Week 5: Free choice

Cabra hispanica Montserrat

Pedro Luna Guillen via Compfight

The first few weeks of the challenge were mainly learning  about blogging skills you need when working on public sites on the internet. You should have learnt the following so far:

  • Avatars – what they are, how they are used, how to create one and upload to your blog
  • About me pages – difference between page and post, what is private information and what you can say on your blog, being a good digital citizen
  • Commenting – what makes a great comment, what you expect from a comment on your blog, guidelines for blogging and commenting in your class
  • Images, sounds, video – what is creative commons, how to find safe and usable images, what is an attribution and how to write it, websites with great images, creating your own images, using images for puzzles and games, an image paints a thousand words when writing a story or poem
  • URLS – difference between BLOG URL when leaving a comment on someone’s blog you are visiting and POST URL when filling in weekly form or commenting on the challenge blog

In a couple of weeks, we will be playing a commenting game. But you need to get prepared for this.

Make sure you have at least 5 other student/class 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/classes around the world, not just those in your class or school. Perhaps have a blogroll or link category called Global students and/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. Your teacher may be able to add links on the class part of the Kidblog.

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.

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?
  • Does your background image make it hard for your visitors to read your posts?
  • Have you written some interesting posts for your visitors to comment on?

This week’s activity is free choice

Have some interesting posts for your visitors to read when they get to your blog.  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. Also take note of the page titled ‘Post ideas’ above my header.

Having read many student 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

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. Remember links show you have researched your topic well and found opinions of others to include in your post.

Help here from Edublogs and Blogger for adding links to posts.

 

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 this time in the lists above the header of the challenge blog or in the list included below
  • Reply to any comments left on your blog especially if from a commenter.
  • Check out the posts written by classes and students that are in our Google spreadsheets (Your posts on sidebar)

 

Remember YOU have to visit other blogs, leave comments and the URL of your blog before you will get any comments on your blog. This is how the conversations and connections get made – by visiting and commenting on other student and class blogs.

Check out these class blogs for students aged 7-9. Many students have their own blogs in the sidebar.

Creative thinkers, Penguinville, Mrs Avnor, Smith Kid Bloggers, Mrs Kundhi, Mrs Moore, CW East, Friends of 3rd Dimension, 3E News, La Decouverte – leave comments on the Welcome post for this blog

No form to fill in this week, instead leave a quality comment here on the challenge blog explaining your choice for your post. Also explain what you have done to improve your blog ready for your visitors in a couple of weeks.

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Week 4: Global issues

Color dominoes

Creative Commons License Carlos ZGZ via Compfight

Think globally, act locally

Locally

  • My recycling bin has more in it every week than my normal rubbish bin.
  • I have a worm farm that chews up any extra fruit and vegetable rubbish I might have left over.
  • Whenever I go for a walk, I pick up any rubbish especially on the beach nearby.

Globally

  • I sponsor a Panda with World Wildlife Fund
  • I sponsor a child in Sri Lanka to improve the lifestyle of the child, their family and community. Have sponsored since I received my first pay cheque as a teacher back in the 1970s.
  • I donate to Kiva with micro loans of $25. I have made 69 loans so far and 8 friends I have invited have also made loans

What could you do about some of these world problems?

Here is a great website with lots of information about many topics below.

There might be some that are more specific to your area of the world. But this week research one of the following topics:

  • hunger
  • water
  • racism
  • use of resources
  • global warming
  • specific aspects of the environment
  • unemployment
  • war and unrest
  • use of land
  • terrorism
  • HIV/Aids
  • child labour
  • women’s rights
  • education and literacy
  • another global issue of your choice

Activity 1: For this challenge we are looking at research skills, attribution, links and creativity in how you have presented the work.

For the topic you have chosen you might want to create two or three shorter posts rather than one very long one.

In your posts, include links to where you researched and some images with attribution. You might also want to include a poll or survey, a collage of images, a slideshow you have created. You may have found a great video you could also include.

Teachers – Here are some links to where you might get some ideas –  ACEE – student voices, Global Oneness project – bringing the world to your classroom, students and teachers becoming Global Citizens

Activity 2: Global issues in your classroom

Have you or your class taken part in some work associated with a global issue? Create a post about what you were involved in. Maybe it was a global activity rather than issue – eg Pi day, Global Read Aloud, Earth Hour

Here is a wonderful newish website about projects students and classes can join in.

Activity 3: Visit other blogs

Visit at least ten other blogs not from your country. Ask questions about some of the issues they might have in their country. Make some comparisons between the countries taking part in the challenge. Write a post about your findings.

Activity 4: Be creative

Use a web 2.0 tool to be creative about global issues. This might be a poll or survey, a quiz, write a poem, create a poster, draw a picture, write a story or cartoon about a super hero saving the world – just be creative. Check out the tools to use on the sidebar of the challenge blog.

Activity 5: Do something

Do something about a global issue. Here are links to games and activities for kids about global issues. What did you choose to look at? Write a review in your post.

Teacher resources – Action Aid resources, Know My WorldiEarn in many countries of the world, World Savvy, Kiva help entrepreneurs around the world

Still more time to spare?

Visit students and classes from the other countries involved in the challenge. Leave a comment or question relating to a global issue that might be affecting them.

Leave a comment on this blog telling Miss W. the global issue you think is most important to be solved. It might not be one of those mentioned in the post. Give reasons why it should be the first issue solved.

Fill in the form with the URL of the post you have written. Remember I delete any that are just blog URLs.

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Heads Up

The post next week is all about global issues but there are some interesting events happening this week that you might want to take part in ready for the activities in next week’s challenge.

This is an excellent website showing what happens every day of the year. These are some for this coming week:

Students have taken part in Earth Hour since I began the challenge in 2008. Make sure you visit their website and perhaps add a widget to your blog.

Teachers here is a link to their school starter kit.

 

 

 

 

 

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Week 3: Images, videos and music

 

Admin for this challenge

  1. Thanks to all those students, teachers and commenters 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.
  2. Commenters and I have visited hundreds of blogs recently. We have left a comment, or flipped the post to our magazine or have mentioned your post in the next blogging challenge post. Have you found one of your posts mentioned yet? Remember you need to fill in the form each week for one of us to visit and comment.
  3. You can also visit the posts each week as I now have a link to them on the sidebar – any with a yellow cell has not been visited yet by an official commenter, so please go to these first.

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, videos, 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, public domain 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 Edublogs has created a student blogging bootcamp with lots of interesting posts. Check these out (mainly Edublogs but many also relate to other platforms.) Other posts found here for Blogger blogs.

Other places to find information on creative commons

Images

Make sure you check out the links in the Tools to Use symbaloo above the header

Video

Check out Sue Water’s post from the student blogging bootcamp where she shows how to create and upload your own videos as well as where to find videos and how to embed on your blog posts.

Music and sound effects

JamendoCCMixter, post with 14 websites for music, post with 20+ websites for music, post with 55+ sites with sound effects

 

Now for the activities for this week

Activity 1. Do some more research on the topic of attribution and licenses 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. Take a photo or 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 3. Similar to activity 2. Take a photo or find an interesting landscape image (include attribution) or create the beginning of a video.  Write the beginning of a story relating to your image or video. 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 4. Write a sentence using just images – no words OR find 5 images that create a story – again no words only the attribution for each image.

Activity 5. 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. Noah created a great gallery with captions

Activity 6. 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:

  1. MakeBeliefsComix.com
  2. ToonDoo
  3. Befunky
  4. Big HugeLabs
  5. PhotoFunia
  6. Wordle

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 7.  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.

Check out these zoom pictures: BeckyJacquelineAbbey

Activity 8.  Go back to previous posts

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.

Activity 9.  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. Maggie created a tough jigsaw. Anisha created a jigsaw from her avatar.

Activity 10. Make a game using images. This class in Australia based their game on 4pics 1 word app.

 

Still got time left this week:

  1. Check out posts from other students and classes – see link in sidebar – any with a yellow cell has not had an official commenter visit yet
  2. Check out some good avatar posts I found in the list and I mention below
  3. Teachers – have you started visiting blogs listed on the class list of blogs? Maybe pair up your students with those on the other class blogs.
  4. Reply to comments on your own blog
  5. 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.

Student posts

Rajyashoril, Hailee, Yasha17, Kofi, Nicholas, Claire Louise, Jude, Jordan,

Some class posts

Mrs Scales, Windy Woods Farm homeschool, Mrs Vazquez,

If you speak and write Spanish or want to use a translate widget, why not visit Doctora Merrills blog to leave some comments?

 

Here are the instructions for adding links to your sidebars.

Have at least five other student and/or class 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 link categories like

  • My Overseas Friends
  • Other Class Blogs

Having lots of  links to student blogs from other countries will help spread the game.

EdublogsBloggerKidblog – not sure if this widget goes on the class page or each student page

Flipboard magazine – are you in there yet?

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.

Most important learning from this week’s challenge is:

Use creative commons images or public domain, 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.

 

If you do lots of activities this week, only include the best 2 on the Google form, otherwise we will not have enough commenters to visit.

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Something changed

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.

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