Week 3: Let’s visit and comment

An update first: we now have as at today 141 classes, over 1300 students and 44 mentors from 25 countries taking part in the 8th student blogging challenge. I hope you are all enjoying the activities and making the most of visiting other classes and students around the world.

In your profile, have you included your user name and your blog URL? Before leaving a comment on another blog that is the same platform as you eg Edublogs, Blogger, make sure you are signed into your blog. This way you won’t have to fill in lots of information when leaving a comment. Will also mean the owner of the blog you commented on will only have to click on your name or avatar and they will be directed straight to your blog.

As you visit and read other blogs, you might want to leave a comment and then add that blog to your blogroll or links. These are going to be the two things we look at this week  in the challenge.

Blogging

What makes a good comment?

How can I get visitors to leave comments?

Are you going to accept all comments?

  • Some comments you receive are actually spam – Nike shoes, handbags, essay dissertations etc Often these comments will have a link in them directing you to a website where they want you to buy something.
  • Other spam comments often have facebook.com or google.com or yahoo.com in the email address. Sometimes these comments make sense but they will often have a spelling error and they usually have nothing to do with the post you have written.
  • Make sure you don’t approve these type of comments but click  spam instead.
  • Some people might leave a comment like ‘Wutsup?’ – this would go in the trash.
  • Some students who don’t know about quality comments might say ‘This is a cool blog. Please visit my blog at ……’  This would also go in the trash. Or maybe you visit their blog first and thank them for leaving a comment on yours but mention it was not acceptable as it didn’t relate to the post.

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.

Students

  1. Make sure you have read the information above under blogging and checked out the links to other students regarding commenting.
  2. Write a post, create a video or create a poster about commenting. Might be tips to get more visitors,  guidelines for acceptable comments on your blog, examples of good and bad comments – think outside the square.
  3. Most student blogs are created at school, but to personalise your blog, add some posts about topics that are of interest to you – your favourite sports, hobbies, colours, books, games etc. Remember to leave a question at the end of the post as this will invite comments to be left.
  4. Learn some HTML code to include a link in a comment. Mrs Yollis explains this in her post link above. Might be a way to include a link to your blog whenever you leave a comment.
  5. Make sure your blogroll has links to at least ten students – at least five of them who are not your classmates.
  6. Visit some overseas blogs, leave a quality comment which includes some HTML code – a heart, a smiley or your blog URL as an HTML link.
  7. Check out teacher activity 4 on this post to create post categories. These are different to link categories.

Teachers

  1. Make sure you have read the information above under blogging and checked out the class comment links.
  2. Look at your class sidebar. Do you have lots of links for students to visit? Would these be better in a page rather than your sidebar? Check out the subject links on my IT blog and how I have created links to websites.
  3. If your students don’t have their own blogs, but you want them to write posts on the class blog, then add them as users to your blog. Then create a post category or tag  for each student. Check out some classes who do this: WPPS Grade 1 use tags, Climb High use categories, Mr Fachet has contributors on this Blogger blog,  Shirley has categories, Mrs Lucchesi has categories, Mrs Bliss uses categories.
  4. Notice all posts can be categorized. This makes it easier to find posts on similar topics. Create some post categories on Edublogs by going to your dashboard> posts> new category.  Once you have created the categories you need to go back and change it on your posts. To do this simply,  go to dashboard> all posts, hover  under a post and click on quick edit> change the category and save.
  5. Visit at least ten other class blogs. What widgets do they have that might be suitable for your blog and student age group? eg Shelfari, Wonderopolis Write a post about the widgets you have added and why. Maybe include a poll (perhaps using Poll Daddy) about which widget your visitors enjoy the most.
  6. Have you discussed commenting guidelines with your students? Have you included them as a page on your blog? Do your students’ parents know about your blog? Have they started leaving comments? Write a post directed at your parents. Ask them some questions or ask for some answers eg How are computers and technology used in your job?

Remember if you don’t use Edublogs, check out the links in the ‘Get Help’ section of this blog to find tutorials and support pages for your blogging platform.

Next week we look at adding images, using creative commons and giving attribution. We will also look at Earth Hour 2012.

Image: ‘Comment is free . . .

March 2010: Challenge 1

Welcome to the first challenge for March 2010.  For the first time, all challenges will be categorised as one of the following:

  1. beginner student
  2. veteran student – means has been blogging for about 6 months or more
  3. commenter – doesn’t have own blog but comments or posts on a class blog
  4. class

Teachers – there have already been some teacher challenges on ‘The Edublogger’ so your class blog could be ready for this challenge – if you have not completed them, could you do so as soon as possible. If you have students on a blogroll, please have their RSS post feeds in some type of reader or netvibes etc with an obvious link on your class blog – check out all our posts etc. This will make it easier for comments to be left when another class visits your blog.

Blogging is all about holding conversations with people who have similar interests to you.  You might have a blog about Nascar racing, your friend has one about Greening the Earth or as most of you do, one for showing the world what you are doing at school and answering questions in relevant subject areas.  Here is your first challenge:

Beginner:

Make sure you have an up-to-date page telling ‘About’ you. Check out some of the following students from previous challenges: JessNick, LaurenLittle Miss Room18, Marnie, Dominique, Kira, Jacob, Keely and Brad.

If using Edublogs, this is a PAGE not a POST. It will appear as a link across the top of your header or in the PAGE widget on your sidebar. Here is a link to explain how to edit the ‘About’ page which is already on your blog. If using BLOGSPOT, you also have an about me area in your profile. Remember to be internet safe in the information you put on the page.

Veteran:

Write a post about why students and classes should visit your blog. Why is your blog going to be interesting? What will you be posting about? What could they learn from reading your blog? Make sure you hyperlink back to this challenge post  somewhere in your post.That way, I will get a trackback or pingback and I will be able to visit your blog to read your post, otherwise I won’t know if you have written anything about this challenge.

eg. This post is for Challenge 1 in the March 2010 challenge. Highlight ‘Challenge 1’  then use the Link icon  – chains joined – and type in the URL for this post. Check out how Abbey has created the trackback here.

Commenter:

Leave a comment on this post telling me three interesting things about you. Check out the page called “March 2010 students’ and visit two blogs there where students have similar interests to you and leave a comment on their blog.

Class:

Each week you will need to have visited the blog of the class on either side of your name on the ‘March 2010 classes’ page. This will make sure each class gets visited by at least two other classes.  Then choose some other classes from the list that you would like to visit – students of similar age perhaps.

On your class blog, write a post about why students and classes should visit your blog. What will they learn from reading your posts? Are there any skills your class has that they could pass on to other classes and students?

Original image: ‘Three Ladies in Conversation‘  by: John Wigham
http://www.flickr.com/photos/90664717@N00/28225950
Released under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License