Tracy and I had a fantastic time talking about the student blogging challenge at this years conference in Denver, Colorado. We set up a poster session that was created by three students who took part in the March set of activities. It was great to hear the response from other teachers about the skills of the girls in creating their posters and the letters they included about what they have learnt about blogging.
We had about 300 teachers and educators stop by our display to find out about the challenge and how to join the next one in October 2016. Many thanks to Meghana from New Zealand, Anna from Canada and Olivia from Portugal for taking the time to connect with each other to make sure all the posters were different and covered various areas of the challenge.
This is our last post for the Student Blogging Challenge until we start again in September/October 2016. 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 Sue Waters from Edublogs for writing a few of the challenges this time, but also thank the mentors for taking time to visit and comment on student blogs.
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:
Evaluate your own blog
Evaluate the actual blogging challenge
1. This is an audit of your blog since the beginning of March 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:
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?
Write a post about your blog audit.
2. Evaluating the challenge.
This is the sixteenth 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 October this 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 September.
Well, this is our second last week in the March challenge for 2016. Over the last 8 weeks, you have learnt a lot about blogging if you have done most of the activities and checked out the links included in my posts.
It is now your time to do your best and show your teachers and myself what a great blog post looks like.
The one and only activity for this week:
Write a post on one of the following topics
What makes a great family
A global issue you would like to help solve
Having read many of your posts, I came up with the following essentials in a great post.
includes at least one visual whether photo, cartoon, video or another web 2.0 tool like padlet or glogster
interesting topic with the passion of the author coming through
well written and not copy/pasted from somewhere else
shows it has been proofread and spellchecked
written in paragraphs – at least three of them
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 which 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.
Still more time left this week:
Visit other student and class blogs.
Read posts and leave comments.
Decide on a student blog and/or class blog you would like to nominate for the Edublogs Awards in November/December this year. You will get a chance next week to write a post about the blog you have chosen. HINT: Can’t be your own blog nor one from another student in your class.
Before you start, please 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.
Game week is all about visiting other blogs.
Student and class blogs – new bloggers and old hands at the blogging – mentors as well as participants.
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.
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:
now click on a blog from their blogroll – count two
finally click on a blog from that blogroll – count three
Leave a comment on an interesting post at this third blog. Remember to include the URL of your blog, so that person can visit you as well.
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.
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 include5 great comments as part of the post – use some interesting comment starters for each comment.
Still got time left:
Have you been checking the flipboard magazine?
Is one or more of your posts included?
Miss W has included some great examples up to week 5. Remember to include the URL of your POST in the comments here at the challenge blog if you want to be included in the magazine. Miss W checks the posts first before adding them. Sometimes she also leaves you a comment.
Once you have finished your work at school, you can often go and play with something in the room.
But let’s also think about people with unusual jobs– what did they do for play or relaxation?
I think about my great great grandfather who was a whaling captain in the 1870’s. He was stuck on a boat with thirty other men, maybe his wife and a child was also on board. What sort of things did the sailors do for relaxation out in the middle of the ocean?
Here in Australia and New Zealand we have just celebrated ANZAC Day and we are thinking about the soldiers of the Great War – World War 1. If they weren’t fighting in the trenches or charging across the open ground, what could they do for relaxation? If they had been injured and were recuperating in a hospital tent, what could they be doing?
Activities to choose from:
1. Research board games – when, where and why were they invented?
2. Create a new game for someone to de-stress from their lifestyle.
3. Your family are stranded on a deserted island, with nothing but your clothes. How will you entertain yourselves?
4. Research ball games around the world – find out the rules and then try playing something similar at school or home. How did it go?
5. Find out the ways soldiers and sea captains used to relax over 100 years ago.
6. The electricity grid went out in your country. What would change in your lifestyle? How would you relax?
7. Survey class members about games they have at home. Are you going to include computer games? Create some interesting graphs about results.
8. Find an image that has a relaxing feel to it. Write a poem remembering to give attribution correctly.
Try to use a variety of web tools to create your post not just basic writing.
Make sure you are ready for our game next week. To take part in this game, all classes and students will need the following:
a user avatar if possible
an ‘about me’ PAGE if using Edublogs or a post if using other platforms
a clustrmap or flag counter widget – if your clustrmap is greyed out, check my post here to fix it if using Edublogs widget
at least four interesting posts – could be topics of your choice not necessarily from the challenge
your ‘Recent Comments’ widget on the sidebar with 10 comments as the choice – Edublogs
your ‘Recent Posts’ widget on the sidebar with 10 posts as the choice – Edublogs
Your ‘Pages’ widget on the sidebar or pages in the header – Edublogs
at least 10 student and/or classes linked on your blogroll
at least three overseas blogs on your blogroll
posts tagged or categorized to make it easier to find interesting posts on each blog
the more students or classes you have linked on your blog, the more fun the game will be
The most important of these are the links to other student blogs on your sidebar. Try to have a couple of different headings like
Having lots of links to student blogs from other countries will help spread the game.
Check out the lists of friend’s blogs on these: Clara, Mrs Rombach has hundreds of links to other blogs for her students, Travis has a page for fellow bloggers, Meghana has other awesome blogs in her sidebar as well as a page of other bloggers
Still have time left this week:
Then keep visiting other student blogs and leave great comments including your blog URL. Find some interesting bloggers then add them to your sidebar links. Write some posts about great blogs you have visited, include a link to that blog in your post.
Read the flipboard magazine to visit bloggers who are writing great posts and are then leaving comments on Miss W’s challenge posts.
Have you and your teacher been checking out some of the class blogs? They are also looking terrific and often have lists of students in the sidebar as well.
An important part of blogging as part of a global community is learning more about each others’ culture. Food is often one of the first things you notice when visiting another country. (If you completed this activity last year, you might want to change the topic to stories, songs or clothing from your culture)
This week we’re going to learn more about each others’ culture by sharing stories about food popular in our country or asking other participants questions about food in their country.
To help you get started I’m going to tell you about food that is popular in Australia.
Vegemite is uniquely Australian and most Aussies have a jar of Vegemite in their house. We even have our own Vegemite song! It’s a dark brown food paste made from leftover brewers’ yeast, vegetables and additives.
Our favorite way of eating Vegemite is on toasted bread with a layer of margarine (or butter) spread with a thin layer of Vegemite.
While some might say Vegemite is an acquired taste — the true secret to eating Vegemite is the thin layer of Vegemite on toast. Most of the hilarious taste testing Vegemite videos on YouTube are caused by trying to eat Vegemite like you would Peanut butter, Nutella or Jam.
Aussie Meat Pies
The Meat pie is considered iconic in Australia and New Zealand. These are hand-sized meat pies made up of diced or minced meat and vegetables.
Most Australian bakeries sell a wide variety of meat pies, sausage rolls in addition to bread and cakes. Meat pies and sausage rolls are a common lunch food here and you can also buy them at most lunch bars and petrol stations.
Selection of pies and sausage rolls at a bakery
Each bakery has their own unique recipes.
You might enjoy making meat pies with your students. It isn’t hard.
Write a post on food, songs, stories or clothing that is popular in your country.
In your post, include links to where you researched and some images with attribution. You might also want to a collage of images or a slideshow you have created.
Visit Inside Scoops Taco Tuesday post to learn what their students eat for lunch. Leave a comment on Taco Tuesday post to let them know what you eat for school lunches in where you live or write a post to share what school lunches are like where you live.
Create a poll or survey and embed it into a post to find out more about the types of foods eaten by your readers or songs sung, stories told or clothing worn.
Visit at least 5 blogs from countries other than your own. Leave a comment on a post at each blog to ask them questions about food, songs, stories or clothing in their country. Now write your own post including the comment you have left and linking to each post you commented on.
There is a lot to learn in this challenge so it will be running for a two week (fortnight) period. The next challenge will be posted on 17 April while I am away on holidays.
Admin for this challenge
Thanks to all those students, teachers and mentors who have been checking the student list for students mentioned more than once. If you haven’t checked yet, please make sure you are only listed once.
Also we still have some mentors not able to leave comments especially on those blogs from blogger or blogspot. Make sure you have Name/URL as an option when leaving comments.
Some students (who already have a mentor) have started being deleted from the lists as they have not been participating in the challenge activities.
I have visited hundreds of blogs recently leaving many comments or flipping posts to our magazine. Have you found one of your posts in there yet?
We now have a few more students who have been asked to be mentors. They will be leaving comments and giving hints just like the adult mentors.
Teachers: Here is a lot of information regarding images, creative commons and copyright which you can use with your students or to refresh yourself about what is acceptable or not on public blogs. Also one of our mentors in 2014, Maria, has put together some lists with great tools when using images and audio. The Edublogger also has a post on free image sources. Above the challenge blog header is a page containing a symbaloo with many tools to use on your blog – many relate to images.
Students and teachers please read this before doing the activities
This week’s activities are going to be fun but first there are some things you need to know so please read carefully.
I have been visiting many blogs over the last few weeks. Some students new to blogging have been writing some great posts while others who have been blogging for a bit longer have started adding videos and images to their posts.
Yes, this week we deal with using images, music and sounds in your posts.
But can’t I use any image, music or sound that is on the internet?
No, you must use creative commons or in some cases the fair use rule.
But where can I find these images, music and sounds? Can’t I use anything when I google an image?
No, your blog is public so you must use creative commons images, sounds, music and videos.
Sue Waters over at the teacher challenge has written a fantastic post about images, copyright and creative commons. I would suggest you all head over there to read the post. She explains about creative commons and the licences, attribution, how to find images for your blog and how to upload images to your blog. Most of this would be appropriate whether you are using Edublogs, blogger or any other blogging platform. This might be very wordy for some students, but Sue uses lots of images and how to do sections in her posts.
Teachers: A fantastic guide to copyright, fair use and creative commons has been written by Ronnie Burt and I would suggest you read this to understand more about using images, music and video on your blogs. Also includes what might happen if you use an image etc incorrectly.
Larry Ferlazzo also has a great “Best List for images” that you might want to check out as well.
OK I want to use some legal creative commons images and music in my slideshow.Where can I go to get them?
Do you have compfight plugin for your blogging platform? Follow the instructions from Sue Waters’ post.
You will need to work out how to get the attribution to put on your posts. Check Sue Waters’ post to get more help and more places for images. This post from Edublogs explains how to add media in all its forms to your blog posts or pages. If using blogger, check out the posts from this blog.
Activity 1 Watch this video about sharing work and write a post about what you learned. Include words such as attribution, share alike, licences and derivatives to show you understand what the video was about. Do some more research on the topic and perhaps create your own class video about using images, music and videos in class.
This video is the reaction of students in Mrs Yollis’ class when she mislabelled their artwork. How would you have felt?
Activity 2. Check out this story using remix and fair use of video. What was interesting, positive or negative about it? Could you and your friends create a 20 second video using remix and fair use? Mrs Miller’s class left some comments on her blog about creative commons
Activity 3. Find an image or piece of music. Add it to your post (with attribution) and write a poem relating to the image or music. Invite your readers to write their own poems. Here is Fernando’s example, Samantha is confused
Activity 4.Similar to activity 3. Find an interesting landscape image (include attribution). Write the beginning of a story relating to your image. Remember to include a conflict of some sort between your characters. Invite your readers to finish the story. How many different endings can you get? Which ending do you prefer? You might need to visit some other bloggers and invite them to finish your story. Remember to leave the URL of your post for them to click on.
Activity 5. Write a sentence using just images – no words. You still need to include attribution for each image you have used.
Activity 6. Find 5 images that create a story – again no words only the attribution for each image.
Activity 7. Create a slideshow, photo gallery or poster about your interests to add to your about me page or as a separate post. Your final slide should include attribution for each image.
Activity 8. Create your own images and add to a post of your choice. In your post add a link to the website or tool you used to create your image.
Other options for creating your own images include:
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.
Activity 9.Zoom out from an image
We first tried this activity in the challenge in September 2010. Choose a picture, and have your readers zoom out, so to speak, by leaving comments. Check out the example from Huzzah who finished their story. If doing this activity, include the word ‘zoom’ in your title so I can find it easily. Remember to give attribution. Most important here is to read previous comments, so you can add to the story.
If you have used images in any previous posts you have written, then you are ethically obliged to give the correct attribution or take the image out of the post if it does not have the right creative commons license. Check out where Holly found her image, Samudra also wrote a great post,
Activity 11.Create a jigsaw from your image. Mrs Schmidt’s class has done this using Jigsaw Planet . Here is her explanation
Last week (2014) my students made some jigsaw puzzles about famous places in our area. First each student created one Power Point Slide showing a photo and some facts about a location in our area. They saved the slide as a JPEG and then uploaded it to Jigsaw Planet. Once the puzzle was created, they published a link to it on their Kidblog. Click on Niamh’s puzzle link.
Activity 12.Write a post about different websites to find creative commons images. Are there any widgets you can add to your blog to make this easier?
Still got time left this fortnight (two weeks):
1. Visit other student and class blogs – leave some quality comments
2. Reply to comments on your own blog
3. Start using tags and categories with each post you write to make it easier for people to find posts on certain topics. Make sure you have the tags and categories widgets in your sidebar.
4. Have at least five other student blogs linked on your sidebar – students from other classes and schools – not your own. We will need this for a game we play in a couple of weeks.
Try to have a few different headings like
My Blogging Friends
Other Class Blogs
Having lots of links to student blogs from other countries will help spread the game.
Here are the instructions for adding links to your sidebars.
Most important learning from this fortnight’s challenge is:
Use creative commons images, not just any image on the net. Always include attribution of where you found the image. Compfight plugin does this for you.
PS If you have done the blogging challenge before, you will find these activities are nearly the same each time. If you have ideas for different activities please leave a comment on this post.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
I will only be adding posts to the flipboard magazine that:
are written in paragraphs
have been proofread
include an image, sound or video with attribution
So make sure you have taken note of this week’s learning about creative commons.
Miss W visiting your blogs
From this week onwards, I will only be visiting blogs where students or classes have left the URL to the post in a comment with an explanation. If your teacher is moderating your posts, you will need to wait until it has been published before giving me your URL. Check out the difference between a blog URL and a post URL.
Blog URL: http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org
Post URL : http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2015/10/10/raise-your-voice/
Earlier in this set of challenges, we learnt all about you – your interests, your favourite foods, music and lots of other things when you wrote your ‘About’ page. This week we are going to learn all about the area or country in which you live.
When you write your posts or use web 2.0 tools, remember to be internet safe and not give away any personal information. Check with your teacher or parent, to find out if you can mention your school name or town.
But firstly, a few administration pointers.
I have started deleting students who have only a Hello world post, or have not written a post yet this year or have no avatar post or about me page.
Please check to make sure you have the following widgets visible on your blog’s sidebar: class blogs, pages (if not in header area), recent comments (10), recent posts (10), blogroll or links, categories. If not using Edublogs, the names of these widgets might be different.
Are you moderating your comments often? It can be annoying for your mentor to go to your blog and find no comments have been approved for the last month or so.
In your profile page, do you have your blog URL included? – this links to your name for when you leave a comment.
Categories: You will notice I mentioned having the category widget in your sidebar. This is a way to group your posts eg book reviews, history class, #16stubc for the student blogging challenge. Here is a link to a post about adding categories when using Edublogs or Blogspot where they are called labels.
Activity 1. Add a widget to find out where your commenters are coming from.
There are many different widgets you can use – clustrmaps, flag counter, feedjit or revolver map. Have you seen any others while visiting blogs of other students? Maybe you could write a post about why you chose the commenter widget you have put on your blog.
Activity 2. Add one or more widgets about your area of the world
This might include a clock or weather or a translator widget in case students who don’t speak your language can translate your post.
When adding widgets to your sidebar, copy and paste the embed code into a text box on your sidebar. Save then close.
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 using blogger rather than Edublogs, you might need to check out the instructions for adding widgets and images etc from Bling For Your Blog, written by a teacher in New Zealand. Thanks Allanah.
If your blog is an Edublogs free blog, you might not be able to put all the widgets in your sidebar. If using Kidblog or Weebly you might not be able to add widgets so put them in a post instead or a widgets page on your blog.
Activity 3. Write a post about 3 tourist attractions in your country.
Miss W and Mr Davo Devil will be visiting outback New South Wales and outback Queensland for two weeks in April then at the end of June going to Denver, Colorado USA for 10 days. They enjoy looking at historical places and nature. Suggest 3 tourist attractions in your country they would enjoy visiting. Don’t copy and paste, write about them in your own words. Try to make it a personal piece of writing if you have actually been there.
Activity 4. A year in your town
Write a post, create a glogster, make an audioboo tape, create a Storybird or add a Voki telling Miss W about the festivals held in your town throughout the year. Which festivals do you enjoy the most and why? When are the festivals held in case she can visit one while she is travelling? 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.
Activity 5. Visit other participants and ask questions
Visit at least five other blogs from students or classes around the world and ask some questions in your comments.
Classes from Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, China, Ireland, England, Spain, Philippines, Serbia, Nigeria, UAE and Italy taking part in the challenge.
Students born or living in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, China, Ireland, England, Spain,Serbia, Italy,Mexico. Pakistan, Dubai, Bahrain, Scotland, Holland, France, Denmark, Iran, Korea, South Africa, Vietnam, Brazil, Turkey, Portugal, Zimbabwe, Burma, Puerto Rico, Russia, Thailand and Venezuela.
Activity 6. Questions in a post
Write a post asking questions about the different countries mentioned in activity 5. Have at least 6 questions in your post.
Activity 7. Where I would love to visit and why
Write a post or use a web 2.0 tool telling your readers about a place you would love to visit and why. Try to include some hyperlinks (links that are underlined in your post area and take your readers to another website)
Activity 8. Create a game or quiz about your town, state or country
A few places to do this include: Quiz Revolution, Class Tools, Scratch
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?
Because we had two posts last week and I know many students from the northern hemisphere are on Spring Break around this time, I have decided that this week will be free choice.
You might want to:
catch up on the posts from the last couple of weeks – about me, avatar, commenting, guidelines, visiting and commenting, earth hour
comment on other student or class blogs
write your own post about something of your choice – use #16stubc somewhere in the post so I know it relates to the challenge
We are coming up to nearly a month of the challenge and as I mentioned in one of the earlier posts, some students will be taken off the student list over Easter (next weekend) if they have not completed certain activities.
Why do I do this?
We have over 2500 students registered for the challenge but less than half of them get to have a mentor. So if students are not doing the challenge activities I feel they don’t deserve to have a mentor.
Which students will be taken off?
Students who already have mentors need to have completed the following to be left on the list:
An about me page or post
One other post related to the challenge
Settings on their blog must allow comments to be left by anyone
The URL of their blog must be correct on the list
I will be asking you to check the students on your list to see that they have completed the above things. If they haven’t could you please email me the names of students I should be taking off your list. I will add new students to your list if any are taken off. If you can take extra students please notify me as well.
I will be removing classes with incorrect URLs or those where the settings don’t allow comments – these are with pink countries. I am presently putting mauve colour on those classes where student blogs are listed on the sidebar. This makes it easier if teachers want to pair up students for commenting.
Please contact me via email if you think your students should be left on the list even if they have only completed their about me post – maybe you have only had one computer lesson in the lab then have been on spring break. I will make allowances for other school activities that might have stopped your class participating in the challenge.