what would you do?
  • Research the history of your school and create an about my school page
  • Research a famous person who attended your school
  • Technology in your school
  • What do you do at break times?
  • School bell has gone – what do you do now?
  • Food you eat at school – what is in your lunchbox or your school meal – good activity for taking photos
  • If you could improve your school, what would you do?
  • Your ideal school – maybe include a map of what it would look like
  • How has schooling changed over the last 100 years? Maybe interview parents, grandparents and ask questions about schooling – use an audio app then embed in blog
  • The view outside your classroom window – maybe explain plants that might be seen, the weather, seasons etc
  • Hold a debate about uniforms or school starting times or subjects or …..
  • Anything else that relates to schooling around the world

If you create polls or surveys, make sure you contact me so I can publicize on Twitter to get other classes around the world to join in. Use #16stubc or #globalclassroom if you are doing it yourself.

Check out this gallery of classrooms around the world

Martha Payne’s blog turned viral overnight – check out this interview and her blog about school lunches  Make sure you read her very first posts on her blog.

Collaborate with some other schools to create a video like these global classrooms did – Dancing around the world

Teachers:

Check out how you can connect with other schools using Skype in the classroom – Here is link to Hello Little World Skypers  Perhaps join in some of their projects.

Make more global connections by listening to the archives of recordings from the Global Ed Conference that has just been held. Maybe join the Global Education Network that has over 24000 members around the world.

Remember to leave a comment here including a post URL telling me which activity you have done. If your post is great, it will be added to the Flipboard Magazine.

Week 6: Time to visit

content-marketing_cover

Creative Commons License Hurca! via Compfight

There are two activities this week and they are in the form of a game. They involve visiting other blogs, leaving quality comments and writing a post about the comments you left.

Admin this week

I have asked mentors to get back to me with those students who have not been doing the activities relating to the challenge. I have coloured their country pink on the student participant list. I will be deleting these students from the list over the next week if I feel they have not really been participating in the challenge.

Out of 106 comments left on the challenge blog over the last couple of days only 61 included the URL of the actual post I needed to visit. Many students are still leaving just the URL of their blog rather than the post. I only visit and flip to the magazine when a post URL is left here.

Before playing the games, make sure your blog is ready for visitors.

  1. You have lots of interesting posts for visitors to read and comment on.
  2. Visitors can find posts by using tags or categories on your sidebar.
  3. You have a visitor widget to see where your visitors are coming from.
  4. You have at least five student blogs from other places around the world on your sidebar.

Game week is all about visiting other blogs.

Remember one of  the main aims of blogging includes commenting and carrying on conversations with the author of posts and their other readers.

A good commenter will have:

  • read the post carefully,
  • checked out the links in the post
  • read the previous comments before they leave one of their own
  • added to the conversation with a quality comment – remember that video from Mrs Yollis’ class.
  • included a link to their own blog or a similar post on their own blog

Game 1: 

This is a game we have run for many challenges and allows you to connect globally.  Those who have taken part in a challenge before know the game of  ‘Count Out Three’. Here are the instructions:

  1. click on a blog on the student list or class list– count one
  2. now click on a blog from the new student’s blogroll – count two
  3. finally click on a blog from that new blogroll – count three
  4. leave a comment on an interesting post at this third blog.

Teachers: If you are moderating student comments, please make sure you are up-to-date with that this week as students can be very disappointed when they think they have no comments, yet many are in the moderation queue ready to be published.

Students: Make sure you are also replying to any comments that have been left for you.

Do this activity at least three times and finally, write your own post saying which blogs you visited and which posts you left a comment on. Why did you choose that post? Remember to include a link back to the post you left a comment on.

Game 2:

This is a new one I have thought of for this challenge. Many great student posts are being flipped to the #16stubc Flipboard magazine, but I am not sure how many of you have actually checked them out. So here are the instructions for this game.

  1. Click on the flipboard magazine link here
  2. Click on the title of the post of what looks like an interesting image or a catchy title
  3. You should now be taken to the actual blog post, read it and leave a comment
  4. Come back to the magazine again and repeat two more times

Write a blog post mentioning the blog posts you read and the comment you left.

Get to it – start visiting and leaving quality comments that show you have read the post. 

How many quality comments could you leave this week? Can you leave 10, 20 or maybe 50?

Write a post about the commenting you have done this week or throughout the challenge so far.

  • What have you enjoyed about commenting?
  • What is annoying about commenting?
  • How have you found interesting posts to comment on?
  • Are your posts getting lots of quality comments? Why or why not?

Create a list of great comment starters to help new students to blogging. There are some lists on the web but try to create your own. Here are a couple of examples from Anne Davis:

  •  Another thing to consider is…….
  • I can relate to this…….
  • This makes me think of…….

Write a quick post then include 5 great examples of comments as part of the post – use some interesting comment starters for each comment.

Week 5: Free choice

Cabra hispanica Montserrat

Pedro Luna Guillen via Compfight

Next week we will be playing a commenting game. But you need to get prepared for this.

  1. Make sure you have at least 5 other student blogs linked on the sidebar of your blog, in a page near your header area or in a recent post that your visitors can find easily. Make sure these are blogs from other students around the world, not just those in your class or school. Perhaps have a blogroll or link category called Global students or Global classes. Here is how to add a blogroll if using Edublogs or Blogger. If using Kidblog write a post mentioning at least 5 great blogs you enjoy visiting.
  2. Have some visitor widgets on your blog sidebar – maybe a revolver map or a flag counter – this way you can see where your visitors are coming from. Remember only one visitor in 30 will actually leave a comment.
  3. Make sure your blog looks interesting – maybe change your header to suit what you are writing about. Do your pets make a noise as soon as your blog is opened in a tab? That can be annoying so make sure the visitor can click on the sound button if they want to hear your animal pet. Have you changed the tagline under the title of your blog? Have you included some tags or categories to help your readers find a great post?

This week’s activity

Have some interesting posts for your visitors to read when they get to your blog. Last week you visited some class blogs and throughout the challenge you have visited some student blogs.  I am not going to give any clues as to what to put in your posts but remember the following, especially if you want a post flipped to our magazine.

Having read many of your posts, I came up with the following essentials in a great post.

  1. catchy title
  2. includes at least one visual (with attribution) whether photo, cartoon, video or another web 2.0 tool like padlet or glogster
  3. interesting topic with the passion of the author coming through
  4. well written and not copy/pasted from somewhere else
  5. shows it has been proofread and spellchecked
  6. written in paragraphs – at least three of them
  7. includes links to other websites on similar topics – at least two of these

When you have finished your post, please come back here to the blogging challenge and leave a comment on this post. Mention what topic you wrote about and leave a link to your post. Those posts covering the seven things mentioned above will be added to the flipboard magazine. Many students are forgetting to add links to other websites relating to the topic they have written about.

Mentors:

Can you please check your students blogs this week and get back to me via email or comment with names of students who are not really participating in the challenge activities? By now students should have an about me page or post and at least two other posts relating to images, avatars, their country, emergency preparedness, games at school, Gaia or how to comment.

Classes

  • The students in Serbia presented about Shakespeare – to read in English, go to the translate button under the challenge badge.
  • Students in Mrs Ives class wrote about fun facts for their country.
  • Beech class have lots of great book reviews for you to check out – use the category on the sidebar area.
  • This teacher in Portugal created a survey to see how well you read the information on Eugene’s post about South Africa.

Students

  • Thanumi from Thailand is showing her video skills with this fun facts about Greece
  • Celeste is part of the WriteAbout community and has written some posts for you to comment on.
  • Roman created a jigsaw puzzle using an image
  • Naani has an interesting story and she would like your opinion .
  • Kaan decided to get ready for the apocolypse

 

Still more time left this week

  • Read some of the posts in the flipboard magazine – your teacher might want to create a class flipboard magazine to add to your class blog
  • Visit other classes and students in the lists above the header of the challenge blog.
  • Reply to any comments left on your blog especially if from a mentor.