Student Blogging Challenge

This is something another teacher is doing. I didn’t tell you all about this in class because I felt it would be too overwhelming for you at this point. However, if any of you are interested, here’s the information. It sounds like a fun way to meet other students who are blogging. You might pick-up some tips and tricks. :)

They are on week two, but it isn’t too late to jump in. I looked at the activities and it looks like a really good way to get your blog growing! I really encourage all of you to join in.

About the Student Blogging Challenge

Our last blogging challenge had over 1000 students, from 15 countries, aged 6 to 18 years old, writing posts, commenting and getting to know about each others cultures while improving their blogging skills and connecting to a global audience.
The growth of the students’ blogging skills during each challenge is totally amazing and inspiring; check out these examples of student work.

The Challenge Categories

This time we’ve expanded the challenge into two separate categories; both designed to improved student skills.

Students (or classes) can choose to participate in either or both:

1. Better Bloggers Challenge – emphasis on better blogging, improving your blog design and connecting to a global audience.
2. Better Commenter Challenge – focusing how you write comments, whether you are trying to continue conversations through comments and how to write posts that invite lots of comments.

The reason why we’ve added the comment challenge is commenting is an important part of blogging. It’s often where most learning happens.
Unfortunately educating students on effective commenting practices is hard. We hope to change this while also providing new tasks for students who’ve participated in previous challenges.

What’s Involved

Both the Better Bloggers and Commenters categories will have weekly activities for:

1. Students who have their own blog
2. Students who don’t have their own blog but want to participate through commenting.

These weekly activities are designed to improved your skills. Don’t stress if you miss a week — the tasks are designed so they can be completed later!

To participate you need to:
1. Discuss with your teacher (or students :)
2. Drop past Miss Wyatt’s blog and register your details
3. Keep an eye on Miss Wyatt’s blog for the blogging challenge information and your weekly task

Weekly Reader Tag or Category

In order for me to differentiate your weekly reader posts I need you to to either tag your post as “weekly reader” or categorize your post as “weekly reader”. You can do either or both, it is your choice.

Also, I would appreciate it if you would add a widget to your sidebar showing your tags or categories (depending on which you use to identify the weekly reader).

Tomorrow I am going to do a video showing you how to do all of this. However, if you can figure it out now, go for it.

I have some examples on what I am calling my example site.

Tags vs Categories

I’ve been working hard to post screencasts showing you how to use the various parts of your blog. One thing I am not going to screencast is the difference between tags and categories. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel, so, if you want to know what each does (and you DO), go to this great site: Edublogger

Also, you should check-out her fantastic post about how to write your “about” page. It is a great post with helpful tips!

Set-Up A RSS Reader

This school year you will be involved in a project that will require you to have an RSS reader. I recommend using Google, but if you have one that you currently use, or have another service in mind, that’s fine. If you have a Yahoo or AOL account then you probably already have a RSS reader there that you can use. However I don’t know how to use those systems, so I won’t be able to offer you much help.

Here are the steps you want to take (based on getting a Google account).

1. Go to Google Reader and sign-up for an account (note that if you already have a GMail account, then you already have Google Reader and don’t need to sign-up again).

2. Watch the short video from Common Craft about Google Reader. If you have more questions go here. There is a ton of good information there.

3. Start searching around the internet for a blog that you can follow. Make sure it is something that is interesting to you. I have about 30 blogs I follow, regarding a variety of topics.

4. Once you have found a blog (or more) that you want to “follow”, click on their RSS button and add them into your Google Reader account.

5. Go to some of your friends blogs and add them to your Google Reader account.

6. Add Lahaise’s Lair to your Google Reader account.

Using Your WordPress Blog


You all now have your very own blog!

I recommend you watch the videos (see tab above) I have made for you. I walk you through the entire set-up from signing in, to changing your theme, to writing a post. It’s important that you take the time to view it so that you don’t “break” anything and lose all the good stuff you are going to post.

BEFORE you start posting anything you MUST get me the permission letter signed by a parent or guardian.  In addition you must sign and date the Internet Safety Agreement.

Your blog:

The  rules regarding your name, image and moderation of comments will be dictated by whatever your permission slip states.

Theme: I have given you a number of themes. Feel free to use anyone you want (or just stick with the basic). If you don’t like any of them you are too picky. :)

Content: I hope that you will enjoy writing online. I have really had fun with my blog site. If you want to see my example: . If you look at my posts you will notice they are based on things that interest me, essentially education and technology. That’s the idea of a blog, you write about what you are interested in. Thus why you are choosing to follow another blog based on your interest.  However, always keep the instructions in mind so that you get a good grade!

While you do have a minimum requirement (which we will discuss in class), I hope that you will feel inspired and choose to write more. In other words, have fun with it. It’s pretty exciting when you see people coming to your site everyday and adding you to their rss reader.