I received an email from one of the teacher’s whose class love commenting but they used to visit the challenge post and look at the comments left there. With our change in commenting not many comments are being left on each post. Instead they are being added to the weekly Google form at the end of the weekly post.
So I will be adding a link on the sidebar for each week’s posts written by students. Some will have been commented on already and some may not. Please visit first those without a comment.
Teachers, if your class would like to comment on a certain number of posts, please contact me and I will add you to the comment list.
Students who have taken part in the challenge before and would like to leave comments may also contact me.
When visiting many blogs last week, I noticed your pages in Edublogs often didn’t allow for comments to be written. You might need to do the following:
Go to your about me page and open it in your dashboard.
In top right corner, click on screen options and make sure Discussions and/or comments are ticked. Close screen options.
Now below the writing area for your page you should see a dropdown labelled Discussions.
Make sure you have ticked the boxes about leaving comments.
I also noticed some of the About Me pages and posts have too much personal information such as full names, dates of birth, when and where you go to activities after school. Remember not to include this type of information in your posts and pages.
If your About Me page isn’t visible as a link on your blog, you will need to add the widget called Pages to your sidebar.
About week 2: Commenting skills
This is another important week in the challenge. Blogging is all about having your voice heard and connecting with others who might like to read and comment on what you have written. But, as in many things we humans do, there are some protocols bloggers in schools like to follow.
Check out these videos about leaving quality comments. The first video was created for one of the very first blogging challenges back in 2009 by Mrs Yollis’ grade 3 students and it has been seen by thousands of students who have taken part in the blogging challenges since then. This video is suitable for all ages but specifically primary/elementary school or lower. But those in middle/high school or older might like to check out the second video which is more suited to an older age group.
Teachers: You might want to visit the post about teaching quality commenting on the Teacher Challenge blog. It has an excellent video about the possibilities of blogging through commenting. It also includes the videos below and others you might want to share with your class. You also find out about commenting and blogging guidelines, paper blogging and other ways to use your blogs to connect globally.
Nicolas Weiss – Leaving high quality blog comments
Activity 1: Create a ‘How to comment’ page on your blog
Many themes and blogging platforms have different ways to leave a comment. You might need to click on the title of the post, or click on a number in a circle or click on the words ‘Leave a comment’. Write a page for your blog explaining how to leave a comment. You could write it as a set of steps or perhaps create a video showing what to do. Be creative. Here is an example on my family history blog. Mrs Yollis created a video showing how to comment on her blogspot blog. You might prefer to add the instructions in a text widget on your sidebar instead of a page.
Remember, though, if you change themes you might also need to change these instructions. Also if you want a comment left on the page make sure you have followed the instructions in the admin area for this week about ticking boxes for Edublogs blogs.
Activity 2: Make a set of commenting guidelines – you might be able to combine this with activity 1
Explain what you expect when someone leaves a comment on your blog.
What type of comment is acceptable?
Which type of comment will you put in the trash?
Here are some examples:
Huzzah commenting guidelines, a Glogster poster about commenting, WarriorKat used a variety of tools for her guidelines, notice how Sophie included a link back to Mrs Yollis’ blog where she got her information from, Hunter created a PowToon, Alane has some commenting guidelines, Sophiaincluded extra info about commenting, Alicia has written in a great format for easy reading, Katehas used two web tools to create her commenting post, Pinkycreated a commenting recipe, Summerwas very creative, Fionaexplained her tips in detail.
Activity 3: Leave a comment on this post – you might be able to combine this with activity 4
Each week the best posts published in the Student Blogging Challenge are featured in our Flipboard magazine.
So your activity is to practice leaving a comment below with a link to your post for an activity you’ve completed this week or last week.
But first you need to know the difference between your BLOG link and your POST link
Blog link: http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org
Post link: http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2018/01/19/looking-back/
If your teacher is moderating and approving your posts, you will need to wait until this has been done before leaving me a link in a comment.
Activity 4: Use some HTML in a comment
Did you check out Mrs Yollis’ blog? She includes a page with some HTML (code) you can use when commenting especially on blogspot blogs. If leaving a comment on an Edublogs blog, here is a post explaining the HTML to use. If you want to leave a link to your blog that looks neat and tidy, check out this post.
Activity 5: Visit other student or class blogs
Visit 4 other blogs on the lists above the header area. Leave a quality comment on one post on each blog. Might be the About Me page or another post you found interesting. Write a post on your blog mentioning who you visited, which post you left a comment on and why, then include the comment you left. Hint: make sure you copy the comment before you hit the submit button. Here are some examples from other students: Allegra , Izzy,Callie , Sallybut try to include a link to the actual post you left a comment on
I have started adding posts to our Flipboard magazine for #stubc – check in the sidebar.
Check out other student and class blogs located in the participant tabs in the header area.
Check out the page above my header called Post Ideas. Lots of topics and special days to write about in your blog.
If you want a commenter to visit your blog, remember to fill in the form below for only one or two activities you complete this week. Make sure it is a post link as I will be deleting any that are just blog links.
What a great start has been made to this our 20th student blogging challenge!
But I have noticed a couple of things that might need fixing for next week.
Filling in the weekly form
From next week on, I will be deleting any blog URLs that are for just the blog rather than the exact post you have written. Your commenter needs to go to the exact post rather than have to search around on your blog.
Here is an example:
Blog URL: http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/
Post URL: http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2018/03/04/week-1-lets-introduce-ourselves-2/
Notice the difference between these two URLs?
To find the Post URL, go to your blog. Click on the title of the published post you want the commenter to see. This will now open in a window of its own. Look up in the navigation area of your computer browser and you should see the URL of your post. Highlight and copy this URL to put in the weekly form you need to fill in for each activity.
Writing your post
Think about the font, font colour, whether using ALL CAPITALS IN YOUR POST. Which is easier to read for your visitors?
Adding links in your posts
In the avatar post you were asked to add the link to the site where you created your avatar.
I went to http://www.moeruavatar.com/index_en.shtml to make my avatar. (Unlinked)
But the event I enjoy most is running the Student Blogging Challenge twice a year, with the help of the staff at Edublogs.
When you meet a new person or join a group, there are three things you will most likely do.
Look at the outside view of the person – do they look like the type of person you would enjoy being with?
Then you would go deeper by asking some basic questions about the person and their interests.
Finally, you would connect through shared interests.
We are going to cover those three things this week by creating an avatar to represent our outside view, create our about me page to show your visitors the type of person you are and your interests then you are going searching for other students your age who also have similar interests.
Teachers– Remember you can adapt the activities to suit what is happening in your class at that time or you can copy and paste parts of it on to your class blog. Just remember to give credit where you found the ideas by linking back to the challenge post somewhere on your post.
Students – Most weeks there will be lots of activities to choose from. You don’t have to complete them all. When you complete an activity, remember to fill in the Google form at the bottom of this post. A commenter will visit to give you some clues about blogging, reminding you of the challenge as well as carrying on conversations in your posts. Remember to read and reply to their comments politely and in a timely fashion.
This challenge we have many new students and classes taking part so let’s get some admin out of the way before we start our activities for this week. Anything written in bold and blue is a link you can click on to take you to another blog or website.
Admin for week 1
Check that your name appears only once on the list of participating students. Leave a comment on that page if I need to remove your name from the list – give me your name, URL and age so I can find you easily.
If all the students in your class have blogs and your teacher has a section called ‘My class’, you should have a widget called ‘Class blogs’. Make sure this is on your sidebar.
Can visitors leave comments on your blog posts? If your country is in bright pink, then you might need to change your privacy settings. Check this post for how to do this using Edublogs, Blogger and Kidblog.
Once you have done your activity for this week, remember to come back here and fill in the Google form.
You can also leave a comment on this post. Include a link to your blog post so I can try and visit in the next week. Great posts will be added to our Flipboard magazine on the sidebar.
Teachers:if you are moderating comments, please do this regularly (at least once a week if not once a day) as it is in the comments where the best connections happen between students and classes. I have just visited some blogs where comments I left two years ago are still awaiting moderation.
With so many new students and teachers taking part, you might like to start with this video created by the team at Edublogs. Here is aPDF activity about blogging terms that you might want to use after watching the video.
Time now for the two topics for this week
Looking at avatars
Activity 1: Create an avatar to use on your blog. There are many different avatar creation sites on the web. I have been to many of them and created lots of different avatars. Some you just save and download to your computer to then upload into your blog. Others you need to use the snipping tool to save a square image of your avatar. It is always best to save as a jpg format.
Here is a symbaloo of websites to use for avatar making. Feel free to add this to your blog. Along the bottom are pages where teachers have listed lots of sites as well as shown examples. The easiest to do are on the right hand side and look like my avatar.
To add your avatar to your blog, if using Edublogs, check here. If using blogspot, check here. Teacher might need to change some settings in Kidblog to allow students to add own avatars.
Activity 2: For classes – As a class create a slideshow of your user avatars or add them to your header area. Or check out how to customize your header– here is a post by Mrs Smith about creating avatars – using shapes,
This was my very first Animoto created back in 2009. Look at the tools page above the header for other slideshow creators.
Did you find a great avatar site not mentioned here? Leave me a comment mentioning the site so I can add it to the Symbaloo.
Activity 3: Write a post about your avatar and how it represents you. Include a link to the website where you created the avatar. Remember to include your avatar as an image in your post. If writing a post about your avatar, choose an interesting title not just avatar as this will cause an error on your blog.
Activity 4: Create a series of avatars to represent your family members. Use different avatar websites depending upon the person’s interests. Write a post about your family and include the avatar for each person and explain how it represents that person.
Remember – be internet safe, no personal information.
About me page
Activity 5: Write or update your About Me page.
Whenever I visit a blog for the first time, I always check to see who the person is that is writing the blog posts. Do they have similar interests to me?
If you already have an About Me page, you might want to create an About my State or Province page as well. Be creative:
Write a poem
Write an A-Z paragraph eg I am an athletic, yet brainy child who decided that saving the environment is one of my future goals. Check out how one of the mentors created her about me page especially for the student blogging challenge
If using blogspot, check here. If using weebly, check here. If using Kidblog, you will need to write a post.
If using Edublogs, here are instructions for creating your page.
Login to your blog, go to Settings> Discussion and make sure the default settings are ticked to allow people to leave comments> save the changes at the bottom
Now go to the dashboard>pages>add new
Change the title to About Me or something similar.
If you only have one row of icons above the writing box, click on the last icon called the kitchen sink or toggle. This opens a second row which allows you to change font colours.
In the box, write a bit about yourself remembering to be internet safe. Make sure you have checked out the pages from other students mentioned – many of them have been blogging for a while.
In the top navigation area is Screen options – open the drop down arrow and make sure comments is ticked.
In the area under the page writing box, you should see a Discussion box – open this and make sure you have ticked Allow comments.
When you have finished click the big button on the right side of your screen – probably says update or send for review.
Once you have saved your about me page, go back and delete the sample page.
If your theme doesn’t show pages in the header area, then you will need to go to dashboard> appearance> widgets and drag across the Pages one to your sidebar.
Activity 6:What are some apps or websites you could use to create something interesting to add to your About me page? Tell me about them, costs, age to use etc Perhaps a word cloud or glogster – brainstorm as a class.
Finished the work for week 1?
Visiting other blogs
One important aspect of blogging is commenting on other blogs. Classes and student participants are grouped according to similar ages. Visit some other blogs, read posts, get ideas from them, leave a comment. Make sure you include your blog URL so they can come to visit your blog. Are there any students with interests the same as you?
If you want a commenter to visit your blog, remember to fill in the form below for each activity you complete this week.