Class Blog Activity 3 – Must Haves For Your Blog

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Welcome to the third post in the Class Blog series of free and open professional development for educators.

In this challenge, you will:

  • Take a look at excellent class blogs
  • Setup your About page
  • Set up your Rules and Guidelines
  • Make it easy for people to find your contact info
  • Create a blogroll or links in your sidebar

Example Class Blogs

Your class blog (or class website) is the online hub that extends your class beyond the four walls of your classroom.

As you get going, you will decide the kinds of content and information you wish to have on your blog such as assignment information, student discussions, calendars, documents, and more.

Here are some example (and real live) class blogs you should check out for some ideas:

You should be looking at the types of information available. There is a wide variety, huh?

Setting Up Your “About” Page

You never know how someone might make it to your blog – google search, twitter, facebook, or link from somewhere else.

One of the first things a new visitor will probably look for is an “About” page.

When you first create a new blog, an “About” page or “Sample Page” is already created.


To edit it you go to Pages > All Pages and then click on the Edit link that appears when you put your mouse over the About page or Sample page title.

Video

 Watch the video below to learn about Editing Pages

The content is really up to you, but for a class blog it would probably be a good idea to share:

  • City or school name
  • Grade level and subjects
  • Any bio info about you as the teacher you would like to share with parents and others
  •  And just change the title to About if it’s title says Sample Page.

Setting Up Your “Blogging Rules” Page

An important part of using an online tool with your students is educating them on appropriate online behavior.  Just because your students grew up with technology doesn’t mean they appreciate or understand what is/isn’t appropriate to post online.

Your class blog provides an excellent opportunity to educate students, parents and other readers on proper online behavior such as:

  1. Types of identifying information that is appropriate in posts and/or comments e.g., What are your rules about use of last names, IM, images and personal information?
  2. What should/shouldn’t you write in posts and/or comments?

Here are examples of different ways they are used on class blogs to help you with the task:

The Two Page Blog Guide For Parents by Kathleen McGeady is an excellent idea for a parent resource.

Why not facilitate a collaborative discussion with students to create the rules together?  This’ll give them more ownership and a better understanding of what is required.

If you want to include Online Safety activities as part of the process then, Larry Ferlazzo’s The Best Sites For Learning Online Safety post is a good starting place to identify suitable resources.

Once you’ve decided what you want to include in your rules and guidelines it is now just a case of publishing them on your blog.

All you need to do is go to Pages > Add New and create a new page for your blogging rules.   These are normally published as pages because pages are ideal for important information like this that you don’t expect to update frequently.

Video

 Watch the video below to learn about Writing New Pages

Creating Sidebar Links (Or a blogroll)

One of the things you may have noticed on just about all of the class blogs featured above is that in the right sidebar, they have links to different blogs.

Some link to student blogs of students in the class, some link to their favorite class blogs, and some have links to their school websites or other relevant info.

The idea is that you want to make it easy for visitors to find information they may be interested in. Proving links to your favorite blogs is also a great way of building an online network of like classes.

You have two ways of creating these links:

  1. The old (but still good) method of using the built in “links” and “blogrolls”
  2. The new (and also good) method of using custom menus and widgets

You can really go wrong with either way. Click on the links above to find more information about whichever sounds better to you.

Making Contact Easy

Those that visit your blog might also have a need to contact you.

Many teachers choose to create an entirely separate “Contact” page to go with the “About” page.

You might also choose to have a text widget with your contact information placed in your sidebar.

Either way, here are some tips to consider:

  • It is most likely best not to put your email address on your blog. A contact form (using a contact or form plugin) is better as it protects you email address from spammers.
  • If you do want to provide your email, use text and something like support (at) edublogs (dot) org to make it hard for spammers to pull your email address.
  • Home phone numbers are probably not something you want to share as well – but perhaps a classroom phone number is.

Other things to share would be facebook, twitter, or other social media profile information.

Sound Off!

Leave a comment below with links to your about page if you’d like!

Or let us know here if you have any questions about the above, or have additional tips to share!

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18 thoughts on “Class Blog Activity 3 – Must Haves For Your Blog

  1. Pingback: Class Blog Activity 3 – Must Haves For Your Blog : Teacher Challenge | K12 TechApps | Scoop.it

  2. Today’s challenge was interesting. I liked learning how to add members to my blogroll. I can’t wait to have ‘real’ students to add here. Just a few more days before school starts and I’ll be able to introduce my students to this.

    I’m a bit confused on a few things. I’m not sure if I should have my students each set up their own edublog first or reply to comments on my blog- and if I have to add them to my user list in order for them to do that.

    The other thing that I’m finding frustrating is the pages feature. I was trying to add an about page, and I typed up the information, clicked save and then went to view my blog, but nothing happened. I’m not sure exactly where that information went- it is still in my dashboard, but not posted on my blog.

    • I am confused about pages too! I found my about page by clicking on the all pages link in the left side bar in my dashboard. I had it visible and published but I don’t see it on my blog. I was able to make it a menu item by making a custom link but that seemed like kind of a cumbersome way to do it.

  3. Yes, Thank you, I did figure that out. I was also wondering about the option for sidebars I only have one sidebar. Is that because I am not a pro subscriber? Also, the calendar widget does not fit in my sidebar. Is that how it is supposed to look?

    • Anne,
      The number of sidebars depends on the theme you have chosen. Some have one, two or three sidebars. Also some widgets work better in different themes. I don’t use the calendar widget as it only shows when I have published a post. As this might only be once a week, I use the calendar on my computer instead.

    • Hi Ms. Olen,

      Don’t you just love that you can go to these challenges and get what you need, when you need it? I almost gave up blogging because I wasn’t “getting it,” then I found these challenges. What I learned was fabulous, and I cherish the people I’ve “met.”

      I remembered the challenge at first was about improving my blog. Once I saw the connection with students, and how they responded with an authentic audience, I began to notice other educators learning and noticing the same things. From there, those connections were made and the relationships started to grow.

      I hope you experience that. I’m excited for this opportunity you and your students have to experience blogging together.

      Kind regards,
      Tracy

  4. Whew! The process of learning the ins and outs of managing the site has been a challenge in and of itself! But I am very excited to learn and move forward. I am happier with the appearance of the page and it is starting to come together. the students have even starting making posts! Let the fun begin!

    visit us at http://rollefstadapbio.edublog.org

  5. Today I was able to think through and add an about me page. I am excited to have it close to being done so I can start blogging with my students and community members

    • Hi Mrs. Saggio!

      Your about page is really coming along. I appreciate your sharing your goals as well as the personal side of your life. It really helps me connect with you even more. I didn’t realize that you are a part-time pastor! I knew your family was involved in ministry, but I hadn’t realized… How’d I miss that one?

      Kind regards,
      Tracy

  6. This was a time consuming lesson. I’d still like to add a shelfari widget to my side bar and cannot get it to work. Is there a place for embedding code for a sidebar widget? Or are we going to talk about this in a future lesson?

    • Hi Heidi, I’m sorry but we’ve had to restrict ability to add embed code to Edublogs Pro blogs and blogs enabled by an Edublogs Pro blog. Unfortunately the ability to embed was being abused by sploggers, people who create blogs to promote products and websites, and we needed to make it so they couldn’t use it while allowing educators to be still able to access it.

      • Hi Sue

        I understand that! I was thinking of upgrading anyway, but now I think I probably will. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, and on a weekend too!

        • Hi Heidi, absolutely no problem! Always happy to help. It frustrate me that things like this we have needed to limit because their abuse by sploggers. Hope you had a great weekend!

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