Week 1: Let’s talk about us

Talking With an Ostrich

MTSOfan via Compfight

Welcome to the 14th student blogging challenge.

I hope you all enjoy the activities to choose from each week.

Teachers – remember you can adapt the activities to suit what is happening in your class at that time or you can cut and paste parts of it on to your class blog. Just remember to give credit where you found the ideas by linking back to the challenge post somewhere on your post.

Students – Each week there will be lots of activities to choose from. You don’t have to complete them all. But by Easter, your mentor or I must see your ‘About Me’ page or post as well as two other posts relating to the challenge. If they can not be found, your name will be taken off the list of students participating, especially if you have been given a mentor.

Mentors – they are there to give you some clues about blogging, reminding you of the challenge as well as carrying on conversations in your posts. Remember to read and reply to their comments politely and in a timely fashion.

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 – here is link explaining how to do that.
  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. Check this post for how to do this using Edublogs, Blogger and Kidblog.

Let’s start the activities

Whenever you meet a new person or join a group, there are three things you will most likely do.

  1. Look at the outside view of the person – do they look like the type of person you would enjoy being with?
  2. Then you would go deeper by asking some basic questions about the person and their interests.
  3. Finally, you would connect through shared interests.

We are going to cover those three things this week by creating an avatar to represent our outside view, create our about me page to show your visitors the type of person you are and your interests then you are going searching for other students your age who also have similar interests.

Creating  avatars:

Activity 1: Here is a link to the post I use with my online students when they create their user avatars. This includes some great websites for creating avatars. Create your user avatar. Save it to your own computer drive as a jpeg file format no larger than 200 x 200 pixels. You might need to crop and resize.

If using Edublogs, check here. If using blogspot, check here. If using kidblog, check here. Teacher might need to change some settings in Kidblog to allow students to add own avatars.

Activity 2: Create a series of avatars to represent your family members. Use different avatar websites depending upon the person’s interests. Write a post about your family and include the avatar for each person. Remember – be internet safe, no personal information.

Activity 3: Class activity

As a class create a slideshow of your user avatars or add them to your header area. Below is an old example using animoto. Or check out how to customize your header – here is a post by Mrs Smith about creating avatars – using shapes,

This was my very first Animoto created back in 2009. Look at the list of tools on the sidebar for other slideshow creators.

 

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:  What are some apps or other websites you could use to create an avatar? Tell me about them, costs, age to use etc  Maybe write a tutorial telling how to create the avatar on that website or app.

About me page or post

Activity 6: Create your own About Me page or post. Be careful about how much personal information you include. Try to be creative in both your words like Felix, or by including visuals like Warrior Kat. More students to check out: Nicole, Kendall,  Tina,

  • Write a poem
  • Write an A-Z paragraph eg I am an athletic, yet brainy child who decided that saving the environment is one of my future goals.
  • Create a video like our mentor Dinah has done
  • Create a list of things people might not know about you like Ms Herring has done
  • Write a Who am I like Mrs Keane or Mrs Lyttle
  • Students in Ireland paired up to create their about us page, Ms Seitz’ class did the same

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.

Activity 7:  What are some apps or websites you could use to create something interesting to add to your About me page? Tell me about them, costs, age to use etc Perhaps a word cloud or glogster – brainstorm as a class.

Activity 8: class activity

Create a class avatar using Voki. Look at these examples from Mrs Essen’s class and Mrs McKelvey’s Blogging Frogs

Visiting other blogs

One important aspect of blogging is commenting on other blogs. Classes and student participants are grouped according to similar ages. Visit some other blogs, read posts, get ideas from them, leave a comment. Make sure you include your blog URL so they can come to visit your blog.

Activity 9: Are there other students your age with similar interests to you? Visit them and leave a comment on a post or their about me page.

Most students will also have a mentor who will be leaving comments. Make sure you read their comments and reply back to them. In fact, you should reply back to any interesting comments you receive – that is how conversations get started.

Leave a comment on this blog post when you have finished your activity or activities for this week. What activity did you do? Why? What did you enjoy about doing the activity?  What else could we do regarding about me pages and avatars. Remember to include your blog URL so I can come to visit you and leave a comment on your post.

 

Week 1: G’day from downunder


Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Rebecca via Compfight

For those who are new to blogging, anything that is in blue colour is a link that you can click on. It will take you to another website. They should open in a new tab or window.

Before we start the actual challenge, please make sure you have read this post as it has some important things you need to have done to make the challenge more enjoyable.

You need to know the difference between a PAGE and a POST.

On the challenge blog, PAGES are found above the header. It depends on which theme you have chosen, but some themes do not have pages visible. You will need to go to dashboard> appearance> widgets and drag over the Pages widget to your sidebar. PAGES usually have information that doesn’t change very often, so on the challenge blog I have the registration page as well as the lists of classes and students that are participating in the challenge.

POSTS are published on the main part of your blog in reverse order, so the newest posts are at the top of your blog. Eventually a post will disappear off the front of your blog – you will still be able to find it by clicking on older entries.

OK Time to start the September challenge

Introducing yourself

Check out how these students, classes and mentors have introduced themselves by using a page or post.

Students

Warrior Kat,  Felix,  Nicole,  Kendall,  Tina,

Classes

5SK in Queensland,  First class Rm 12Blogs by the sea with Mr Jewell, 3/4 in Tasmania, Tipperary cattle station in Australia, If only the best birds sang from Ireland, Rm 1 from New Zealand,

Mentors and teachers

DinahMs HerringMrs Keane, Mrs Yollis, Mrs Muller,

Activity 1- comparison

Write a post comparing the different about me pages. Which one did you like the most and why?

Activity 2 – about me page

Create your own About Me page or post. Be careful about how much personal information you include. Try to be creative in both your words like Felix, or by including visuals like Warrior Kat.

If using Edublogs, here 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. This opens a second row which allows you to change font colours and to insert from a word document.
  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 blue button on the right side of your screen – probably says update.
  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.

Activity 3- apps or websites

What are some apps or websites you could use to create something interesting to add to your About me page? Tell me about them, costs, age to use etc Perhaps a word cloud or glogster – brainstorm as a class.

Creating avatars

Now you have introduced yourself to your readers, you need to have something to show who you are when you leave comments on other blogs. This is called your user avatar. By clicking on each of the images below, you can go to different websites to create your own avatars. These sites are suitable for all ages.

      

   

   

doppelme avatar  

Activity 4 – create user avatar

Create your user avatar. Save it to your own computer drive as a jpeg file format no larger than 200 x 200 pixels. You might need to crop and resize.

If using Edublogs, check here. If using blogspot, check here. If using kidblog, check here. Teacher might need to change some settings in Kidblog to allow students to add own avatars.

Activity 5 – avatars for family

Create a series of avatars to represent your family members. Use different avatar websites depending upon the person’s interests. Write a post about your family and include the avatar for each person. Remember – be internet safe, no personal information.

Activity 6 – Class activity

As a class create a slideshow of your user avatars or add them to your header area. Below is an old example using animoto. Or check out how to customize your header – Mrs Smith has used artwork rather than avatars.

This was my very first Animoto created back in 2009.

 

Activity 7 – 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 8 – apps or websites

What are some apps or other websites you could use to create an avatar? Tell me about them, costs, age to use etc  Maybe write a tutorial telling how to create the avatar on that website or app.

Still got time left this week?

As this is our 13th challenge, every week will be an activity to do with good/bad luck, superstition or something similar. Here is this weeks number 13 challenge.

Activity 9 – 13th challenge

The answer is 13. What could the question be?

Don’t just use maths – how else could you get an answer of 13.

Activity 10 – visiting other blogs

One important aspect of blogging is commenting on other blogs. Classes and student participants are grouped according to similar ages. Visit some other blogs, read posts, get ideas from them, leave a comment. Make sure you include your blog URL so they can come to visit your blog.

Most students also have a mentor who will be leaving comments. Make sure you read their comments and reply back to them. In fact, you should reply back to any interesting comments you receive – that is how conversations get started.

Leave a comment on this blog post when you have finished your activity or activities for this week. What activity did you do? Why? What did you enjoy about doing the activity?  What else could we do regarding about me pages and avatars. Remember to include your blog URL so I can come to visit you and leave a comment on your post.

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/

Great posts to read

I have been very impressed with the number of students who have included a pingback for me to visit their blog post. Every couple of weeks I will choose those which were very well written, showed variety in the answers or were very creative and well thought out. Make sure you visit these blogs and perhaps leave some comments on the posts.

If you read a great blog post, feel free to leave a comment on that week’s challenge post. Remember to include a link to the post I should go and read. Or you could email me with the student name and the post URL.

Remember each student who is linked in this post will receive their own pingback on their blog. A pingback usually starts with […] and then finishes with […]  Make sure you approve these pingbacks as it means someone thinks you have written a good post and they have mentioned it in one of their posts.

Alive or dead

Students: Sarah, Cullen, Noah, Eiliana, Jess, Rosemarie, Franklin, Eeshaan, Kyle, Madeline, Jerry, Hannah who loves gymnastics. Steph, Andres, Miranda, Brisa, Dharyl, Areli, Caroline, Hannah or ladybuggy, Euriel, Melissa, Letty, Stephanie, Alma, Lupita, Gio, Cindy, Angela, Daisy, Jack, Jake, Gabriel, Jessi-Rose, Jess the bookworm, Cogan, Lisa, Ezio,

I was thrilled to see so many students wanting to ask grandparents, great grandparents and other family members questions about something in their life. That is one of my hobbies – genealogy or family history.

Classes: Merrybeau, Miss Carlson (read the comments for student answers), Splashers in NZ, Blogmania,

About Me

Students: Annalee, Brayan, Ana, David, Brian, Lillian, Ruth, Gisela, Breeyana, Vanessa, Martina, Johnny, Makenzie, Laura, all students from Mrs Kriese’s class,

Classes: Teddy from Mrs Donofrio’s class, Penguins in NZ, Rebecca‘s class, class mascot Buzz, 56STEPS, The Lions, 56Torquay, students in Serbia,

Commenting guidelines: Eeshaan, Mrs McKelvey’s class video about comment tips,

Conversations have started happening between students and classes: Nathaniel, Berenice, Yesenia,

Why visit my blog: David, Jake, Wise Owls,

Anti-bullying: Climb High,

 

Photo Credit: Official BlackBerry Images via Compfight cc

Challenge 1 – Sept 2010

The first week of challenges 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.

1. 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 use Kidblogs I don’t think you have a choice of themes, so you won’t be able to do this activity.

2. 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 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 – classes

About pages – students

  • Abbey
  • Skye – changed since previous challenge – notice comments
  • Loretta
  • Amelia – new to blogging like three weeks only
  • Kylie – same as Amelia

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.

3. Added your blogger, commenter or helper badge to your sidebar.

As you are taking part in the challenge, a designer Tammie at Edublogs has created a badge you can put on your blog sidebar.   Click on this underlined link and it will take you to the post telling you what to do. If you can’t add it to your sidebar, you could put it in a post instead.  Make sure you have added your ‘Recent comments’ widget to your sidebar.

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 September 2010 challenge. Highlight ‘Challenge 1′  then use the Link icon  – chains joined – and type in the URL for this post. Check out how Abbey has created the trackback here.

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.

5. Leave a comment on this post telling me three interesting things about you then ….

Check out the page called “Sept. 2010 students’ and visit ten blogs there 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.

6. Classes only

Each week you will need to have visited the blog of the class on either side of your name on the ‘Sept. 2010 classes’ 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.  If browsing with Internet Explorer, remember to use the ‘Sept 2010 classes use IE’  link.

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?

7. Now students like Abbey who have already taken part in the challenges in March will already have done most of these things, so I want you to write a post on the following topic.

Think about something important you have learned outside of school – remember we should all be life long learners not just learners while at school. How did you learn it? Why is it important to you? Who or what taught you about it? How has this learning helped you in your life?

This idea is from a prompt at this website – Teaching that makes sense.

Original image: ‘Dive off!
Dive off!

March 2010: Challenge 1

Welcome to the first challenge for March 2010.  For the first time, all challenges will be categorised as one of the following:

  1. beginner student
  2. veteran student – means has been blogging for about 6 months or more
  3. commenter – doesn’t have own blog but comments or posts on a class blog
  4. class

Teachers – there have already been some teacher challenges on ‘The Edublogger’ so your class blog could be ready for this challenge – if you have not completed them, could you do so as soon as possible. If you have students on a blogroll, please have their RSS post feeds in some type of reader or netvibes etc with an obvious link on your class blog – check out all our posts etc. This will make it easier for comments to be left when another class visits your blog.

Blogging is all about holding conversations with people who have similar interests to you.  You might have a blog about Nascar racing, your friend has one about Greening the Earth or as most of you do, one for showing the world what you are doing at school and answering questions in relevant subject areas.  Here is your first challenge:

Beginner:

Make sure you have an up-to-date page telling ‘About’ you. Check out some of the following students from previous challenges: JessNick, LaurenLittle Miss Room18, Marnie, Dominique, Kira, Jacob, Keely and Brad.

If using Edublogs, this is a PAGE not a POST. It will appear as a link across the top of your header or in the PAGE widget on your sidebar. Here is a link to explain how to edit the ‘About’ page which is already on your blog. If using BLOGSPOT, you also have an about me area in your profile. Remember to be internet safe in the information you put on the page.

Veteran:

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 2010 challenge. Highlight ‘Challenge 1’  then use the Link icon  – chains joined – and type in the URL for this post. Check out how Abbey has created the trackback here.

Commenter:

Leave a comment on this post telling me three interesting things about you. Check out the page called “March 2010 students’ and visit two blogs there where students have similar interests to you and leave a comment on their blog.

Class:

Each week you will need to have visited the blog of the class on either side of your name on the ‘March 2010 classes’ page. This will make sure each class gets visited by at least two other classes.  Then choose some other classes from the list that you would like to visit – students of similar age perhaps.

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?

Original image: ‘Three Ladies in Conversation‘  by: John Wigham
http://www.flickr.com/photos/90664717@N00/28225950
Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License