Week 2: I can comment …

Many thanks to Sue Waters from the Edublogs management team for creating this post last year. I have made a few changes and added some other blogs to visit in some activities.

An important part of the Student Blogging Challenge is connecting with students and other classes by reading posts and leaving comments.

Comments allow you, and your readers, to engage in discussions, share thoughts and connect with your blog.

Most new bloggers find publishing posts easy and commenting harder!  Your activity this week is to learn more about commenting and improve your commenting skills!

What makes a good comment?

Comments transform your blog from a static space to an interactive community.  Commenting is one way a blogger can create conversations.

Your readers leave a comment that hopefully asks questions (which encourage conversation), you reply back to their comments on your blog, then visit their blog to read their posts and engage with them on their blog.

The better your comment the more chance you have in creating conversations.

Start by watching either of the following two videos on Commenting.

Watch Mrs Yollis’s ‘How to Write a Quality Comment‘.  You can also watch it on Vimeo if YouTube is blocked in your School District.

Watch Nicolas Weiss’s Leaving High Quality Blog comments video  if you are a high school student.

Now visit Huzzah’s Commenting Guideline to learn some more commenting tips.

Important tips:

  • Refer to Adding a comment support documentation if you are unsure how to add a comment.
  • Comments may be moderated on your blog.   Remember to check your Comments folder, and comment spam folder,  to approve any pending comments.
  • Include the url (address) in your comment when you leave a comment on another blogger’s post so the blogger can visit your blog and comment.

Below is an example of a comment from Huzzah’s blog that shows how to include your blog URL in your comment.

Comment example

Activity 1: Leave a comment on this post. 

Each week the best posts published in the Student Blogging Challenge are featured in our Flipboard magazine.

To check your posts we need you to leave a comment with a link to your post on this blog whenever you finish a weekly activity.

So your first 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. If you have already commented last week, you don’t have to do this unless you have a new post you want Miss W to read. PS I have 95 comments to read at the moment that were posted overnight when I was asleep in Australia.

Here is an example from Ayla last week:

Hi Ms. W,
I have just finished this week’s blogging challenge by uploading my avatar and making my about me page! Here is the link: http://aylaz13.edublogs.org/about-me/
So far blogging I have enjoyed creating my blog and I hope to get lots of comments
Thanks
~Ayla
http://aylaz13.edublogs.org
http://huzzah.edublogs.org

Activity 2:  Practicing commenting on a class blog

Mrs Smith has published an excellent activity that guides you through commenting, learning to read student posts and practicing comments.

Visit Mrs Smith’s I’m New Here post to work through the tasks in her post and then leave a comment on her post. Remember to include the URL of your blog.

Activity 3: 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,  WarriorKat uses lots of visuals in her guidelines,  Sophie had a great post, the Blogging Frogs have some great tips, Emme created a powtoon on commenting , Darcey write about commenting,  Kyndal wrote about how to comment, Rachel wrote her own guidelines

Activity 4: 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.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE

There will be two posts this week so look out for the next one on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I have had some mentors mention they cannot leave comments on some blogs.

If using blogspot, make sure you have Name/URL as an option when commenting.

If using Edublogs, make sure your blog is open to the world and you don’t need to login to leave a comment. To check this, go to your computer, find your blog, DONT login but click on the title of a post – does a message come up about needing to login? This means a normal visitor won’t be able to leave a comment.

2016 Student Blogging Challenge Badges Are Here!

Challenge Badge

Here are the new 2016 badges ready to add to your blogs.

You can right click the badge above to save it to your computer, and then follow the instructions below to add the badge to your blog.

Adding A Badge to Your Blog’s Sidebar

Using the Image Widget (Edublogs and CampusPress)

1. Save the image above to your computer.

2. Go to Appearance > Widgets.

3.  Add an Image Widget to your sidebar

Add image widget

  • On CampusPress blogs  you may need to activate the Image Widget plugin in Plugins before you’ll see it in Appearance > Widget.

4.  Click on Select Image.

Select Image

5.  Click on Select File,  locate the image and then click Open to upload the image.

Select File

6.  Click Insert into Widget.

Insert into widget

7.  Add your title.

8.  Add a link to the Student blogging challenge blog (so anyone interested in the challenge can easily click through).

9.  Click Save

Add badge title

10.  You should now see your image widget in your sidebar!

Using a Text Widget

1. Go to Appearance > Widgets.

2.  Add a Text widget to your sidebar.

3.  Give the Text Widget a title (Optional); something like “Student Blogging Challenge 2016” would work well.

4.  Copy and paste the following code into your widget:

<a href="http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/"><img src="https://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/files/2016/03/sbc2016-s76n2u.png" alt="Student challenge 2016" width="200" height="200" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-2614" /></a>

It should look like this:

Text widget

5.  Click Save.

Week 1: I am ….

I’m tasteach or Miss W when on the internet but in real life I am Sue Wyatt.

I am a retired teacher from Tasmania, Australia who loves blogging, travelling and genealogy. When I am online I am a fairly talkative person as you will notice with my posts and comments, while in real life I am quiet unless with friends. Are you a different person online than in real life? How do you change or not?

avatarbigWhen online, you are usually represented by an avatar – these are used in gaming as well as on blogs. An avatar is supposed to represent the real you. Check out mine – I am a white haired lady with reading glasses. I usually have a cup of coffee in my hand and I always wear thongs on my feet – yes that’s where we wear them in Australia.

Activity 1. Create an avatar to use on your blog when leaving comments. Here is a post including some avatar sites . 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.

Did you find a great avatar site not mentioned here? Write a post about your avatar and how it represents you. Include a link to the website where you created the avatar.

Some students have mentioned the following as great avatar sites as well: Avachara, Chibimaker and Pocoyo

Activity 2. On your blog you also need a page or post telling us about yourself. Again you could use a variety of tools to embed on your blog. If you already have an About Me page, you might want to create an About my State or Province page as well. Be creative:

If using Edublogs, below are instructions for creating your page. If using blogspot, check here. If using weebly, check here. If using Kidblog, you will need to write a post.

  1. Login to your blog, go to the dashboard>pages>add new
  2. Change the title to About Me or something similar.
  3. If you only have one row of icons above the box, click on the last icon called the kitchen sink or toggle. This opens a second row which allows you to change font colours.
  4. 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.
  5. When you have finished click the big  button on the right side of your screen – probably says update or send for review.
  6. Once you have saved your about me page, go back and delete the sample page.
  7. 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.

Finished the work for week 1?

Then head off to the class or student list above the blog header and start visiting other blogs. You might not want to comment this week but maybe check them out. Are there any students with interests the same as you? Do you have a mentor yet? Have they left you any comments?

Other admin for week 1

  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.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the challenge badge to your sidebar – UPDATE Once the page is written a link will be added here.
  4. Can visitors leave comments on your blog posts? If your country is in bright pink, then you might need to change your privacy settings or give me your correct URL. Check this post for how to do this using Edublogs, Blogger and Kidblog.

How do I know you have done your activity?

You come back here to this post and leave me a comment once your teacher has approved your post or page. Make sure you include the URL of your post so I can visit and leave comments. Tell me what you enjoyed most about the activity.

Also great posts get added to our Flipboard magazine on the sidebar of the challenge blog. A new one of these will be started next week for 2016.

Student registration March 2016

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 under your age group 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 March 6 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 you have a twitter account, use the hashtag #16stubc to notify others of your posts

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

Class registration for March 2016

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 March 6 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   #16stubc

You have read everything above, now is the time to register

Do you have time to be a mentor?

The next student and class blogging challenge starts on Sunday 6 March 2016.

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 October to December 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.

Once students start registering next week, I will be allocating mentors immediately 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 and how many students

What’s this challenge about?

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.

  1. About me – creating their avatar and about me page so visitors get to know them – includes being digital citizenship and cybersafety
  2. Let’s comment – teaching what makes a quality comment, how to connect through commenting and again cybersafety and digital citizenship
  3. 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.

Check out the Teacher Challenge run by Edublogs where they give lots of hints about blogging with students

 

 

Congratulations

I have just been checking the shortlisted blogs from the Edublog Awards and noticed there are many student and class blogs from the challenge included.

Remember to vote for the blog you feel is best, not just one of your friends. If you have been visiting other blogs throughout the challenge, you might have left comments on some of the blogs mentioned.

Please vote from computers outside the school as only one vote per IP address counts – most school computers all have the same IP address.

You have until 16 December to vote.

Click on the Vote Here  on this page.

Week 10: So long, farewell

And the wind carries them off, and all of the hope in their hearts is carried with them until they are gone...

Dee Ashley via Compfight

 

This is our last post for the Student Blogging Challenge until we start again next year in March 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 three things to do:

  1. Evaluate your own blog
  2. Evaluate the actual blogging challenge
  3. Keep watching for the post from Edublogs about voting for the best student and class blogs

1. This is an audit of your blog since the beginning of October 2015.

  • 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:

  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.

2. Evaluating the challenge.

This is the fifteenth 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

3. Voting for blogs – I will include a link here when I know more about the voting for the best class and student blogs. I know there were nearly 400 nominations for student blogs and about two hundred for class blog. The team at Edublogs have had to short list these down to about 40 in each category, so if you were nominated congratulations. If you made it to the shortlist for students then your blog will have been nominated many times or will have at least 10 posts or will show great conversations in the comments.

If you missed out on the shortlist for this year, keep your blog going next year, keep making connections with students around the world and perhaps you will make the shortlist for 2016.

Week 9: Nominations

IMG_6731

Hibr via Compfight

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

go to this link,

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.

Good luck, get nominating and writing.