Week 1 Introductions

Welcome to the train
Photo Credit: Keith Tyler via Compfight

Whenever you join something new, it is always polite to introduce yourself to the other people in the group. That is what this week’s activities are all about.

Here are some examples to check out, but be creative.

Activity 1. You might like to write a poem about yourself, create or update an about me/us page or post. Remember to be internet safe and not add any personal information.

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 Same 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

If using Blogger/blogspot, check out the help pages here.

Activity 2.  Introduce your class, school, family using another page or post. Maybe go outside to take photos of your school or neighbourhood to include in a slideshow on the about me/us page.

Activity 3. You are going to start getting visitors to your blog. Do you have some questions you would like them to answer? Write a post asking questions for your visitors to answer about themselves.

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.

Refer to detailed step by step instructions in the Edublogs User Manual on setting up links for your pages for more help!

Still got time left this week – visit students in your coloured group and leave a comment or ask a question on the about me post or page.  You’ll find the student blog list for Sept 2013 here.

Classes check out the other class blogs on either side of yours in the participation list – visit other blogs with the same age group.  You”ll find the class blog list for Sept 2013 here.

If your class has its own twitter account, please remember to use #13stubc when tweeting about the challenge activities or the posts you have written.

Edublogs management have changed the widget called Subscribe by email this week.  So please, if you had subscribed earlier, could you please subscribe again with the new widget I have on the sidebar.

Read more about the new Edublogs email subscription widget here.

Breaking News … Breaking News … Breaking News …

So I know you have finished your post or page, please return here and fill in the form below. We will be choosing examples of great posts/pages to be included in our September 2013 Flipboard magazine but only from those who have completed the form.

You can check out our March 2013 Flipboard magazine here!

Make sure you include the URL of the actual post you have written, not just your blog in general.  For example, the URL for this post is http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2013/09/08/week-1-introductions/ and if I was sharing the link to our About page it would be http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/about/

Challenge 1 Wellbeing and introductions

Welcome to the first set of activities

in the 9th Student Blogging Challenge.

 

Admin info: 

Please check very carefully the student or class participation pages to make sure you are listed.

I have had to remove some students and classes as their URL addresses didn’t work when I tried to leave a comment. You might need to register again. But PLEASE check carefully before doing this.

If you haven’t received a comment from me, please check your spam as I did have two links in the comment and this is often added as spam. Also some students didn’t receive a comment because they did not have a page or post written when I visited or else I was asked to log in to leave a comment. To check if someone can leave a comment on your blog – don’t log in to your blog, just go to the blog and try to leave a comment. If you can’t leave a comment or even read the post, then you will need to change your settings.

Activities will be separated into two sections: Firstly those related to improving your blog for your new readers and secondly ideas for posts on your blog. You can do one activity or lots of activities. What you don’t finish this week, you might want to do next week. Whenever you visit a new blog, you want to know a little about the author or group of authors. This fits very well into our first group of activities.

Well-being, health and citizenship.

So let’s get started:

Improving your blog

1. Create or update a page about yourself or your class. If using Edublogs, you have a page called Sample Page when you first get your blog. You could use this page by deleting what is already in there, editing the permalink to About Me, and writing about yourself or your class. Remember not to include personal information (part of digital citizenship) but really tell us about yourself. You might want to check out some examples from other students and classes. Login to your blog, go to the dashboard>pages>all pages> hover under sample or about page and click edit.

StudentsJarrod (global2 Edublogs), Em created a poll about which images to use, Emily uses interesting information, Ethan gives image attribution on his page, Larnie from Victoria, CJ has lots of favourites but what about the music, Teegan includes a slideshare, Angie loves changing colours, Daniel has a YouTube channel, Haley wants a pygmy pig for a pet

Classes: Mrs Kerr class poem, Mr McCleary in Canada, Mrs Hazzeldine in Australia, Big dreamers in grade 3, Class in Adelaide uses cartoonize for class photo, Mrs Young tells us about herself, Jason teaching at high school, Mr Woolley used Vokis, Mr Price is a recent blogger, Ms Stewart wrote a post instead

Justin suggested: I think a great activity would be to create a Prezi which showcases facts and pictures about your school. Perhaps even upload a video and link it to the Prezi too.

Tools or websites you might want to use: Write a poem like Mrs Kelly, Scholastic poem, Read-write-think poem, Vokis – can be free or as a classroom at a cost, Prezi - can be a free educational version, Animoto – again a free version for education

2. Make sure you have filled in your blog profile page correctly. You should have only your first name(2), a nickname and display name(3) and a link to your own blog(5) in the URL area. This will make it easier for others to visit your blog if they are using the same blogging platform as you are. When leaving comments on other blogging platforms you might need to include your first name, a link to your blog and an email address as well as the anti-spam word. If leaving comments on kidblog, include your URL in the actual comment area as it does not normally ask for this otherwise.

If using other blogging platforms, get help at these links – edublogs (including global2, eschoolblogs, goaj blogs), kidblog, weebly, blogger or blogspot – see sidebar on the right

3. Leave a comment on the blog of up to 10 students who have the same mentor as you. Make sure it is a quality comment – if the student has blogging or commenting guidelines, read them first. If your mentor has left a comment on your blog, perhaps visit their blog to ask some questions politely. Hopefully the mentor will have their name or avatar image linked to their blog URL.

Always remember to check your spam comments as sometimes a real comment gets stuck in there.

 

Ideas for posts


1. Think about the athletes you saw at either the Olympics or paralympics. How do they look after their well-being? What are some things you do or eat, that they would not use?
2. How is citizenship on the internet the same as or different to citizenship in the real world? Make a list by comparing the two situations. Is citizenship different from country to country? What makes you a citizen of your country?
3. Have you ever been in an extremely emotional situation? Tell us all about it but remember to be internet safe in what you tell us. This could be anger, sadness, happiness, frustration …
4. If you are ever in a very stressful situation, how do you calm yourself down? What are some coping strategies you use?
5. Create a collage about emotions. Have students create their own images or emoticons. Take photos of the results and create into a collage or animoto or slideshow.
6. What is your favourite sport? What skills are needed to become an elite athlete in that sport?
7. Indigenous groups will often have different games to other people. Compare games around the world that use very little equipment. Try out some of these games in your classroom.
8. I am sure all students are taught about the healthy food pyramid. But what does your food pyramid look like? Create one using real food then take a photo to include in your post.
9. Part of good digital citizenship is not being a cyber bully. Have you ever been cyber-bullied? What did you do about it? Make a list of hints for students who are being cyber-bullied. Maybe make a poster about what to do and what not to do. Perhaps you could use glogster or as a class use wallwisher.
10 In Tasmania, the health department is running a program called ‘Move Well, Eat Well‘. Does your country or state run something similar? Are there any other programs your school takes part in that helps with student well being and health?
11 Pets are often said to be helpful with a person’s well-being. How? Find some examples.

If none of these ideas make you want to write a post, then tell your readers what you are being taught at the moment that relates to health, well being and citizenship. Remember you are not only taught at school but also at home, at church, in a sport team and so on.

Remember to add a link back to this post, once you have written your post. This is called a trackback or pingback and will then allow me to come to your blog easily to read your fantastic post.

If using Edublogs, below your post dashboard, you will see an area called ‘Send trackbacks’. Just copy the URL of this challenge post and paste it in there. It must be the URL of the actual post, not the blog in general.

Attribution for Image: ‘Food Pyramid

Next week we create avatars, our blogroll and learn how to hyperlink

Leave a comment below if you know of any great sites related to well-being, health and citizenship, especially if they have games included on these topics.

Week 1: All about me

Welcome to the first week of activities in the 8th student blogging challenge. As at writing this first post, we have 112 classes, 748 students and 36 mentors taking part in the challenge. We cover the following 22 countries:

  • Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA – majority of students and classes from these countries.
  • United Kingdom, Russia, Vietnam, South Korea, Turkey – more than one participant.
  • Netherlands, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Taiwan, South Africa, Colombia, United Arab Emirates, Iran, El Salvador, Bangladesh, Uganda, Malaysia and Indonesia – only one participant or mentor.

Activities will be divided into three sections:

  • Blogging – check if you have done these activities before going on to the other sections. It is here where you will learn how to improve your blog.
  • Students – activities for writing posts or adding comments.
  • Teachers – activities for your classes either writing posts or leaving comments.

Let’s get started!!

Blogging

With participants from so many countries coming to your blog, you will need to have a post or page all about yourself – your interests, your favourites, your family and so on. Remember to be internet safe and not mention personal information like your last name, phone number, email, school name. Check out these great examples: Mara, Colton and Reece  A slightly different version from Nolan

If using Edublogs, go to your dashboard> pages>edit sample page or about page. Remember to rename the title. If your blog header doesn’t include pages, then you will also need to go to appearance> widgets> drag  ‘Pages’ into your sidebar.

You will also need to make sure visitors can leave comments on your blog – you might need to create a text widget to explain how to leave a comment. Check out this blog for an example: Image a Day  To know how to cheat and put this info in your sidebar, visit this post from The Edublogger and start at part 6.

If using other blogging platforms, check out the Get Help links on the sidebar of this blog. I have tried to find tutorials for improving blogs for each of the other platforms. If you know a good tutorial site leave a comment on this post and include the link. I will then add it to my sidebar.

Students

  1. You might need to re-visit your ‘About’ page and update it for this year.
  2. Otherwise check out some interesting ‘I am’ posts from students in Mrs Kelly’s class. You could write one of these for your blog.
  3. Find your name on the student participant list, check that the link works, then visit at least ten blogs with the same colour as yours and leave comments on one of their posts. Write a post, recommending at least three different blog posts to visit and why you think they are interesting.
  4. Who is your mentor? Check on the student participant list, then go to the mentor registration page and find out about your mentor. Write a post as if you are interviewing your mentor. They might visit in the next couple of weeks and leave some answers for you.

Teachers

  1. You might need to re-visit your class  ‘About’ page and update it for this year.
  2. Otherwise check out some interesting ‘I am’ posts from students in Mrs Kelly’s class. You could write one of these for your blog but instead it will be ‘We are’ as a class.
  3. Find your class name on the class participant list, check that the link works, then visit the class on either side of you. Leave a comment on their blog and some of the student blogs if linked on the blogroll.
  4. Write a post posing  some questions to be answered by the visiting classes which might come to your blog.
  5. Check out this post about commenting from Mrs Smith. What type of comments do your students leave?

Everyone:

If you have any great ideas for activities in this challenge, please leave in a comment on this post.

Remember to create a link back to this post if you have completed any of the activities where you are asked to write a post. You might copy and paste this to the bottom of the post: I got the idea for this activity from Student Challenge Blog March 2012

Image: ‘Welcome Piggies

Challenge 1: All about you

Welcome to the seventh student blogging challenge.

Looking through the list of participants, we have very few students who have taken part in a challenge before so the activities will be new to you all. A reminder that some activities will be about setting up your blog while other activities will be writing posts or improving your commenting skills. Each week you can choose to do as many of the activities as you like or your teacher might choose the one they want for that week.

Whatever happens – Enjoy your blogging!

When you meet someone for the first time or join a new class, you usually have to introduce yourself. Most blogs have a page called ‘About’ or ‘Sample Page’ or ‘Profile’.

Activity 1. Write or update your ‘About’ page. Tell your readers your first name only, a bit about your interests but remember to be internet savvy and not give out any personal details. Check out these  students – EmmaDaniel , ChloeSimon , Ben and Molly. If you wrote your ‘About’ page last year, things will have changed – so update the information or improve the layout of what you have written to make it easier for your readers to understand.

In Edublogs, log in to your dashboard. On left go to all pages, hover under sample page and click edit. Make sure you change the title and delete what is already written there. Once you have finished, hit the update button. Now remember to go to appearance> widgets and drag your ‘Pages’ widget to your sidebar.

If using Blogspot, check out this blog and all its hints.

……………….

Because Sue Waters (from The Edublogger) and I want to know about student commenting skills, we would like everyone to do the next activity.

Activity 2. Leave a comment on this post to answer the following questions.

Why did you join the blogging challenge?
What do you hope some of the activities include?
Finally, what do you hope to get out of the challenge by the end of the ten weeks?

……………….

Because we can’t all meet face to face (f2f), we have to have an online identity to represent us. Whenever I leave a comment on your blog, you will see a grey haired lady. I love wearing thongs on my feet and drinking iced tea. So that is a picture representing me – these pictures are avatars.

Activity 3 – make an avatar

Step 1. Create an avatar for your blog and for you to use when leaving comments.

Avatars are a representation of yourself. Check out this post about avatars.  Create your avatar using one of the websites below.

Most important is remember to save as a jpeg file if using Edublogs.

MyHero[1] avatar2 avatar3 avatarbig

Any age can use these avatar sites:

From abi-station:

But over 13, need parental or guardian permission for these.

14 or older with parental permission

Step 2. Using printscreen to save your avatar or use the snipping tool

So you decided to create an avatar like “Hero Factory” or “Build your wildself” or “Mini Mizer” where you can’t save it easily. You need to take a picture of the screen first. Most computers have a printscreen button on the keyboard or if using Windows 7 you have an icon called “snipping tool”. Not sure what Mac users have but I am sure there is a similar button on your computers.

When you press printscreen or use the snipping tool an image of your screen or part of it  is now copied to your clipboard. You will still need to crop and resize to get an avatar that fits well on your blog.

Open MS Paint and click control V to paste your image from the clipboard. To save, you need to go to File>Save As> change the name of the file to yourname with ava eg  sueava then underneath change the file type to JPEG. Make sure you save your avatar to your drive.

Go to your drive, right click on the icon for your avatar image and choose “Open with” choose MS Picture Manager. This might be in Microsoft office tools.

In the icons at the top, go to View> task pane.  On the right go to edit pictures > crop.  Now move the black bars on the side of your image in, to crop your picture to what you want in your avatar.

Click OK, then back to edit pictures. Now click on resize. In the box “custom width and height” put  97 in both boxes. These numbers might be slightly different but one has to be 97 and the other smaller than 97. Click OK.

Back up to file>save as> call it sueava2 or similar> make sure it is still JPEG. Make sure you have saved it to your drive again.

Step 3. Upload avatar to your Edublogs blog

Now to upload to your blog.  Go to your dashboard> users>your avatar> browse to find your image on your school H drive>alternate upload.  This is your comment avatar.

Now for your blog avatar. Dashboard>appearance>widget> blog avatar drag to your sidebar.  To upload the avatar, dashboard>settings>blog avatar> browse to find your image on your school H drive>alternate upload. Go to your blog page and refresh. Your blog avatar should appear on your blog now.

If it now looks like a black coloured square then you haven’t cropped the image to the correct size in step 2 using printscreen. Or maybe you didn’t save the image as a JPEG in step 2 using printscreen.

Activity 4 – Write a post describing your avatar.

How much does it look like you? What sort of personality does your avatar have? What makes it typically you? Remember to include your avatar as an image in your post.

Activity 5 – Visit 10 student blogs in the challenge where you have the same interests.

Write a post or leave a comment telling me who you visited and what post you commented on in their blog. Why did you comment on that post?

Activity 6 – Write a tutorial post about creating your avatar

This would be handy for Miss W to have for the next set of challenges. Your post could be used to teach other students or teachers about how to create, resize and upload their avatar especially if using blogspot, kidblog or a Mac computer. Mention in your post what type of computer you were using and the programs used for resizing etc.

Extra activity or as a class – Create different avatars and share them with the world.

Now create an animoto with your images to embed in your blog. Check first if your teacher has a class animoto reference code.

Maybe you know a tool to create a flip book that can show your class avatars with a description similar to activity 4.

If you don’t want to create an animoto, then add the avatars in a gallery to your blog post. Check out how Max created his animoto. Check out the post about his family by Jack.

Remember to leave a link back to this post (see below) if you have written about one of the activities in your blog.

September Challenge 1

Image: ‘merhaba

Who are you? Challenge 1-March 2011

Welcome to the new set of challenges for March 2011!

Here are a few tips about navigating the blog and getting the most out of the challenges.

  • Every weekend, here in Australia, I will be posting a new set of activities for the week. Complete as many of the activities as you want.
  • To find the post with the activities, look on the right sidebar under ‘Latest challenge posts’.
  • If you want to be emailed as soon as I post a challenge, then fill in your email address in the right sidebar above the clustrmap then hit the subscribe button.
  • If you have a Google Reader or Netvibes etc, then subscribe by RSS – top of right sidebar.
  • If your teacher wants to join our mailing list to receive a newsletter every month or so, then have your teacher fill in the mailing list on the left sidebar.
  • To find the students taking part in the challenge, look in the header and click on ‘Students – March 2011′
  • If you are participating as a class and want to find other classes to link up with, check in the header for ‘Classes – March 2011′
  • If you are a teacher/educator commenter and want to link your class with some classes of the students you are commenting with, please contact me and I will give you their teacher names to allow skype etc. Often though, students will have their class blog listed in their blogroll on their sidebar.
  • If you want me to visit your blog post, you need to leave me a comment on my post or include a link from my post on your post. Here is a page to show you how to create a link in your post .
  • Most of the instructions in the challenge are given for Edublog users, but there is a link for Blogspot users in the ‘Get Help’ section on the right sidebar.

OK, time for the activities now.

Students:

The first week of activities involves lots of things which I hope you have already done to your blog. Just go down the page like a checklist and tick off as you get the activities completed.

Activities in purple are for beginner bloggers, those in green, suggestions for more advanced bloggers. Anything in blue and underlined is a link to another blog or post. Remember to right mouse click, open in a new tab when clicking on a link.

1. Are you on the list?

Some students filled out the wrong registration form and joined as a class. Please check the page in the header labelled ‘Students – March 2011′. Find your age group – check very carefully if your name is on there. If it isn’t then click on this link to fill in the correct registration form.

If you find your name on the list, you will probably find the name of a teacher in the same colour as you. This teacher or educator is going to visit your blog over the next ten weeks and leave some comments on your posts. Try to create conversations with these people – most of them have their own blog as well. Find out about them by visiting the post linked here and check out the comment they left.

Some students don’t yet have a commenter allocated. This will happen in the next few weeks.

avatarbigIf you are on the list, you will probably have received a ‘Welcome to the challenge’ comment from Miss W or tasteach. I usually leave these comments on ‘About’ pages or a post you have written about yourself. If you have not received a comment from me yet, please leave a comment below on this post and include the URL of your blog so I can come and visit you.

2. Changed your theme.

All Edublogs blogs begin with the same theme. There are over 100 different themes to choose from. Some have one sidebar, some have two sidebars, some allow you to change the headers. But you need to decide which theme suits you best. Check out this post about themes To change your theme, go to your dashboard > appearance > themes.

You might like to write a post about why you chose that particular theme. How difficult was it to choose? What were you looking for in a theme?

If you have been blogging for a while, is it time for a blog makeover? Have a look at some of the newer themes that are now available and update the look of your blog. Write a post explaining the changes. Perhaps a ‘before’ and ‘after’ shot of your blog.

If you use Kidblogs  you don’t have a choice of themes, but you could write a post about what you would like to have in a theme.

3. Written your ‘about’ page.

Remember pages stay in the one place and are located in your header or in the ‘Pages’ widget. What you will be writing normally are posts and they will gradually disappear off the bottom of the major column on your blog.  If using blogspot, you have an ‘About’ area in your profile, those using Kidblogs will need to write a post about themselves instead. Check out the example ‘About’ pages below:

About pages – students I have found when leaving welcome comments

Be creative but internet savvy when writing your about page. Those students from Mr Puchinsky’s music class might like to re-write the lyrics of a song or nursery rhyme and tell about yourself in the new lyrics. If you are a singer, why not use Audacity or Vocaroo to record your song about yourself and embed it in your about page in your blog.

If you have already written an about page last year, you might need to update it for this year. Things will have changed. If you know of a great example of an ‘About’ page, please leave a comment on this post.

Make sure you have added the ‘Pages’ widget to your sidebar. Dashboard> appearance> widgets> drag ‘pages’ across.

4. Write a post about why students and classes should visit your blog.

Why is your blog going to be interesting? What will you be posting about? What could they learn from reading your blog? Make sure you hyperlink back to this challenge post  somewhere in your post. That way, I will get a trackback or pingback and I will be able to visit your blog to read your post, otherwise I won’t know if you have written anything about this challenge.

eg. This post is for Challenge 1 in the March 2011 challenge. Highlight ‘Challenge 1′  then use the Link icon  – chains joined – and copy and paste in the URL below

http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2011/03/05/challenge-1-march-2011/

This is one of the most important skills to know when blogging – how to make a link – if unsure check out this post for Edublogs or this post for blogspot.

If you have been blogging for a while, write a post highlighting some posts you have written that you would recommend new bloggers read. Remember to give an explanation why – what will they learn from reading that post? Make sure you link to the posts you are recommending so your readers can actually visit them.

5. Visit the student list then leave a comment here …

Check out the page called ‘Students – March 2011’ and visit ten blogs  where students have similar interests to you and leave a comment on their blog. Then come back here and leave a comment mentioning a blog you found really interesting – remember to tell me the student’s first name, country and blog URL so I can then go and visit them as well.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Classes

Each week you will need to have visited the blog of the class on either side of your name on the ‘Classes – March 2011’ page. This will make sure each class gets visited by at least two other classes. Remember to check out any student blogs that are on the class sidebars.

Then choose some other classes from the list that you would like to visit – students of similar age perhaps.  Add links to these classes on your blogroll to make it easier for your students to visit them.

If you are a teacher commenter you might also like to add the classes or student blogs you are visiting to your blogroll.

1. On your class blog, write a post about why students and classes should visit your blog. What will they learn from reading your posts? Are there any skills your class has that they could pass on to other classes and students? Perhaps highlight and link to some great posts your class has already written that newer blogging classes would find useful or interesting.

2. Make sure your class about page is updated.

Check out these below. Each page is so different. What do you and your students think should be included in a class ‘About’ page?

Check out at least ten other class blogs from the list. Write a post in your blog about the similarities and differences you found while reading their ‘About’ pages. Remember to include links back to those class blogs.

3. Introduce the world to your classroom or school.

Create an animoto with images of your classroom or school taken by your students. This might be included as a post or on your about page. Make sure you join the free education version where both you and your students can create longer length animotos.

4. Visit your buddy classes (those on the side of your class on the ‘Classes – March 2011′ page.) Introduce yourself and get a conversation started.

Have pairs of  students in your class visit a different class blog and check it out. What did they like about it? What caught their eye? Did they find an interesting post?

Now on your class blog, write a post about visiting other class blogs. Highlight those things your students found interesting and add links back to the blogs they visited.

Next week we look at avatars – fun, fun, fun