Widgets and HTML code

In this week’s lesson, you each added a clock widget to your sidebar. Here are the steps you followed, in case you need to change the clock:

  1. Open student blogger’s blog and right click open in a new tab on Miss W’s clock in the sidebar.
  2. This takes you to this website. In the top header, hover over free fun and click on  make a clock for your site.
  3. Make any changes you need to the clock and keep clicking on Continue.  You can see what the changes are as you make them by looking at the clock on the right.
  4. When you have finished creating your clock, you need to copy the embed code. This is also called HTML code.

Now come back to your blog dashboard> appearance> widgets to embed the code in a text box which you have dragged across to your sidebar area.

Put in a title for the widget them paste the embed code and save.

There are many different widgets you can add to your sidebar. They all work the same way – create the widget on their website, copy the embed or HTML code then come back to your dashboard and add the code in a text box under widgets. If you can’t find the embed code easily look for these words or icons:

embed code      HTML     publish     share    application,xml,code,html

Try now to create one of these widgets:

Here is a video about how to create a Voki, start at about 1.00 minute.

Visit other student blogs to see what widgets they might have like a flag counter, bookshelf, brainpop riddle, wonderopolis question.

Can you find any other great widgets to add to your blog sidebar?

Write a post about widgets.

Adding widgets

This week’s lesson is all about adding widgets. Some are very easy to do, others are a bit more difficult. I will be writing separate posts for how to add certain widgets like a cyber pet, a clock and the weather widgets.

There are hundreds of widgets you can add to the sidebar of your blog. But you need to think about the design of your blog as well.

  • some widgets are noisy- music, games, pets
  • some take up a lot of space – games, shelfari
  • some distract your readers – noisy games

There are some widgets I would like to see on your blog and these are provided by Edublogs so are easy to add to your sidebar.

How to add Edublogs widgets

  1. Go to blog dashboard> appearance> widgets
  2. Open your sidebars
  3. Now just drag and drop into the dotted boxes
  4. Move widgets around, just drag and drop within the sidebars

Widgets to add: class blogs, links, recent comments (10), recent posts (10), categories  If you can already see it in the sidebar, don’t add a second time.

First time blogging

bridging knowledge to health
Photo Credit: paul bica via Compfight

Today I spent time at a school on the North West coast of Tasmania (with a fabulous view), teaching a new group of students how to create their blogs. They looked at the student bloggers blog and the how to get started section.

They learnt to login, change their profile, add the compfight plugin, change themes and write a new post. In the next few minutes they will also add an image from compfight.

After lunch, I headed to another school where five more students will be taking part in the student blogging course. They had blogged last year with their principal so they already knew a bit about blogging. Hopefully they will catch up the activities completed at the first school so both groups are ready for our first formal online classroom on March 17th.

Leave a comment on this post explaining what you have enjoyed most about blogging so far. Remember to address your comment to Sue, be polite, check your spelling and punctuation before submitting the comment.

Using comics in your blog

There are many different comic creation websites on the internet, but we are going to use one that has no registration. This means it doesn’t save your comic. You will need to use the snipping tool to save each frame into a folder on your computer drive.

The website we are using is called Make Belief Comics. First you need some playtime to find out what you can do at this website.

1. Choose how many frames for your comic. You can also choose a background colour but I think all the scenes are just black and white drawings so you could end up with everything blue or green. Test this out during the lesson before actually creating your comic.

2. Check out the background scenes and objects you can use. Use the arrows to move through all your choices. Think about what you can be adding to your scenes in your comic.

  

3. Look at the different characters available. What types of expressions do they have? What do they look like? How are they dressed? What gestures (hand movements) do they have? Scroll along the line to view your choices.

4. Make sure you look at the other tools available like moving in the scene, making bigger and smaller (scale), bringing item to front or back, flipping, dialogue boxes and prompts for each frame.

   

OK playtime is over, now to the serious stuff.

What is your comic going to be about?

  • retelling a story – something that happened at home or school – don’t use real names though
  • showing your understanding of something – digital etiquette, lifecycles, a book you have read
  • having a character telling the news

Here is a list of 21 ways to use a comic if you can’t think of one of your own.

Bill Zimmerman, the creator of Make Beliefs Comix, also has lots of ideas if you check out the links at the bottom of his home page.

Time now to get started

  1. Create a quick storyboard showing roughly what your comic is going to look like.
  2. Choose number of frames.
  3. Create 1st frame remembering to use the extra tools and speech bubbles.
  4. Continue creating the other frames.
  5. When finished, click on print/email.
  6. At this screen, use your snipping tool, to crop and save each frame as a separate image and save in your folder at school or home. Rename each image as com1, com2, com3 or something similar.
  7. Write your post in your blog, including tags and categories.
  8. Click on add media icon next to the compfight icon.
  9. From computer, find your images and upload them. Hold down control if you want to load more than one at a time.
  10. If you have loaded all of them at once, they will form a gallery of images.
  11. Make sure they are in ascending or descending order and click on one gallery column so images will appear underneath each other in your blog. Finally click on insert gallery.
  12. Now it is time to save draft again and then hit publish.

How to … add a poll

I notice many of you creating polls, asking for students votes. I have been looking for a great web 2.0 tool you can use easily and embed in your blog.

Here is my poll about blogging.

What do you enjoy most about blogging?

What do you enjoy most about blogging?
pollcode.com free polls

How to create a poll

Step 1. Here is the website to visit.

Step 2. Make sure you make all your changes on the left hand side before hitting the big blue button. You can see on the right hand side what your poll will look like as you make the changes.

Step 3. Once you hit the blue button, you will then have a choice of tower or drop down embed code. Choose tower and copy the code.

Step 4. Return to your blog post which you have already written (including tags and categories), change from visual to text or HTML and paste in your code.

Step 5. Hit the submit button immediately then close your post page. DO NOT change back to visual. Do that next time you open a new post.

STOP PRESS     STOP PRESS     STOP PRESS

I noticed that the poll looks different from the edit post area and what actually appears in your post. I will have to work out how to change this.

Using Animoto

If you are taking part in Miss Wyatt’s student blogging classes then check with her to create you an animoto account.

Otherwise check with your teacher who might create a class account.

Adding Animoto to your blog post

1. I always suggest writing the post first including saving it as a draft before you try adding the Animoto. Remember to include the category and tags before saving.

2. Once you have created your Animoto, you will see some symbols beside the video you have created.

3. Click on the more button.

4. Now click on the embedded video tab and then the blue button copy to clipboard.

5. Final step is to add your animoto to your blog post. Do this by opening your draft post, click on the HTML tab, then paste in the code that you had copied to the clipboard – just press CTRL V. You can add it at the beginning of the post or at the end after the    which is code for enter a new line  Now press publish and your Animoto will appear in the actual post.

How to … add tags and categories

Rosie the Blogger
Photo Credit: Mike Licht via Compfight

First you might ask what are these tags and categories.

When you go to a search engine and type in words to search for, the search engine then looks for tags, labels, categories in posts and websites that it has cached or referenced. The more accurate your tags and categories, the more likely your post will be found by a search engine.

But what is the difference between the two?

A category is like a big topic such as science, maths, interests, sports, family …

Tags are more specific such as fractions, minibeasts, cricket, jazz, mum …

So when you write a great post and you want other people to visit and leave comments, you need to consider what category and tags you will use.

Creating categories and tags

  • Step 1. Dashboard> posts> categories> type in name of category eg Family and friends
  • Step 2. Click on blue button and check that your category now appears on the right hand list.  This is the same as adding link categories to your blogroll. Repeat steps 1and 2 until you have added all your categories.
  • Step 3. If you know some specific tags that you will use, you can create them as well by going to dashboard>posts> tags and adding them in the name box then click big blue button. Repeat by adding one tag at a time until you have finished.
  • Step 4. Don’t worry if you need to add tags and categories later as you can do it after you finish writing each post and before you hit the big blue submit button.

Adding categories and tags to posts as you write them

When you have finished writing a post, you should see on the right hand side of your screen the areas for categories and tags. Just click in front of the category you want – make sure uncategorised doesn’t have a tick. If your post doesn’t fit a category you already have, then add a new category.

In the tag area, type in the tag slowly. If you have already created this tag, it should appear for you to click on. This will make sure you don’t have two tags – one beginning with a capital letter and the other with a little letter. Click the add button each time you want to add a new tag. You can have more than one tag for each post if you want eg dancing, jazz, ballet, competitions while the category for that post might be Dancing or My Interests.

Adding them to posts you have already published

If your teacher is approving your posts, they will need to give you editor rights for the time you need to add your categories and tags to your published blog posts. The quickest way to add them is:

Dashboard>posts> all posts> hover under post you want to edit but click the quick edit area. Now tick box in front of  category and type in tags. Click the big blue update button and repeat for the next post.

For more detailed help on tags and categories check out these posts by Sue Waters from Edublogs.

All about categories and tags and the widgets you will need on your sidebar.

Adding tags to posts

Teegan created a great video about tags and categories when she took part in an earlier set of challenges.

 

 

How to … add a blog avatar

So you have created your user avatar which now shows whenever you leave a comment on someone’s blog. But you want to show your avatar on your blog.

How do you do this?

Answer: Add a blog avatar.

Step 1. Dashboard> appearance> widgets> drag across blog avatar box

Step 2. Dashboard> settings> blog avatar > browse to find the avatar saved on your computer> alternative upload if it is the correct size.

Troubleshooting

If your avatar doesn’t appear straight away, you might have to clear your cache. Here is a post about how to do that depending upon what browser you are using.

If your avatar appears as a black box, then the avatar has to be resized to fit the box. Here is a post explaining how to do this.

How to … add links to blogroll

You have started visiting other students in the Student Blogging Challenge and there are some you want to go back and visit often. Or you have some teachers leaving comments on your blog  and you want to visit their class blog easily. You want to get to our online classroom quickly.

How do you do that?

Answer: You add a link from their blog to your blogroll on your sidebar.

Step 1. Decide on some categories for your links eg My overseas friends, Class Blogs, Helpful Websites

Step 2. Dashboard> links> link categories Fill in the name, click the add link category button and make sure it appears on the list on the right hand side.

Step 3. Now to add your actual links to the blogs.  We are going to add the link to our online classroom first. We will put it under the category Helpful Websites.

Step 4. Go to student bloggers blog, down the sidebar to find the link for the online classroom. Right click on link then copy link location or copy shortcut if using Internet Explorer.

Step 5. Dashboard> links> add new

Type in the name, paste in the web address, choose category to add it into then click big blue add link button.

Step 6. Adding other links is very similar. Go your class blog. Copy the URL from up in the address bar. Come back to your blog and follow step 5 again.

Step 7. When you got your blog, there were some blogs already under the category Blogroll. You might want to change them to Helpful Websites instead. Dashboard> links> all links  Under  Edublogs Help and Support, click on edit then untick blogroll,  click Helpful Websites and update the link (big blue button)  Do the same for Tasmanian Blogs and The Edublogger.  The one labelled Edublogs.org you can delete as you don’t need this one.

Step 8. Some themes don’t allow you to group your links into categories. Instead they are just listed in alphabetical order.

Make sure you have added at least five new links to your blog : online classroom, your class blog and three others. Have at least one in each link category.

How to … crop and resize

When you buy a new camera, the size setting is generally large. This means you can take a photo using 1000’s of pixels and the image could print out well as a large poster to put on your bedroom wall.

Do you need images this large for your blog?

No, you only need images no bigger than a postcard size.  If you own a camera, then change the size to standard or small.

Let’s now practice cropping and resizing your image.

Step 1. Go to start button, open computer then pictures under libraries and finally the sample folder. Should be a big picture of a mountain in the desert in USA somewhere.

Step 2. Hover  over the image and ask these questions from a previous post

  • type – JPEG?
  • dimensions – under 500×500?
  • size – in KBs?

If the answer is no to dimensions or size then we need to crop and/or resize.

Cropping

Step 1. Right click on image and open with Microsoft Image Picture Manager.

Step 2. Top left> picture> crop

Step 3. Now you see the dark black handles allowing you to drag your picture in to where you want it cropped.

Step 4. Now to resize the image if needed. Over on the right hand side you can see original size and new size. Is the new size less than 500×500?

  • Yes, then file>save as> give it a new name and check it is still JPEG.
  • No, click OK and now follow resizing steps below.

Resizing

Step 1.  Top left> picture> resize

Step 2. Change to predefined web small then click OK. File >Save as> give it a name

Step 3. Now it is time to write your post then jump to step 4 with these instructions.