With the Student Blogging Challenge beginning next week, let’s take a look at some tips for getting ready and getting the most out of the challenge.
If you’re planning on taking part in the challenge, make sure you have registered either as a class or student.
Don’t Have A Blog Yet? Check Out These Videos
General video for getting set up
If you’re brand new to blogging and haven’t set up a blog yet, check out this quick start video. You’ll be up and running in 15 minutes!
Setting up My Class
My Class is a tool from Edublogs that makes setting up and managing student blogs easy. In this video, teachers can find out how to get started with My Class in 3 steps.
Find out more about using My Class in this post.
Your Blog Settings
Please take a few moments to go through this checklist to make sure your settings are in order before the challenge.
1) Is your blog public on the web?
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 set up using My Class, 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?
- If you’re using Blogger, find out how to change privacy settings here.
- If you’re using Kidblog, learn how to change your privacy settings here.
2) Can visitors comment on your blog posts?
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 if you want people to comment on your pages, you can 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.
3) Are there links to your pages on your blog home page?
Can people see your pages from your blog homepage?
Some Edublogs/CampusPress themes don’t have pages automatically showing up at the top of your blog.
If not, click here for instructions on how to add the Pages widget or Custom Menu widget.
4) Are you a teacher using My Class on a class blog?
If you’re using the My Class Feature with Edublogs or CampusPress, the default number of student blogs shown on the sidebar widget is 10. Increase this number (e.g. to 30) to see all names listed.
This video shows you how to add the Class Blog widget.
Find out how to customize your Class Blog widget here.
5) Have you added the challenge badge to your sidebar?
There is a post showing you exactly how to do this. Click here to go to the badge post.
If you don’t have a sidebar or don’t want the badge there, you might like to include the badge on your About page. Don’t have an About page yet? Don’t worry, we’ll be creating one in the first week of the challenge.
6) Do you have at least one post on your blog?
If not, we recommend writing even a short post perhaps explaining a bit about who you are. That way, when you start getting visitors, people will have a post to read and comment on.
Not sure how to publish a post? This guide will help.
Don’t have time? Don’t worry. It can wait until next week.
Tips For Participating
Here are a few tips we’ve gathered from past participants. We’d love you to leave your own advice in a comment.
- Schedule class time each week for the Student Blogging Challenge. Many teachers find they need an hour as a minimum. Some teachers prefer to set the Student Blogging Challenge tasks as homework, or run a lunchtime/after school club for enthusiastic students.
- Don’t make it optional. Teachers often remark that when they tried making the challenge optional, they found the participation was minimal. When they made it part of the classroom program, they got a LOT more out of it.
- Adapt the activities as needed. Each week there is a range of tasks to choose from but you are more than welcome to adapt these to meet the needs and interests of your students or your curriculum goals. You can still submit tasks in our weekly Google Form even if it doesn’t meet the task description 100%.
- Moderate comments regularly — at least once a week if not once a day. It’s in the comment section where the most powerful learning and connections can take place!
- Subscribe to our email newsletter to get weekly updates throughout the challenge. Click here to subscribe if you haven’t already.
- Give to receive. If you want to receive comments throughout the challenge and get to know others from around the world, you need to be proactive. Make sure you’re commenting on other student/class blogs, ask questions, and check back to see if the blogger replied to you.
- Involve parents and the community. Parents and other communities members can be great supporters of student bloggers. Tell them about the challenge and invite them to comment on your classroom blogs or any other participant’s blog! We have a printable handout here that you might like to send home to families.
Any questions about the Student Blogging Challenge? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you or use this form to contact me via email.
Have you registered to take part in the Student Blogging Challenge?
You might be wondering exactly how the challenge works? Read on!
Each week, we’ll follow the same process. There will be some information on a blog post to read through so you can learn more about our topic and then some tasks to choose from. Once you’ve completed your activity, there’s a final step which is very important: connecting with others!
New video explanation
I’ve created a new video to explain the weekly process.
Feel free to embed this on your blog or share it with students to help them understand how the challenge works.
Four step weekly process
Don’t want to watch the video? Here’s a summary…
1) Read the weekly post
- This will be published every Sunday (Australian time).
- If you’ve signed up to our mailing list, you’ll get an email telling you about the weekly post.
- Some teachers ask students to read the post, some teachers read the post together with their class, other teachers summarise the post on their class blog.
- Teachers are welcome to copy and paste the weekly posts onto your own class blog and adapt the activities as needed (change them/add/omit). Just remember to link back to the challenge post somewhere on your post. Here is an example from Ms. Mack and one from Room 5.
- The weekly post shares highlights from the previous week, information about the weekly topic, an explanation of the activity choices, and the Google Form to submit your published work.
2) Tasks and Activities
- After you’ve read through the post, choose one or more tasks you’d like to work on.
- For students with their own blog, you’ll publish your task response as a post on your blog.
- If you have a class blog, student work might be published as a post (or series of posts) on the class blog. Or sometimes the teacher posts and the students comment.
- Once your post is published, head back to the weekly post on the Student Blogging Challenge site.
- At the bottom of the post, you’ll see a Google Form.
- Enter your blog post URL and your details into the form so a commenter and others to visit you.
- Teachers are welcome to put the link to the Google Form on their class blog if it’s easier to navigate.
4) Connect and Comment
- Making connections is a big part of the challenge and the more you put in, the more you’ll get out!
- Take the time to visit other participants’ blogs and leave comments.
- You’ll find the links to everyone’s weekly posts on the sidebar of the blog. The new link will appear a few days after the weekly post is published (so usually around Tuesday). This is so participants have a chance to start completing and submitting their tasks.
- When someone comments on your own blog, remember to approve the comment and reply in a timely manner.
Summary of the weekly process
Feel free to copy this graphic and display it on your blog.
This A4 poster version might be handy to print out for students or for a classroom display.
Any questions about this process? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you or use this form to contact me via email.
Want to tell the families in your school community about the Student Blogging Challenge? This information sheet might help.
Print it off and send it home, or display it on your blog as a PDF or image. Feel free to add an additional note to this one if you want to explain more about your individual approach to the challenge.
Click here to find out how to add an image to a blog post or page.
Click here to find out how to add a PDF to a blog post or page.
Feel free to leave a comment on this post and I’ll get back to you or contact the Edublogs support team via this form.
Our commenting team is a very important part of the Student Blogging Challenge. They provide an authentic audience for our participants and offer the students support and encouragement.
We know how much students love getting comments on their blog posts!
We are currently building a strong team of commenters to visit the hundreds of students who will be taking part in the next challenge.
Are you interested in volunteering as a commenter? Check out this post.
Who Are The Commenters?
Before we begin the challenge, we thought it would be nice to introduce our commenters who will be working behind the scenes for the 10 weeks.
Commenters are involved in education either as teacher (active, preservice, or retired), student (past challenge participant), or administrator, coach, leader, writer etc.
Commenters, Please Introduce Yourself
We’re now inviting our commenters to leave a comment on this post and introduce themselves.
Commenters, please scroll down to find the comment box.
You might like to tell us:
- Your name: Choose the name you’d like students to address you with — either your first name or Mr/Mrs/Ms etc.
- Your location: You might like to be specific about where you live or just tell us the country you’re from.
- Your role this year: Are you a teacher? Student? Administrator? Please share your role in education.
- Why you’re volunteering as a commenter: Or perhaps your interest in blogging or global collaboration.
- Anything else interesting about yourself: Perhaps tell us something about your hobbies, family, pets, or background etc.
- You URL: Do you have an educational blog? Feel free to leave the URL.
Feel free to end your comment with a question for our readers.
We’d love to see any readers (commenters or participants) go ahead and reply to any of the comments!
Here is an example of a comment on this post from Sue Wyatt. As you can see, she has used a greeting and paragraphs which is a sign of a quality comment!
If you’re wishing to reply to Sue (or any other comments) look underneath the comment for a respond button.
Replying is just a matter of entering your comment in the box, entering the anti-spam word, and writing your name (students should not write their surname).
Entering your email address is optional but it can be a good idea to enter your email address if you have one and then tick the box to get a notification of follow-up comments.
Our Commenter Twitter List
Many of our commenters use Twitter to connect with other educational professionals. We have added the approved commenters who use Twitter to a Twitter list.
Not all of our commenters are on Twitter and that’s okay. If you are on Twitter, we encourage you to subscribe to the list, follow your fellow commenters and connect with them.
Note: If you’re not on the list and want to be, just comment on this post or send me a tweet (@kathleen_morris).
How To Use The Twitter List
Lists are a great way to keep track of groups of people on Twitter.
Using a Twitter list is straightforward but if you haven’t tried it before, let’s walk through the process.
Here’s how to use the Twitter list using the web version of Twitter.
2) On the left, you’ll see the option to subscribe to the list
3) Click on the word ‘members‘ above the subscribe button. Here you can make sure you’re following all the participants.
4) To check out the list at any time, click on ‘lists‘ on your profile page.
5) Find the STUBC Commenters March 2019 list amongst your other lists (if you have others). Click on the name of the list.
6) You’ll then see the feed from all members of the list so you can interact with their tweets.
Over to you!
Time for you to leave your comment. We’re looking forward to meeting our commenters below!
Registrations are now open for the next Student Blogging Challenge! This is a way for classes to learn about blogging while connecting with other classes around the world.
Read more about the challenge here.
This form is for teachers to register classes. Register individual student bloggers here.
Before filling in the registration form below, please read the following information.
Who should register?
Teachers should register who:
- have their own class blog (using any blogging platform)
- have students aged between about 8-16
- are located anywhere in the world
Note: Your blog must be public on the web with comments enabled in order to participate.
Reminders before registering
Please read this important information for teachers.
- Mailing List: Make sure you’ve signed up for our mailing list to get all the Student Blogging Challenge news sent to you as well as the weekly posts. Click here for the mailing list sign up form.
- FAQs: Please read through the Frequently Asked Question guide which explains more about the challenge.
- Contact Email: The last question on the registration form asks for a teacher email address. This will be kept private and will not be published. It’s just in case I need to contact you throughout the challenge. This will not sign you up for the mailing list. Please do that here if you haven’t already.
Before the challenge begins on March 3
There are a few things you can do prior to the challenge to make sure you’re ready to go on March 3.
Check your registration
- A few days after registering, check the page with the list of participating classes. Look for ‘2019 Classes’ in the header area of this blog. Check this list prior to March 3 to make sure you are on the list and your details are correct.
- If you are not listed on the participants’ page, register again being careful that your blog URL is correct.
Other ways to get ready
- Check out the family information note and consider whether this would be useful to give to your students’ families.
- Consider starting the Edublogs Blogging With Students self-paced course if you’re new to blogging and need to get your blog set up before beginning.
- Make sure you have at least one post published on your blog so others can leave comments when they visit.
- Start visiting other classes of similar grade level on the participant list if you have time.
- Spread the word! Invite your colleagues and PLN to join in. The Twitter hashtag is #STUBC.
There will be some more reminder posts on the Student Blogging Challenge site before we begin.
Ready to join us? Simply fill out the form below or click here to open it in your browser.
Please fill out the form once.
Any questions? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you!