Saturday, December 24, 2016

Fun Cultural Study Blogger Project

It's the December Holiday Break and I'm thinking about different ways a blog could be used in the classroom. After mulling through "Pinterest Holiday Recipes" a brainstorm for a blog project evolved. Why not create a classroom recipe blog? It is one small way of providing an authentic writing experienced to be shared with the world. 

Wouldn't it be fun if two classrooms from totally different parts of the world shared a "Recipe Blog"? The student's would have an authentic opportunity to learn about each others culture by sharing the foods they eat. Both classrooms would have the opportunity to post recipes and use the comment area to ask and answer questions. 

They can share photos of the foods along with family traditions. One tradition my family does is we like to grill our hamburgers and mainly eat them during the late spring and summer due to the warmer weather. Have you ever wondered what other families around the world eat and why?
  •                                                                    bbq picnic by jridener

How Would this Project Benefit Students?

  1. Due to maintaining a recipe blog students may have opportunities to learn about places and cultures they never heard of.
  2. This provides an engaging reason for students to write beyond daily classroom activities.
  3. Students will learn the challenges of communicating and collaborating due to global linguistic issues.
  4. The students will be presented with an authentic opportunity to practice digital citizenship beyond the walls of the classroom.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Oh! Teacher Where Did the Classroom Blog Go???

Sometimes students may need to relearn some simple steps like finding their blog in a new dashboard. Moments like this aren't unusual when integrating technology. The "Digital World" is forever moving forward and sometimes it can be challenging to keep up with the changes. Recently Blogger updated it's dashboard and this "Simple" changed confused many users.

So when your student says, "Teacher Where Did the Classroom Blog Go?" You can respond with it is still there. Just follow these directions to find the blog.

  1. Sign into your Blogger Dashboard
  2. Click the down arrow next to the title
  3. Select the blog from the dropdown list
Yup! It really is easy as all that!


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Maintaining a Classroom Vlog is Easy and Fun!!!

I don't know why Vlogging hasn't become very popular in the "Education World". A Vlog provides a format of curating and sharing which can meet all learning styles.  Students can write and produce digital stories to support content learned in the classroom. The students can curate and maintain a screencastings collections as a tutorial support site. This sounds like a "win win" situation where struggling students are provided the tools to succeed in a less restricting environment. Teachers become facilitators guiding the students as they create and curate the help content.

Students can use the tools their familiar with when first starting to vlog. The teacher and the class may maintain a YouTube Channel to make uploading of videos to the vlog easier. If the school district is a gSuite for Education School District this may make it easier to keep the blog and YouTube Private for School District eye's only.  It is important to know your school districts Acceptable Use Policy before publishing student created material for everyone in the world to see.

How to Insert a Video from YouTube

Inserting a YouTube video into a Blogger post is very simple to do. Even an older elementary or primary student can handle this task. 
  1. Sign into the Blogger Dashboard
  2. Click the Blog Title
  3. Select  New Post 
  4. In the Post Composer's Toolbar Click Video icon
  5. A New Window Pops Open
  6. Select which option you prefer to insert a video
    1. Upload
    2. From YouTube
    3. My YouTube Videos
    4. From Your Phone
  7. Click My YouTube Videos (Your YouTube Channel Video List)
  8. Select a video from the list
  9. Click the Blue  Select  Button
  10. Click the Orange  Publish  Button


Once the post is published it is added to the live blog. This is a very simple way to maintain a blog providing younger students with the opportunity to both create and curate information for supporting the academic content they are learning.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Start by Choosing a Template

Sometimes the easiest way to maintain a blog is by using an already custom made template. Templates are guides to support both the new and old blogger with creating and maintaining a blog.  A Blogger can start with a template and make custom changes to personalize the blog.


How to Choose a Blogger Template

  1. Sign into the Blogger Dashboard
  2. Click the Blog's Title
  3. Select Templates from the listing
  4. Choose a template
  5. Click Apply to Blog

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Have Students Create Custom Headers

Have students design a custom header for a classroom blog. Choices and opportunities for personalization provides ownership for the blog. Both Teachers and students become excited as they journey together building a classroom blog.

The classroom will decide upon a theme based on a monthly or quarterly basis. They will brainstorm topics which support the theme. Once there is a list students will split up into small groups focused upon one topic. They will use Google Drawings to create the Header Design. This will provide them with the opportunity to combine both digital and paper designs. Remember photos can be taken and inserted into a Google Drawing where the student can type the blogs name.

Using Google Drawing to Create Blog Header

FIRST STEP:
  1. Open a Google Drawing
  2. Click File Select Page Setup
  3. Use the arrows and select custom
  4. Enter a width of 1250 pixels and height of 350 pixels
  5. Click the  Okay  button



SECOND STEP:

DESIGN THE HEADER

  1. Insert a textbox
  2. Type a Header Name
  3. Insert, images, shapes, change color & etc....
THIRD STEP:

      DOWNLOAD FILE as a PNG

       
       1. Click File
       2. Followed by Selecting Download
       3. Click PNG




Insert the Header Image In the Blog

  1. Open Blogger Dashboard
  2. Click the Blogs Title
  3. Under the  New Post  Button Select Layout
  4. Scroll to Header Section and Click Edit in the lower right corner
  5. In the Pop-up Window Choose Image from computer
  6. Decide how you want to place it
    • Behind title and description
    • Instead of title and description
    • Have description placed after the image
    • Shrink to fit
  7. Click the  Save  Button
  8. Followed by Clicking  Save Arrangements  (upper right corner)

Use Blogger's CSS Editor to Resize the Header

Copy and Paste this snippet into the CSS Header to correctly size the image 


#Header1_headerimg{
width: 100%;
height: auto;
}

Please continue by following these directions:

  1. Open Blogger Dashboard
  2. Click the Blogs Title
  3. Under New Posts Select Template
  4. Click  Customize  Button
  5. Select Advanced (bottom of list)
  6. Click Add CSS (bottom of 2nd list)
  7. Copy and Paste this Code in window
    • #Header1_headerimg{
      width: 100%;
      height: auto;
      }
  8. Click  Apply to Blog  (Upper right corner)


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Students Can Dress Up a Blog by Editing Header Title

First step to  beautifying and personalizing one's blog is by creating a  custom header. The header is the place where the Title of a Blog resides. Sometimes the header includes a quote or one-line description nested under the title. A student or teacher can add some extra pizazz to a header by inserting an image background. Please read the directions below to learn how easy this is do!

Choosing Font Style for Header Title

  1. Sign into the Blogger Dashboard
  2. Click the Blog Title you want to edit
  3. Select Template found in the listing under New post 
  4. Click the Customize under "Live on Blog"
  5. Under Templates select Advanced
  6. In the next column select Blog Title
  7. Choose Font Style
    • Select Font:
      • Bold
      • Italic
      • Size
      • Color
  8. Click Apply to Blog

Changing Description Font Color


  1. Sign into the Blogger Dashboard
  2. Click the Blog Title you want to edit
  3. Select Template found in the listing under New post 
  4. Click the Customize under "Live on Blog"
  5. Under Templates select Advanced
  6. In the next column select Blog Description
  7. Select a Color
  8. Click Apply to Blog
NOTE: Description changes is limited to changing color. This area uses the default Font style chosen for page text.



Adding Image to Header Title

  1. Sign into the Blogger Dashboard
  2. Click the Blog Title you want to edit
  3. Select Layout found in the listing under New post 
  4. Find the Header Section and click Edit
  5. Configure Header pop-up window opens
  6. Choose Upload Image or use an Image URL
  7. Select Placement
    • Behind Title and Description
    • Instead of Title and Description
    • Have description placed after image
    • Shrink to Fit (When width is over 840 pixels)
  8. Click Save followed by Clicking Save Arrangements



Sunday, August 14, 2016

Don't Forget to Unhide Comments...

It's the first week of school and you shared a blog with your students providing an opportunity for them to comment on a post. After discussing "Appropriate Digital Citizenship" and positive ways to write a comment you wanted the students to practice. As a wise teacher would you've kept the blog private, and set restrictions on the comment area for review before posts are published. However for some reason you weren't receiving the comments. What could be wrong?

Did you Turn on the Comments Settings?

Monday, August 08, 2016

Adding a Link to Blogger Post

If a student is writing a book study post they might want to link to the Authors website or a summary about the book. This allows the student to provide supporting details for their writing. The ability to link to websites and files is a skill the students will carry over into the business world.


Adding a link to words a post is as easy as spreading jam onto a piece of toast. Please follow these simple directions for linking a website to post text.

  1. Highlight the Text in the Post
  2. Click on the Word "Link" in the Compose editor Tool Bar
  3. Type or Paste the URL in the Web Address Window
  4. Make sure the Text Display shows the words you highlighted
  5. Select if you would like the link opened in a new browser window
  6. Click Okay



Test the link in the post to see if it connects to the webpage.

Great job! 

😀👍

You have now created a Text Link in a Blogger Post.


Happy Blogging! 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

My Font Changes have a "Mind of Its Own!"

Have you ever felt like the "Font Editor" has a mind of its own? I'm talking about when you choose a font style, size, color , paragraph alignment and then save. After saving you preview the post only to discover it didn't save anything you did. You try adjusting everything again and discover the post editor has a mind of its own! Don't get discouraged! Instead use the "Remove Formatting Tool!"

The above scenario happens quite often especially when one copies and pastes from a document into a post. This is very common to occur when copying and pasting a Microsoft Word Document into a post. When one does this the copy retains the Microsoft styling codes. In this case you have one of two choices to remove formatting. When you go to paste the copy into a post use the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+V to remove the source code. Don't worry if you can't remember the keyboard shortcut because there is a remove formatting tool in the post composer's toolbar.

TRY KEYBOARD SHORTCUT FIRST


If this doesn't work then use the formatting tool found in the Post Composer's Toolbar


Directions for Using Text Formatting Tool

  1. Highlight the text in the composer window
  2. Select the text formatting tool
  3. Click the Post Save Button
That's all Folks! Now pick out a font style, size, color and etc... Once done composing the post don't forget the Save followed by clicking the orange publish button.

This is a useful timesaving tip to share with students who are just beginning to learn how to blog!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

How Do I Create a Blogger Post?

Thanks to themes and layout features setting up a Blogger blog is a breeze. Now how does the student or teachers post?

Of course click the orange new post button,
but what happens after that?

The post editor opens with a toolbar with all the familiar icons you've seen in text editing programs such as Google Docs or Microsoft word. Let's take a look:


Once the user is finished creating the post then it is time to click the save button followed by publishing to the web.

NOTES: 
  • SAVE BUTTON: Saves a draft for future editing
  • PUBLISH BUTTON: Publishes the post to the blog (public on web can view)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sometimes NO Comments are Better!

If an educator is using a blog as a public classroom newsletter they may consider turning off comments. 

Why would a teacher want to do this? 

The internet is a vast global place not limited to the parents and students within their school community. Also maintaining a blog could become time-consuming when having the need to moderate comments. 

When comments are moderated this sends a notification to the educator's email inbox. There is No reason why strangers should have the ability to flood a teacher's inbox. Not when parents and student already have the educator's email address and/or contact phone number. 

Thank you Blogger for providing the "hide a comment" feature. This supports teachers with some of the new challenges provided by the digital world we live in!

How to Hide Comments

  1. Sign into the Blogger Dashboard
  2. Select the Blog you want to update
  3. In the left menu, select 

    • Settings > Posts, Comments and Sharing

  4. Scroll down to the comments section and look for "Comment Location"
  5. Click the button to the right of "Comment Location"
  6. Select "HIDE"
  7. Click the Orange Save Settings Button
    • Located in the upper right corner of the page


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Posting Comments Easy as 1,2,3

Sometimes the most obvious seems to be the hardest thing to do. What do I mean? Well posting a comment of course! It is not uncommon to hear this phrase, "How can I post a comment if there is NO Comment Button?"  Well sometimes buttons can take up a lot of space or may not be esthetically pleasing. It isn't uncommon to just find the word comment at the bottom of a blog post

Next time you read a blog post and want to share a few uplifting words with the author just click on comment and start typing. You just may brighten someone's day!

How to Post a Comment

  1. Click Comment to start typing
  2. Start Typing & preview what you wrote
  3. Click Publish to post the comment 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Teaching Students Blogging Where to Start???


The Art of Social Media by mkhmarketing, on Flickr



Recently I had a discussion about teaching students how to blog. "Where to begin?" was a question we pondered upon. Blogging plays an important role in teaching students about curating and sharing of information. Students are already accessing information instantly on a daily basis. In this instant gratification society it is very easy for a person to carelessly blurt out what's on their mind without thinking about the impact. This is a "Big NO, NO!"

For this very reason students need to practice the skills of "Good" digital citizenship when starting to blog. It is easiest to start by having the student use the "Comment and Reply Section". This provides a perfect opportunity to practice digital citizenship under supervised conditions. 

First responsibility is to teach the student how to provide positive feedback in the blog's comment and reply section. 

EXAMPLE:
  • Never state someone is wrong.
  • Use terminology such as you might want to try...
  • What would happen if...
  • I like what you said but what if...
It all boils down to reinforcing this simple word: 
RESPECT 

Tips for Maintaining a Respectful Blob

  1. Students can post comments by email
    • Post needs teacher's approval
  2. All Comments & Replies can be set for moderation
  3. Teacher has the ability to delete or edit posts
  4. Use privacy setting to share blog with students
    • Provides an opportunity for a small authentic audience
      • Invited by the teacher
      • All Grade Level Students
      • Parents
      • Other teachers
  5. Teacher can share authorship or administrator responsibility
    • This lessens the workload for everyone
If you start out small and introduce new steps little by little the students will become creative and critical curators of blogs.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Community Building with Blogger


Community building
 in a classroom is key for a positive learning experience. Have you ever thought about using Google APPS for Education (GAfE) along with Blogger for presenting community building activities? The community building could start before summer vacation ends.

A savvy teacher can start with sharing one of their favorite summer activities via a blog. The blog URL (website address) is included in the welcome back letter sent to the teacher's new students and their families. In the welcome back letter the teacher asks students to read the blog entry and in the comment area to share their favorite summertime activity.

Some Simple Rules to Include

  1. Students only uses their first name
  2. No photos allowed
  3. Only include activity information
  4. Don't include personal details
  5. Explain the activity and why they like it
  6. Only share positive comments if replying to another students activity
  7. Don't include anyone's name unless you ask permission
  8. All share should be positive
When the students return to school they could use this information for positive conversation starters.

Examples:

"I see you like ....I enjoy doing this too!"

"I went to.....and would love to know what you liked best about your visit there."

"I never did that and would like to know....."

This is just one small suggestions of how community builders could be started by using a Blogger blog. I look forward to hearing some of your ideas in the comment area.

Happy Summer!

"Oh yeah my favorite summer activity is 
going on small adventures with my bicycle."

What's yours?


Look Out for New Posts about 

Using GAfE with Blogger for Building Community




Sunday, June 12, 2016

Monitoring Classroom Blog Comments

It is important when a teacher provides students with the opportunity to share their works both privately or globally to consider comment moderation. Google's Blogger provides the blog administrator with the ability to control comments. This makes it easier for the teacher to monitor comments as they guide the students with learning to be "Good Digital Citizens."
NetSafety Blog: Netiquette Part Iby GetWiseOnline
Teachers can assure Netiquette is being used by marking comments as approved, delete it or mark as SPAM.  When a new comment is posted the teacher will receive an email notification. This creates an efficient way to maintain the blog without having to spend extra time visiting the dashboard.

Setting Up Comment Moderation

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Use Sidebar Gadget to Add Classroom Tools

Depending upon the blog content a sidebar gadget might be useful. If a student is maintaining a blog as a note binder they may want to include a homework calendar in a Blogger Sidebar.  The teacher may want to show off an auto-run gallery of their students artwork in the sidebar. Either one of these samples are easy to do. It is simply a matter of combining different Google APPs for Education (GAfE) to make this happen. I like using the Blogger html/javascript gadget to make this magic happen.

Finding Embed Code for Google Calendar

  1. Click here to open the Google Calendar 
  2. Choose the Calendar you want to embed
  3. Click Settings Icon in Upper Right Corner
  4. Open Calendar Tab & Click Calendar you want to use
  5. Scroll Down to Embed this Calendar
  6. Copy Code
NOTE: Make sure to check the Calendar Share Settings. This should be set to share with a group of people or to public if needed.



Google Slides Publish to the Web



Adding html/Javascript to Sidebar


Thursday, May 26, 2016

6 Ways to Insert Images Into Blogger

Blogger provides six different ways for a student or teacher to post images.  Using images help enhance a posts meaning beyond creative writing. Some students express themselves better with images and others may use an animated gif. The blog author may also use an image for capturing the readers attention. Blogger makes adding images a very easy task to do.

How to Add Images Into Posts

  • Click the  insert image 
  • File upload
    • Click Upload
    • Choose File

    • Pick a File
    • Click Choose
  • From this blog

    • Select Image
  • From Picasa Web Albums (Google Photos)
    • Select Image

  • From your Phone
    • Select Image

  • From your Webcam
  • Click Allow
  • Click Allow for Camera and Microphone
  • Take a Snapshot
    • Add Selected


  • From URL

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Embed Student's Recording In Blogger Post


There are times when a student may want to share a recorded sound file into a Blogger Post. This can be done by uploading the file into the students Google Drive, and then embedding into the Blogger post. It is important the student adjusts the share settings for the audio file to allow their audience readers permission to view. 

Why Do This???

  • Supports students who low readers
  • Allows the low writer to fully express their thoughts
  • Students can share their musical talent
  • Unleash the sound effects artists from within 
  • Captures attention
  • Sets the mood for the students writings

Here Is a Sample of an Embedded Audio File


...New Post Explaining  the Process for Embedding Sound File Into
a Blogger Post to Come In a Few Days

Please Come Back to Learn More

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Add a Blogger Search Engines to Classroom Blogs

A Blog Search Engine is a "Must Have" tool for teachers. Why? The Blog Search Engine let's the user search content within that blog. A blog search engine can make it easier for students and parents to find the classroom content they're looking for. When blog starts sharing a lot of content the information may become buried in the scrollable archive. The blog search engine allows the user the ability for narrowing down to the exact pages within seconds.


How to ADD Blog Search Engine Gadget

  1. Sign onto the Blogger Dashboard: https://www.blogger.com
  2. Click the blog title
  3. Scroll down and click on layout
  4. In the sidebar click add a gadget
  5. Scroll down and click on search box
  6. Follow the directions in the window search box window

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Students Use Email for Posting on Classroom Blog

When students post by email to a classroom blog it eliminates the need of adding students as blog authors. This is a timesaver for the teacher both when setting up the blog for the new school year and closing it down in preparation for the following year. Using email to post is an easy way for student's to learn about formatting text and inserting images.

Directions for Setting Up Email Posts




Sunday, April 24, 2016

Embedding a Linkable Google Slide Into a Blogger Post


Google Slides is an easy way to present students work. The Student can add an extra punch to the slide by linking out to websites. One example of this is when students are studying the plant cycle.  The student creates an image of a plant or flower and adds it to a Google Slide Deck. Let the students do research to find site which explain about how a plant grows.


INSERT AN IMAGE w/LINK INTO SLIDE



GOOGLE SLIDES SET SHARING to PUBLIC


GOOGLE SLIDES PUBLISH to the WEB 


EMBED CODE to BLOGGER POST

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Show Case Student's Work: Embed Google Slides

Show casing student's work using Blogger is real easy to do. Especially when using a Google Slide as a rotating gallery presentation to share the child's creation. Google Slides can be used to share many different types of projects on a blog.

SOME PROJECT IDEAS

  1. Writing projects with embedded images
  2. A gallery of the student's artwork 
  3. Collection of screencast videos
  4. Stop Motion animation 
    1. Used to explain a concept
    2. Showcasing creativity
  5. Student created math tutorials
  6. Collection of artwork

How to Embed Google Slides Into Blogger

***Share Setting Should Be Set to Public on the Web

  • Go to File in the Google Slides Toolbar
  • Scroll downward
  • Click Publish to the Web
  • A window will open
  • Select how many seconds for auto advancing slides
  • Choose how to start the slideshow 
  • Select restart or leave it as a manual control
  • Click Embed
  • Select a Slide Deck Size
  • Copy Code into HTML Section of Post
 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Adding Student Pages to Classroom Blog

Blogger makes it easy to include individual student's pages on a classroom blog. Here are the directions of how to attach individual student's classroom pages to a Teacher's Blogger Classroom Blog Site. 


  1. Logon to the Blogger Dashboard
  2. Click the blog title
  3. Scroll down to layout and click 
  4. Go to the Cross-Column Section 
  5. Click Add A Gadget
  6. Click  Gadget Search Window
  7. Scroll down to the Pages Gadget & Click
  8. In the Title Area Type Student's Name
  9. Click external link to add the Blogger URL for the Student's Blog