Challenge 8 – Favourites

Swinging in the sunset
This week was going to be the game week but it has to be postponed until next week. So far only two mentors have replied to the email I sent about them helping out in the second game.

So really this week is going to be the last week for you to prove to your teachers what you have learnt about blogging.

The activities this week will involve you doing the following:

  • adding hyperlinks so your readers can find out more on the topic
  • adding images with correct attribution
  • adding categories and tags to your posts
  • being able to write in paragraphs about a topic
  • stretching your imagination by using a tool other than writing

Again the activity relates to the number 10.

Write a post about 10 of your favourite things. It can’t be ten movies or ten games, but must be about ten different things.

Some examples could be:

  • movie star
  • book to read
  • place to travel in the future
  • invention ever made
  • blog post you have written
  • etc, etc, etc

This post will be ten paragraphs long, one for each of your favourite things.  In at least three of your paragraphs include a link to another website. Include at least two images related to your favourite things. Make sure you have tagged and categorized your post.  Use a tool other than writing to tell us about one of your favourite things eg include a video or Voki or audioboo or slideshow – the list is endless.

As I am expecting fantastic posts for this, you will have two weeks to do this. Next week will be the two games and the final week will be an evaluation of the challenge, so really make a great effort on this post.

If you are using Kidblog or blogger, please leave a comment on this post when you have finished yours. I have been checking with Edublogs and apparently the pingbacks and trackbacks are only working for Edublog blogs not for any other platform. So the only way I will know if you have completed this activity is if you leave a comment on this post and include the URL of your post.

Just before the last challenge I will write a post highlighting the thirty bloggers and five classes I feel have done a great job with this post. They will have included links, images, other tool, tags and category as well as having left a comment on this post or if using Edublogs sent a pingback to me.

Good luck everyone on this post that will show off to your teachers what you are capable of doing using your blog!

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Gail Delderfield via Compfight

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

Challenge 5 – Let’s get data

This week’s subject area is Mathematics. Meaning lots of data gathering and presenting. This also relates to our ‘ improving your blog’ activity about using categories and tags.

Improving your blog

How easy is it for people to find posts they want to read on your blog? If a visitor is interested in book reviews and you have written some, how will they find them easily?

Answer: They will look at your post categories and/or your tag cloud.

Here is a link to a post written by Sue Waters from Edublogs explaining more about categories and tags and how to use them with your posts. If using blogspot, you have labels like Em has on her blog. In Weebly, they interchange tag and category but they suggest no more than twenty tags.

Categories are like the chapter headings in books while tags are like the index words at the back of a book.

These relate 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 ‘Find posts about.’

What are your posts mainly about?

  • Check out the categories and/or tags these students are using: Daniel (left), Teegan(right), Isabella, Harry, Sabastian
  • 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.

Go back through the posts you have already written and put them in one of your categories. Get into the habit of ticking the category and adding the tags before you publish your post.

Why are categories and tags important when writing your posts?

Where else do you find tags used in technology?

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?

Ideas for posts related to mathematics

  • Add a poll or survey on your blog – make sure you include a link in the post so I can visit and promote it in a ‘Visit these’ post. Check the webtools links on the sidebar for suggested websites to use.
  • Join Free Rice and then find the group Student Blogging Challenge and join that. Can we raise 1 million grains of rice by the end of the challenges? So far we have over 80000 with Ethan having raised 10000+ on his own. Lots of large numbers when talking about this website.
  • Maybe you could run something like the Oreo cookie challenge in your school and post the results on your class blog.
  • Use diagramly or Google sketchup or something similar to create your idea of a dream school. Add your image to your blog. You might want to include some measurements.
  • Visit this website suggested by Ronnie Burt, check out the examples of math art. What could you create and then add to your blog?
  • Take part in the student blogging challenge milk chocolate M&Ms data gathering. I saw this run by Mrs Smith but she used Smarties which we have in Australia. As most countries in the world now have M&Ms, I would like you to buy a 50 gram packet of milk chocolate M&Ms and count the number of M&Ms in the box. Sort them by colour  and add your data to the form at this link. Try not to add in one packet at a time, but multiple packets to save space on the spreadsheet. At the end of November I will publish the results but here is a link so your class can see the spreadsheet.
  • If doing the M&M data gathering as a class, use your M&Ms to create a pattern before eating them. Take a photo of your pattern and add to your blog with a post about what you did.
  • Have you used the programming website called ‘Scratch‘? If you have you might be able to give us a link to the scratch game you created.
  • Use a digital camera or camera phone or iPad and take photos of maths terms you can find outside. Think about angles, shapes, geometry, numbers, statistics, probability, patterns. Now create a slideshow and put on your blog for others to guess which maths words you have photographed.
  • Your class could look at this International weather investigation  This includes a skype lesson on climate change You might like to take part.
  • I saw a post on a class blog about the Global children’s challenge website. Are you taking part?
  • Write a post about a project relating to maths that your class has taken part in.
  • Find out about geocaching in your area. Could you create something similar in your school grounds?
  • What do these words have to do with maths? – Fibonacci sequence, fractals, wolfram alpha, networks Find some other words using this maths dictionary. Write a post about your words.
  • Add a widget to your blog relating to maths
  • Write a post estimating how many days, weeks or months until you have 100 posts or 100 visitors or even larger numbers. Let’s find out how accurate your estimation is.

 Still got time left this week

Visit other blogs to leave interesting comments.

If you know of any other great maths websitesm leave a link in a comment on this post, so we can include them next week.

Make sure your blog is registered ready for Blog Action Day next week. The theme is ‘The Power of We’ which fits in well with maths and groups of people.

Whatever you do make sure you include a link back to this post.

Image: ‘Geometric M&Ms

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

Challenge 7 – Sept 2010

Facebook for Dummies, anyone?photo © 2008 David Fulmer | more info(via: Wylio)
In the last couple of challenges, you have had to leave comments on other student and class blogs.

When you get to a blog, how do you find a great post to read that is of interest to you? You could:

  • read all the posts on the visible page
  • read every post on the blog
  • check out where other people have left comments by using the comment widget
  • use the search widget if it is on the sidebar
  • use the category widget
  • use the tags widget

The last three choices will get you straight to a post relating to the topic you want. So our activities this week relate to organizing your blog to make it easier for your readers to find interesting posts they might like to comment on. We are going to visit a couple of other teacher blogs who have already written about categories and tags.

1. Visit Teacher Mom who runs a homeschool blogging course and read her post about categories. Follow her instructions about creating categories for your blog posts. If using blogpost, visit Allanah King’s post on labels.

2. Some classes have a category widget on the sidebar, but they have changed the heading for it. What is the heading I have used here at the challenge blog? Check out these blogs and decide if you are going to change your heading or are you going to leave it as categories? All things QuebecKids in the Mid, Grace.  Notice some categories are drop down menus, others are rotating names (need a pro blog for this.)

3. If you are reading a non-fiction book, you have chapters on different topics – eg a book about frogs might have chapters on where they live, their habitat, food they eat, lifecycle.  These are like categories. But you also have an index at the back of the book with words like: frog, tadpole, pond, lilies, swamp, croak  These are what computer users call ‘tags.

The more often you use the word as a tag, the larger it will look in your tag widget. When you use a search engine like Google, they look for keywords and tags that are found on website pages and in blogs. When you use Flickrcc to find an image, they are also looking at tags the photographers have added to their photos. Sue Waters from ‘The Edublogger’ has written a great post about the differences between categories and tags (2 years old though still applicable today)

4. When writing posts, begin adding categories and/or tags. You should only have a few categories – it is like the chapter heading of a book. Go back to your previous posts and change the category. Check TeacherMom’s post about adding categories to previous posts. If writing a post for the challenge, perhaps a category ‘challenge 10′ would be useful.

The next few challenges relate to posts you might want to write about:

5. What is included in having a positive digital footprint? When should you start using your proper name and photo of yourself rather than an avatar? Who is responsible for showing you how to be internet savvy? What information do you include on profiles when you register at a website?  Write a post about your own digital footprint.  Give examples of where you can be found on the web. Note the links go to posts written by my students from last year. You might want to create a comic strip about your digital footprint. Check the links on the internet savvy posts to find some comic making websites. Danni created a comic on being internet savvy.

6. Mrs Smith at the Huzzah blog is making sure her students grab your attention from the very first sentence you read on their posts. Check these out and then create some really interesting sentence beginnings for your blog. Make sure you link back to Mrs Smith’s blog to show where you got the idea for your post.

7. Mrs Braidwood at the Ripple Effect found an interesting social media counter. Make sure you change the counters at the top for social, games etc as well as the amount of time.  What did you find fascinating about this counter? Has it made you think about your use of the world wide web? You might want to write a post about this counter. Make sure you include a link back to Mrs Braidwood’s blog to show where you found the idea for your post.

8. Privacy on Facebook – these links might be more useful for the older students taking part in the challenge. How many of you have used default settings when joining Facebook?

Look at this post to see how much can be seen with default settings and how it has changed over the last five years. Here is a newspaper article showing the 170 different privacy settings you could be changing. Here is a tool that can scan your facebook settings and give you hints about where to make some changes. The links to these posts are from a post written by Jenny Luca. An interesting infographic about Facebook. Some statistics from the Facebook press room.

Now that you have checked out these posts, have you made any changes to your Facebook settings? Write a post about your use of Facebook and how it might be affecting your digital footprint on the web. Check out this post by Derek who I just found by using the count out three game.

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