Miss W or tasteach
Whenever you see either of these avatars or images on the world wide web, you will know it is me. I am a retired teacher who began blogging with students in 2008. I still blog with teachers and students in Tasmania, Australia. I also blog about my family history and whenever I travel overseas, Davo the Tasmanian devil keeps a blog about his adventures with me. I also blog about my travels around Australia.
But the event I enjoy most is running the Student Blogging Challenge twice a year, with the help of the staff at Edublogs.
When you meet a new person or join a group, there are three things you will most likely do.
- Look at the outside view of the person – do they look like the type of person you would enjoy being with?
- Then you would go deeper by asking some basic questions about the person and their interests.
- Finally, you would connect through shared interests.
We are going to cover those three things this week by creating an avatar to represent our outside view, create our about me page to show your visitors the type of person you are and your interests then you are going searching for other students your age who also have similar interests.
Teachers – Remember you can adapt the activities to suit what is happening in your class at that time or you can cut and paste parts of it on to your class blog. Just remember to give credit where you found the ideas by linking back to the challenge post somewhere on your post.
Students – Most weeks there will be lots of activities to choose from. You don’t have to complete them all. But by early November, your mentor or I must see your ‘About Me’ page or post as well as two other posts relating to the challenge. If they can not be found, your name will be taken off the list of students participating, especially if you have been given a mentor. Mentors are there to give you some clues about blogging, reminding you of the challenge as well as carrying on conversations in your posts. Remember to read and reply to their comments politely and in a timely fashion.
This challenge we have many new students and classes taking part so let’s get some admin out of the way before we start our activities for this week. Anything written in bold and blue is a link you can click on to take you to another blog or website.
Admin for week 1
- Check that your name appears only once on the list of participating students. Leave a comment on that page if I need to remove your name from the list – give me your name, URL and age so I can find you easily.
- If all the students in your class have blogs and your teacher has a section called ‘My class’, you should have a widget called ‘Class blogs’. Make sure this is on your sidebar.
- Add the challenge badge to your sidebar.
- Can visitors leave comments on your blog posts? If your country is in bright pink, then you might need to change your privacy settings. Check this post for how to do this using Edublogs, Blogger and Kidblog.
- Once you have done your activity for this week, remember to come back here and leave a comment on this post. Include a link to your blog post so I can try and visit in the next week. Great posts will be added to our Flipboard magazine on the sidebar.
- Teachers: if you are moderating comments, please do this regularly (at least once a week if not once a day) as it is in the comments where the best connections happen between students and classes. I have just visited some blogs where comments I left two years ago are still awaiting moderation.
With so many new students and teachers taking part, you might like to start with this video created by the team at Edublogs. Here is a PDF activity about blogging terms that you might want to use after watching the video.
Time now for the two topics for this week
Looking at avatars
Activity 1: Create an avatar to use on your blog. There are many different avatar creation sites on the web. I have been to many of them and created lots of different avatars. Some you just save and download to your computer to then upload into your blog. Others you need to use the snipping tool to save a square image of your avatar. It is always best to save as a jpg format.
Here is a symbaloo of websites to use for avatar making. Feel free to add this to your blog. Along the bottom are pages where teachers have listed lots of sites as well as shown examples. The easiest to do are on the right hand side and look like my avatar.
- Like Lego figures – click here and here is a post from Brianna about her avatar
- Like comics – bitstrip avatars from Birney Bulldogs
- Will used toondoo to create a family avatar
- Mrs Vazquez’s class used google slides to show off their avatars
This was my very first Animoto created back in 2009. Look at the tools page above the header for other slideshow creators.
Did you find a great avatar site not mentioned here? Leave me a comment mentioning the site so I can add it to the Symbaloo.
Activity 2: Write a post about your avatar and how it represents you. Include a link to the website where you created the avatar. Remember to include your avatar as an image in your post. If writing a post about your avatar, choose an interesting title not just avatar as this will cause an error on your blog.
Activity 3: Create a series of avatars to represent your family members. Use different avatar websites depending upon the person’s interests. Write a post about your family and include the avatar for each person.
Remember – be internet safe, no personal information.
Activity 4: For classes – As a class create a slideshow of your user avatars or add them to your header area. Above is an old example using animoto. Or check out how to customize your header – here is a post by Mrs Smith about creating avatars – using shapes,
About me page
Activity 5: Write or update your About Me page.
Whenever I visit a blog for the first time, I always check to see who the person is that is writing the blog posts. Do they have similar interests to me?
If you already have an About Me page, you might want to create an About my State or Province page as well. Be creative:
- Write a poem
- Write an A-Z paragraph eg I am an athletic, yet brainy child who decided that saving the environment is one of my future goals. Check out how one of the mentors created her about me page especially for the student blogging challenge
- Create a tellegami like our mentor Dinah has done
- Create a list of things people might not know about you like Ms Herring or write a Who am I like Mrs Keane or Mrs Lyttle
- Students in Ireland paired up to create their about us page, Ms Seitz’ class did the same, Mrs Moore’s class wrote about their school, from Mrs Essen’s class and Mrs McKelvey’s Blogging Frogs
- Warrior Kat, Harry, Daniela,
- Brianna (ex student mentor) has a great favourites about me page, as well as an A-Z post
What is the difference between a page and a post? Check out the information here.
- Login to your blog, go to Settings> Discussion and make sure the default setting is ticked for allow people to leave comments> save the changes at the bottom
- Now go to the dashboard>pages>add new
- Change the title to About Me or something similar.
- If you only have one row of icons above the box, click on the last icon called the kitchen sink or toggle. This opens a second row which allows you to change font colours.
- In the box, write a bit about yourself remembering to be internet safe. Make sure you have checked out the pages from other students mentioned – many of them have been blogging for a while.
- In the top navigation area is Screen options – open the drop down arrow and make sure comments is ticked.
- In the area under the page writing box, you should see a Discussion box – open this and make sure you have ticked Allow comments.
- When you have finished click the big button on the right side of your screen – probably says update or send for review.
- Once you have saved your about me page, go back and delete the sample page.
- If your theme doesn’t show pages in the header area, then you will need to go to dashboard> appearance> widgets and drag across the Pages one to your sidebar.
Activity 6: What are some apps or websites you could use to create something interesting to add to your About me page? Tell me about them, costs, age to use etc Perhaps a word cloud or glogster – brainstorm as a class.
Finished the work for week 1?
Visiting other blogs
One important aspect of blogging is commenting on other blogs. Classes and student participants are grouped according to similar ages. Visit some other blogs, read posts, get ideas from them, leave a comment. Make sure you include your blog URL so they can come to visit your blog. Are there any students with interests the same as you? Do you have a mentor yet? Have they left you any comments?