Welcome to the new set of challenges for March 2011!
Here are a few tips about navigating the blog and getting the most out of the challenges.
- Every weekend, here in Australia, I will be posting a new set of activities for the week. Complete as many of the activities as you want.
- To find the post with the activities, look on the right sidebar under ‘Latest challenge posts’.
- If you want to be emailed as soon as I post a challenge, then fill in your email address in the right sidebar above the clustrmap then hit the subscribe button.
- If you have a Google Reader or Netvibes etc, then subscribe by RSS – top of right sidebar.
- If your teacher wants to join our mailing list to receive a newsletter every month or so, then have your teacher fill in the mailing list on the left sidebar.
- To find the students taking part in the challenge, look in the header and click on ‘Students – March 2011’
- If you are participating as a class and want to find other classes to link up with, check in the header for ‘Classes – March 2011’
- If you are a teacher/educator commenter and want to link your class with some classes of the students you are commenting with, please contact me and I will give you their teacher names to allow skype etc. Often though, students will have their class blog listed in their blogroll on their sidebar.
- If you want me to visit your blog post, you need to leave me a comment on my post or include a link from my post on your post. Here is a page to show you how to create a link in your post .
- Most of the instructions in the challenge are given for Edublog users, but there is a link for Blogspot users in the ‘Get Help’ section on the right sidebar.
OK, time for the activities now.
The first week of activities involves lots of things which I hope you have already done to your blog. Just go down the page like a checklist and tick off as you get the activities completed.
Activities in purple are for beginner bloggers, those in green, suggestions for more advanced bloggers. Anything in blue and underlined is a link to another blog or post. Remember to right mouse click, open in a new tab when clicking on a link.
1. Are you on the list?
Some students filled out the wrong registration form and joined as a class. Please check the page in the header labelled ‘Students – March 2011’. Find your age group – check very carefully if your name is on there. If it isn’t then click on this link to fill in the correct registration form.
If you find your name on the list, you will probably find the name of a teacher in the same colour as you. This teacher or educator is going to visit your blog over the next ten weeks and leave some comments on your posts. Try to create conversations with these people – most of them have their own blog as well. Find out about them by visiting the post linked here and check out the comment they left.
Some students don’t yet have a commenter allocated. This will happen in the next few weeks.
If you are on the list, you will probably have received a ‘Welcome to the challenge’ comment from Miss W or tasteach. I usually leave these comments on ‘About’ pages or a post you have written about yourself. If you have not received a comment from me yet, please leave a comment below on this post and include the URL of your blog so I can come and visit you.
2. Changed your theme.
All Edublogs blogs begin with the same theme. There are over 100 different themes to choose from. Some have one sidebar, some have two sidebars, some allow you to change the headers. But you need to decide which theme suits you best. Check out this post about themes To change your theme, go to your dashboard > appearance > themes.
You might like to write a post about why you chose that particular theme. How difficult was it to choose? What were you looking for in a theme?
If you have been blogging for a while, is it time for a blog makeover? Have a look at some of the newer themes that are now available and update the look of your blog. Write a post explaining the changes. Perhaps a ‘before’ and ‘after’ shot of your blog.
If you use Kidblogs you don’t have a choice of themes, but you could write a post about what you would like to have in a theme.
3. Written your ‘about’ page.
Remember pages stay in the one place and are located in your header or in the ‘Pages’ widget. What you will be writing normally are posts and they will gradually disappear off the bottom of the major column on your blog. If using blogspot, you have an ‘About’ area in your profile, those using Kidblogs will need to write a post about themselves instead. Check out the example ‘About’ pages below:
About pages – students I have found when leaving welcome comments
Be creative but internet savvy when writing your about page. Those students from Mr Puchinsky’s music class might like to re-write the lyrics of a song or nursery rhyme and tell about yourself in the new lyrics. If you are a singer, why not use Audacity or Vocaroo to record your song about yourself and embed it in your about page in your blog.
If you have already written an about page last year, you might need to update it for this year. Things will have changed. If you know of a great example of an ‘About’ page, please leave a comment on this post.
Make sure you have added the ‘Pages’ widget to your sidebar. Dashboard> appearance> widgets> drag ‘pages’ across.
4. 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 2011 challenge. Highlight ‘Challenge 1′ then use the Link icon – chains joined – and copy and paste in the URL below
If you have been blogging for a while, write a post highlighting some posts you have written that you would recommend new bloggers read. Remember to give an explanation why – what will they learn from reading that post? Make sure you link to the posts you are recommending so your readers can actually visit them.
5. Visit the student list then leave a comment here …
Check out the page called ‘Students – March 2011’ and visit ten blogs where students have similar interests to you and leave a comment on their blog. Then come back here and leave a comment mentioning a blog you found really interesting – remember to tell me the student’s first name, country and blog URL so I can then go and visit them as well.
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Each week you will need to have visited the blog of the class on either side of your name on the ‘Classes – March 2011’ page. This will make sure each class gets visited by at least two other classes. Remember to check out any student blogs that are on the class sidebars.
Then choose some other classes from the list that you would like to visit – students of similar age perhaps. Add links to these classes on your blogroll to make it easier for your students to visit them.
If you are a teacher commenter you might also like to add the classes or student blogs you are visiting to your blogroll.
1. 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? Perhaps highlight and link to some great posts your class has already written that newer blogging classes would find useful or interesting.
2. Make sure your class about page is updated.
Check out these below. Each page is so different. What do you and your students think should be included in a class ‘About’ page?
- Mrs Partlow in Washington State, USA – notice they have updated as their avatars are no longer on that page
- Mr Mac in South Australia
- Mr Toft in Ontario, Canada
- C-O Connections in Texas, USA
Check out at least ten other class blogs from the list. Write a post in your blog about the similarities and differences you found while reading their ‘About’ pages. Remember to include links back to those class blogs.
3. Introduce the world to your classroom or school.
Create an animoto with images of your classroom or school taken by your students. This might be included as a post or on your about page. Make sure you join the free education version where both you and your students can create longer length animotos.
4. Visit your buddy classes (those on the side of your class on the ‘Classes – March 2011’ page.) Introduce yourself and get a conversation started.
Have pairs of students in your class visit a different class blog and check it out. What did they like about it? What caught their eye? Did they find an interesting post?
Now on your class blog, write a post about visiting other class blogs. Highlight those things your students found interesting and add links back to the blogs they visited.
Next week we look at avatars – fun, fun, fun