Week 5: Free choice

Cabra hispanica Montserrat

Pedro Luna Guillen via Compfight

The first few weeks of the challenge were mainly learning  about blogging skills you need when working on public sites on the internet. You should have learnt the following so far:

  • Avatars – what they are, how they are used, how to create one and upload to your blog
  • About me pages – difference between page and post, what is private information and what you can say on your blog, being a good digital citizen
  • Commenting – what makes a great comment, what you expect from a comment on your blog, guidelines for blogging and commenting in your class
  • Images, sounds, video – what is creative commons, how to find safe and usable images, what is an attribution and how to write it, websites with great images, creating your own images, using images for puzzles and games, an image paints a thousand words when writing a story or poem
  • URLS – difference between BLOG URL when leaving a comment on someone’s blog you are visiting and POST URL when filling in weekly form or commenting on the challenge blog

In a couple of weeks, we will be playing a commenting game. But you need to get prepared for this.

Make sure you have at least 5 other student/class blogs linked on the sidebar of your blog, in a page near your header area or in a recent post that your visitors can find easily. Make sure these are blogs from other students/classes around the world, not just those in your class or school. Perhaps have a blogroll or link category called Global students and/or Global classes. Here is how to add a blogroll if using Edublogs or Blogger. If using Kidblog write a post mentioning at least 5 great blogs you enjoy visiting. Your teacher may be able to add links on the class part of the Kidblog.

Have some visitor widgets on your blog sidebar – maybe a revolver map or a flag counter – this way you can see where your visitors are coming from. Remember only one visitor in 30 will actually leave a comment.

Make sure your blog looks interesting:

  • Maybe change your header to suit what you are writing about.
  • Do your pets make a noise as soon as your blog is opened in a tab? That can be annoying so make sure the visitor can click on the sound button if they want to hear your animal pet.
  • Have you changed the tagline under the title of your blog?
  • Have you included some tags or categories to help your readers find a great post?
  • Does your background image make it hard for your visitors to read your posts?
  • Have you written some interesting posts for your visitors to comment on?

This week’s activity is free choice

Have some interesting posts for your visitors to read when they get to your blog.  I am not going to give any clues as to what to put in your posts but remember the following, especially if you want a post flipped to our magazine. Also take note of the page titled ‘Post ideas’ above my header.

Having read many student posts, I came up with the following essentials in a great post.

  1. catchy title
  2. includes at least one visual (with attribution) whether photo, cartoon, video or another web 2.0 tool like padlet or glogster
  3. interesting topic with the passion of the author coming through
  4. well written and not copy/pasted from somewhere else
  5. shows it has been proofread and spellchecked
  6. written in paragraphs – at least three of them
  7. includes links to other websites on similar topics – at least two of these

Those posts covering the seven things mentioned above will be added to the flipboard magazine. Many students are forgetting to add links to other websites relating to the topic they have written about. Remember links show you have researched your topic well and found opinions of others to include in your post.

Help here from Edublogs and Blogger for adding links to posts.

 

Still more time left this week

  • Read some of the posts in the flipboard magazine – your teacher might want to create a class flipboard magazine to add to your class blog
  • Visit other classes this time in the lists above the header of the challenge blog or in the list included below
  • Reply to any comments left on your blog especially if from a commenter.
  • Check out the posts written by classes and students that are in our Google spreadsheets (Your posts on sidebar)

 

Remember YOU have to visit other blogs, leave comments and the URL of your blog before you will get any comments on your blog. This is how the conversations and connections get made – by visiting and commenting on other student and class blogs.

Check out these class blogs for students aged 7-9. Many students have their own blogs in the sidebar.

Creative thinkers, Penguinville, Mrs Avnor, Smith Kid Bloggers, Mrs Kundhi, Mrs Moore, CW East, Friends of 3rd Dimension, 3E News, La Decouverte – leave comments on the Welcome post for this blog

No form to fill in this week, instead leave a quality comment here on the challenge blog explaining your choice for your post. Also explain what you have done to improve your blog ready for your visitors in a couple of weeks.

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Week 5: Images and sounds

There is a lot to learn in this challenge so it will be running for a two week (fortnight) period. The next challenge will be posted on 17 April while I am away on holidays.

Admin for this challenge

  1. Thanks to all those students, teachers and mentors who have been checking the student list for students mentioned more than once. If you haven’t checked yet, please make sure you are only listed once.
  2. Also we still have some mentors not able to leave comments especially on those blogs from blogger or blogspot. Make sure you have Name/URL as an option when leaving comments.
  3. Some students (who already have a mentor) have started being deleted from the lists as they have not been participating in the challenge activities.
  4. I have visited hundreds of blogs recently leaving many comments or flipping posts to our magazine. Have you found one of your posts in there yet?
  5. We now have a few more students who have been asked to be mentors. They will be leaving comments and giving hints just like the adult mentors.

Teachers: Here is a lot of information regarding images, creative commons and copyright which you can use with your students or to refresh yourself about what is acceptable or not on public blogs. Also one of our mentors in 2014, Maria, has put together some lists with great tools when using images and audio. The Edublogger also has a post on free image sources. Above the challenge blog header is a page containing a symbaloo with many tools to use on your blog – many relate to images.

Students and teachers please read this before doing the activities

This week’s activities are going to be fun but first there are some things you need to know so please read carefully.

I have been visiting many blogs over the last few weeks. Some students new to blogging have been writing some great posts while others who have been blogging for a bit longer have started adding videos and images to their posts.

Yes, this week we deal with using images, music and sounds in your posts.

But can’t I use any image, music or sound that is on the internet?

No, you must use creative commons or in some cases the fair use rule.

But where can I find these images, music and sounds? Can’t I use anything when I google an image?

No, your blog is public so you must use creative commons images, sounds, music and videos.

Sue Waters over at the teacher challenge has written a fantastic post about images, copyright and creative commons. I would suggest you all head over there to read the post. She explains about creative commons and the licences, attribution, how to find images for your blog and how to upload images to your blog. Most of this would be appropriate whether you are using Edublogs, blogger or any other blogging platform. This might be very wordy for some students, but Sue uses lots of images and how to do sections in her posts.

……………………………………………….

Have you read Sue Waters’ post yet?

Off you go then come back here for more information and the activities for this week.

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Other places to find information

OK I want to use some legal creative commons images and music in my slideshow.Where can I go to get them?

Do you have compfight plugin for your blogging platform? Follow the instructions from Sue Waters’ post.

Maria, a mentor from 2014, created some lists of tools to use with images and audio.

Other places to get images and music:

You will need to work out how to get the attribution to put on your posts. Check Sue Waters’  post to get more help and more places for images. This post from Edublogs explains how to add media in all its forms to your blog posts or pages. If using blogger, check out the posts from this blog.

Images

Make sure you check out the links under creative commons in the sidebar of the challenge blog.

Music and sound effects

JamendoCCMixter, post with 14 websites for music, post with 20+ websites for music, post with 55+ sites with sound effects

Now for the activities for this fortnight

Activity 1 Watch this video about sharing work and write a post about what you learned. Include words such as attribution, share alike, licences and derivatives to show you understand what the video was about. Do some more research on the topic and perhaps create your own class video about using images, music and videos in class.

This video is the reaction of students in Mrs Yollis’ class when she mislabelled their artwork. How would you have felt?

Activity 2. Check out this story using remix and fair use of video. What was interesting, positive or negative about it?  Could you and your friends create a 20 second video using remix and fair use? Mrs Miller’s class left some comments on her blog about creative commons

 Activity 3. Find an image or piece of music. Add it to your post (with attribution) and write a poem relating to the image or music. Invite your readers to write their own poems. Here is Fernando’s example, Samantha is confused

Activity 4. Similar to activity 3. Find an interesting landscape image (include attribution).  Write the beginning of a story relating to your image. Remember to include a conflict of some sort between your characters. Invite your readers to finish the story. How many different endings can you get? Which ending do you prefer? You might need to visit some other bloggers and invite them to finish your story. Remember to leave the URL of your post for them to click on.

Activity 5. Write a sentence using just images – no words. You still need to include attribution for each image you have used.

Activity 6. Find 5 images that create a story – again no words only the attribution for each image.

Activity 7. Create a slideshow, photo gallery or poster about your interests to add to your about me page or as a separate post. Your final slide should include attribution for each image.

Activity 8. Create your own images and add to a post of your choice. In your post add a link to the website or tool you used to create your image.

Other options for creating your own images include:

  1. Image Generators such as ImageGenerator.org
  2. Comic Generators like MakeBeliefsComix.com,  ToonDoo
  3. Photo Editors like Befunkyfd’s Flickr Tools
  4. Tag Cloud Creators such as Wordle

Mixing up your images using these types of tools can really spice up your posts! Leave a comment on this post, if you or your class can recommend some other image sites to add to this list.

Activity 9.  Zoom out from an image

We first tried this activity in the challenge in September 2010. Choose a picture, and have your readers zoom out, so to speak, by leaving comments.  Check out the example from Huzzah who finished their story. If doing this activity, include the word ‘zoom’ in your title so I can find it easily. Remember to give attribution. Most important here is to read previous comments, so you can add to the story.

Check out these zoom pictures: BeckyJacquelineAbbey

Activity 10.  Go back to previous posts

If you have used images in any previous posts you have written, then you are ethically obliged to give the correct attribution or take the image out of the post if it does not have the right creative commons license. Check out where Holly found her image, Samudra also wrote a great post,

Activity 11.  Create a jigsaw from your image. Mrs Schmidt’s class has done this using Jigsaw Planet . Here is her explanation

Last week (2014) my students made some jigsaw puzzles about famous places in our area.  First each student created one Power Point Slide showing a photo and some facts about a location in our area.  They saved the slide as a JPEG and then uploaded it to Jigsaw Planet.  Once the puzzle was created, they published a link to it on their Kidblog. Click on Niamh’s puzzle link.

Activity 12. Write a post about different websites to find creative commons images. Are there any widgets you can add to your blog to make this easier?

Still got time left this fortnight (two weeks):

1. Visit other student and class blogs – leave some quality comments

2. Reply to comments on your own blog

3. Start using tags and categories with each post you write to make it easier for people to find posts on certain topics. Make sure you have the tags and categories widgets in your sidebar.

4. Have at least five other student blogs linked on your sidebar – students from other classes and schools – not your own. We will need this for a game we play in a couple of weeks.

Try to have a few different headings like

  • My Blogging Friends
  • Other Class Blogs

Having lots of  links to student blogs from other countries will help spread the game.

Here are the instructions for adding links to your sidebars.

EdublogsBloggerKidblog – not sure if this widget goes on the class page or each student page

 Most important learning from this fortnight’s challenge is:

Use creative commons images, not just any image on the net. Always include attribution of where you found the image. Compfight plugin does this for you.

PS If you have done the blogging challenge before, you will find these activities are nearly the same each time. If you have ideas for different activities please leave a comment on this post.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE

I will only be adding posts to the flipboard magazine that:

  • are written in paragraphs
  • have been proofread
  • include an image, sound or video with attribution

So make sure you have taken note of this week’s learning about creative commons.

Miss W visiting your blogs

From this week onwards, I will only be visiting blogs where students or classes have left the URL to the post in a comment with an explanation. If your teacher is moderating your posts, you will need to wait until it has been published before giving me your URL. Check out the difference between a blog URL and a post URL.

Blog URL: http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org

Post URL : http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2015/10/10/raise-your-voice/

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Week 2: I can comment …

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

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

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

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

What makes a good comment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Important tips:

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

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

Comment example

Activity 1: Leave a comment on this post. 

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

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

So your first activity is to practice leaving a comment below with a link to your post for an activity you’ve completed this week or last week. If you have already commented last week, you don’t have to do this unless you have a new post you want Miss W to read. PS I have 95 comments to read at the moment that were posted overnight when I was asleep in Australia.

Here is an example from Ayla last week:

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

Activity 2:  Practicing commenting on a class blog

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

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

Activity 3: Write a post, create a video or create a poster about commenting.

Might be tips to get more visitors,  guidelines for acceptable comments on your blog, examples of good and bad comments – think outside the square. Remember you don’t have to approve all comments. It is your blog; send some to the trash and if it is a company trying to get you to visit their blog to buy something, then label it as spam.

Here are some links to commenting guidelines written by students and classes. Class in New Zealand, grade 11/12 class in USA, Huzzah class blog in Canada, Abbey has a blogging guideline page, Mrs Allen created a poster about commenting,  WarriorKat uses lots of visuals in her guidelines,  Sophie had a great post, the Blogging Frogs have some great tips, Emme created a powtoon on commenting , Darcey write about commenting,  Kyndal wrote about how to comment, Rachel wrote her own guidelines

Activity 4: Visit other student or class blogs

Visit 4 other blogs on the lists above the header area. Leave a quality comment on one post on each blog. Might be the About Me page or another post you found interesting.  Write a post on your blog mentioning who you visited, which post you left a comment on and why, then include the comment you left. Hint: make sure you copy the comment before you hit the submit button.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE

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

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

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

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

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