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.
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 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
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 mid February and mid 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 #16stubc
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 the 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 being 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.
Every year, Edublogs present a digital award for those best educational class and student blogs. You get a chance to nominate then vote for the one you consider deserves the award. There are a few rules about nominating so you will need to
read the post then put forward your nomination. You don’t have to nominate an edublogs blog it could be from weebly like our Serbian bloggers or from blogspot like many of our New Zealand bloggers. It just has to be an educational blog.
Nominations close on December 2nd at 11.59pm EST time in USA
Once you have nominated, the blogs will be shortlisted and then I will write another post including a poll for you to come and vote for the blog you think deserves the award. If you are over 13 you will be able to vote via Listly on the main edublogs voting page, but if under 13 you will need to vote here on the student blogging challenge poll.
If you hope to have your blog nominated, then I suggest you have some fantastic posts ready for any visitors to read and comment on.
When being shortlisted for student blogs, we look for quality of posts, appearance of blog as well as commenting.
We are coming up to half way through the challenge and as I mentioned in one of the earlier posts, some students will be taken off the student list in early November if they have not completed certain activities.
Why do I do this?
We have over 2000 students registered for the challenge but only about 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 the list. Their country will be left in pink until the end of next week, then if changes have not been made, they will be removed off the student list on November 7. I will then add new students to your list. 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.
Why not visit lots of these links during your holiday or break and write a post about the new sites you enjoyed. Remember to include a link in your post somewhere so others can find the site easily from your post.
Remember to still check out the links on the sidebar of the challenge blog as well as the Get Help links if using blogspot or kidblog.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS WHO HAVE MENTORS
Remember, I will be deleting any students who have mentors already allocated over the Easter break if:
there is no About Me page or post visible – make sure the pages widget is in your sidebar if your pages don’t appear up in your header area
there is not at least two other posts related to the challenge activities
no comments can be left – country in pink
you haven’t been commenting back to your mentor
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
I have now created the flipboard magazine for this set of challenges. I will only be adding posts that:
are written in paragraphs
have been proofread
include an image, sound or video with attribution
So make sure you have taken note of last week’s learning about creative commons.
The last couple of months have had many international special days or events happening. How many have you taken part in at either school or at home?
This Saturday is one I take part in each year – Earth Hour.
Check out their video for the 2015 event
Now add an image to a widget on your blog sidebar – you might need to change the size to 200 by 200
Check out the starter kit for banners, logos and posters. Teachers might get some ideas from the guides to use in class during the week.
Find out what is happening in your country and in other countries around the world.
Activities for this week are all to do with the globe or the world we live in.
Join our Free Rice group called Student Blogging Challenge or create one for your class. Every answer you get right, means 10 grains of rice donated to the World Food Programme. Since October 2011, we have had 86 students join and donate 116, 300 grains of rice. I wonder how many we could have by the end of Easter? Can you add a widget to Free Rice on your blog?
Write a list of international events you have taken part in since Christmas 2014. What were they celebrating? What did you do to celebrate?
Visit at least 5 blogs from countries other than your own. Leave a comment on a post at each blog. Now write your own post including the comment you have left and linking to each post you commented on.
If you could create an international event, what would it be called? What would we be celebrating? Create some of the advertising material you might use – eg logo, banner, image, flyer
Think of a special celebration in one country of the world. Find three images of the event. Under each image, give a clue as to the event.
On the final line, write a bit more about the event for your visitors to read. Include a link to another website giving more information on the event. Remember to include attribution for each image and perhaps a question for your readers to answer.
Write about one special event you have taken part in. It might be an educational global event or an international event from the United Nations or a special event from your country. Find an image to add to your post. Remember to use attribution correctly. Include a link to another website giving more information on the event.
Add at least five international blogs to your blogroll or links ready for a game we will hold after Easter. If you can’t add links on your blog, add them in a post instead.
What are some games or apps you use that relate to global studies or geography of the world? Include a link to the website or app.
What could you, your class, your school, your town do to help with the climate change problem for more than the one hour on Saturday 28 March 2015?
Previous week’s activities: Visit and leave quality comments
Eagle Wordsmiths have a question for students or classes in each country in the challenge. Please answer their questions.