3heads-gear3headschatchecklistglobehead-lockhead-plusimaclife-ringlogo-cornelllogo-melbournelogo-northhamptonlogo-portsmouthlogo-small logo-vancouverlogo-yokohamamail-line mail-wings pdf pie-chartplayplugprinter skype website

Week 2: Quality Comments

Great work on your first week of the challenge!

We now have 1550+ students and 135 classes taking part in the challenge. Can you tell which new countries have been added to our participant list?

Student Blogging Challenge Participants Oct 2018 - 6 continents and 27 countries

This week we are talking about commenting. And not just any old commenting, quality commenting.

Remember, the menu on the right sidebar will help you navigate this post.

STUBC Week 2 Quality Comments

Week One Recap

Before we begin, let’s recap our first week…

Our commenting team was SUPER busy! There were 720+ tasks submitted by students and classes.

A big thanks goes out to our lead commenter Miss W and her team of around 50 commenters!

For this week, we’re asking you just submit one task in our Google Form (if you complete more than one). This will make things more manageable for our commenters.

You’ll also notice some changes in the Google Form this week to make it clearer to distinguish between students/classes. Country name has also been added.

Some notable posts and comments

Trophy image -- great workWith so many amazing posts and pages written last week, it was hard to choose just a handful to showcase.

Let’s take a look at just some of the great work we spotted last week:

  • Musings From Mack is a sixth grade class from the US with a class blog and student blogs. They published a Google Slide presentation to introduce themselves on their class blog. They then created a“fun facts” list that links to the students’ blogs. Creative!
  • Ash Eryn from the Philippines is doing a great job of replying to her comments and engaging in conversations. Check it out. 
  • Zaprina from the US has made a creative About post that’s an acronym of her own name. It includes paragraphs and coloured text.
  • Sling’s Class is a year 7/8 class from Canada with a class blog and student blogs. They published a Google Slide presentation to introduce themselves on their class blog. Their teacher Amanda also had the great idea of choosing a few global students and classes to visit. She placed these links on a page for the students to reference.
  • Mrs. Holliday’s second grade class is from the US. They created some great avatars which they put in a slideshow. Their post ended with questions which is an excellent way to encourage comments. They have also received some comments from families. Fantastic!
  • Madison is a very talented writer in the fifth grade. She has done a great job of proofreading her About page and writing in paragraphs to make it easy to read.
  • Cashton is a seventh grader who has been busy visiting a few other student blogs. He wrote about the blogs he visited in a post and included the links.

Flipboard — Sharing more great work!

Flipboard is a digital magazine that brings together stories and articles from the web.

You can use Flipboard on your computer, or via the app on your phone or tablet.

iOS | Android | Window

Click here to view the new 2018 Student Blogging Challenge Flipboard. Our commenters will be adding some notable posts and pages to the magazine over the coming weeks.

View my Flipboard Magazine.

Reminders

If you didn’t read the week one reminder post, please check it out here. 

The two most important reminders this week are making sure people can view your blog and comment.

Is your blog password protected?

To take part in the challenge you need to make sure that visitors can view your blog without signing in.

  • To check this, open your blog in a browser you’re not logged into (or something like Chrome Incognito). Does your blog appear? Or is there a prompt for a password?
  • If your blog is password protected (and you use Edublogs or CampusPress), go to your dashboard > settings > reading. Please select “Discourage search engines from indexing site but allows normal visitors to view” OR if you have a pro/CampusPress blog you can select “Allow search engines to index this site”
Edublogs/CampusPress users will need to allow one of the top two options to allow visitors (free blogs don't have the
You need one of the public options enabled

Teachers, if you have student blogs, you don’t need to do this individually. In your blog dashboard, go to My Class > Settings and choose one of the public options as per the image above.

Using a different blogging platform? Check out this reminder post which has links to the help guides you need to change your settings.

Can people comment on your blog?

Some blogs don’t allow comments on posts or pages or they need visitors to log in before commenting.

If you’re using Edublogs/CampusPress, go to settings > discussion and ensure you don’t have “Users must be registered and logged in to comment” selected.

Edublogs and CampusPress commenting settings

  • Pages on Edublogs/CampusPress blogs are turned off by default. Some people don’t like comments on pages but you will need comments enabled if you’re submitting a page as a task. Find out how to enable comments on pages here.
  • If you’re using Blogger, make sure anyone can comment using the Name/URL option (so they don’t need a Google Account). Blogger commenting instructions are here.

Reminders over, let’s get on with our topic… 🙂

A Commenting Story

You never know where a single comment might lead you.

I’ve made so many connections, just through commenting.

Here’s one story…

I first began blogging with my grade three class back in 2008.

During our first year of our blogging journey, we received a comment from Mrs Yollis’ class on the other side of the world in California, USA.

Comment from Linda Yollis

We replied back and forth and even shared a simple song with each other.

The commenting conversations continued throughout the following years with different groups of students.Kathleen and Mrs Yollis with Moby at ISTE We had lots of Skype calls and worked together on projects.

I even had two different students visit Mrs. Yollis’ class on family holidays!

In 2012, my husband and I visited Mrs. and Mr. Yollis. Mrs. Yollis and I presented at a big conference for teachers called ISTE.

Even though I’m not teaching full time currently, our classes still connect — nearly 10 years later. For example, this year we made landmark videos together and collaborated for International Dot Day.

I have learnt a lot from Linda and enjoyed the friendship.

This all started with a simple comment. Who will you meet through a comment?

About Quality Commenting

Let’s dive deeper into this week’s topic.

The benefits of commenting

What’s so special about commenting? Why not just publish blog posts?

Here are ten reasons why I believe comments are important:

  1. Comments turn your blog from a static space to an interactive space. This means it’s not just you talking. There is interaction.
  2. Back and forth conversations are fun and you can learn a lot.
  3. Because comments are not instantaneous (like online chat or text messaging), you can have more time to reflect, research, or think about your response.
  4. When someone leaves a comment, they can leave feedback, constructive criticism, or give you new ideas. This can help you grow and learn.
  5. A commenter might suggest something that you didn’t include in your post. You can learn new perspectives.
  6. When you have an authentic (real) audience, it’s more motivating! You know someone will read your post, so you will probably put more effort into it than if you were just writing something in a notebook.
  7. Commenting can be an ideal way for busy parents to get involved in the classroom.
  8. You can learn how to interact politely and how to have conversations.
  9. You can meet new people and form friendships.
  10. Students who don’t have their own blogs can enjoy the benefits of blogging by being a participant in the comment section.

Could you add anything to this list? Tell us in a comment!

What is quality commenting?

Which of these comments do you think is better?

Comment one

Comment two

Some students are young, learning a language, or just starting out and no one expects students to be perfect.

However, when we aim to do certain things in our comment, we will learn more and develop skills that we can use in all areas of our life. We’ll also have a better chance of forming strong connections with others.

So what makes a quality comment? Here are some ideas. You might have your own ideas.

Elements of quality comments:

  • Written like a letter with a greeting, body, and sometimes a closing.
  • Correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and spacing.
  • Questions, compliments, and/or relevant new information.
  • Making connections without revealing personal information like surnames, addresses, birthdays etc.

You won’t always include all of the above in your comments but these are the sorts of things you might aim for.

Quality commenting videos

This is a video about quality commenting that Linda Yollis made with her third-grade students back in 2010! Many classes still enjoying viewing it.

For older students, this video by Nicolas Weiss is popular.

Commenting Help

When someone leaves a comment on your blog, it won’t show up straight away (unless you have turned off moderation in your settings which is not recommended).

Whoever has permission (teacher/student) will need to approve the comment first. Try to approve comments quickly, especially during the Student Blogging Challenge.

If you need help with managing your comments, take a look at these guides:

Week Two Tasks

This week there are four tasks to choose from to help you learn more about commenting. 

If you complete more than one, just choose your favourite to submit in the Google Form.

Here is a summary. I will explain each task in more detail below with some examples and ideas for how classes can approach each task.

This week there are four tasks to learn about commenting STUBC

Task 1: Commenting Guidelines

Come up with your own commenting guidelines. How would you like people to write their comment on your blog? You can put your commenting guidelines in a post, but they might be better suited to a page.

You can just write them down as text or make some sort of poster, graphic, or slideshow.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could come up with your guidelines together and all the students could make a graphic or poster to share on a page (or a series of posts). Perhaps a small group of students could illustrate one step each. Or the teacher can make the page and the students can comment on it. 

Examples

You might make a How To Write A Quality Comment poster like I did. Teachers, if you want to use this poster for your own class blog, feel free. You can grab a PDF copy here.

If you want to make your own poster, try a tool like Canva, Adobe Spark, Google Drawings, or even PowerPoint.

Of course, if you make your own poster, please personalise it and don’t copy my exact wording.

How to write a quality comment Kathleen Morris

Check out the creative way Mrs. Vazquez made a commenting poster using Thinglink. If you hover over the blue circles you’ll find more information.

More examples:

  • Student Aubrey shared some examples on her page to explain what sort of things make a quality comment.
  • Caleigh made a mind map to share key ideas.

Task 2: How To Comment

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. (Remember, if you change themes in future, you might need to change your instructions).

You could write it as a set of steps or perhaps create a video showing what to do.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could come up with your instructions together and all the students could make a graphic, poster, or video to share on a page (or a series of posts). Or the teacher can make the page and the students can work on other activities. 

I made a video last year for my colleague’s class blog.

How to make your own video

  • I used a free Chrome extension called Screencastify to make the video above.
  • Loom is another good tool for making screencast videos if you use the Chrome browser.
  • If you use an iPad you can make a screencast without any special app. Tony Vincent shows us how to do that in this graphic…

Tony Vincent screencast iPad

Tip: Find out how to add a video to an Edublogs or CampusPress blog here. If you have a free Edublogs blog, you won’t be able to embed the video into your post or page. This is to prevent misuse by spammers.

Example pages:

Task 3: Comment With HTML

This is a task for bloggers who are after a challenge!

HTML is a computing language for making blogs and websites.

If you’re using Edublogs/CampusPress and you switch from Visual to Text in your post editor, you’ll see the HTML code that makes up your post. We’ll learn more about code later in the Student Blogging Challenge.

Switch between text and visual when you're writing a postYou can use some code in your comments to make your words bold, italic, or to add a link or symbol. ♥

Check out these tutorials to add HTML code to a comment:

Now try leaving a comment on this blog post, or another blog with some HTML. Then, write a post telling everyone about the HTML you used. You might make your own tutorial for others.

Tip: If you want to include a demonstration of HTML code in a blog post, it can be best to write it in another program like Word, Google Docs etc. and take a screenshot of the code. Then insert the screenshot into your post like any other image.

  • This article shows how to take a screenshot on any device.
  • Click here to find out how to add an image to an Edublogs or CampusPress blog.

See this example below from Mrs. Yollis: she didn’t write it straight in the post. She made it into an image…

Mrs Yollis' codeIf you’re working as a class on this activity, you could try leaving some comments with HTML as a whole class activity. Or perhaps the teacher can publish a post with instructions for HTML and the students can leave a comment trying out some codes. 

Task 4: Comment On Other Blogs

We know the benefits of commenting, so let’s leave some comments!

  1. Find around four blogs you’d like to leave a comment on. Check out the pink week one list or purple week two list on the sidebar. These are the lists of students and classes who have submitted a task so far.
  2. Leave a quality comment on one post on each blog.
  3. 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. Include a link to the blogs you commented on too. Hint: make sure you copy the comment before you hit the submit button.

Example posts:

  • Figgy wrote a post telling us about the comments she left on other blogs.
  • Allegra wrote about the four blogs she commented on.
  • Sally wrote about her commenting conversations and included links.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could try leaving some comments as a whole class activity. Or perhaps each student can leave a comment on a different blog and write about the experience. The students’ writing could be compiled into one post or multiple blog posts.  

Final Tips

Encourage comments

A great way to encourage your visitors to comment on your post is to ask a couple of questions at the end of the post. You might make these bold or coloured so they really stand out.

Try using open-ended questions. So, instead of saying, “Do you have a dog?”, you might say, “Please comment and tell me about your favourite animals”.

Tip for more advanced bloggers: organise your posts

Will visitors to your blog find it easy to search for a post they might be interested in commenting on?

Categories, tags, or labels are all ways to organise your posts.

It’s a good idea to set up a category (or label in Blogger) called Student Blogging Challenge or STUBC. You can assign this category to all the posts you write for the challenge.

Safety first!

Remember when you’re commenting or writing posts, don’t yap about your YAPPY! Be internet safe -- don't share your YAPPY

Submit Your Post URL ⬇

Note: I have made the Google Form a little clearer this week to distinguish between classes and students. Classes and students are welcome to submit their URLs in the same Google Form below.

If you want a commenter and other participants to visit your blog, remember to fill in the Google Form below with the URL of the post or page you published for this week’s task.

Did you complete more than one task? Awesome! Please choose your favourite one to submit.

You need to submit the URL of your post/page

  • Click on the title of your post/page and then copy the URL from your address bar.
  • Don’t submit the URL of your blog or your dashboard.
  • Don’t include anything that includes the word ‘preview’. Others won’t be able to see the post.

This graphic below should help you understand what a post URL looks like if you’re using Edublogs/CampusPress/WordPress.

Examples of post URLS for STUBCThe Google Form

Teachers, feel free to put the link to this Week 2 Google Form on your own blog if you’d like so students don’t have to come back to this post. I will provide the Google Form URL in each weekly post.

https://goo.gl/forms/OJ0hsDZuag1TiEfE2 

Note: Any posts or pages that are submitted that aren’t related to the week two tasks will be deleted. 


Next week’s topic: Images and Creative Commons

Week 1 Reminders

It’s great to see so many students and teachers off to a strong start!

Want to see what other bloggers have published for their tasks? Click here or look for the pink box on the right sidebar. Remember to leave someone a comment and make a connection when you have time!

Important Reminders

Our commenting team is ready to visit but there are few recurring issues with some blogs.

Commenting obstacles

Do any of these apply to you?

  • Some blogs are password protected. You need to have a public blog if you want people to visit.
    • If you’re using Edublogs/CampusPress, read how to change your privacy settings here.
    • If you’re using Blogger, find out how to change privacy settings here.
    • If you’re using Kidblog, learn how to change your privacy settings here.
Edublogs/CampusPress users will need to allow one of the top two options to allow visitors (free blogs don’t have the option to allow search engines to index their site to prevent misuse by spammers) 
  • Some blogs don’t allow comments on posts or pages. Note that comments on pages are turned off by default on Edublogs/CampusPress blogs. Some people don’t like comments on pages but you will need comments enabled if you’re submitting a page as a task.
    • To enable comments on pages, go into your dashboard and click on Pages. Click on edit under the page you want to enable comments on. Click on Screen Options in the top right-hand corner of the page. Scroll down to the Discussion module below your page editor and select Allow Comments. Click Update. See diagrams here. 

Not sure if these issues affect you? Open your blog or post in a browser that you’re not logged in to. Can you view the blog and comment?

Problems with submitted task URLs

If you’ve completed tasks, have you submitted your URL correctly? You can check here. If not, please submit it again.

  • Some students are submitting the preview version of their post or the URL of the blog.
  • You need to submit the URL of the actual post or page. Click on the post/page and copy the URL from the address bar in your browser.

See the graphic below to help.

Examples of post URLS for STUBC

Blog layout issues:

Do any of these apply to you?

  • Some Edublogs/CampusPress themes don’t have pages automatically showing up at the top of your blog. Can people see your pages from your blog homepage? If not, click here for instructions on how to add the Pages widget or Custom Menu widget.
  • If you’re using the My Class Feature with Edublogs or CampusPress, the default number of student blogs shown on the sidebar widget is 10. Increase this number (e.g. to 30) to see all names listed.
    • Find out how to customize your Class Blog widget here.

Need more help?

If you’re using Edublogs/CampusPress, remember you can send our support team an email for help with your blog at any time. Click here to contact us. 

 

 

Week 1: Introductions

Welcome!

It’s time to start the challenge and time for some introductions!

This post is quite long because we have some reminders to go through. Tip: there is a menu on the right-hand side of this page this will help you navigate the post (you might not see it if you’re reading this on a phone or tablet).

Week one of the Student Blogging Challenge is all about avatars, About pages, and visiting other blogs.

Who Am I?

My name is Kathleen Morris. I’m a primary school teacher in Geelong, Australia.

I wonder what hemisphere you live in? I live in the Southern Hemisphere so it’s currently spring.

I work with Edublogs to help teachers learn about the wonderful world of blogging while also teaching part-time at a school near one of Australia’s landmarks — The Great Ocean Road.

Here’s a photo I took just a few days ago at a beach called Jan Juc.

Photo of the beach near the Great Ocean Road STUBC

I have a husband who’s a teacher, a 5 year old daughter, and a son who is 3.5.

I began blogging with my students in 2008. I have my own blog for teachers where I write about global collaboration, blogging, digital citizenship, online tools etc.

All of these things keep me very busy and I also enjoy doing a little running, hiking, reading, and cooking.

I’m looking forward to getting to know you too.

About Our Participants

So far we have about 1550+ individual students and 135 classes registered.

Our participants represent 27 countries and 6 continents.

Are any of the continents of the world not represented? I wonder why?

Student Blogging Challenge Participants Oct 2018 - 6 continents and 27 countries

Getting To Know Each Other

This week, we have three tasks designed to share a little about ourselves with the other participants.

The tasks involve:

  1. Making an avatar
  2. Creating or updating our About page
  3. Searching for other students

You’ll find more details about these tasks below.

Firstly, we have some challenge information and reminders to go through.

Administration

The Weekly Process

Each week, we’ll follow the same process. There will be some information on a blog post to read through so you can learn more about our topic and then some tasks to choose from.

Four step weekly process:

  1. Read the weekly post. This will be published every Sunday (Australian time). If you have signed up to our mailing list, you’ll get an email telling you about the weekly post.
  2. Task. After you’ve read through the post, choose one or more tasks you’d like to work on. If you have a class blog, teachers and students can work on the post together and publish it on your class blog (or perhaps the teacher can post, and the students can comment). For students with their own blog, you’ll publish your task response as a post on your blog.
  3. Form. Once your post is published, head back to the weekly post on this Student Blogging Challenge site. At the bottom of the post, you’ll see a Google Form. Enter your blog post URL and details into the form if you’d like a commenter to visit you.
  4. Comment. Making connections is a big part of the challenge and the more you put in, the more you’ll get out! Take the time to visit another participants’ blog and leave them a comment. You’ll find the links to everyone’s weekly posts on the sidebar of this blog. Here is the link to the week one spreadsheet.

Here is a summary of the weekly process. Feel free to copy this graphic and display it on your blog etc.

4 Steps To Participating in STUBC smaller

This A4 poster version might be handy to print out for students or use as a classroom display.

4 Steps To Participating in STUBC A4 Poster

Teachers — You’re welcome to copy and paste the weekly posts onto your own class blog and adapt the activities as needed (change them/add/omit). Just remember to link back to the challenge post somewhere on your post.

Students  Remember, most weeks there will be a number of activities to choose from. You don’t have to complete them all. When you complete an activity, remember to fill in the Google Form at the bottom of the post. A commenter will visit to leave you a comment. Remember to read and reply to their comments politely and in a timely fashion.

General Reminders

  1. Check our registration pages to make sure your details are listed correctly. If your name is highlighted in pink, there is an issue that needs attention. Click here to go to the student registration page. Click here to go to the class registration page.
  2. Edublogs/CampusPress users with student blogs — If all the students in your class have blogs and your teacher uses ‘My Class’, you should have a widget called ‘Class blogs’. Make sure this is on your sidebar. This video shows you how.
  3. Add the challenge badge to your sidebar. There is a post showing you exactly how to do this. Click here to go to the badge post.
  4. Can visitors leave comments on your blog posts? Double check this. If you’re using Blogger, make sure anyone can comment using the Name/URL option (so they don’t need a Google Account). Blogger commenting instructions are here.
  5. Please moderate comments regularly — at least once a week if not once a day. It’s in the comment section where the most powerful learning and connections can take place!

EDIT: Did you see the reminder post that was publish mid week-one? Click here to read the important reminders.

Now onto the tasks!

Week One Tasks

While you don’t have to complete every task each week, this week you might try to have a go at doing one of the activity suggestions for all three tasks if you have time. This will get you off to a great start!

Here is a summary. I will explain each activity in more detail below with some examples.

Summary of week one tasks STUBC

Stay Safe Online

Remember, as we’re sharing information about ourselves, we need to be internet savvy and avoid sharing too much information or personal details.

I like to tell my students to never share their YAPPY online. There is some other information that’s more of a ‘grey area’. These are things you should discuss with your teachers and parents.

Be internet safe -- don't share your YAPPY

Task 1: Avatars

Do you know what an avatar is? It’s simply an image that you use to represent yourself on the internet. It’s like a character that represents your online identity.

A lot of adults have a real photo as their avatar, like this:

Kathleen Morris image

It can be a better idea for children to use a cartoon representation of themselves (check with your teachers/parents if you’re not sure).

Avatar example Kathleen Morris

Here are four avatar activities to choose from. 

Activity 1: Create an avatar 

Students can create an avatar to use on their blog.

There are many different avatar creation sites on the web:

  • Some tools allow you to save the avatar to your computer to then upload into your blog.
  • Others tools require you to take a screenshot of your avatar and save it as an image. Tip: This article shows how to take a screenshot on any device.
  • The Symbaloo below was compiled by Miss W to share links to sites where you can make an avatar. If you want to embed the Symbaloo on your own blog, click on the share icon at the bottom and copy the embed code.
  • Miss W recommends the sites on the right-hand side as some of the easiest tools to use.
  • Know any other avatar creation tools that aren’t on the Symbaloo? Leave a comment on this post.

Once you’ve made your avatar, you need to add it to your blog so it shows up when you comment.

Activity 2: Compile all your avatars

Got a class blog? Students can make an avatar using one of the tools mentioned above. You can then share all the avatars on your class blog.

There are a few ways you could do this:

1) Slideshow

You might share your students’ avatars by writing a post that includes a slideshow of your avatars.

There are a number of ways you can make a slideshow:

2) Custom header image

You can make a custom header image that includes all the avatars. See this example from the Birney Bulldogs (they’ve also added their avatars to their About Page).

How to make a header image for Edublogs or CampusPress users:

  • You will need to use a program like PowerPoint, Google Drawings, Google Slides, or Canva.
  • The first step is to check what size your header is by going to Appearance > Customize in your blog dashboard. If you don’t see the Header Image section in the Customizer it means your theme doesn’t support the use of a custom header image.
  • When you click on Header Image in the Customizer, it will show you the dimensions of your header image. Make a note of this. For example, it might say 1000 x 150 pixels.
  • In your program, you need to change the size of your blank canvas to the size of your header.
  • You’ll then upload the avatar images and arrange them how you like them.
  • Save your creation as a PNG or JPEG and then follow these instructions to upload the header image to your blog.
  • Need more help? Check out these instructions by Stef Galvin.

3) Sidebar slideshow

You can add a slideshow to your sidebar using the gallery widget. Follow these instructions to find out how.

Activity 3: Write a post about your avatar

Tell us how your avatar represents you. Include a link to the website where you created the avatar. Remember to include your avatar as an image in your post.

Tip: If you’re writing a post about your avatar, choose an interesting title not just ‘avatar’ as this could cause an error on your blog.

Examples:

Activity 4: Create an avatar family

Create a custom avatar for each of your family members. Include the avatars in a post and tell us a bit about each family member (remembering not to give away too many personal details).

Examples:

  • Josh used a range of tools to make avatars for the members of his family.
  • Amelie-Rose made avatars for her family members.

Task 2: About Page

Activity 5: Write or update your About page

Posts Vs Pages

Do you know what the difference between a post and a page is?

  • Posts are where you publish your regular updates.
  • A page is for more static information that you don’t expect to update too often.
  • You might publish lots of posts but only have one or two pages.

Find out more about the difference between a page and a post in this article on The Edublogger. 

Remember, we don’t say, “I wrote a blog”. We say, “I wrote a post” or, “I wrote a page”.

Page instructions

If you’re using Edublogs or CampusPressclick here to find out how to add an About page, or watch the video below.

  • If you’re using Blogger, these instructions will help you add pages.
  • If you’re using Kidblog, you might need to add a post instead of a page.
About pages

The most important page on your blog is your About page.

Whenever I visit a blog for the first time, I always look for an About page. It’s a way to find out who’s writing the blog posts, what their background is, where they’re from etc.

Some bloggers forget to edit the default ‘sample page’ that appears when you set up a new blog. Or they forget to update an About page that they might have written years ago.

This task involves writing an About page for your student or class blog. If you already have an About page, check to see what else you can add or edit. Be creative!

There are many ways to write an About page.

You might want to include:

  • You first name
  • Your approximate location (even just state or country)
  • Your age or grade level
  • Some of your interests
  • What your blog is all about. Tell us what you’ll be writing about

Remember to be safe online: don’t include personal details like your YAPPY (see above).

You can get creative when writing your About page.

Here are some ideas and examples that classes or students could use:

  • Write a poem. It could be a traditional rhyming poem or any other style of poetry. Learn about different styles of poetry here. Here is an example from Daniela.
  • Write an A-Z about yourself (e.g. I am an athletic and brave child who decided that saving the environment is one of my future goals). Check out how commenter Dinah created her A-Z About page especially for the Student Blogging Challenge a few years back.
  • Write a ‘Who am I?’ or list of things people might not know about you like Ms. Herring, Mrs Keane, and Mrs Lyttle.
  • Students in Ireland paired up to create a line for their class About page and Ms Seitz’ class did the same.
  • Mrs Moore’s class wrote about their school.
  • Huzzah! class included a map to show where they live.
  • Student Rajyashori wrote a creative interview script.
  • Brianna (ex student commenter) has a great “favourites” About Me page, as well as an A-Z post.
  • Year 5/6 Class at Westwood with Iford School made a Thinglink.

Task 3: Visit other blogs

Activity 6: Leave a comment

One important aspect of blogging is commenting on other blogs.

Remember: The more you put in to making connections during this challenge, the more you’ll get out!

There are two places you can find other participants’ blogs to visit:

  1. The pages at the top of the blog. There is a page for student bloggers and a page for class bloggers. These are sorted by age. Student bloggers have hobbies listed so you hopefully can find someone who is not only a similar age to you but shares some of your interests.
  2. The link on the right-hand sidebar of the blog. This will show you the spreadsheet of students/classes who have submitted their posts in the weekly Google Form. Here is the link to the week on task responses.
Commenting advice

We’re going to talk more about quality commenting next week but for now, you might want to remember:

  • Write your comment like a letter
  • Ask a question, make a connection, or give a compliment
  • Leave your blog URL so the blogger can also take a look at your blog

Don’t forget to approve your comments and reply to any comments as soon as you can!

If you’re working as a class, you might start by writing some comments together as a whole class activity. Students could then write comments individually or in small groups. 

This video by Mrs Yollis’ third grade class demonstrates how they approach commenting as a whole class activity.

Submit Your Post URL ⬇

If you want a commenter and other participants to visit your blog, remember to fill in the form below for each activity you complete this week.

You need to submit the URL of your post (or your About page).

  • Do not submit the URL of your blog or your dashboard.
  • Click on the title of your post/page and then copy the URL from your address bar.
  • If you complete a second or third activity, you can fill out the form more than once.

This graphic below should help you understand what a post URL looks like if you’re using Edublogs/CampusPress/WordPress

Examples of post URLS for STUBCThe Google Form

Teachers, feel free to put the link to this Week 1 Google form on your own blog if you’d like. I will provide the form URL in each weekly post.

https://goo.gl/forms/89dq0pbRd8R9BRTm2


Next week’s topic: Quality commenting

Get Ready To Begin! Your Checklist …

The 21st Student Blogging Challenge starts soon! The first post will be published on this blog on October 7 (Australian time). 

Let’s take a look at what you can do to get ready!

For Students

Have you:

  • Registered for the challenge?
  • Added the challenge badge to your blog? Click here to find the badge and instructions.
  • Checked you are on the student list only once? If your name is in pink then the URL is incorrect or visitors are unable to leave a comment — please change your privacy settings.
  • Subscribed to our email newsletter to get alerts of new posts (if you have an email address)?
  • Written a great first post so your visitors have somewhere to leave you a comment?
  • Replied to any comments left by your visitors especially if they have asked a question?
  • Checked out our help page to learn some of the basics of blogging?

For Classes

Have you:

For Commenters

Have you:

  • Added the challenge badge to your blog sidebar? Click here to find the badge and instructions.
  • Read Sue Wyatt’s email with all the information about commenting? If you didn’t get it, please leave a comment on this post. (Note: if you only signed up in the last couple of days, Sue will be in touch during the week).
  • Gone through the Commenting FAQ guide?
  • Considered asking a colleague or member of your PLN to be a commenter with you? The more support we have for students, the better!

Teachers

Looking for some ideas on how to introduce your students to blogging? We recently published a post on The Edublogger with 10 ideas that might appeal to you.

10 Ways To Introduce Your Students To Blogging

Any questions? Leave a comment on this post and I’ll get back to you! 😄

Get Your 2018 Student Blogging Challenge Badge!

If you’re a participant or commenter in the Student Blogging Challenge, you might want to add a badge to your blog!

Badges are generally added to the sidebar of blogs but can also be added to About pages.

Here is the badge for participants:

Student Blogging Challenge Participant Badge

Here is the badge for commenters:

2018 Student Blogging Challenge Commenter Badge

You can right-click the badge above and click on ‘save as’ to save it to your computer. From there, you can follow the instructions below to add the badge to your blog.

We will explain how to add your blog to your sidebar by:

  • Pasting the image code into a Text Widget (easiest method for Edublogs Pro/CampusPress users)
  • Using the Image Widget

These instructions apply to Edublogs and CampusPress users. If you’re using a different blogging platform, you’ll need to look for your specific instructions.

We’ve added links to some help guides on our Blog Help page. 

Adding A Badge to Your Blog’s Sidebar Using The Custom HTML Widget 

Note: This is an easy way to add the badge but will only work for Edublogs Pro blogs (or student blogs attached to an Edublogs Pro account), or CampusPress users. Embedding isn’t available on free blogs to prevent misuse by spammers. 

1. In your blog’s dashboard, go to Appearance > Widgets.

2.  Drag over a Custom HTML widget to your sidebar.

3.  Give the Custom HTML a title if you wish, for example: ‘Student Blogging Challenge’ or ‘I’m taking part in the Student Blogging Challenge’

4.  Copy and paste the following code into your widget:

Code for participant badge

<a href="http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/"><img src="https://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/files/2018/10/Student-Blogging-Challenge-Badge-28x1c3s-1z87xwp.png" alt="Student Blogging Challenge 2018" width="300" height="295" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-2614" /></a>

Code for commenter badge

<a href="http://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/"><img src="https://studentchallenge.edublogs.org/files/2018/09/Student-Blogging-Challenge-Commenter-Badge-2mnlylm-17npkku.png" alt="Student Blogging Challenge Commenter" width="300" height="295" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-2614" /></a>

It should look like this:

Custom HTML Badge STUBC

5.  Click Save.

Adding A Badge to Your Blog’s Sidebar Using The Image Widget 

Here is a 3 minute video that walks you through this process. This video shows you the process using a Windows computer. You can adjust the instructions for your own operating system. 

(Note, the colouring of my widget at the end is not right but you shouldn’t have this issue!)

Here are the written instructions:

1. Right click on the image of the badge you need above and choose ‘Save as’. Save it to your computer (e.g. in My Pictures). Alternatively, click here to download the participant badge or click here to download the commenter badge.

2. Log in to your blog’s dashboard and go to Appearance > Widgets.

3. Add an Image Widget to your sidebar by dragging it over and positioning it where you’d like it on your sidebar.

Add image widget

4. Click on Add Image.

Image widget

5. Click on Upload Files and then Select File. Find where you saved the image on your computer and then click Open to upload the image.

Select File

6. Select your uploaded image and then click Add To Widget.

Select your badge image

7. Add your Title — e.g. ‘Student Blogging Challenge’ or ‘I’m taking part in the Student Blogging Challenge’.

Then add a Link to the Student Blogging Challenge blog https://studentchallenge.edublogs.org (so anyone interested in the challenge can easily click through).

Finally, click Save.

8. You should now see your badge in your sidebar!

Good luck!