This week’s lesson was about commenting.

You were asked to do the following:

Make notes using pen and paper while watching this video created by students in Mrs Yollis’ class.

Visit Felix’s blog and check out his commenting page.


Now you need to do the following to get marked off on work finished page.

  1. Leave 2 comments on the student blogger’s blog. You might want to leave a comment on this post and the previous post about the online classroom. Make sure they are quality comments like in the video.
  2. Write a new page (not post) about what you expect when someone leaves a comment on your blog. It doesn’t have to be as long as Felix wrote. Here are some class examples to look at. Remember to write it in your own words.  Huzzah from Canada, grade 5/6 class from Victoria,
  3. Visit three blogs from other students in our online class and leave one comment on each blog. Again I will be moderating the comment, so make sure it is a quality comment. The list of students to visit is on the sidebar of our student blogger blog.

Welcome to our first course for 2014

G’day Kailee, Logan, Angus, Jake, Shakiya, Kirstyn, Ebony, Jack, Mathew, Tom and Cody,

Our first lesson is to find out how the online classroom works.

It is like being in a classroom normally, where you are expected to put up your hand when you have a question or else you can write it in the chat area. In the online classroom, I will often put a timer on so you know how much time you have to complete a certain task.

Here are the icons used in the online classroom.

  1. Online iconsIn this first row, clicking on the drop down arrow at the smiley face gives you more icons including clapping hands. The second icon on this row is clicked if you have to leave the room for some reason, the third icon is putting up your hand if you have a question and want to use the microphone, the fourth icon is if I take a poll in class.
  2. When you are allowed to talk, you need to have your hand up then press the talk button. When you have finished talking press the talk button to turn it off and then turn off the hand as well by clicking it again.
  3. This third row shows what you are allowed to do in the class – microphone, video, chat area, write on whiteboard, share your computer screen, take a web tour. These last two you probably won’t use at all.

Whiteboard iconsThese are the icons when using the whiteboard.

Play on the whiteboard for five minutes to find out what you can do with each icon. Which icon allows:

  • clipart to use on screen – add a cup of coffee or globe or smiley face
  • writing on the screen – write your name in a colour not black and size 18
  • draw a thick line in a different colour
  • take a picture of something on your computer desktop
  • use a star or pointer on the screen

There are 12 activities to be completed by end of Easter which begins 18th April.

Check the work finished page each week to see what else you need to complete. Posts showing you what to do can be found in the Getting Started page in the header.

  1. Be able to login quickly to your own blog and class blog if you have one.
  2. Update your profile including change your password and the display name.
  3. Settings – blog title, tagline, timezone, add teacher as administrator
  4. Plugin – activate compfight plugin and change settings for short side
  5. About me page for your visitors to read – remember no personal information
  6. Left two comments on the main student bloggers blog
  7. Changed your theme
  8. Written at least two posts
  9. Edublogs widgets organized on your sidebar
  10. Make at least 3 comments on other student blogs from this online class
  11. Added your clustrmap, a clock and a pet widget
  12. Create and upload your avatar

Good luck with your blogging and remember the online classroom will be open every Monday from 1.30 until 4.30 so you can also use it at home if you have any questions. You can also email me any time any day of the week.

Leave a comment on this post describing your first experience in the online classroom.

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.

What makes a great post?

Many of you have been taking part in the student blogging challenge and have been visiting other student blogs.

  • What has made you read a post on that blog?
  • Are there any things in particular, that make you want to stop and read?
  • Are there any things that put you off reading a post?

Your task this week (as I won’t be having an online lesson) is to visit at least 10 of the student blogs nominated for the Edublog Awards in 2012. Link to them here.

Have a new post open in your dashboard and as you are reading the blogs, take note of what made a post great in your eyes.

Add to your blog post by mentioning three posts in particular that you enjoyed and give reasons why. Make sure you link to that post in your post.

Here is an example:

Today I visited Davo’s blog and a post I really enjoyed was when he visited the whaling station at Albany. I like the way he tells a story in his posts and they always have appropriate pictures which Miss W has taken. It was easy to read because it was written in paragraphs. I did notice though that the name of the ship wasn’t in quotation marks or italics. I would love to visit a whaling station to see the huge skeletons left by the whales.

This post should be at least three paragraphs long – one for each blog post you are writing about. You should have a link to the post in each paragraph. You should be giving your own opinion about the post.

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? 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.


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.

Our new magazine

Flipboard on the Go
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Jorge Quinteros via Compfight

You might have noticed a link to a magazine on the sidebar. This is using an app called Flipboard. You can view the magazine on either a PC, iPad, Kindle, Nook or tablet device.

At the moment I am the only person who can flip articles to our magazine, but whenever a student from Tasmania writes a great post, I will be flipping it to the magazine. I can flip from any website on the web not just blogposts.

So far, there are posts from students in my blogging online class as well as students from Triabunna and Bicheno.

To read the magazine click on the sidebar image, this will open in a new tab. Flip through the magazine by using the arrows on the side. If there is a post that you want to visit and comment on, click on the name of the blogpost. This will then open to the actual blog.

You can also subscribe to the magazine.

How do you think classes could use a flipboard magazine for students, teachers and parents?

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.


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.