Week 1: Let’s introduce ourselves

Miss W or tasteach

Whenever you see either of these avatars or images on the world wide web, you will know it is me. I am a retired teacher who began blogging with students in 2008. I still blog with teachers and students in Tasmania, Australia. I also blog about my family history and whenever I travel overseas, Davo the Tasmanian devil keeps a blog about his adventures with me. I also blog about my travels around Australia.

But the event I enjoy most is running the Student Blogging Challenge twice a year, with the help of the staff at Edublogs.

When 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.

Teachers – Remember you can adapt the activities to suit what is happening in your class at that time or you can copy 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 – Most weeks there will be lots of activities to choose from. You don’t have to complete them all.  When you complete an activity, remember to fill in the Google form at the bottom of this post.  A commenter will visit 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.

This challenge we have many new students and classes taking part so let’s get some admin out of the way before we start our activities for this week. Anything written in bold and blue is a link you can click on to take you to another blog or website.

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.
  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.
  5. Once you have done your activity for this week, remember to come back here and fill in the Google form.
  6. You can also leave a comment on this post. Include a link to your blog post so I can try and visit in the next week. Great posts will be added to our Flipboard magazine on the sidebar.
  7. Teachers: if you are moderating comments, please do this regularly (at least once a week if not once a day) as it is in the comments where the best connections happen between students and classes. I have just visited some blogs where comments I left two years ago are still awaiting moderation.

With so many new students and teachers taking part, you might like to start with this video created by the team at Edublogs. Here is a PDF activity about blogging terms that you might want to use after watching the video.

Time now for the two topics for this week

Looking at avatars

Activity 1: Create an avatar to use on your blog.  There are many different avatar creation sites on the web. I have been to many of them and created lots of different avatars. Some you just save and download to your computer to then upload into your blog. Others you need to use the snipping tool to save a square image of your avatar. It is always best to save as a jpg format.

Here is a symbaloo of websites to use for avatar making. Feel free to add this to your blog. Along the bottom are pages where teachers have listed lots of sites as well as shown examples. The easiest to do are on the right hand side and look like my avatar.

 

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.

Activity 2: For classes – As a class create a slideshow of your user avatars or add them to your header area.  Or check out how to customize your header – here is a post by Mrs Smith about creating avatars – using shapes,

Other classes:

This was my very first Animoto created back in 2009. Look at the tools page above the header for other slideshow creators.

 

Did you find a great avatar site not mentioned here? Leave me a comment mentioning the site so I can add it to the Symbaloo.

Activity 3: Write a post about your avatar and how it represents you. Include a link to the website where you created the avatar. Remember to include your avatar as an image in your post. If writing a post about your avatar, choose an interesting title not just avatar as this will cause an error on your blog.

Activity 4: 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 and explain how it represents that person.

Remember – be internet safe, no personal information.

 

About me page

Activity 5: Write or update your About Me page.

Whenever I visit a blog for the first time, I always check to see who the person is that is writing the blog posts. Do they have similar interests to me?

If you already have an About Me page, you might want to create an About my State or Province page as well. Be creative:

What is the difference between a page and a post?  Check out the information here.

If using blogspot, check here. If using weebly, check here. If using Kidblog, you will need to write a post.

If using Edublogs, here are instructions for creating your page.

  1. Login to your blog, go to Settings> Discussion and make sure the default settings are ticked to allow people to leave comments> save the changes at the bottom
  2. Now go to the dashboard>pages>add new
  3. Change the title to About Me or something similar.
  4. If you only have one row of icons above the writing box, click on the last icon called the kitchen sink or toggle. This opens a second row which allows you to change font colours.
  5. 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.
  6. In the top navigation area is Screen options – open the drop down arrow and make sure comments is ticked.
  7. In the area under the page writing box, you should see a Discussion box – open this and make sure you have ticked Allow comments.
  8. When you have finished click the big  button on the right side of your screen – probably says update or send for review.
  9. Once you have saved your about me page, go back and delete the sample page.
  10. 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 6:  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.

Finished the work for week 1?

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.  Are there any students with interests the same as you?

If you want a commenter to visit your blog, remember to fill in the form below for each activity you complete this week.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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/

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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

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