I’m Kathleen Morris and I’ll be guiding you through the next Student Blogging Challenge with support from challenge founder, Sue Wyatt, and the Edublogs team.
The ten week challenge runs twice a year beginning in March and October. The next challenge runs from October 7 to mid-December.
The Student Blogging Challenge is totally free and a fun way for students worldwide to learn and connect. The challenge is most suitable for students aged around 8 to 16.
Registrations open in early September and you can join our mailing list to stay up to date with all the challenge news. Simply fill out the form below or click here to open the sign up form in a new tab.
While You Wait … Get Ready!
You don’t need to have any blogging experience to participate in the challenge; however, we do recommend getting a head start with setting up your blog earlier. By doing this, you may find that you’ll get more out of the challenge.
The two best ways to get your blog set up are via our free self-paced courses:
- Student Blogging Bootcamp (for students) — This course guides students through the process of setting up and using their own blog. You might like to assign all/parts of the bootcamp to your students before the challenge begins.
- Blogging With Students Teacher Challenge (for teachers) — We walk you step-by-step through the process of setting up a class blog and blogging with students.
Head over to our About Page to learn more about the challenge and check out our FAQs. If you like, you can even download a copy of the challenge FAQs and forward it on to colleagues or your PLN. The more the merrier!
Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any additional questions and we’ll get back to you.
Hope to have you and your students involved in the next Student Blogging Challenge!
After 10 years running the student blogging challenge, I have decided to pass the baton to someone else. I have thoroughly enjoyed the conversations, writing posts and meeting thousands of students and teachers from around the world through the comments, and in some cases, face to face during my travels.
I started noticing the challenges were very much the same from year to year and those students participating in more than two sets of challenges must be getting bored or frustrated.
Over the last few years, many people have helped in the running of the challenge:
- the students and their teachers
- the mentors and/or commentors
- but especially staff at Edublogs
Sue Waters (the other Miss W or Mrs W as we are often mixed up by both teachers and students), one of the managers from Edublogs, encouraged me to begin the challenge by sending out a tweet back in 2008. She has always been there in case I needed ideas or someone to write a special post. Her team at Edublogs would design the theme each year as well as the student badge to use on blogs.
Kathleen Morris, who I met through blogging with Mrs Yollis, has over the last year started writing many interesting posts for TheEdublogger relating to blogging with students.
So it is with pleasure, I now hand on the baton for the challenge to Kathleen. I am sure there will be lots of fascinating posts with different challenges as she is still a practicing teacher with a large professional learning network around the world. Find out about her on this post.
Words from flickr
Created by kastner
Thank you all very much for taking part in this ten week blogging journey with me. As something comes to an end, we usually reflect back on what we have learnt, what we will change next time and so on. So this is what the activities will be about this week.
I would like to thank the commenters for taking time to visit and comment on student blogs. I would also like to thank those bloggers who allowed me to use their blog posts as examples in the challenge.
Over the past ten weeks, you have learnt so many skills to help you improve your blogs. Many of you have improved those writing skills or maybe digital skills with using a variety of tools to embed on your blog. But it is now time to evaluate your progress as well as the progress of the blogging challenge itself.
This week there are two things to do:
- Evaluate your own blog
- Evaluate the actual blogging challenge
1. This is an audit of your blog since the beginning of March 2018.
- How many posts did you write? How many were school based, your own interests or set by the challenge? How could you improve your posts in future?
- How many comments did you receive from classmates, teachers, commenters from #stubc or overseas students? Which post received the most comments? Why do you think that happened?
- How many other blogs (roughly) did you visit and comment on a post? Why choose that post?
- Which post did you enjoy writing the most and why?
- Did you change blog themes at all and why?
- How many widgets do you have? Do you think this is too many or not enough?
- How many overseas students do you have on your blogroll?
- Which web tools did you use to show creativity on your blog?
Now ask another student and teacher/parent from your school who might not have read your blog to do an audit.
Sit beside them while they navigate around your blog, record what you observe as they interact with your blog. When finished, ask them the following questions:
- What were your first impressions of this blog?
- What captured your attention?
- What distracted you on the blog?
- What suggestions can you give me to improve my blog?
Write a post about your blog audit.
2. Evaluating the challenge.
I would like you to leave a quality comment giving your opinion of the challenge. You might want to mention some of the following things:
- the most interesting challenge for you
- how often you visited other blogs and left comments
- whether you read the challenge flipboard magazine (97 stories so far)
- whether you left your post URL weekly on the google form
- a PMI or plus/minus/interesting point about the challenge
- the most important thing you learnt while doing the challenge
- did you use the challenge sidebar to find posts by other students
- something about the statistics below
Some statistics from this challenge:
- 964 students aged 8-56 registered for this challenge under 54 different teacher names
- 78 class blogs were registered with 54 of them having student blogs attached to their sidebar
- 22 countries represented by students who registered
- 12 countries represented by class blogs of which 6 were not mentioned on student list
Number of post URLs left each week via the Google form for commenters to visit:
- Avatars: 366
- Commenting: 181
- Images: 120
- Global issues: 92
- Free choice: 23 left on blog
- Quotes: 171
- Visiting: 31
- Games: 36
- My Best: 70
Thanks again for taking part in this challenge. Hopefully you will join me again in October this year. If you have taken part in at least two sets of challenges, you can also become a commentor, so watch out for the commentor post in late September.
Keep writing, keep reading the magazine, and if you have a great post you would like me to add to the magazine over the summer/winter break, feel free to leave a comment here. No Google form to fill in this week. Leave comment here on the post instead.
Well, this is our second last week in the March challenge for 2018. Over the last 8 weeks, you have learnt a lot about blogging if you have done most of the activities and checked out the links included in my posts.
It is now your time to do your best and show your teachers, the special commenters and myself what a great blog post looks like.
The one and only activity for this week:
Write a post on one of the following topics
- Bucket list
Having read many of your posts, I came up with the following essentials in a great post.
- catchy title
- includes at least one visual whether photo, cartoon, video or another web 2.0 tool like padlet or glogster
- interesting topic with the passion of the author coming through
- well written and not copy/pasted from somewhere else
- shows it has been proofread and spellchecked
- written in paragraphs – at least three of them
- includes links to other websites on similar topics – at least two of these
When you have finished your post, please come back here to the blogging challenge and fill in the form below so our commenters can visit. Those posts covering the seven things mentioned above will be added to the flipboard magazine.
Still more time left this week:
Visit other student and class blogs.
Read posts and leave comments.
Before playing the games, make sure your blog is ready for visitors.
- You have lots of interesting posts for visitors to read and comment on.
- Visitors can find posts by using tags or categories on your sidebar.
- You have a visitor widget to see where your visitors are coming from.
- You have at least five student and or class blogs from other places around the world on your sidebar.
Game week is all about visiting other blogs.
Remember one of the main aims of blogging includes commenting and carrying on conversations with the author of posts and their other readers.
A good commenter will have:
- read the post carefully,
- checked out the links in the post
- read the previous comments before they leave one of their own
- added to the conversation with a quality comment – remember that video from Mrs Yollis’ class.
- included a link to their own blog or a similar post on their own blog
This is a game we have run for many challenges and allows you to connect globally. Those who have taken part in a challenge before know the game of ‘Count Out Three’. Here are the instructions:
- click on a blog on the student list or class list– count one
- now click on a blog from the new student’s blogroll – count two
- finally click on a blog from that new blogroll – count three
- leave a comment on an interesting post at this third blog.
Teachers: If you are moderating student comments, please make sure you are up-to-date with that this week as students can be very disappointed when they think they have no comments, yet many are in the moderation queue ready to be published. Remember to check the spam section in student blogs as comments with links in them often get put in spam.
Students: Make sure you are also replying to any comments that have been left for you.
Do this activity at least three times and finally, write your own post saying which blogs you visited and which 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.
Yacob looked at the blog overall, not just the posts.
Thanumi created a video about this week’s challenge.
Many great student posts are being flipped to the 2018 #stubc Flipboard magazine, but I am not sure how many of you have actually checked them out. So here are the instructions for this game.
- Click on the flipboard magazine link here
- Click on the post title of what looks like an interesting image or a catchy title
- You should now be taken to the actual blog post, read it and leave a comment
- Come back to the magazine again and repeat two more times
Write a blog post mentioning the blog posts you read and the comment you left.
Get to it – start visiting and leaving quality comments that show you have read the post.
How many quality comments could you leave this week? Can you leave 10, 20 or maybe 50?
Write a post about the commenting you have done this week or throughout the challenge so far.
- What have you enjoyed about commenting?
- What is annoying about commenting?
- How have you found interesting posts to comment on?
- Are your posts getting lots of quality comments? Why or why not?
Create a list of great comment starters to help new students to blogging. There are some lists on the web but try to create your own. Here are a couple of examples from Anne Davis:
- Another thing to consider is…….
- I can relate to this…….
- This makes me think of…….
Write a quick post then include 5 great examples of comments as part of the post – use some interesting comment starters for each comment.
Leave a link to the URL of a post you wrote this week about the games.