Challenge2011 #3

globe internetOur class is not unfamiliar with global collaboration activities. Per the Challenge2011 #3, we will list and link just a few:

Included on the left sidebar is a translation widget that our readers can use to translate our page into 37 languages. We have used a widget similar to this when reading and commenting on Stora Ines classroom blog from Portugal.  Our students have been amazed at how this translator works.

So off we go to visit blogs from ten different countries. Below are listed the blogs on which we have left comments as part of the Challenge2011 #3:

  1. Ric MacDonald – Australia – Great Avatar Picture Trail
  2. Sue Williams – New Zealand – Excellent use of Wikis to set up an online learning environment
  3. School in Paranaque – Phillipines – A little difficult at first to find the posting, but some really unique ideas.
  4. Jayme Johnson – United States – A third grade teacher who is obviously building 21st century learners in the classroom. Kudos.
  5. Section 6-Sabanci University – Turkey – An interesting mix of ideas and a good use of Glogster posters in blog postings.
  6. Laura Chesebro – Thailand – What a wonderful idea to include pictures of parents from parents’ night right on your blog! Doing that!
  7. Climb High – Canada – Focused on Students.
  8. Brilliant Bloggers – United Kingdom – It is fun to read beginning bloggers. Good job here.
  9. Aurora Risdon – Malaysia – I particularly loved the “comment scale” rating on this blog and the resources for students with special needs.
  10. Jon Hoff – Vietnam – A small American school in Vietnam. It is intriguing to read about other schools

Challenge2011 #1

blog challenge 2011

We joined the Challenge Yourself to Blog but have gotten off to a slow start. Our state assessments are upon us and we have been concentrating on some required skills. Today we begin to play catch-up with our challenges beginning with Challenge2011 #1.

We were challenged in the fall to change our theme, and after giving it great consideration decided to give it a face change. Each month we create a customized header to reflect both our class personality and the season. It has really brought an interesting aspect to our blog from our perspective, and hopefully it has attracted new visitors to our site.

Our “About Page” is entitled Meet Our Class and is located across the top of our blog page.  We really would love for you to visit and read a little bit about the history of our beginning with our most recent students. We have so many helpful widgets on the sidebar that we have decided to utilize the page tabs across the top of the page instead of a Page Widget.

Why should you visit our blog? There is just not enough space here to list all the reasons. First of all, the pages across the top tabs.

  • Assignments – On this page students are given opportunities to use a student database for online research. They visit our subscription site after printing out their questions. Students are self-guided and actively engaged while learning to use the web to find information.
  • Commenting – Our computer lab teacher, Nina Peery, does a fantastic job of introducing our students to internet safety. Her course has earned a spot on our blog pages. If you do not have a plan for keeping your students safe, I highly recommend her site.
  • Games – Sometimes our students have a few minutes at the end or beginning of class and we have found a way to use every spare moment for engaged learning. On this page there are over 85 games and educational sites in all core subjects. Our students love it and know that as long as this page is present they never have a reason to be “bored” —at school or even at home.
  • Holiday Heyday – This page is quite unique. We discovered that some of the basic calendar skills which we assumed our students knew, they in fact did not. This page gives them an opportunity to review these by using a printed pdf and the current calendar. Also by following the hyperlink for each month, the students (and teachers) have uncovered some unusual national holidays. Seasonal games sites are also linked to this page to accommodate those students who work and finish more quickly than others.

In short, You should visit our blog because it is full of educational opportunities that go why beyond the regular blog posts. All you need to do it just turn the page.

Thank you, Miss W, for a chance to share our blog with the world.

Final Challenge#10

girlThe final challenge of the year is upon us, Challenge #10.  This challenge asks us to audit our own blog by answering some questions. We will do just that right now.

  • How many posts did you write? We have written 24 posts since we began the challenge in September.
  • How many were school based, your own interests or set by the challenge? Of those posts, thirteen were challenge related, eight were school based, and three were of personal interest.
  • How many comments did you receive from classmates, teachers or overseas students? We were really fortunate enough this year to have received 101 total comments.
  • Which post received the most comments? Why do you think that happened? The posts that received the most comments were Christmas Crafts and Top 100 Classroom Blogs. We think that Christmas Crafts received several  comments because it gave helpful information at a time when making crafts as decorations or gifts was appropriate due to the coming holidays. The Top 100 Classroom Blogs received comments mostly from our local readers because it was quite an honor to have been chosen for that listing, and those commenting wanted our students to know that they were proud of them.
  • Which post did you enjoy writing the most and why? The post that we enjoyed bringing to our readers was Open Season. The reason was it was personal and unique. We shared with students something that they might not have otherwise experienced. One teacher stated it was like taking a field trip.
  • Did you change blog themes at all and why? We did not change our blog theme because of a couple of reasons. Our students designed the heading back when we began and it is very special to us. Secondly, our school themes are limited, and none that we previewed fit our current needs. We did, however, create a new heading as suggested in this challenge and now exhibit a seasonal theme.
  • How many widgets do you have? Do you think this is too many or not enough? We have a total of 29 widgets. Yes that does seem like a lot of extras, but we use our blog as the center of our curriculum resource. We have 20 widgets in the left sidebar which the students use on a regular basis for their Moodle lessons, AR reading tests, and language arts activities. The remaining widget in the left sidebar were added as a part of the Challenge.  We have 9 in the right sidebar which include subscriptions, introductions, search engines, our podcasts, and various blogrolls. It is important that these links be here for our students so that we can move through instruction in an efficient manner.

We are already participants in The Blogger’s Cafe challenges, and our blog is listed in their blogroll as well. We look forward to participating in the next Blog Challenge and hope that we can involve other classrooms here on our campus.

Challenge #8 – 3 Altogether

Animated countdown

The count down is on and in just a few short weeks the Blog Challenge will end. This week the challenge is to visit the suggested blogs and leave a combined total of three comments altogether. After visiting each of the blogs, we decided that we would comment on the following:

  1. Ripple Effect – The students loved the Pivot Animation projects and we are eager to try one of our own.
  2. 4/5/6 Learning Centre – We have learned so much from the related links on her sidebar and also enjoy reading the regular posts. The plan to meet at lunchtime to help new bloggers was such a good idea. We may implement something like that ourselves.
  3. Mrs Ratzel – The Top Ten listing provided an authentic look into the minds of students and their thoughts on blogging. We are also honored to appear in their sidebar as one of the many blogs that this classroom follows. For that we thank you.

Having completed Challenge 8, we will also be completing our voting for 2010 Edublog Awards within the next week. We are sure that some of our favorite will finish on top.

Time to Nominate


Click on the Comic Strip for a Larger View.

Created at Make Beliefs Comix!

This period of the 2010 Challenge Yourself to Blog is coming to a close and it is time to nominate for the 2010 Edublog Awards. We have visited so many outstanding blogs during this season that it is difficult to choose just one from each category. We are also hoping that someone will choose to nominate the C-O Connections, of course!

My students, while a small class,  have “special” gifts and with each post they have attempted, they have shown me that blogging is definitely worth the time and effort it takes on the part of the teachers. These students who sometimes struggle to get their thoughts on paper, thrive in this Web 2.0 environment.  Thank you to Sue Waters and Miss Wyatt for providing opportunities where my students can feel successful.  We will look forward to participating again next year.

Our Nominations Are:

Best resource sharing blogLarry Ferlazzo – We go to this blog often to search for resources. You should too!

Best new blogTiara O’Malley – She just started with her new 3rd grade class of new bloggers less than 3 months ago and already has created a class of student blogs as well, Jot Your Thoughts. She is committed to integrating technology into her classroom.

Best educational use of video/visualMrs. Yollis – Truly a testimony to the rest of us of how blogging can be used to promote learning. LOVE her blogroll!

Best educational use of a social networkRichard Bryne – His Free Technology for Teachers is a valued presence on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Google Friend Connect.

Best teacher blogBrent Coley – While I do not know if this qualifies as a “blog”, his class site has given great inspiration and guidance to our class, particularly in the area of podcasting.

Best Educational WikiVoicethread 4 Education – This site really helped connect us to others attempting to use Voicethread

Best Educational Tech Support BlogNina Peery, Keystrokes – This blog provides easy-to-find resources, ideas, safe search engines, etc. for students, teachers, and even PARENTS!

Best Group blogChallenge Yourself to Blog – It’s the reason we are all here…Enough said. Thank you for tearing down the walls.

Best Individual BlogMs. Tiatiana – She has worked hard to collect educational links in all core areas and is certainly successful in this endeavor and worthy of recognition for that service to educators.

Best Student BlogStephanie Hunter – Chicken Scratch – This teacher “found” a way to allow her third graders to write even though their “posts” are actually page edits. The teacher maintains the home page of the Student blog and students post on their individual pages. Created in August 2010, this blog has already showcased, as Mrs. Hunter states, “glimpses into the inner-workings of their fascinating and creative young minds!”

Best Class blogJan Smith, Huzzah! – If you are looking for something to inspire, this is it!

IdeaGood Luck to all nominees and remember that you are all winners, especially the students you have awakened.

Photo Attribution to annais; Flickr Creative Commons.

Blog Challenge#7

2010-11-14_1801We are nearing the end of the Blog Challenge with Challenge #7 already upon us. This week’s challenge directed us to read an excellent blog post, Organize Your Blog with Categories, by TeacherMom.  We have three categories on our blog and may soon consider adding others.

The blog post by Sue Waters, What’s the Difference Between Tags and Categories, You Ask? resulted in our adding a tag cloud to the sidebar of our blog.

Right now you do not see too many tags, but over the next few weeks we will be revisiting some of our posts and talking about what keywords we should use to “tag” and identify these postings.  This is an action we should have done a long time ago.

Thanks to Challenge Yourself to Blog it is getting done now!!

Count out Three Challenge #6


1…2…3!  That’s what we did!  For Blog Challenge #6, we visited a student blog. (1) We then chose a blog from that site. (2) We then picked a blog from that particular site. (3)   We did this….you guessed it!    THREE times!

Our first blog that we commented on was Simone’s Blog. She had a wonderful post about adding a cursor.  She gave us the link and instructions to follow.  It was great! We had no problem doing it ourselves. Great job Simone!

Our second blog we commented on was Ashley’s Awesome Blog. She had some wonderful things to say about Ontario. Great picture of the falls Ashley!

Our third blog we commented on was The Nick Cool Blog. He has a picture of his new pet fish.  The blog looks really good. Keep up the posting Nick!

These are just a few of the fantastic blogs available out there! We have really enjoyed the blogging challenge this year. Keep on Blogging!

Challenge #4 Some of Our Favorites

favoriteFor blog Challenge #4, we were asked to find three blogs from a different school that we enjoyed visiting. The first blog that we visited was created by a student in Pennsylvania. Cory’s blog has some interesting places to visit in his state.  We would love to go to Hershey, PA because we love chocolate so much! Thanks Cory. Your blog is great! Keep up the good blogging! Another blog that the students visited was created by Girltime. We really laughed at all the funny dog pictures she has.  The last blog we visited and wanted to recognize is The Cool Place. There is a neat game that can be played with friends and a cool mystery story to read. This challenge has been really fun to go and look at all the different blogs.