Week 4: Digital Footprint

This week there are three parts to the challenge.

Man Friday
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Alan via Compfight

Part 1 is about your digital footprint where you need to visit Mr Bogush’s class blog to find out the activities to try. Remember to leave a comment on his post about the activity you completed and why you chose that activity. Then come back to this post on the student blogging challenge and leave a comment mentioning you have completed a week 4 activity so I can visit your blog to leave a comment.

Part 2 is about BAD14. Are you going to write a post, create a video or take part in Blog Action Day on 16th October? Remember the theme is Inequality. Check out this wordle for some topics you might want to research then  write about. Publish your post on 16 October or if your teacher moderates first then publishes, make sure you have your post in early enough.

Comment is free . . .
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Shakespearesmonkey via Compfight

Part 3 is about commenting. Every time you write a post relating to the blogging challenge activities, remember to visit the appropriate challenge post and leave a comment. That way Miss W can visit your blog to read your post and leave a comment.

Did you complete an activity for:

Week 1: your About Me page or post, create an avatar, or challenge about 13 – here is the link to leave your comment.

Week 2: commenting, widgets, 13 in different languages – here is link for week 2

Week 3: country, state, currency, haunted places – leave a comment here on week 3

Week 4: digital footprint, Blog Action Day 14, 13 new blogs on blogroll

Challenge for number 13

Visit 13 student or class blogs and add 13 links to your blogroll ready for a game in a couple of weeks.

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Challenge 7 – freedom again

FelicitàOur last three challenges have been fairly serious – adding images to your blog posts, how to get comments and visitors to your blog and looking at your digital footprint.

This week your sole activity is to make sure you are ready for a game we will be playing next week – in fact there will be two games happening.

To play either game you will need:

  •  a user avatar if possible
  • an ‘about me’ PAGE if using Edublogs or a post if using other platforms
  • a clustrmap or flag counter widget
  • at least four interesting posts – could be topics of your choice not necessarily from the challenge
  • your ‘Recent Comments’ widget on the sidebar with 10 comments as the choice – Edublogs
  • your ‘Recent Posts’ widget on the sidebar with 10 posts as the choice – Edublogs
  • Your ‘Pages’ widget on the sidebar or pages in the header – Edublogs
  • at least 10 student and/or classes linked on your blogroll
  • at least three overseas blogs on your blogroll
  • the more students or classes you have linked on your blog, the more fun the game will be

The most important of these are the links to other student blogs on your sidebar. Try to have a couple of different headings like

  • My Friends
  • Class Blogs
  • Overseas 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.

Edublogs, Blogger, Kidblog – not sure if this widget goes on the class page or each student page

Have you written lots of interesting posts for your visitors to read next week?

Use this week to get some written or use some new tools to create some stories to add to your blog posts.
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: luca nisalli via Compfight

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Challenge 2 – First week of freedom

Which of last week’s activities did you complete?

  • 10 people you would like to meet
  • write or update about me page or profile
  • create an avatar
  • add widgets for tracking visitors
  • add widget to translate your blog posts
  • cyber bullying post
  • commenting guidelines
  • why visit my blog post
  • posts of mine you should read
  • visited other blogs and left comments

I noticed students and classes have started visiting each other and leaving some great comments. Many students have checked their spam folder to approve my welcome message. Students are leaving blog URL’s when leaving comments on kidblog posts.

WOW! Overall a great start to the 10th student blogging challenge.

This week you have freedom to choose what you write about. You might be very passionate about something and want to write a post on that topic. It might be:

  • minecraft
  • embroidery
  • a particular singer or band – dare I say One Direction
  • music
  • astronomy
  • collecting coins
  • book reviews
  • geology
  • travelling
  • history
  • genealogy – that would be my topic of passion
  • etc, etc, etc

Your choice!  Make sure you introduce your topic, include a link to another website relating to that topic and if possible, a picture you have taken relating to your passion.

Now not everyone is passionate about something so I will include a few other choices you might like to post about.

Challenge about the number 10

If you had the freedom to choose 10 jobs you would have over your lifetime, what would they be and why?

  • Would you like to try out for one of these best jobs in the world?
  • There are statistics now showing the average number of jobs for a person over a lifetime is greater than 10. The older students might also want to check out this infographic.

Challenge to improve your blog

As many of you are now starting to visit other blogs, how are you making it easy for your visitors to find great posts to read? You need to start using tags and categories with your posts.

  • What is the difference between a category and a tag? Check out this post written by Sue Waters from Edublogs.
  • If you want to know how to add tags to your posts, then also check out this post again by Sue.
  • Look at Teegan’s blog to find her categories (left sidebar) and tags (right sidebar) She has also written a post with a tutorial on adding tags.
  • Daniel also has some great tags and categories especially if you are a minecraft fan.
  • If using another blogging platform, check out the Get Help links on the right sidebar.

Adding great blogs to your blogroll

  1. To make it easy for visitors to find the blogs of your classmates and friends you need to add their link on your blogroll.
  2. If using Edublogs, in your dashboard> appearance> widgets> drag across links or blogroll to your sidebar.
  3. If you want to group your links, then use link categories. These might be ‘My classmates’, ‘Class blogs’, ‘Overseas friends’.  You might also include links about your hobbies so you might need a category for ‘Cricket’ or ‘Tasmanian Devils’ or ‘Online Games’.
  4. To create these link categories, go to dashboard> links> Link Categories> put in the name of a category and save.
  5. Back to your dashboard> links> add new link.  Fill in the name of the person, then under web address put in the URL of their blog. Remember to include the http:// part. Choose which category you want the link to be under then click add link.
  6. Here is a post by Sue Waters to help with your blogroll or links – step by step instructions – check out parts 1 and 2
  7. Here is a post by Allanah King who uses blogger or blogspot. Make sure you add a link from her blog to your blogroll if using blogger.

Other ideas for posts this week

Last Sunday was Clean Up Australia Day. Do you have something similar in your country? What is it called? When is it on? Have you ever taken part? Write a post or create a Public Service Announcement about the event.

In less than two weeks, we will be taking part in Earth Hour. Have you signed up for it yet? What are some of the things you might do with your family for that one hour without lights? Click on this link for the Earth Hour page which immediately opens a video with audio.

Did you do anything special for these events that occurred earlier this year?

  • Chinese New Year
  • Mardi Gras
  • St Valentines day
  • Australia Day
  • World Read Aloud Day

Research one of these people who have celebrated a birthday earlier this year.

  • Amelia Earhart or Harold Gatty
  • Dr Seuss or Morris Gleitzman
  • Martin Luther King or Albert Jacka
  • Ben Franklin or Fiona Wood (Australia)
  • Christa McAuliffe or Crown Princess Mary (Mary Elizabeth Donaldson)
  • Mel Gibson or Neil Brian Davis

Leaving comments

Do you want to learn how to write a great comment and how to use some special code in your comments? Then check out this post written by Mrs Yollis’ class nearly three years ago – she includes how to leave a link in your comment. This comes in handy if you want to include the URL of your blog in a comment.

Make sure you are visiting other students and classes, especially those with similar interests to you. Maybe add them to your blogroll. Leave comments and ask questions on their posts. Try to use some of that special code from Mrs Yollis’ blog post.

Photo Credit: JustDerek via Compfight cc

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Challenge 2 – Freedom to choose

Welcome to our second group of activities in the blogging challenge. Again three areas to improve in your blog, then some choices for posts for this week.

Improve your blog

Avatars

I notice many of our newer bloggers don’t have avatars yet. Visit this post where I explain how to create and upload your avatars. Click on one of the avatars to take you to the actual site. Maybe as a class you could then create a slideshow of the avatars you created. Or maybe you could create an avatar for each member of your family and put those in a slideshow. Which slideshow? Check out the Web tools to use on the right sidebar of this blog.

Here are some other links for creating and uploading avatars –  Blogger or blogspot, Kidblog,

Blogroll

What is a blogroll, you ask? Now that you have started visiting other student blogs, you might start finding some blogs that you really like.  You might visit these every day, but how do you remember their URL?  This is where a blogroll comes in handy. If you look  on the right  sidebar of this blog, you will notice I have three subheadings such as:

  • Get Help
  • Web tools to use
  • Animals blogging

These are my blogroll.  I can choose to have them in total (headings will then be in alphabetical order – see Miss T below), or just one category at a time.

Check out the blogroll categories from these students and classes: Kids in the Mid (left sidebar), Miss T (left), Mr Miller (right),  Teegan (left, some are actually images as links too), Bree (far right)

To create the link category headings, go to your dashboard>  links > link category You might include  classmates, overseas friends, class blogs, get help and websites.

To make sure these appear on your sidebar, go to dashboard> appearance> widgets and drag the links or blogroll across to the sidebar area.

Add some links to your blogroll

To add some links such as the challenge blog and your friends’  blogs, go to your dashboard> links> add new.  Remember to say what category you put the link under and also use http:// in front of the URL. Be internet savvy and only use first names of students.

You might include at least 10 classmates, some overseas friends you have visited,  Student Challenge Blog,  The Edublogger, Help from Edublogs or kidblogs or weebly etc, your class/school blog and/or intranet and  websites you often visit.

Here is a post by Sue Waters about creating a blogroll. Follow the instructions for Step 2 in her post.

If using Blogger, go here to find instructions. Remember to include Bling for your Blog on your blogroll.

Hyperlinking

You will notice in today’s challenge, I have included a lot of hyperlinks to other places to visit. If you do this in posts, you are showing your readers that you have researched the topic – you are not just writing about what your friends have told you or things you think you know. You can hyperlink in posts, pages and comments – handy if commenting on kidblog and you want to leave your blog URL.

Edublogs – linking in post/page

Blogger – linking from text or photo

Kidblog – video on how to add links

Weebly – video on how to add links

linking in comment – this is the same for all blog platforms

Ideas for posts

OK so you have done the three activities above to improve your blog.

Blogs are all about your passions. So every second week, the challenge is going to be your chance to excel

write about your passions

Maybe it is LEGO, Moshi Monsters, MMORPG games, book reviews, minecraft, embroidery, travelling, crafts, art, architecture, poetry, farming, astronomy ……  The list is boundless.

You might want to start writing a series of posts about your passion. Remember your readers may know absolutely nothing about what you love, so start by explaining things well. Send them to other websites to get more information (called hyperlinking, which is one of the improve your blog activities  for this week)

But a blog post or page is written in your words, so don’t copy and paste from other websites – always use your own words first and then send your visitors to other places on the internet to find out more.

Write a post, create a movie, find websites, create a slideshow, create a comic – there are infinite ways to present your passion.

If you know of a great tool to use, leave a comment below with a link to the tool URL in your comment.

Don’t know what to write about:

Visit these websites – look around them and write a post about some part that intrigued you.

Still got time left this week

Then start leaving more comments on other participants’ blogs.  Find at least 5 other students with similar hobbies to you. Visit their blog and leave a comment.

Have you remembered to check your own spam comments, in case some are legitimate?

Image: Photo taken by Miss W on her way to Bicheno.

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Week 3: Let’s visit and comment

An update first: we now have as at today 141 classes, over 1300 students and 44 mentors from 25 countries taking part in the 8th student blogging challenge. I hope you are all enjoying the activities and making the most of visiting other classes and students around the world.

In your profile, have you included your user name and your blog URL? Before leaving a comment on another blog that is the same platform as you eg Edublogs, Blogger, make sure you are signed into your blog. This way you won’t have to fill in lots of information when leaving a comment. Will also mean the owner of the blog you commented on will only have to click on your name or avatar and they will be directed straight to your blog.

As you visit and read other blogs, you might want to leave a comment and then add that blog to your blogroll or links. These are going to be the two things we look at this week  in the challenge.

Blogging

What makes a good comment?

How can I get visitors to leave comments?

Are you going to accept all comments?

  • Some comments you receive are actually spam – Nike shoes, handbags, essay dissertations etc Often these comments will have a link in them directing you to a website where they want you to buy something.
  • Other spam comments often have facebook.com or google.com or yahoo.com in the email address. Sometimes these comments make sense but they will often have a spelling error and they usually have nothing to do with the post you have written.
  • Make sure you don’t approve these type of comments but click  spam instead.
  • Some people might leave a comment like ‘Wutsup?’ – this would go in the trash.
  • Some students who don’t know about quality comments might say ‘This is a cool blog. Please visit my blog at ……’  This would also go in the trash. Or maybe you visit their blog first and thank them for leaving a comment on yours but mention it was not acceptable as it didn’t relate to the post.

Adding great blogs to your blogroll

  1. To make it easy for visitors to find the blogs of your classmates and friends you need to add their link on your blogroll.
  2. If using Edublogs, in your dashboard> appearance> widgets> drag across links or blogroll to your sidebar.
  3. If you want to group your links, then use link categories. These might be ‘My classmates’, ‘Class blogs’, ‘Overseas friends’.  You might also include links about your hobbies so you might need a category for ‘Cricket’ or ‘Tasmanian Devils’ or ‘Online Games’.
  4. To create these link categories, go to dashboard> links> Link Categories> put in the name of a category and save.
  5. Back to your dashboard> links> add new link.  Fill in the name of the person, then under web address put in the URL of their blog. Remember to include the http:// part. Choose which category you want the link to be under then click add link.

Students

  1. Make sure you have read the information above under blogging and checked out the links to other students regarding commenting.
  2. 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.
  3. Most student blogs are created at school, but to personalise your blog, add some posts about topics that are of interest to you – your favourite sports, hobbies, colours, books, games etc. Remember to leave a question at the end of the post as this will invite comments to be left.
  4. Learn some HTML code to include a link in a comment. Mrs Yollis explains this in her post link above. Might be a way to include a link to your blog whenever you leave a comment.
  5. Make sure your blogroll has links to at least ten students – at least five of them who are not your classmates.
  6. Visit some overseas blogs, leave a quality comment which includes some HTML code – a heart, a smiley or your blog URL as an HTML link.
  7. Check out teacher activity 4 on this post to create post categories. These are different to link categories.

Teachers

  1. Make sure you have read the information above under blogging and checked out the class comment links.
  2. Look at your class sidebar. Do you have lots of links for students to visit? Would these be better in a page rather than your sidebar? Check out the subject links on my IT blog and how I have created links to websites.
  3. If your students don’t have their own blogs, but you want them to write posts on the class blog, then add them as users to your blog. Then create a post category or tag  for each student. Check out some classes who do this: WPPS Grade 1 use tags, Climb High use categories, Mr Fachet has contributors on this Blogger blog,  Shirley has categories, Mrs Lucchesi has categories, Mrs Bliss uses categories.
  4. Notice all posts can be categorized. This makes it easier to find posts on similar topics. Create some post categories on Edublogs by going to your dashboard> posts> new category.  Once you have created the categories you need to go back and change it on your posts. To do this simply,  go to dashboard> all posts, hover  under a post and click on quick edit> change the category and save.
  5. Visit at least ten other class blogs. What widgets do they have that might be suitable for your blog and student age group? eg Shelfari, Wonderopolis Write a post about the widgets you have added and why. Maybe include a poll (perhaps using Poll Daddy) about which widget your visitors enjoy the most.
  6. Have you discussed commenting guidelines with your students? Have you included them as a page on your blog? Do your students’ parents know about your blog? Have they started leaving comments? Write a post directed at your parents. Ask them some questions or ask for some answers eg How are computers and technology used in your job?

Remember if you don’t use Edublogs, check out the links in the ‘Get Help’ section of this blog to find tutorials and support pages for your blogging platform.

Next week we look at adding images, using creative commons and giving attribution. We will also look at Earth Hour 2012.

Image: ‘Comment is free . . .

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