Week 2: Time to comment

Admin for week 2:

When visiting many blogs last week, I noticed your pages in Edublogs often didn’t allow for comments to be written. You might need to do the following:

  1. Go to your about me page and open it in your dashboard.
  2. In top right corner, click on screen options and make sure Discussions is ticked. Close screen options.
  3. Now below the writing area for your page you should see a dropdown labelled Discussions.
  4. Make sure you have ticked the boxes about leaving comments.

Each week, I am going to highlight some well written and interesting posts for you to check out. Remember to check Flipboard as well.

Elena and her avatars, Issaka loves magic and eSports, Victoria and her experiences,

About week 2: Commenting skills

This is another important week in the challenge. Blogging is all about having your voice heard and connecting with others who might like to read and comment on what you have written. But, as in many things we humans do, there are some protocols bloggers in schools like to follow.

Check out these videos about leaving quality comments. The first video was created for one of the very first blogging challenges back in 2009 by Mrs Yollis’ grade 3 students and it has been seen by thousands of students who have taken part in the blogging challenges since then. This video is suitable for all ages but specifically primary/elementary school or lower. But those in middle/high school or older might like to check out the second video which is more suited to an older age group.

Teachers: You might want to visit the post about teaching quality commenting on the Teacher Challenge blog. It has an excellent video about the possibilities of blogging through commenting. It also includes the videos below and others you might want to share with your class. You also find out about commenting and blogging guidelines, paper blogging and other ways to use your blogs to connect globally.

Using Edublogs? Check out these posts about comments: Comment overview,  managing comments,

Mrs Yollis and her third grade class

Nicolas Weiss – Leaving high quality blog comments

 

Activity 1: Create a ‘How to comment’ page on your blog

Many themes and blogging platforms have different ways to leave a comment. You might need to click on the title of the post, or click on a number in a circle or click on the words ‘Leave a comment’. Write a page for your blog explaining how to leave a comment. You could write it as a set of steps or perhaps create a video showing what to do. Be creative. Here is an example on  my family history blog. Mrs Yollis created a video showing how to comment on her blogspot blog.

Activity 2: Make a set of commenting guidelines

Explain what you expect when someone leaves a comment on your blog.

  • What type of comment is acceptable?
  • Which type of comment will you put in the trash?

Here are some examples:

Huzzah commenting guidelines,  a Glogster poster about commenting, WarriorKat used a variety of tools for her guidelines, notice how Sophie included a link back to Mrs  Yollis’ blog where she got her information from, Emme created a PowToon, Darcey included some interesting points, Kyndal has her guidelines here, Meghana used Canva to create a poster, Taylor included some great commenting tips

Activity 3: Leave a comment on this post – you might be able to combine this with activity 4

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 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.

But first you need to know the difference between your BLOG link and your POST link

  • Blog link: http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org
  • Post link: http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/2016/10/02/gday-my-name-is/

If your teacher is moderating and approving your posts, you will need to wait until this has been done before leaving me a link in a comment.

Activity 4: Use some HTML in a comment

Did you check out Mrs Yollis’ blog? She includes a page with some HTML (code) you can use when commenting especially on blogspot blogs. If leaving a comment on an Edublogs blog, here is a post explaining the HTML to use.  If you want to leave a link to your blog that looks neat and tidy, check out this post.

Activity 5: 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. Here are some examples from previous students in the challenge: Allegra but try to include a link to the actual post you left a comment on, Meghana who has linked to both the student’s blog and their blog post where she left the comment.

Will visitors to your blog find it easy to search for a post they might be interested in commenting on? Maybe you need to start using Categories and Tags or Labels (blogspot) or Categories (weebly) or Categories (Kidblog) or make sure you have an archive section.

UPDATE   UPDATE   UPDATE   UPDATE

There will be a special post during the week relating to Blog Action Day on October 15. Make sure you visit the challenge blog again about Wednesday for this post.

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/

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