Finding my way -Challenge 4 -March 2011

How do you find your way around a blog?

If I came to your blog and wanted to find a post you had written about your favourite foods or about your digital footprint – how could I find it easily without looking through all your posts?

I would use your categories and tags in your sidebar.

If you want to get to your best friend’s blog and you are not sure of the URL, how could you get there from your own blog? You want to get to your school blog or intranet from home – how can you do it easily?

You could use your blogroll or links in the sidebar.

As you can see from my answers, your sidebar is a very important part of your blog. It helps guide your visitors around your blog. But it can also be a distraction if there are too many games, pets, loud music on the sidebar.

So this week’s challenge relates to your sidebar as well as me finding my way to your community if I were ever to visit.

Students and classes

Activity 1 – Create your blogroll categories

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 two subheadings such as:

  • Blogs to visit
  • Get Help

These are part of my blogroll.  The subheadings or link categories are alphabetical beginning with numbers.  So you will need to think about what the names are for your categories.

Check out the blogroll categories from these students and classes: Kids in the Mid (left sidebar), Miss T (left), Mr Miller (right), Alanna (left), Daniel (right), Georgia (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.

Activity 2 – 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, Bloggers Cafe, The Edublogger, Help from Edublogs, 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.

You are going to need lots of student and class links on your blogroll ready to play a game in a couple of weeks.

Activity 3 – Creating at least 4 post categories

Just to confuse you, there is also another heading called ‘categories’. Categories are like the chapter headings in books while tags are like the index words at the back of a book.

This though, relates to the posts you write about.  These categories appear in the header area or at the footer section of each post you write. My post categories for this blog are on the left sidebar and named ‘Challenge Sections.’ My tags are in the right sidebar and named ‘What the posts are about.’

What are your posts mainly about?

  • Check out the categories and/or tags these students are using: Daniel (left), Antonio (bottom right dropdown box), Teegan(right), Isabella, Jasper, Matthew, Anna (left)
  • Classes check out Miss T’s categories at bottom of left sidebar – notice it is a dropdown box and she has included names of students in case they write a post on the class blog.
  • Miss W has a moving box for her categories on the right sidebar – need to be a pro blog to use this.
  • Here is a post from Sue Waters at Edublogs for adding categories and tags to your posts.

To  set them up from your dashboard>  posts> categories.

Why are categories and tags important when writing your posts?

Where else do you find tags used in technology?

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

Here is another post from Sue Waters about changing widgets in general in your sidebar.

If using Blogger, click here for hints on changing things in your sidebar.

Activity 4 – Write a post about the importance of tags and categories

  • Why should regular users of the internet be using tags and categories whenever they leave a footprint on the web?
  • Where are users asked to use tags?
  • What is geotagging?
  • Why did you decide on those categories for your blog?

Here is a post by Michael Martin about tags and categories. Wikipedia has an article on tag clouds. Wikipedia on Flickr, see organization section.

Activity 5 – Miss W needs to find her way to your community

  • If Miss W were to visit your community, what would you recommend she visit?
  • Where is your community in your country?
  • How is your community different or unique compared to other areas of your country?
  • Would she need to know a different language or would she get by with English?
  • What are some phrases she might need to learn that are typically from your area of the world?
  • When would be the best time of year to visit?
  • Any special clothing needed?

Write an interesting post about your community. You might want to include a slideshow of nearby landmarks or important buildings in your community.

The idea for this post came from some comments on Ms Edwards class blog.

Activity 6 – Where in the world would you like to find your way to?

Be specific – not just ‘I want to go to Australia’.

  • What questions have you got about the part of the country you want to visit?
  • What do you already know about that place?
  • Why do you want to visit there in particular?

Write a post leaving some questions for your readers to answer. Think about the countries where our student blogging challenge bloggers are from. They should be able to answer your questions.

Activity 7 – Create a poll


Survey your visitors by asking about where they would like to visit in your country. Use Polldaddy or a similar survey tool and embed the poll in either a post or your sidebar. Once the poll has closed, perhaps you could write a post about the most popular place mentioned in your poll.

Remember to add this link as a trackback or pingback in your post.

http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2011/03/27/challenge-4-march-2011/

Original image: ‘Everything’s Right
Everything's Right
by: Richard James Lander

Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Read more

Visit these blogs

My goodness! There is so much excellent blogging happening by the classes and students taking part in this challenge. Remember, if you want me to visit your blog to read your posts, you need to leave a link somewhere in your post linking back to the student blogging challenge blog.

Posts from previous challenge activities: On the grapevine why visit us,  Mr Baldock’s must see places, Quebec road signs, Ms Graunke visit here, Tristin on photos on blog, Hannah on visit here, Ms Graunke quiz on Australia,  Matthew on must see places,  Brooke on visit here, Madison on visit my blog, Sebastian on visit my blog, Felicity on visit my blog, Jared must see places, Mr Webb and school tour, Otorohanga avatars, Mr Miller questions and answers, Room 66 avatars, Mr Peglow on must see places, Parktone avatars,

Great conversations happening here: Daniel and Claire, Ryan and Tiffany, Dakota and Kathleen, Mrs Viney and Greyson,

Interesting posts: Alysa the horselover, Simone on Ontario, Christian in the batcave,  Roberto the pigeon whisperer, Paul on tractors, Otorohanga writing prompt, Mr Poole recommends this post,

Adding to the blogroll and why: Eileen, Louise, MoniqueMiss T,

Blog Action Day posts: Windows into 2T, Indy, 2YCroyden wallwisher, Kaleigh-Ann, Mrs Woodward, Room 230 Thailand, Year 1rc,

Improving blog: ChristianLeslieRobertoEmilyIngrid, ReynaMarvinDejaMegan, ColemanSaebyukJose, Simone, ErikNicolaMalcolm,

Blogging helpers: Louise,

Commenting guidelines: RoxannaMonique , TravonCassandra,

One day in our classroom: Miss T,

Original image: ‘I’m blogging this.
I'm blogging this.
by: Jhayne

Read more

Challenge 4 – Sept 2010

As mentioned last week, all the activities this week relate to writing comments.

So please have your ‘Recent comments’ widget on your sidebar with 10 comments visible.

This will make it easier for us to see where we left our last comment.

But before I set the activities,

I want everyone to visit this post

at Mrs Yollis’ blog.

I especially asked Mrs Yollis and her students to create a post about commenting.  She also included how to use HTML code when writing comments which will interest our older bloggers. So please visit her first before doing the activities below.

……………………………………………………………………………..

Are you still here?

Off you go, visit Mrs Yollis’ blog on commenting.

……………………………………………………………………………..

That was quick.

Are you sure you visited Mrs Yollis’ blog

to learn about HTML code in your comments?

……………………………………………………………………………..

OK, what did you learn while reading the blog and listening to Mrs Yollis and her students tell you about how to write great comments? Here then are this weeks activities relating to commenting:

1.  Create your own commenting guidelines to have as a page on your blog. Here are some examples to visit: Scattergood Biology, 2KM blog, poster on comments, AbbeyR, a primary school in Australia,

2. Visit and leave comments on at least 10 blogs of other students taking part in the challenge. Look for students your age and who have similar interests to you. That way it is easier to continue a great conversation. When leaving comments try to use some of the HTML code mentioned in Mrs Yollis’ blog. Here are some examples: Mike – teaching about avatars, Shelly – discussion with Mrs Yollis over a 2 month period, Saskia – how the challenge can break down walls

3.  Add to your blogroll ready for a game next week. You need at least 15 names on your blogroll.

Remember you can divide these into link categories like I have on the left sidebar of  my class blog – challenges, check these passions, get help here, global Australia, global rest of the world, grade 6, 2010 and  grade 7, 2010 and finally left this year.

On your edublogs dashboard go to links> link categories to decide how to divide your links. When ready to add the links go to dashboard> links> add new> “Name” put in person’s first name then “Website” URL of their blog then remember to click which category you want them in.

4.  Make sure you have a user avatar created. Go to dashboard >users> your avatar and upload one you have created. This could be the same as your blog avatar or you might create a different one.  Then whenever you leave a comment on someone’s blog, this avatar will show.

Also make sure in users >your profile, you have a name displayed publicly as and that you have your blog URL  on the line website.  The owner of the blog where you leave a comment now only has to click on either your name or your avatar and it should take them to your blog.

Students over 13 might also want to visit gravatar where you can upload a globally recognized avatar to use when leaving a comment on any blogging platform whether it be edublogs, wordpress, blogspot etc.

5. Write a post or leave a comment explaining how a blog could be improved. As you visit many blogs to read posts, you start to see some really great blogs that are designed well, don’t distract you from reading and generally make you want to visit again. Write a post about what you consider is a great blog and use some examples from where you have visited.  You might also want to mention the things that put you off visiting a blog regularly.  This idea was from Poisonious Inspiration.

6. Find three bloggers (not in your school!) whose work you enjoy and add them to your blogroll. Write a post introducing them to your readers and sharing your favorite article from each blog.  This idea was from Denise.

7. Also, while it is encouraging to receive comments… is there room for an “Introducing one of my commenters” posts? To present it a little bit like reflective listener… this is____ from ___. His/her comment helped me because _____. Maybe then adding to the blog roll…?  This idea is from declairing (Mrs Bee)

8.  Write a post for Blog Action Day 2010 which is all about water. See separate post I have written for this activity.

9. Reminder about “One Day on Earth” activity for classes.

Original image: ‘Celebrating 6 month on FLICKR and 300.000 individual views of our photographic works! THANK YOU TO ALL OUR FLICKR FRIENDS AND GROUPS!::))
Celebrating 6 month on FLICKR and 300.000 individual views of our photographic works! THANK YOU TO ALL OUR FLICKR FRIENDS AND GROUPS!::))
by: uggboy

Read more

March 2010: Challenge 8

So you have now visited lots of blogs and there are some that you want to visit all the time. How can you do this easily?

One option is to subscribe to that blog’s posts.

  1. You can subscribe by email – every time a new post is written you will be sent an email telling you about it, so you can visit and read the post and leave a comment.
  2. You can subscribe by using a reader or personalised homepage like Google Reader, Pageflakes, Yahoo Pipes, Netvibes – this time when a post is written it will be added to your reader or homepage – you will need to visit  often to see if there are any new posts from your friends.

On the top right corner of this blog you will see the orange button which is for the RSS feeds using a reader and you will also see the Feedburner service for email subscribers. On your meta widget on your sidebar there is usually a post/entries RSS feed and a Comment RSS feed which can be used as well.

Sue Waters wrote a post for teachers on how to create a folder in Google reader that might be helpful.

Second option is to have a link to your favourite blogs on your blogroll. You should have done this activity a couple of weeks ago.

Activities for this week:

  • Make sure your meta widget is visible on your blog so your readers can subscribe from there.
  • On your blog, add a Feedburner subscribe by email and reader widget. Or leave a note in a text box telling your readers to subscribe using the meta widget RSS posts. You will need to have a Google account to use these – so check with your parents first.
  • Subscribe by email to at least three blogs you want to read all the time. If under 13, you will need to just add the URLs to your blogroll.
  • Count out three – click on a blog on your blogroll (1), now click on a blog from their blogroll (2) and finally click on a blog from that blogroll (3) – leave a comment on a post at this blog.  Do this activity at least three times and write a post saying which blogs you visited and what posts you left a comment on. Why did you choose that post?
  • Write a post about how you can attract readers to your blog.  If you have been blogging for a while, write a set of tips for new bloggers about attracting a world wide audience.
  • Still more time, write a post of your choice – music, sport, holidays etc Include an image with attribution.
Original image: ‘RSS Combined
RSS Combined
by: Kyle Wegner
Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial License
Read more

March 2010: Challenge 6

I hope you have all been visiting other class and student blogs over the last few weeks. If you haven’t, then please make sure you have visited some during the next week. We have lots of teachers visiting student blogs to leave comments over this month and I noticed an excellent conversation happening between Mrs Yollis and Shelly. Check it out here!

Another great conversation through comments is between Saskia and her visitors, who have been students, teachers, uni lecturers. Check it out here!

Clare has responded to another teacher’s post, by writing her own and quoting some parts of the original post by Mr Watt. Check it out here! Again another fantastic conversation happening through comments.

It is great to see so many students with their own blogs participating in the challenge.  Remember though, there are also some students on class blogrolls. Visit them to read their posts and leave comments as well.

What is a blogroll, you ask? Now that you have started visiting other blogs and looking at the March 2010 student  list to find students with similar interests, 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 near the bottom on the sidebar of this blog, you will notice I have certain subheadings such as:

  • blogs to visit
  • get help

These are part of my blogroll.  Notice the subheadings or link categories are alphabetical beginning with numbers.  So you will need to think about what the names are for your categories.

If using Edublogs, to create the link category headings, go to  links > link category  To add some links such as this blog and your friends blogs, go to links>add new.  Remember to say what category you put the link under and also use http:// in front of the URL.

Just to confuse you and your teacher, there is also another heading called ‘categories’. This though, relates to the posts you write about.  These categories appear in the header area or at the footer section of your post.

What are your posts mainly about?

  • family and friends
  • schoolwork
  • my interests
  • my future

You might use these as post categoriesIf using Edublogs, to set them up from your dashboard go to posts>categories. Why are categories and tags important when writing your posts?  See if you can find out that answer over the next week.

You will notice the categories I have used for this blog are:

  • Information
  • March 2010
  • Type of challenge
    • Beginner student
    • Class
    • Commenter
    • Teacher
    • Veteran student
  • Visit these

Your challenges this week

  1. Add at least 10 blogs to your blog roll.  Make sure you have at least two different link categories.
  2. If you have taken part in a previous challenge,  you also need to write a post recommending at least 5 blogs you think students and classes should add to their blogroll.  Remember to give reasons why that blog should be added.
  3. When writing posts, begin adding categories. You should only have a few of these – it is like the chapter heading of a book. Go back to your previous posts and change the category.  If writing a post for the challenge, perhaps a category ‘challenge March 2010′ would be useful.
  4. If you already have categories organized for your blog, write a post explaining why you chose those particular categories.
  5. Make sure you have a user avatar created. Go to dashboard >users> your avatar and upload one you have created. This could be the same as your blog avatar or you might create a different one.  Then whenever you leave a comment on someone’s blog, this avatar will show.  Also make sure in users >your profile, you have a name displayed publicly as and that you have your blog URL  on the line website.  The owner of the blog where you leave a comment now only has to click on either your name or your avatar and it should take them to your blog.
  6. If you still have lots of time to do some more challenges, then visit the blog run by last year’s participants.  Leave some comments on the posts and perhaps you will also find some other links for your blogroll. Check out the categories used on this blog in their blog roll.
Attribution:
Original image: ‘Flickr ; Statistiques pour votre compte – 20 Novembre 2008 – 2
http://www.flickr.com/photos/21773038@N02/3048301272
by: Mathieu L.-Fiset
Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
Read more
1 2 3