Enjoying the challenge?

I know you have two weeks to complete the images and sounds activities but thought I might mention a couple of things I have been noticing while visiting blogs.

Images

When you use an image from the web you need to include a link back to where you found the image. I should be able to click on that link and it opens the page where the image is found. It is not enough to just say you got it from openclipart or morguefile.

Commenting

Some students have been leaving great comments on blogs. Remember if you want to know if the blog owner responds to your comment, you need to click the little box – see image. Remember then to check your email.

Have you been visiting student and class blogs and leaving great comments? Have you been leaving the URL of your blog so a person reading your comment can visit?

Have you been leaving the URL to a post when you visit the challenge blog to leave a comment? Miss W only visits, comments and/or flips when the URL is for a post rather than just the blog.

Themes

There are hundreds of themes to choose for your blog. Some blogs I can’t read the post or comments because of the background image. You might need to customize your image by making it more transparent.

Some themes have little boxes in the header area. You need to change the wording in these to personalize the blog.

Categories and tags for posts

If you are starting to write free choice posts on your blog then you need to start using categories and tags. This makes it easier for your visitors to find a post that might interest them.

You wrote a book review on “W is for World” a hardcover book written in association with Oxfam. Your category will be book reviews, your tags could be hard cover, Oxfam, world, alphabet, children, Kathryn Cave

So looking at the tags, your visitor could see this was an alphabet book for children in a hard cover format. It relates to things around the world and Oxfam had something to do with it. The author is Kathryn Cave.

Links to other blogs

Have you found some interesting student or class blogs and you visit them often? Instead of coming to the challenge blog to find them in the list each time, why not add them as a link on the sidebar of your blog? You are going to need some links for the game we play later in the challenge so start getting organized now. Add 3 class links perhaps using the link category of Global Classes and add 3 student links using the link category Global Students.

Student and class list

You might have noticed I have had to delete a large group of students from England as we couldn’t get comments set up on their blogs. Instead their teacher will be adding some of the student posts to their class blog here, so make sure you visit in November as they are on break at the moment.

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Week 4: A picture is worth

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?

Head to the creative commons website. Check out the CC wiki to find out what is happening in your country. What are the different licenses used? Teachers check out the education section of creative commons. Youtube allows creative commons for videos. Teachers: A fantastic guide to copyright, fair use and creative commons has been written by Ronnie Burt and I would suggest you read this to understand more about using images, music and video on your blogs. Larry Ferlazzo also has a great “Best List for images” that you might want to check out as well. Mrs Yollis did an activity with her students about creative commons.

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? Click on this link from previous challenge to find out how to activate it in Edublogs and how to use the normal compfight website.

Other places to get images and music:

You will need to work out how to get the attribution to put on your posts.

Images

Music and sound effects

Jamendo, CCMixter, 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 week

Activity 1 Watch this video about sharing work and write a post about what you learned.

 Activity 2. Check out this story using remix and fair use of video. Leave a comment below after watching the video. What was interesting, positive or negative about it?

 Activity 3. Find an image or piece of music. Add it to your post and write a poem relating to the image or music. Invite your readers to write their own poems. PS April is Poetry Month. Thanks to Mrs Hutchison for this idea.

Activity 4. Similar to activity 3. Find an interesting landscape image.  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?

Activity 5. Write a sentence using just images – no words.

Activity 6. Find 5 images that create a story – again no words.

Activity 7. Create a slideshow, photo gallery or poster about your interests to add to your about me page or as a separate post.

Activity 8 – Create your own images and add to a post of your choice

Other options for creating your own images include:

  1. Image Generators such as ImageGenerator.org
  2. Comic Generators like MakeBeliefsComix.com,  kerpoofToonDoo
  3. Photo Editors like Befunkyfd’s Flickr Tools
  4. Tag Cloud Creators such as Wordle
  5. Graph Creators including GraphJam and Crappy Graphs

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 go back to the post and give the correct attribution or take the image out of the post if it does not have the right creative commons license.

Activity 11 – Create a jigsaw from your image. Check out how Mrs Schmidt’s students did this for a previous activity. Here is a post from Mrs Schmidt with a tutorial on how to create the jigsaw images.

Hot air in the cold air and early  morning glowActivity 12– Tell the story of the picture

From Bill Ferreirae – I sometime find a picture and tell students to use that picture to come up with a story. It can be about the picture, what happened before, what will happen next, etc. So, here is the image I have chosen for you to start with. Copy the image to your post, then write the story. Remember to give attribution. If you don’t have your own blog, tell your story in a comment here.

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Let Ideas Compete via Compfight

Still got time left this week:

Visit other student and class blogs

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.

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 Friends
  • Class Blogs
  • Overseas Blogs

Having lots of  links to student blogs from other countries will help spread the game.

Here are the instructions for adding links to your sidebars.

EdublogsBloggerKidblog – not sure if this widget goes on the class page or each student page

 Most important thing to take away from this week’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.

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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

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Challenge 7 – freedom again

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

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

To play either game you will need:

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

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

  • My Friends
  • Class Blogs
  • Overseas Blogs

Having lots of  links to student blogs from other countries will help spread the game.

Here are the instructions for adding links to your sidebars.

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

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

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

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Challenge 2 – Freedom to choose

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

Improve your blog

Avatars

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

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

Blogroll

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

  • Get Help
  • Web tools to use
  • Animals blogging

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

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

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

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

Add some links to your blogroll

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

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

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

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

Hyperlinking

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

Edublogs – linking in post/page

Blogger – linking from text or photo

Kidblog – video on how to add links

Weebly – video on how to add links

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

Ideas for posts

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

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

write about your passions

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t know what to write about:

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

Still got time left this week

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

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

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

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