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Showing posts from 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 j…

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.

Sign into your Blogger DashboardClick the down arrow next to the titleSelect the blog from the dropdown listYup! It really is easy as all that!

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 EducationSchoolDistrictthis 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 Accept…

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 TemplateSign into the Blogger DashboardClick the Blog's TitleSelect Templates from the listingChoose a templateClick Apply to Blog

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 HeaderFIRST STEP:
Open a Google DrawingClick FileSelect Page SetupUse the arrows and select customEnter a width of 1250 pixels and height of 350 pixelsClick the  Okay  button



Insert a textboxType a Header NameInsert, images, shapes, cha…

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 TitleSign into theBlogger DashboardClick the Blog Title you want to editSelectTemplate found in the listing under New post Click the Customize under "Live on Blog"Under Templates select AdvancedIn the next column select Blog TitleChoose Font StyleSelect Font:BoldItalicSizeColorClickApply to Blog
Changing Description Font Color
Sign into the Blogger DashboardClick the Blog Title you want to editSelect Template found in the listing under��…

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?

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.

Highlight the Text in the PostClick on the Word "Link" in the Compose editor Tool BarType or Paste the URL in the Web Address WindowMake sure the Text Display shows the words you highlightedSelect if you would like the link opened in a new browser windowClick 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! 

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…

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:
Click here for a larger view
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 editingPUBLISH BUTTON: Publishes the post to the blog (public on web can view)

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 CommentsSign into the Blogger DashboardSelect the Blog you want to updateIn the left menu, select 
Settings > Posts, Comments and Sharing
Scroll down to the comments section and look for "…

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 NOComment Button?"  Well sometimes buttonscan 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 CommentClick Comment to start typingStart Typing & preview what you wroteClick Publish to post the comment

Teaching Students Blogging Where to Start???

"The Art of Social Media" (CC BY 2.0) by mkhmarketing

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. 

Never state some…

Community Building with Blogger

CC0 Public Domain
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 IncludeStudents only uses their first nameNo photos allowedOnly include activity informationDon't include personal detailsExplain the activity and why they like itOnly share positive comments if replying to another students activityDon't include anyone's name unless you ask permissionAll share should be positi…

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 IbyGetWiseOnline
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

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 CalendarClick here to open the Google CalendarChoose the Calendar you want to embedClick Settings Icon in Upper Right CornerOpen Calendar Tab & Click Calendar you want to useScroll Down to Embed this CalendarCopy CodeNOTE: 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

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 PostsClick the  insert image  File uploadClick UploadChoose File
Pick a FileClick 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 SnapshotAdd Selected

From URL

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 readersAllows the low writer to fully express their thoughtsStudents can share their musical talentUnleash the sound effects artists from within Captures attentionSets 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

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 GadgetSign onto the Blogger Dashboard: https://www.blogger.comClick the blog titleScroll down and click on layoutIn the sidebar click add a gadgetScroll down and click on search boxFollow the directions in the window search box window

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

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.



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 Writing projects with embedded imagesA gallery of the student's artwork Collection of screencast videosStop Motion animation Used to explain a conceptShowcasing creativityStudent created math tutorialsCollection of artworkHow to Embed Google Slides Into Blogger***Share Setting Should Be Set to Public on the WebGo to File in the Google Slides ToolbarScroll downwardClick Publish to the Web A window will openSelect how many seconds for auto advancing slidesChoose how to start the slideshow Select restart or leave it as a manual controlClick EmbedSelect a Slide Deck SizeCopy Code into HTML Section of Post

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. 

Logon to the Blogger DashboardClick the blog titleScroll down to layout and click Go to the Cross-Column Section Click Add A Gadget Click  Gadget Search WindowScroll down to the Pages Gadget & ClickIn the Title Area Type Student's NameClick external link to add the Blogger URL for the Student's Blog