Week 2: Start talking

Cuatro causas por las que tu empresa no funciona bien en los medios sociales
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: infocux Technologies via Compfight

Admin:

Students – Check to see if you have a mentor assigned to you. Remember to check your comments and reply to any left by your mentor. Their first comment will probably be on your first post or your about me page that you created last week in the challenge.

Also check to see you are only mentioned once on the spreadsheet. Do this by using CTRL F and typing in your name. It will then allow you to scroll through to find out if you are mentioned more than once. Leave me a comment mentioning your name and URL and how many times you are on the list.

Classes - Please start making connections with other classes of a similar age or subject area in the higher grades. If you find a link on the spreadsheet that goes to a student blog rather than a class blog, please email me so I can take it off the list. Remember to leave a link on challenge posts once you have completed one of the activities for that post. I will visit to leave comment and also add you as a possible example for the next challenge in March.

Mentors - if you filled in the form AND left a short bio in the comment area of the registration post, then you should have been assigned a group of students. Please check the comment area of this post to find out which group of students you will be looking after.

COMMENT COMMENT COMMENT

Back in 2010 I asked Mrs Yollis and her students to create a post about commenting.

She included using HTML code when writing comments. This will interest our older bloggers.

So please visit her first before doing the activities below.

……………………………………………………………………………..

Are you still here?

Off you go, visit Mrs Yollis’ blog on commenting.

……………………………………………………………………………..

That was quick.

Are you sure you visited Mrs Yollis’ blog

to learn about HTML code in your comments?

……………………………………………………………………………..

OK, what did you learn while reading the blog and listening to Mrs Yollis and her students tell you about how to write great comments? If your school didn’t allow you to go to her post, I have included the video at the bottom of this post. I have also included a video for high school students about commenting. Teachers: a link to teaching quality commenting including more videos and information.

Let’s start talking online

It has been great to see a number of students and classes starting to visit other blogs and leave comments. Which of the following comments would you prefer to find on your blog?

how do you add a video

this is a great blog. i like Katy Perry too. plz visit my blog at ……………..

G’day John, I enjoyed reading your post about Talk like a Pirate Day. We also did that in our class. We dressed as pirates, spoke using pirate terms, but also found out there are still pirates roaming the seas even in modern times. Do you know how they are different to the old time pirates? Visit our class blog to read what we found out. …………….  Miss Wyatt

Activity 1: Write a post, create a video or create a poster about commenting.

Might be tips to get more visitors,  guidelines for acceptable comments on your blog, examples of good and bad comments – think outside the square. Remember you don’t have to approve all comments. It is your blog; send some to the trash and if it is a company trying to get you to visit their blog to buy something, then label it as spam.

Here are some links to commenting guidelines written by students and classes. Class in New Zealand, grade 11/12 class in USA, Huzzah class blog in Canada, Abbey has a blogging guideline page, Mrs Allen created a poster about commenting

 Activity 2: Write a really interesting post that you think will get lots of comments.

Often writing about one of your passions will get lots of comments, so will something controversial where your readers could agree or disagree with your opinion. Remember to end with a question so your readers can give an answer. If you are on Twitter use the hashtag #14stubc to mention your post. Otherwise leave a comment on this challenge post so I can add it to twitter.

Here are some posts written by students saying how to attract visitors to your blog – Alexandra, Jake, Ashleigh, Leif,

Activity 3: Have a family member write a post for you to add to your blog.

They could write it and email or post it to you. Does this post attract more visitors or family members leaving comments? One family member regularly blogs on Mrs Yollis’ blog – Where is nonno?

Activity 4: Write a post about the overseas blogs you have commented on.

We have over 30 countries represented in our class and student blogging participants. Visit some of them, read their posts and leave a quality comment. Why did you choose that blog and particular post?

Check out how Ms Bliss’ class wrote their post.

Here are the countries from classes and students participating in this challenge: USA, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Chile, China, Argentina, Venezuela, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Canada, UAE, Belarus, Russia, Scotland, UK, Switzerland, Ireland, Philippines, South Korea, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Ecuador, Taiwan, Slovenia, Spain, Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, France, Colombia and Ghana. You will need to search the lists to find them – any that have red countries or pink teachers mean you might not be able to read posts or leave comments.

Activity 5: Adding great blogs to your blogroll

Now you have started visiting other blogs, there might be some you want to visit often. Instead of having to go to the student participation page each time, you can add them as links on the sidebar of your blog.

PS Students using Kidblog might have to write a post including the links as I don’t think you can have a blogroll on your own sidebar.

  1. To make it easy for visitors to find the blogs of your classmates and friends you need to add their link on your blogroll.
  2. If using Edublogs Pro or campus with My Class activated, in your dashboard> appearance> widgets> drag across Class blogs to your sidebar.
  3. If using Edublogs free version and you want to add classmates, overseas blogs or links to other websites you use often like mathletics, reading eggs etc then dashboard> appearance> widgets> links or blogroll
  4. If you want to group your links, then use link categories. These might be  ‘Overseas friends’ or for links about your hobbies you might need a category for ‘Cricket’ or ‘Tasmanian Devils’ or ‘Online Games’.
  5. To create these link categories, go to dashboard> links> Link Categories> put in the name of a category and save.
  6. Back to your dashboard> links> add new link.  Fill in the name of the person or website, then under web address put in the URL of their blog. Remember to include the http:// part. Choose which category you want the link to be under then click add link.

Click here for blogspot, click here for weebly, teachers click here for kidblog

Activity 6:  Learn some HTML code to include a link in a comment or to improve the look of a comment.

Mrs Yollis explains this in her post link above. Might be a way to include a link to your blog whenever you leave a comment. On my challenge blog, I have a post called do not publish and this is where I keep HTML code to help with my blog URL at the end of a comment. You might want to leave a comment on this post and tell me what you have found interesting about commenting. Use some HTML code in your comment.

Activity 7: What makes a great conversation in the comment area?

Check out these students – Max and Abbey, Jack and Abbey, Colton and Lily – take note their conversation continues further down the page, Merry Beau and Mackenzie – lots of conversations

These are threaded comments where the reader clicks on reply underneath the first comment – this is then indented slightly and the next reply is indented further.  Some themes are good for 5 threads while other themes you might end up with only one word on each line on the 5th thread. To change the number of threads go to dashboard> settings> discussion and change to whatever number you want from 1-10

Do you have to answer every comment? That is up to you. Some comments allow for a great conversation while others might just need a “Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog.”

How do you know if someone has answered your comment on their blog? When you leave a comment on a blog, there might be a tick box about notify me by email. Click on that box and you will be notified every time someone leaves a comment on that post. You can easily unsubscribe later if you want to stop having the emails, by checking the bottom where there should be an unsubscribe link.

Activity 8: Add a widget to find out where your readers are coming from.

There are many different widgets you can use – clustrmapsflag counterfeedjit  Have you seen any others while visiting blogs of other students? Maybe you could write a post about why you chose the  reader widget you have put on your blog. Remember you might get lots of readers, but not everyone is comfortable leaving a comment.

 Activity 9. Questions in a post

Write a post asking questions about one country mentioned in activity 4. Have at least 6 questions in your post. If your questions are interesting you might get lots of comments. Remember to tweet about it or leave a comment on this post, so I can tweet.  #14stubc

Activity re 13

Research how to write 13 (thirteen) in 13 different languages. Maybe make a poster or slide show.

Still got more time? Comment, comment, comment

Getting organized

Welcome to the organizational post for the 13th Student Blogging Challenge.

The first challenges will be published on September 14, 2014.

Registration forms for classes and students  have already been published. These were each on a separate post with a Google  form asking for certain information. Once you have registered as a class or student, you will be able to visit the participant pages which will be found in the header area of this blog as well as below here.

We will be having a badge again that can be added to your blog. Read this post by the Edublogs team about how to add the badge to your sidebar. Depending upon the blogging platform you use, the text box or image widget might have a different name.

Can visitors leave comments and read posts on your blog?

You might think they can but try this. Go to your blog but don’t login. Most of your visitors wont be logging in. Can they read your posts? Now try to leave a comment on a post. Can you leave a comment? If you cant read a post or comment without logging in, then neither can your visitors. Check with your teacher about the settings you might need to change.  This post from last September challenge shows how to change privacy settings on edublogs, kidblog and blogger platforms.

Are you on the student list only once? Are you on the correct list?

Each challenge we don’t always have enough mentors to cover all students registered, so please check that you’re only on the list once. The list is found in the header area on the challenge blog. This is where you go to visit other student or class blogs. If you are on there more than once or in the wrong age group, leave me a comment on that page giving me first name, age, URL and what is wrong and I will make corrections on the spreadsheet.

How are you going to know when the challenge is published each week?

One way of being notified straight away is to subscribe to the challenge blog. Just fill in the  subscribe by email widget at the top of the sidebar. An email will be sent to you as soon as I hit the publish button for a new post.

Is there a link to your class blog on your sidebar?

It is helpful for your visitors especially other teachers and your mentor, to have a link to your class blog on the sidebar of your blog. If using Edublogs, you might have a class blogs or class directory widget you can add to your sidebar. This will show your class blog and any other students blogs connected to the class blog.

Teachers using Edublogs, here is the post on how to set up class blogs. Using another blogging platform, then check out the Get Help section on the sidebar of the challenge blog. This is where I have links to user guides, videos etc for a variety of blogging platforms. If you know of some more links I could add there please let me know in a comment on this post.

Any chance of some teachers from your school being mentors for the challenge?

Maybe some teachers who might be interested in blogging wouldn’t mind being a mentor in this challenge. Mentors when registering, I will need your name and a way to contact you to send reminders such as an email address. The results from this form will not be published, but you will also be asked to write a short bio in the comment area of the registration post.

Finally, do we have a class which would like to run the challenge for one week?

This year I am hoping some classes will run one of the challenge weeks.  If your class would like to run the challenge for one week, please leave a comment mentioning the theme you would like to set challenges for eg global issues, history, my country, nature, and the date for it to be published. The journalism students from Cactus Canyon, Arizona ran one of the challenge weeks during the March challenges. Check it out here for an example of what can be done.

Get your blog organized, have at least one interesting post written before the challenge starts, so any visitors will be able to leave a comment.

You have just over 2 weeks till the first challenge is published.

Class registration open

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 September 14 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   #14stubc

So you have read everything above this line, now is the time to register

 

Time for students to register

Before filling in the registration form please read the following:

Who should register

  • Only students who have their own personal blog can register
  • Students who are going to do the activities otherwise mentors’ time is wasted.
  • Students who want to connect with other students around the world

A few days after  you have registered

  1. Check the student participants page which will appear in the header area to make sure you are there. Check very carefully as we don’t need names being doubled up – again that would be wasting time of the mentors.
  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 students your age or with your interests.
  4. Fill in the subscription by email so you are notified when posts are published each week – first challenge will be September 14 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.

So you have read everything above this line, now is the time to register

 

Mentors wanted

The next student and class blogging challenge starts in September 2014. This is a special challenge being the 13th one organized. I hope this is not an omen of bad luck!!

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 1300 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 September to November 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. I will also send you an email reminding you about checking this post early in the challenge.

As soon as students start registering in early September, I will allocate mentors 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
  • educational coaches or trainers
  • regular blogger about educational matters

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

Finally fill in this form with a way I can contact you eg your email address – preferably a school or education email address

 

Ready for the new challenge

craft drawers
Photo Credit: EvelynGiggles via Compfight

Welcome to the organizational post for the 13th Student Blogging Challenge.

The first challenges will be published on 14th September, 2014.

Registration forms for classes, students and mentors will be published by the end of August. These will each be on a separate post with a Google  form asking for certain information. Once you have registered as a class or student, you will be able to visit the participant pages which will be found in the header area of this blog beginning September 1.

Mentors when registering, I will only need name and a way to contact you to send reminders such as an email address. The results from this form will not be published, but you will also be asked to write a short bio in the comment area of the registration post including a blog or website where I can check your educational credentials.

We will be having a badge again that can be added to your blog. Watch out for a post by the Edublogs team about how to add the badge to your sidebar.

This year I am hoping some classes will run one of the challenge weeks. But this is still being discussed. If your class would like to run the challenge for one week, please leave a comment mentioning the theme you would like to set challenges for eg global issues, history, my country, nature, and the date for it to be published.

So you know when the registration forms are published, I suggest you subscribe to this blog by either using the subscription widget in the sidebar or click on Follow in the black bar at the top of the screen. This will then appear in your reader if you have an Edublogs blog.

With this being the 13th challenge and that number being considered an unlucky number, I would like to have an activity relating to superstitions each week. If you or your class can think of one, leave a comment and if used, your class will be acknowledged.

New teacher challenge for blogging

Left Hand Green
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Arielle Nadel via Compfight

Are you thinking of having your class take part in the student blogging challenge in September this year?

But you have never blogged before and want to learn some more?

Or maybe you want a quick refresher course for blogging on a personal blog or a class blog?

Well why not join the

2014 Teacher Challenge run by the team at Edublogs.

Head over to this link and read all about the challenge. Then register to join. By the time the student challenge starts in mid September you will be a very accomplished blogger.

Week 10 Part B Evaluation and audit

We have now been together for nearly three months. Time now to evaluate – most teachers ask students to do this after studying a topic for a period of time.

This evaluation is in two parts:

  • auditing your own blog
  • evaluating the challenge

This is an audit of your blog since the beginning of March 2014.

  • 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?

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.

Part 2 Evaluating the challenge.

This is the twelfth 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 page for that month and add your ideas in the comments.

Now for your final activity – please evaluate the challenge by filling in the following form.

 

 

Are you ready??

Traffic lights
Photo Credit: Sarah Joy via Compfight

A new blogging challenge starts tomorrow (Australian time). But are you and your blog ready for all the visitors you might receive?

Here is a checklist of things to look at now:

Can visitors leave comments and read posts?

You might think they can but try this. Go to your blog but don’t login. Most of your visitors wont be logging in. Can they read your posts? Now try to leave a comment on a post. Can you leave a comment? If you cant read a post or comment without logging in, then neither can your visitors. Check with your teacher about the settings you might need to change. This post from last September challenge shows how to change privacy settings on edublogs, kidblog and blogger platforms.

Have you added the 2014 badge to your sidebar?

Check the post written by the Edublogs team to learn how to embed it. Depending upon the blogging platform you use, the text box or image widget might have a different name.

Are you on the student list only once?

Each challenge we don’t always have enough mentors to cover all students registered, so please check that you’re only on the list once. The list is found above the flags on the challenge blog. This is where you go to visit other student or class blogs. If you are on there more than once or in the wrong age group, leave me a comment on this post giving me name, age, URL and what is wrong and I will make corrections on the spreadsheet.

How are you going to know when the challenge is published each week?

One way of being notified straight away is to subscribe to the challenge blog. Just fill in the subscribe by email widget at the top of the sidebar. An email will be sent to you as soon as I hit the publish button for a new post.

Is there a link to your class blog on your sidebar?

It is helpful for your visitors especially other teachers and your mentor, to have a link to your class blog on the sidebar of your blog. Not sure how to do this, then check out the Get Help section on the sidebar of the challenge blog. This is where I have links to user guides, videos etc for a variety of blogging platforms. If you know of some more links I could add there please let me know in a comment on this post.

Finally, any chance of some teachers from your school being mentors for the challenge?

Maybe some teachers who might be interested in blogging wouldn’t mind being a mentor in this challenge. Direct them to this post where they can register.

Good luck in the challenge!

First set of activities tomorrow!

Get Your 2014 Student Blogging Challenge Badge Here

The Student Blogging Challenge is back in 2014!

We know students, classes and our helpers love having a badge or widget on their blog showing they are taking part in the student blogging challenge.

So here they are!

Just pick the badge that suits you and then follow the instructions below for adding to your blog.

You won’t need to crop or resize the badges as they are 200 pixels in width.

Student Blogging Challenge 2014

HTML code for Class and Student Blogs

Student Challenge mentor

HTML code for Mentor Blogs

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

1. Copy the HTML code for the required badge(s).

2.  Go to Appearance > Widgets in your Dashboard.

3.  Drag and drop a Text Widget into your sidebar.

Add Text Widget
4.  Now just paste your HTML code into the text widget, then click Save and Close.

Or if you are using an Edublogs Pro blog you can add using the Image Widget by following these instructions.