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
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.
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.
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.’
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.
now click on a blog from their blogroll – count two
finally click on a blog from that blogroll – count three
Leave a comment on an interesting post at this blog.
Do this activity at least three times and finally, write your own post saying which blogs you visited and what posts you left a comment on. Why did you choose that post? Remember to include a link back to the post you left a comment on so that student gets a pingback or trackback.
2. Favourites: Lots of students enjoy writing about their favourite topics of music, food, books, games etc.
Create a poll by going to PollDaddy and embedding your poll in either your sidebar or a post. How are students around the world similar in their likes?
Please answer my poll about what you enjoy about blogging.
3. A day at school:Amelia wrote an interesting post asking about a typical day at your school. Oops, link doesn’t work – maybe Amelia deleted this post. Hooray – Amelia has re-posted so visit there now.
What time does school begin?
How do you get to school?
How long is each subject?
What choices of subject do you have?
Are there after school activities?
Write a post about a typical day at your school. You might be able to take photos about your subjects for that day you are describing.