Week 4: Free choice

Cabra hispanica Montserrat

Pedro Luna Guillen via Compfight

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

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

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

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

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

Make sure your blog looks interesting:

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

This week’s activity is free choice

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

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

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

When you have finished your post(s), please come back here to the blogging challenge and leave one comment on this post. Mention what topic(s) you wrote about and leave a link to your post(s). Check out how Roman left one comment for all posts completed.

Those posts covering the seven things mentioned above will be added to the flipboard magazine. Many students are forgetting to add links to other websites relating to the topic they have written about. Help here from Edublogs and Blogger.

Mentors:

Can you please check your students blogs this week and get back to me via email or comment with names of students who are not really participating in the challenge activities? By now students should have an about me page or post and at least two other posts/pages relating to images, avatars or how to comment. You might need to search around the blog to find pages or click on the 3lines under each other to find a sidebar.

Also thanks to those mentors who are writing back on student blogs. There have been some great story endings where mentors have joined in the activity. The students really appreciate these comments.

Still more time left this week

  • Read some of the posts in the flipboard magazine – your teacher might want to create a class flipboard magazine to add to your class blog
  • Visit other classes this time in the lists above the header of the challenge blog.
  • Reply to any comments left on your blog especially if from a mentor.

Find student blogs on the sidebar

Work using images

Some great stories to finish are found here: Fiona, Roman, Anusha, Christian, Leon, Idyl, Tristan, Quincy, Nate, Caleb, Layla, Isabella, Emma, Kait, Stefan, Phakamon,

Some jigsaw puzzles to try are found here: Mai Thao, Vince, Van Anh, Brandon, Isma3el, Jori, Anusha,

If using free Pixabay images, check here to see how Mai Thao wrote the attribution links

Caleb used a different comic strip creator

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

Week 6: What to write about??

Cabra hispanica Montserrat

Pedro Luna Guillen via Compfight

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

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

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

Make sure your blog looks interesting:

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

This week’s activity

Have some interesting posts for your visitors to read when they get to your blog.  I am not going to give any clues as to what to put in your posts but remember the following, especially if you want a post flipped to our magazine.

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

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

When you have finished your post, please come back here to the blogging challenge and leave a comment on this post. Mention what topic you wrote about and leave a link to your post. Those posts covering the seven things mentioned above will be added to the flipboard magazine. Many students are forgetting to add links to other websites relating to the topic they have written about.

Mentors:

Can you please check your students blogs this week and get back to me via email or comment with names of students who are not really participating in the challenge activities? By now students should have an about me page or post and at least two other posts relating to images, avatars, their family or culture, a global issue or how to comment.

Still more time left this week

  • Read some of the posts in the flipboard magazine – your teacher might want to create a class flipboard magazine to add to your class blog
  • Visit other classes this time in the lists above the header of the challenge blog.
  • Reply to any comments left on your blog especially if from a mentor.

UPDATE UPDATE

Some of you will notice the name of your country is in pink. This means you have not written enough posts for the challenge so far or mentors and visitors can’t leave a comment because they are being asked to login to your blog. When I am in Darwin over the next week, I will be starting to delete those student blogs and re-allocating other students to mentors instead.

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