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Week 4: Catch Up Or Free Choice

Phew! The first three weeks of the Student Blogging Challenge are the hardest. There’s a lot to learn and set up!

You’ve been working hard and now it’s time to catch your breath.

This week you’ll have some space to catch up on the first three tasks or write a free choice post. I’ve got some more ideas for you below.

Week four of the Student Blogging Challenge allows you to catch up or write a free choice post.

Week Three Recap

Trophy image -- great workThere were many great posts submitted again by classes and students.

You can find them all here (or click on the week three box on the sidebar).

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

  • Josiah wrote a great story that included some tips for taking perfect photos. He’d love to hear from you!
  • Mrs. Yollis ran a powerful lesson for her students to learn how it feels when your work is stolen. Read about it here and check out her sidebar for some excellent student blog posts.
  • Mrs. Wermager proved you don’t need fancy tools to make a fun interactive blog post. Can you guess her hand-drawn sentence?
  • The students from “Ready, Set, Blog” in Melbourne, Australia would love you to click on the links on the sidebar of their blog to try guessing their sentences.
  • A student in Mrs. Matveyeva’s Class in Kazahkstan shared their top 5 hip-hop artists using free images. If you’re a music fan, be sure to leave a comment!
  • Rachel made a video to explain how to avoid copyright infringement when getting images off the web.
  • You can view more great work on our 2019 Student Blogging Challenge Flipboard.

Two Mid-Week Posts

During the week I published two posts that I invite you to check out:

  • 11 year old Lauren made a great tutorial about random header images. I’d love to publish some more student tutorials so let me know if you write one.
  • I wrote a post to explain how to make sure your Google Doc/Form/Slide is public if you’re using them in your blog posts.

Reminders

Here are a few important reminders:

  • Please keep approving comments quickly. Some students don’t realise they have comments waiting to be approved in their dashboard.
  • Do your posts have images? Images make posts much more shareable and they stand out a lot more on our Flipboard magazine. Remember, as we discussed in week 3, you can’t just use any image you find on the web, however, there are lots of options available to you.
  • Posts that are proofread and written in short paragraphs are much easier to read! Need help with proofreading? Try a free tool like Grammarly. Note: Grammarly is 18+ but if you’re aged between 13-17, you can use it with permission.
  • Are you writing in a language other than English? Please add a Google Translate widget to your blog by following these instructions. 

Quick Tutorial

Did you know you can edit the permalink or URL of your post before you publish it? This can make your URL neater and easier to share.

Find out how to edit your blog's permalink

This quick video explains how to edit your permalink if you’re using Edublogs or CampusPress.

Remember never to edit your permalink after you publish a post or people will no longer be able to access the post with the original URL you shared.

Now it’s time for this week’s task…

Week Four Tasks

This week’s tasks are simple but I’ve offered a little elaboration below the summary graphic.

Week four of the Student Blogging Challenge allows you to catch up or write a free choice post.

Task 1: Catch Up

You might not have had the chance to complete a task for week 1-3. Or you might like to complete an additional task from the choices on offer. Go for it.

Here are the links (you’ll also find them on the sidebar of the challenge blog).

Note about Google Forms:

  • The Google Form for week one tasks is closed.
  • If you’re catching up on a week one task, you can add it to the Google Form at the bottom of this week four post.
  • If you complete a week two or three task, please go to the correct Google Form as these are still open.

Task 2: Free Choice

sign saying go

What’s something that interests you? Write about it!

Stuck for ideas?

If you write a free choice post this week, submit it in the Google Form at the bottom of this post.

Task 3: Visit

You might have a bit of extra time this week so it could be a good opportunity to visit at least one other blog and leave a quality comment.

Remember to ask a question and check back to see if they replied to you (most platforms have a box to tick so you can get an email when there is a follow-up comment).

>> Click here to take a look at the posts our participants are writing for week 4.

Task 4: Kahoot!

Have you ever played Kahoot? Get some friends together and test your blogging knowledge with our 15 question quiz!

How Kahoot! works:

  • The multiple-choice questions appear on the screen in the classroom and students submit their responses in real time using their computer, tablet, or mobile device.
  • Students can work in teams and can work for points (most correct answers and quickest responses).

Our Introduction To Blogging Kahoot goes over some of the key terms, vocabulary, and uses of blogs.

How To Play Our Blogging Kahoot!

  • To access the Kahoot, click on this link.
  • You don’t need an account to play, however; you will need to log in if you want to edit the quiz (teachers can adapt it for your own students if necessary).
  • You also need to be signed in to save results.
  • You’ll have the option for your students to play against each other individually (classic mode) or in teams.

Play as classic or team mode Kahoot

You’ll also have a variety of game options you can play around with (see below).

Once you finalize your selections, a game pin number will show up. Students will go to the Kahoot app on their device, or to https://kahoot.it/ and enter the pin number to begin!

Game options for kahoot

Feel free to leave a comment on this post and tell us if you tried the Kahoot!

Submit Your Post URL ⬇

If you write a free choice post and would like a commenter and others to visit, fill in the form below.

Do you have a post on your class blog and student blogs? Awesome! Feel free to submit the class blog post and student blog posts.

You need to submit the URL of your post. You can submit the URL of a page if this is what you’re working on but make sure comments are enabled. 

This video shows you how to find your URL…

Note, this isn’t a real class blog. Just one I used for testing 😉

Remember:

  • Click on the title of your post/page and then copy the URL from your address bar.
  • 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

Edit: Enter your details in the form below or click here to open it in a new tab.

Teachers, feel free to put the form URL on your class blog if it’s easier for your students to access.

https://goo.gl/forms/gdOIFHmKm3xQv46i1


Next week’s topic: School Around The World!

Reminder: Using Google Docs And Slides

Many students and classes are enjoying publishing their tasks as a Google Doc or Google Slides presentation. This is fantastic!

However, there is one recurring problem.

Those using a Google Doc/Form/Slide presentation are often not changing their privacy settings so anyone can view it.

Viewers are told they don’t have permission to see the work.

Google Drive prompt to gain permission

How To Make Your Google Docs And Slides Public

  1. At the top of your Google Doc, Sheet, or Slides, click File and then Publish to the web.
  2. You’ll be prompted to choose a publishing option. E.g. With a Google Slides presentation you can choose how quickly to advance the slides.
  3. Click Publish.
  4. Check whether others can view your work by opening your blog post in Google Incognito or another browser you’re not logged in to.
  5. These instructions show you how to embed your Google work in an Edublogs or CampusPress blog.

Also, if you’re including the link to a Google Slides presentation on our weekly Form, please make sure the setting is allowing for comments. The best approach is to add the presentation to a blog post and share the blog post URL. That way, people can comment on your post.

All this is part of the learning how and when to share work to a public audience. Such an important skill for teachers and students!

Need help? Just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

 

Student Tutorial: Add and Randomise Custom Headers

I was recently visiting the blog of 11 year old Lauren from Adelaide, South Australia.

I noticed she had some cool headers showing up on her blog and they change as you navigate the blog.

Screenshot of Lauren's blog

I asked Lauren how she did this and she put together a quick video to share with you all!

She made her images using Canva and her blog is with Edublogs.

Any feedback for Lauren?

Lauren is happy to hear any feedback or answer any questions. You can leave a comment on this post or head to the original post on her blog and leave a comment there.

>>Go to Lauren’s post

Do you want to make a student tutorial?

I’d love to publish some more student tutorials here on the STUBC site.

If you’ve figured out how to do something on your blog (or on a web tool that you can add to your blog), feel free to make a tutorial, either with text/images, a slideshow, or a video.

Share it with me via a blog comment, an email, or Twitter and I’ll see if we can include it on the site!

 

Week 3: Fun With Photos

This week’s topic is an important and useful one to know about. We’re going to have fun using photos while learning how use images easily, legally, and safely.

  • Some people find this topic confusing but don’t worry. I’ll break it down for you in this week’s post!
  • This post is long as there’s lots for you to learn. Remember to use the menu on the right hand side if you’re on a computer.

Next week we will be having a catch up/free choice week so you can catch your breath!

Week three of the Student Blogging Challenge is all about images and Creative Commons. We'll learn how to use images easily, legally, and safely.

Week Two Recap

Trophy image -- great workThere were so many great posts submitted by classes and students.

You can find the participants’ week two posts by click on the purple link on the sidebar.

Many students have also submitted a week one task late. Check these out by clicking on the green link on the sidebar.

Let’s take a look at just some of the fantastic work we spotted for week two:

  • Mrs. D from Arizona had her 6th graders vote on their commenting guidelines which they then put into a fabulous poster. Check it out here. 
  • Noe is an experienced student blogger who shared his views on how to leave the perfect blog comment.
  • Jerry from Taiwan shared some tips about quality commenting. Using bold words to make certain things stand out was a good idea!
  • Miaomiao from Australia included a cute comic where a dolphin and turtle learn about quality commenting. Her classmate Lauren made her own respectful commenting graphic which she put on a page. If you’d like to leave Lauren a comment, you can do so on this post. 
  • Manav from Mr. Balak’s class in the US got creative with Scratch and made a game. You can find the link to the game here. 
  • Mrs. Yollis made a wonderful infographic using Canva and Bitmoji to share her expectation for quality comments. Also, check the creative work of her students “Dr. Hagle” and “Sarah Gold” who used Puppet Pals to explain quality commenting using a Fairy BLOGmother!

If you ever come across any outstanding work in your class or another class I’d love to know about it so I can share it with others. Email me, leave a comment on a STUBC post, or tweet me!

Flipboard

Click here to view the new 2019 Student Blogging Challenge Flipboard for more notable posts.

View my Flipboard Magazine.

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

Reminders

A few days ago our commenting team leader, Sue Wyatt, published a post with suggestions for adding a visitor tracking widget to your site. Read that post here.

Here are a few more challenge reminders:

  • Are you on our mailing list? Sign up here and make sure you add support@edublogs.org to your email contacts so it doesn’t end up in junk/spam. I send an email every Sunday.
  • Please keep approving comments quickly. Some students don’t realise they have comments waiting to be approved in their dashboard. Remember, it’s good etiquette to reply to comments.
  • You don’t need to request access to view/edit the spreadsheets with participants’ posts that are linked on the sidebar. They are ‘view only’ and open to everyone. Please let students know.
  • 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.
  • Some people have put a link to a Google Doc/Form/Slide presentation in their post BUT it can’t be viewed without logging in. This resource shows you how to make your Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms public.
  • Haven’t caught up on week one and two? Don’t worry! You can complete your tasks late, or skip some tasks. Please submit your task in the correct form (e.g. if you complete a task from week one, go back to the week one post and add it to the form). The forms are closed 3 weeks after each post is published.

Let’s Learn About Images

A blog without images would be pretty boring, wouldn’t it?

Images can really jazz up our posts, pages, headers, and widgets. Students and teachers also need images when they’re making a presentation, video, or other digital creations.

But where do we get those images?

Can’t we just use Google Images?

Do you know how to find pictures using Google? It’s so easy. You just type in the word you want, find the image you like, and save it to your computer.

But stop right there!

Should we be doing this? Should we be getting any image we like from Google and using it in our own work?

The answer is no.

As Ronnie Burt’s cat has told our community before…

Just because you find it on Google doesn't make it free
Photo by Ronnie Burt used with permission

Most images on Google are protected by copyright. This means, they are not free to use and you can get into trouble if you do use them without permission.

You can use Google Images advanced search filter to find images that you are allowed to use but this isn’t as simple as it seems. You need to know what the usage rights mean and how to attribute correctly.

We have some easier options to share with you this week.

Including the source is not enough…

A situation we commonly see on blogs is where someone uses an image they found online and then include a link to the site they got it from.

For example,

Image from Kathleen Morris www.kathleenamorris.com

Just because you link to the source of an image, does not mean you can use it. You would need to ask the image creator for permission.

Unless stated otherwise, everything on the web is protected by copyright.

Let’s take a look at some options for finding images…

Where Can You Find Images?

I have a post on my own blog that goes through the 5 main ways to find images for blog posts or other digital work.

Here is a summary. Feel free to use this poster on your blog or in your classroom if it’s helpful.

5 options for finding images Kathleen Morris

Let’s take a closer look at each option:

1) Making your own images is an excellent option

This can be done either by drawing, taking your own photos, using computer software, or using online tools.

Just be mindful of two things:

  • This can take a long time and leave you with less time for your writing or other work.
  • Many online tools have age restrictions (often over 13).

2) Many businesses purchase stock photography

We often do this for our posts on The Edublogger.

We pay a hairdresser when we get a haircut, pay a baker for a loaf of bread, so why not pay a photographer for their work?

This is good to know about as an option but isn’t something schools or students would usually do.

3) Using Google Images is not usually a good idea

We talked about this above.

Most images that you find on Google are protected by copyright. Find out more about copyright by watching this short video.

4) Creative Commons is worth knowing about!

Everyone’s work is protected by copyright unless stated otherwise.

Many people are happy for others to use their work (as long as they give them credit etc.). They give their work a Creative Commons license to tell everyone what they can or cannot do with their image (or text, videos, music etc).

  • Copyright means the person who took the photo (or created the work) does not allow anyone to use it.
  • Creative Commons means the person who took the photo (or created the work) does allow people to use it IF they follow certain rules.
    • Usually, these rules mean saying who created the image/work and where it’s from.
    • Sometimes the rules state that you can use the image/work only if you don’t change it or don’t use it as part of something you’re selling.
    • These rules are called licenses.
    • There are a number of Creative Commons licenses creators can choose from.
    • No matter what license is used, you must always attribute the creator of the image/work (unless it’s a Creative Commons Zero license — see point 5). Attributing means crediting the author. In a blog post, this usually means putting the attribution under an image as I’ve done below.

Cute koala image
By Erik Veland [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Here’s a short video by Nancy Minicozzi that explains Creative Commons.

A plugin to make attribution easy

The trickiest part of using Creative Commons images is often the attribution (crediting the creator: saying who the creator is, where it’s from, what the license is etc).

If you’re using Edublogs or CampusPress, there’s a plugin you can use to find and insert Creative Commons images without worrying about attribution. It’s called Pixabay.

Important notes about the plugins:

  • While the Pixabay plugin provides safe filtered options, nothing is foolproof. Younger students should be supervised or use Photos For Class for the safest option.
  • If you’re familiar with the old Compfight plugin, this is no longer available as it doesn’t work properly with the latest versions of WordPress.

5) Creative Commons Zero or royalty free images are the easiest choices

If your mind is spinning with all that talk of Creative Commons licenses and attribution, don’t worry!

Creative Commons Zero (CC0) or royalty free images are easy to use.

These are the least restrictive licenses so anyone can use the images freely and attribution is optional.

There are an increasing number of sites where you can find CC0 or royalty free images but remember:

  • Many sites contain inappropriate content if you search for it
  • Many sites have age restrictions

I made this comparison chart to show you some of the best options to find images that you can use freely without attributing.

You can read a detailed description of each one in my blog post if you’re interested.

Comparison chart of free images teachers students Pixabay Unsplash Pexels Photos For Class Openclipart Pics4Learning

In the activity section below, you’ll also find some task cards to help you easily source images.

Help With Images

Adding an image to a post or page on your blog is quite straightforward.

If you haven’t figured out how to do this yet, check out these help guides:

Week Three Tasks

This week there are five tasks to choose from to help you learn more about using images. The third task links with doing either task four or five.

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.

STUBC week 3 tasks summary

Task 1: Educate Others

Many teachers and students around the world know very little about using images legally, Creative Commons, attributing Creative Commons images etc. You can help them learn while learning more about this topic yourself.

Do some more research into any of the topics discussed this week and make a blog post, poster, video, slideshow etc.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, perhaps students could work in small groups to create a poster or video to share in a post (or a series of posts). Or, all the students could make a slide for a slideshow. 

Example:

This video is the reaction of students in Mrs. Yollis’ class when she mislabelled their artwork. It helps people learn about the importance of correct attribution.

Coincidentally, one of Mrs. Yollis’ students “Jodie Bloom” wrote a blog post about this activity yesterday.

More examples:

  • Georgia summarized the places you can find images and included a slideshow.
  • Chris explains why you can’t take images off Google.
  • Izzy wrote a fabulous post about not using copyright materials.

Task 2: Make An Image

Creating your own images for your blog posts is a great idea! You don’t have to worry about copyright and Creative Commons.

You can:

Remember, some online tools have age restrictions.

Leave a comment on this post if you know any other good tools for making your own images.

Add your image(s) to a blog post and tell us a bit about the images and how you made them. If you used an online tool, include the link so others can try it.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, all the students could make their own image and the teacher could compile them into a Google Slide presentation or simply add them to a blog post (or series of posts). 

Example:

  • Alicia used MakeBelifsComix to share a message about the environment.
  • Jena made a word cloud.
  • Wesley shared an original photo he took for a photography class.
  • Sue Waters from Edublogs took this funny photo of something odd she spotted at the supermarket. What can you find in your surroundings that makes you feel surprised, happy, amused, frustrated etc?

Photo of watermelon with a label that says chicken

Task 3: Image Task Cards

This connects with task 4 and 5. 

In the blog post I wrote about images for teachers and students, I prepared two task cards.

Depending on your age, use one of these task cards to find an image or a series of images to add to your post.

You could add a slideshow with some of your favourite images you found and write about why you like them. Or, you could use your images to complete task 4 or 5 below.

Tip: If you’re using Edublogs Pro or CampusPress, you can use the slider feature in the Live Shortcodes plugin to quickly add a slideshow to a post, page, or sidebar. Instructions are here. (Another option is the Metaslider Plugin) Find the instructions here.

Examples:

  • My son's favourite animal is a tiger.

  • My daughter's favourite animal is a peacock.

  • We love going to the beach.
  • I'm currently teaching music to prep (kindergarten) students!
  • We enjoy going on bike rides.
  • Tomatoes are one of my favourite foods.

Task card for under 13s

Task card for over 13s

You’re welcome to print these task cards, or add them to your blog. To do this, you’ll need to click on the download button under the task card. Find out how to add a PDF file to your blog using Edublogs or CampusPress here.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, perhaps all students could use the task card to find an image. They could create a story, poem, or description for the image and these could be placed in a blog post (or series of blog posts). Or, the teacher could add some images to a post and ask the students to write an imaginative response in a comment. 

Task 4: Write A Poem

Find an image using one of the task cards above. Or you can try the Pixabay plugin if you’re an Edublogs/CampusPress user.

Now write a poem about your image.

Need some inspiration or advice? Check out Ken Nesbitt’s site which has lots of poetry resources.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could write a poem as a class, or have students write their own poetry and publish them as a series of posts. Alternatively, the teacher could publish a photo and have the students write a poem in a comment. 

Examples:

Task 5: Picture Prompts

First, find an image or series of images using one of the task cards above. Or you can try the Pixabay plugin if you’re an Edublogs/CampusPress user.

Next, you have two choices:

1) Add an image and write the start of a story. Ask your readers to complete the story.

Examples:

2) Or, make a sentence guessing game. Come up with a sentence and find a series of images to illustrate your sentence. Ask your readers to tell you what the sentence is in a comment.

Examples:

  • Emily asks you to guess her sentence.
  • Keylee asks you to guess her favourite food.
  • Lily included a great introduction for her post.

Tip: You might need to visit some other bloggers and invite them to look at your post and complete your story or guess your word. Remember to leave the URL of your post for them to click on.

If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could publish a series of posts with the students’ picture prompts. Perhaps students could work in small groups. Or the teacher could publish the picture prompts and invite the students to respond in a comment. 

Final Tips

Beware of advertisements

Remember, some of the free image sites have advertisements for paid image sites. We don’t want to click on those ads.

For example, on Pixabay, I typed ‘dolphin’ into the search box. The top row of results has a Shutterstock watermark on it. Clicking on this takes me to the Shutterstock website which is a site where you can pay for images.

Pixabay ad example

Note: You won’t see advertisements when using the Pixabay plugin.

Do you need to go back and fix images in old posts?

Have you been using images from Google on your blog so far? Whoops. You might want to go back and fix these up when you have time. Remove the image or replace with a Creative Commons image.

Have you tried using categories, tags, or labels yet?

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.

Submit Your Post URL ⬇

If you want a commenter and other participants to visit your blog, remember to fill in the form below for your week 3 post.

Do you have a post on your class blog and student blogs? Awesome! Feel free to submit the class blog post and student blog posts.

You need to submit the URL of your post. You can submit the URL of a page if this is what you’re working on but make sure comments are enabled. 

This video shows you how to find your URL…

Note, this isn’t a real class blog. Just one I used for testing 😉

Remember:

  • Click on the title of your post/page and then copy the URL from your address bar.
  • 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

Edit: Enter your details in the form below or click here to open it in a new tab.

Teachers, feel free to put the form URL on your class blog if it’s easier for your students to access.

https://goo.gl/forms/XJqLKRv5ZV7ISfOW2


Next week’s topic: Free choice/catch up!

Have you had visitors come to your blog?

Now that commenting has started in the challenge, you might be receiving lots of visitors. Do you know where they are coming from? Are they only your classmates and teacher or are they from another country?

There are some interesting widgets you can add to the sidebar of your blog to keep a record of where your visitors are coming from.

  • Clustrmap
  • Revolver map
  • Flag counter

The team at Edublogs has put together this post giving links to get the widget and also instructions to follow to add the widget to your sidebar.

  • If you’re using Blogger, then you add a gadget to your sidebar using a similar method. It will be the HTML gadget.
  • In Kidblog, I think themes and sidebars are connected, I have seen visitor widgets on at least the class blog.
  • If using the free Edublog account, you might not be able to embed widgets on your sidebar.

I wonder how many of our commenters will visit your blog and leave a quality comment?

They come from the following countries:

Australia, Canada, England, USA, India, Portugal, Turkey, Egypt, Romania, Bahrain, Ghana, Kenya, Scotland and China.