Great work on your first week of the challenge!
We now have 1480+ students and 136 classes taking part in the challenge. Know anyone who wants to register? We’ll close the registration forms next Sunday 20th October.
There have been so many blog posts submitted that we need some more adults to join our team of 40 commenters. If you know someone who could volunteer, please share this information and registration form with them!
This week we are talking about commenting. And not just any old commenting, quality commenting.
Remember, if you’re on a computer, the menu on the right sidebar will help you navigate this post. The first few weeks of the challenge have the most information to go through so hang in there!
Week One: Important Information
Our commenting team is starting to visit all the student and class blogs to leave comments but there have been some difficulties. In short:
- Make sure you enter your URL correctly on the Google Form
- Make sure your blog is public and anyone can comment without logging in
When you submit the URL of your post into the weekly Google Form, Miss W checks it before assigning it to a commenter. If the URL is incorrect it has to be deleted (we can’t always fix mistakes).
If you can’t see the URL you submitted on the spreadsheet here, it may have been deleted as it was inaccurate. Please enter it again in the Google Form.
Please note, you don’t have to “request to view” the Week One spreadsheet. Anyone can access it without signing in. If you’re having trouble accessing, it could be because of your school Google account settings?
If you’re ever confused or need help, just leave a comment on one of the posts or email the team.
A big thanks goes to Miss W and her team of 40 commenters!
A huge thanks again also goes to Marg Grosfield whose help with our spreadsheets has been invaluable!
Remember to approve any comments you receive in a timely manner and write a polite reply.
Some notable posts and comments
With 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:
- Mrs. Yollis is a role model blogger from California, USA. Her class told us about their continent, country, state, and suburb.
- Beelia students made some fabulous avatars that were compiled into a Google Slides presentation to introduce the class. Take a look.
- Mrs. Caudill in Ohio has been taking part in the Student Blogging Challenge for 10 years! She used a Padlet to share her student blogs in this post.
- Miss Blessings is also a long time blogger. Her students created Vokis to introduce themselves. You can see the links to the student blogs on the sidebar of the class blog.
- Student Izzy from Australia made a great avatar and told us about herself in a post.
- Student Ella from Ireland shared some interesting information about her home and school life on her About page.
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.
Click here to view the 2019 Student Blogging Challenge Flipboard. Our commenters will be adding some notable posts and pages to the magazine over the coming weeks.
If you didn’t read the reminder post published a few weeks ago, 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”
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 the 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.
- 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.
- If you’re using Google Sites, make sure it’s easy for people to leave a written comment. Some Sites only allow the option to leave a voice comment.
Reminders over, let’s get on with our topic… 😀
How To Comment
Before we look at quality commenting, let’s revise the basics of how to comment.
This Google Slides presentation might be useful to use in the classroom with beginner bloggers. It explains how to comment on Edublogs or CampusPress blogs.
Using a different blogging platform? Maybe you could make your own slideshow and share it with us for this week’s second task option!
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:
- Comments turn your blog from a static space to an interactive space. This means it’s not just you talking. There is interaction.
- Back and forth conversations are fun and you can learn a lot.
- Because comments are not instantaneous (like online chat or text messaging), you can have more time to reflect, research, or think about your response.
- When someone leaves a comment, they can leave feedback, constructive criticism, or give you new ideas. This can help you grow and learn.
- A commenter might suggest something that you didn’t include in your post. You can learn new perspectives.
- 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 on paper.
- Commenting can be an ideal way for busy parents to get involved in the classroom.
- You can learn how to interact politely and how to have conversations.
- You can meet new people and form friendships.
- 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?
Some students are young, learning a language, or just starting out and no one expects students (or teachers!) 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 way back in 2010! Many classes still enjoying viewing it.
For older students, this video by Nicolas Weiss is popular.
Sling’s 7/8 class in Canada created this must-watch video on commenting during last year’s Student Blogging Challenge.
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:
- If you’re using Edublogs or CampusPress, check out Comments Overview and Managing Comments.
- If you’re using Blogger, check out Manage Your Blog Comments.
- If you’re using Kidblog, check out Approving Comments.
Week Two Tasks
This week there are four tasks to choose from to help you learn more about commenting.
Choose to do one or more!
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.
Task 1: Commenting Guidelines
How would you like people to write their comment on your blog? This task involves coming up with your own commenting guidelines.
You can put your commenting guidelines in a post, but they might be better suited to a page (find out how to allow comments on pages using Edublogs).
You can just write your guidelines 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.
You might make a How To Write A Quality Comment poster like I did below. Teachers, if you want to use this poster for your own class blog, feel free. You can grab a PDF copy here.
Of course, if you make your own poster, please personalise it and don’t copy my exact wording.
- Miaomiao included a cute comic where a dolphin and turtle learn about quality commenting.
- Mrs. Yollis made a wonderful infographic using Canva and Bitmoji to share her expectations for quality comments.
- “Dr. Hagle” and “Sarah Gold” used Puppet Pals to explain quality commenting using a Fairy BLOGmother!
- Rajyashori used emojis to explain her commenting guidelines.
- Mrs. D had her 6th graders vote on their commenting guidelines which they then put into a fabulous poster. Check it out here.
- Janae turned her commenting guidelines into a poster which she added as an image to a page.
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’.
This task involves writing a page (or post) 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. Alternatively, make a slideshow like the one I shared in this post.
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.
Here’s a quick video I once made 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…
Tip: Find out how to add a video to an Edublogs or CampusPress blog here.
Need Pro? 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. Contact us to get a free upgrade to Pro for the duration of the challenge.
- Jena made a commenting information page that includes how to comment instructions and guidelines.
- The McDowell Media students made some great how-to videos to let everyone know how to comment on their blog.
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.
You can use some code in your comments to make your words bold, italic, or to add a link or symbol. ♥
HTML code tutorials
Check out these tutorials to add HTML code to a comment:
- Mrs. Yollis includes a page on her blog with some HTML code you can use when commenting.
- Here is another post explaining how to use HTML by Tech Superpowers.
- If you want to leave a link to your blog that looks neat and tidy, check out this post.
The instructions below show you how to use bold, italics, and add a link.
Remember, coding is about troubleshooting. So if something doesn’t work, take a closer look at your code. Maybe you’ve added a space or missed a symbol.
Now try commenting using HTML
Visit one of the participants’ blog posts 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 the code straight in the post. She made it into an image…
If 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!
- Find three or four blogs you’d like to leave a comment on. Check out the green 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.
- Leave a quality comment on one post on each blog.
- 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 or take a screenshot before you hit the submit button.
- Figgy wrote a post telling us about the comments she left on other blogs and included the links.
- 12th grader Rheinhard reflected on commenting in this well-written post.
- Rajyashori from India shared some of the great comments she left on various blogs in this reflective post.
- Ms. Blessings’ grade two/three students shared some examples of the comments they left during the last challenge.
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 could 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.
Encourage comments: end with questions
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”.
Examples: Here is an example from Sarah who was in Mrs. Yollis’ class last year.
Tip for more advanced bloggers: organise your posts
If you’re new to blogging, try this later on!
Will visitors to your blog find it easy to search for a post they might be interested in commenting on?
- If you use Edublogs or CampusPress, maybe you need to start using categories? You can also use tags once you get the hang of it. Start with categories.
- If you use Blogger, try using labels.
- Weebly blogs use categories.
- Kidblog blogs also use categories and tags.
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.
Remember when you’re commenting or writing posts, don’t yap about your YAPPY!
Submit Your Post URL ⬇
If you want a commenter and other participants to visit your blog, remember to fill in the Google Form below for the post you publish about your week two task.
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 😉
- 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.
- This graphic below should help you understand what a post URL looks like if you’re using Edublogs/CampusPress/WordPress
The Google Form
Edit: The week two Form is now closed as the commenters are busy working on the later posts.
If you’re catching up, you’re welcome to put your week one tasks in the week three Google Form.
Next week’s topic: Fun with Photos! 📸