Saturday, March 30, 2019

Connecting Through Blogging

We are a part of the Student Blogging Challenge. It is a wonderful 10 week series of blogging challenges to practice and promote reading and writing, digital citizenship, geography, and fun! 

Week four is about getting caught up on posts or free choice. As a free choice idea,  I encouraged students to explore their Flag Counter gadget that shows visitors and create a post about a visiting country. 

Students were excited to look at the flags of the visitors from the first three weeks and find countries on the map. Sheila (pen name) came up to me with her laptop and showed me her Flag Counter. There were only two visitors. Both were from the United States. 


I immediately turned to my Professional/Personal Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter. A PLN is a group of people who enjoy helping and sharing with one another via social media. As an educator,  if I need ideas, some inspiration, or some Flag counters, my PLN is the ticket. I encourage all educators to begin building and contributing to a PLN on Twitter. Being connected benefits my students and my teaching practice!

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 

How did I connect with my PLN?
I tweeted out the message below. I included three educators who are big supporters of educational blogging, @langwitches, @kathleen_morris, and @gcouros. I knew they could help us get visitors!

What happened next?
 1) Langwitches retweeted (RT) the message to her followers. Notice she included members of her PLN who support blogging.

2)   Kathleen_Morris retweeted (RT) the message to her followers. Notice she included two hashtags. Hashtags helped connect the message to groups following a hashtag or topic. 

3. gcouros retweeted (RT) the message and added a message encouraging other educators to not only visit the blog but to comment. 

Results: Visitor flags from all over the world! 

Bonus: Visitor comments from all over the world!

Not only did we get Flag Counter dots, but we received comments! Lots of comments! The enthusiasm for reading and writing, for geography, for collaboration was immediate!

As any good blogger knows, commenting back to your readers builds readership and community. However, there were so many comments, "Sheila" could not keep up. So, the class paired up and worked as a team to comment back! They called it Sheila's Commenting Marathon! 

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 

  Here are some comments and replies. If you want to read them all, here is a link: Sheila's Special Stories

Thank you to Mr. Couros, Mrs. Morris, Mrs. Tolisano for promoting student blogging and teachers! Thank you to the teachers and parents who support learning through blogging. 

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What do you think about the value of a PLN? 

How did you contribute to the marathon?

What do you like about connecting via blogging?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Fun With Original Photos :: Student Blogging Challenge

Images can bring a blog post to life and draw in a reader. As a blogger, it is important to use images correctly. Do NOT just search Google Images and take what you want! Learn how to use images correctly! 

For the Student Blogging Challenge, we are having Fun With PhotosHere are some image options on a poster from Mrs. Morris.

This week's focus will be creating original images that complement a blog post. Of the tasks below, our class will be creating images that tell a story. Students will use their own original photos in a post on their blog.

How Does It Feel When Your Work is Stolen? 

To help students understand the concept of "intellectual property theft" (also know as taking someone else's work) I played a trick on my students. I put up their original artwork but put someone else's name on each piece. 

When the students saw what I was doing, they told me that their artwork had the wrong name. I told them, "It doesn't matter. I need to get this bulletin board finished before recess." 

Later in the day, I confessed that I posted the incorrect names on purpose. What followed was a wonderful conversation about the importance of getting credit for work produced. Also, we talked about how awful it feels to take credit for a classmate's work. One of my student bloggers wrote a wonderful post about the experience

Here is a video of the trick from a few years ago! 

How to Create an Image That Tells a Story 

A great image on a blog post can really help "tell a story". For example, the picture we created to complement the artwork trick is below.  

I directed the students to put their arms in a gesture of confusion. Not showing the faces was a purposeful part of the digital creation. Always limit personal information!

We looked at a few great samples of photos from the Yollis 365 Blog that tell a story.

1. Here is a photo that tells the story of a mischievous dog named Buck who came to school to "help" clean up. 

2. This photo is about a dog named Buck who is not interested in a Santa costume! 

3. This photo tells the story of a student who is learning cursive. 

Some New Student Photos!

Students have been taking photos using an Acer, an ipad, or a smart phone and using the photos to write blog posts for the Student Blogging Challenge. 


Big Burt tells the story of his family's new kitchen backsplash. Notice that his dad is putting them in place. This photo helps tells the story of the backsplash. 

"Casey Cherry's" picture tells the story of the London Eye
Here is a view for you!

Photo by Casey Cherry 

"Jodie Bloom" included a photo that tells the story the Eiffel Tower. 

Here is a photo by "Dr. Hagle". It shows a close up of a painted lady butterfly. 

My student bloggers, here is a link for you to share your URL for your new post with your original photo. Be sure you have the right URL! Fun With Photos Google Form

What do you think of the original photos?

How does creating your own images make your blog post special? 

Monday, March 11, 2019

How to Write a Quality Comment!

Comments bring a blog to life. Let's write quality comments!

Mrs. Yollis' class is participating in the International Student Blogging Challenge!

The focus of week 2 is composing QUALITY comments!

Parts of a Blog

Blogging has many parts: the post, the comments, and the sidebar. If you do a good job with all of the parts, your blog will be more interesting. Today we will focus on quality comments! The comment section is where the blog comes to life and a learning community is built. 

Content is key!

In our class, we evaluate our blog comments. A one-point comment is a general comment that doesn't add very much to the post.   Example: I like your blog. Please visit mine! 

two-point comment adds something to the comment conversation. A commenter might compliment the writer in a specific way or add new information. Another idea is to make a connection. Maybe the post reminds you of an experience that you've had. Share that connection!  Try to end your comment with a relevant question. That way, an interesting conversation can develop.

What should I say in my comment?

Here is a video made by Mrs. Yollis' students called How to Compose a Quality Comment!  It offers FIVE tips to help you take your comments to the next level!

We like to open our comments with a greeting and end with a closing. We choose to do this as it makes it easier for us to follow the conversation within a comment section.

How do you get comments typed and published?

-For Advanced Bloggers-

Some bloggers like to use HTML code to make their comments better.  Learning to write HTML code, or HTML tags, is a somewhat simple way to take your comment to the next level.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is a language.

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To write HTML code, use the following symbols:

Important: Do not add a space between the HTML tag and the word or sentence.


1.  To put text in italics, place this HTML code around the text:



The sentence will look like this when published:

Bloggers should always proofread a comment before publishing.


2.  To make text bold, place this HTML code around the text:


The sentence will look like this when published:  

Bloggers should always proofread a comment before publishing.



3.  To make a hyperlink, it gets a little tricky.

Use the following HTML code around the URL and add your own link word/words:

  [The URL is the address of the web page. It starts with http://www…]

The HTML code below:

Will become this hyperlink when published:

                                                                 Mrs. Yollis’ Website

Sometimes it is hard to remember the HTML codes. I keep an HTML word document on my desktop with all the common codes, especially the one to create a hyperlink. Here is a video demonstrating how easy it is to create a hyperlink if you have the code set up in a Word doc.

If you like to add fun are those codes!

My class, DO NOT sign into anything. Instead, choose NAME/URL


What did you learn about quality commenting? 

 Why is it important to proofread a comment before pressing publish? 

How many comments will you publish this week?

Student Blogging Challenge Week 2 Google Form

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Student Blogging Challenge Begins!

Edublog's Student Blogging Challenge begins this week, 
and my student bloggers are very excited! Visit the student blogs via our sidebar. 

It is exciting to be connecting with students all over the world! Look at this list of continents and countries. 
  • What continent is missing and why? 
  • Which countries will you connect with and why? 

Here are the tasks for Week 1:

We got right to work. 
First, we created avatars using the site choices below: 

Peanutize Me

PowerPuff Yourself


Next students completed their Avatar Post and/or their About Me Page. Finally, bloggers added the appropriate URL to this Google Form. Soon, we will have comments and the connections will begin!

Thank you to @kathleen_morris  and @tasteach  and Edublogs for the fun challenges!  

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What has been the best part of blogging so far?

What questions do you have?