Week 1: Introducing me

  Who am I? Who is Miss W or tasteach? 


Whenever you meet someone for the first time, it is a good idea to introduce yourself. Maybe mention some interests or family. Well here is the introduction I give to my online blogging students. You will notice I haven’t mentioned where I live or the school I work for; I haven’t included any birthdates or phone numbers. I have tried not to include any really personal information.

Now it is your turn to introduce yourself to me and your readers. Some of you might need to update the information from a previous about me page.

  • What are you going to include?
  • What are you going to leave out?
  • Does your school have any rules about what you can include on your blog like photos and maps?

Check out these students’ introductions.

  • Have they been careful in what they have included?
  • Should some of them change some information on their page?
  • Notice they are written in a variety of styles – how are you going to write yours?
  • What different web tools have they used in their introductions? Check out some of the web tools links on the sidebar of this blog.

Mackenzie Grade 4, Jacob grade 4, Annabel grade 4, Caitlin grade 4, Tatyana aged 17 writing in English from Russia, Olivia blogging for 2 years, Em only 8 years old but 4th year of blogging challenge, Isabella the bookworm, Jake one of our student mentors

Where do I write my introduction?

Edublogs or wordpress blogs have a sample page. Click on sample page and edit by deleting what is there and adding your information. Make sure you change the permalink as well. Otherwise follow these directions.

If you don’t have pages on your blog eg kidblog users, then you will need to write a post instead. Maybe you can add a widget on the sidebar of your blog and include text in there.

If using Blogger/blogspot, check out how to add a page to your blog here .

Creating your about me page in steps for Edublogs users

  1. Login to your blog.
  2. Go to Pages > All Pages
  3. Hover your mouse over the Sample Page title and click Edit.
  4. Change the title to About Me or something similar.
  5. Remember to also edit the permalink to About then OK.
  6. If you only have one row of icons above the box, click on the last icon called the kitchen sink. This opens a second row which allows you to change font colours and to insert from a word document.
  7. 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.
  8. When you have finished click the big blue button on the right side of your screen – probably says Update.

Refer to detailed step by step instructions in the Edublogs User Manual on writing your About page for more help!

Writing your about page

Please check: Some themes do not have the pages visible in the header area.

This means you need to go to Appearance> Widgets in your dashboard and drag the pages widget across to your sidebar area if you are using an Edublogs theme.

Classes and their about pages

Some classes have a few different about pages – one for their teacher, one for the class and one for the school.

Check out these class blogs and what they have included: Mrs Donofrio explains blog title, Mrs Amri also has a text box widget about the blog, Mrs Hankinson’s class wrote poems in the comments to introduce themselves, Mr Woolley’s class created Vokis and embedded them on a page, these 3rd graders dream big, this 5/6 class created a video, this class from Ireland are great at leaving comments on student blogs around the world, Rebecca’s class has a great welcome post, this class from Serbia includes a movie about their school

To find out more about pages for your class blog, check out this section of the teacher challenge.

Still got more time left this week??

  1. Start visiting other blogs in the student and class list above the flag header of the challenge blog.
  2. How many different countries have students or classes participating?
  3. Create another page on your blog like a guest profile – ask visitors questions for them to answer in the comments.

Finally, when you have finished your page(s) come back to this post and leave a comment. Mention the URL of your blog and why you think I should include your page as a great example in the next challenge in September.

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.

Mentor registration

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 mid February, 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

Now fill in the form below.

The spreadsheet created by this form will be for my eyes only, so please include an email as this will be the easiest way for me to contact all mentors. It saves copying and pasting from your comment.


Class registration

You have heard about the student blogging challenge and want to join in for this session?

Then fill in the form below remembering the following things:

  1. If your blog URL is very long, then use a shortener such as this one from Google  Also handy if students are registering their blogs 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.

Hope you enjoy this the 12th blogging challenge.

If publicising any posts on twitter, please use the hashtag



Student registration

Do you have your own personal blog and want to take part in the March 2014 student blogging challenge?

Then fill in the form below, remembering the following things:

  1. Just use your first name
  2. No need for the http:// bit in your URL – just something like studentchallenge.edublogs.org or eschoolblogs.org.au
  3. Country abbreviations: United States of America - USA,  New Zealand – NZ, Australia – Aust
  4. Age just write the number of years eg 11 or 13 do not include anything else
  5. List two hobbies only with a comma between them eg reading, genealogy or BMX, cycling or chat friends, shopping
  6. Teacher name will not be published but just in case I need to contact them


New challenge starting soon

craft drawers
Photo Credit: EvelynGiggles via Compfight

Welcome to the organizational post for the 12th Student Blogging Challenge.

The first challenges will be published on 9th March, 2014.

Registration forms for classes, students and mentors will be published this weekend. 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 March 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.

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.


Vote for your class blog

If you go to Edublog Awards website, you will find you can vote using List.ly but you need to be 13 or older to have an account.

So to allow our younger bloggers to vote for the best class blog, we have created this poll below. You will be allowed to vote for one blog each day.

How to vote.
Check out all the class blogs at the Edublog Awards link above.
Decide on one you want to vote for.
Come back here and find it in the list.
Vote for it.

Voting will close at 11:59pm EST on Wednesday, December 18th.

One vote per day per IP address. Most schools have the same IP address for every school computer, so students will need to vote from home, libraries, wifi cafes, relatives houses etc.


Voting is now open for the best student blog

If you go to Edublog Awards website, you will find you can vote using List.ly but you need to be 13 or older to have an account.

So to allow our younger bloggers to vote for the best student blog, we have created this poll below. You will be allowed to vote for one blog each day.

How to vote.
Check out all the blogs at the Edublog Awards link above.
Decide on one you want to vote for.
Come back here and find it in the list.
Vote for it.

Voting will close at 11:59pm EST on Wednesday, December 18th.

One vote per day per IP address. Most schools have the same IP address for every school computer, so students will need to vote from home, libraries, wifi cafes, relatives houses etc.


Week 10 – Our final challenge

We have now been together for nearly three months. There have been highs ( Wow! that was fantastic finally embedding that poll) and lows (Oh this week’s challenge is boring – do we have to do it?) 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:

  1. auditing your own blog
  2. evaluating the challenge

This is an audit of your blog since the beginning of September 2013.

  • 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:

  • 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.

Part 2 Evaluating the challenge. 

This is the eleventh 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. Please leave some ideas in the comments of good ideas you would like to see included in the challenge in future.