This series is designed to guide students step by step through the process of learning to blog. The activities can be completed at your student’s own pace, in any order and you can customize for your students.
The aim of this second activity is to:
- Create and upload a user avatar.
- Teach your students how to publish their first posts.
The user avatar, also known as your comment avatar, displays in places where you leave comments and next to posts you publish on some themes. Your avatar is an online representation of you.
Below is an example of a user avatar next to a comment which looks much nicer than using the default avatar.
Create your avatar
Your first task is to create your avatar using an online avatar tools.
Below is the online avatar tools we recommend — Click on an image below and you will be taken to the website where you can create your own avatar:
Once you’ve created the avatar you save the avatar by either:
- Right click on the avatar and select “Save Image as” or “Save Picture as” to save a copy on your computer
- Take a screenshot of your image (use the Snipping Tool or PrnScrn)
- Most online avatar tools create rectangular images whereas your user and blog avatar are square.
- Allowed image formats are jpg, gif, and png. For best results use jpg.
- We recommend you edit your avatar or photo to 200 pixels wide by 200 pixels high using an image editing program such as Picture Manager, MS Paint or iPhoto before uploading. Remember to save it as a jpg.
- If you still see the old avatar after uploading your new avatar it may be your web browser remembering your old image. Hold the Ctrl key and press F5 to clear your browser cache or right mouse click and click Refresh (Reload).
Upload Your Avatar
1. Go to Users > Your Avatar.
2. Click on Browse and locate the avatar you want to upload.
3. Click on Upload.
4. Move the crop area to one corner, then expand the crop area to include your full image and click Crop image.
5. You should now see your new avatar.
- If you still see the old avatar it may be your web browser remembering your old image.
- Hold the Ctrl key and press F5 to clear your browser cache or right mouse click and click Refresh (Reload).
6. You can also upload a blog avatar in Settings > Blog Avatar.
The blog avatar is displayed in your sidebar when you add the Blog Avatar widget in Appearance > Widgets and in the Class blog widget if the avatar option is selected.
Introduction to posts
Now you’ve changed your theme and set up your user avatar it’s time to write some posts so your teacher and other students can leave comments on your posts.
Your first post might be about why you are blogging, what you will be writing about in your blog or you could write a posts about your avatar, how it represents you and which website you used to create your avatar. Alternatively, your teacher may have given you a task to write a post on.
Remember to be Internet savvy and don’t give out any private information:
- Only ever use your first name only.
- Don’t publish personal details about yourself such as your surname, your address, email address, phone number, date of birth.
- Don’t share personal photos online.
- Be kind and compassionate. Don’t publish posts that could hurt someone else.
How to publish a post
1. Go to Posts > Add New.
2. Give your post a title and click Save Draft.
3. Add your content.
Make sure you regularly click Save Draft as you write your post.
4. When finished writing click Publish or Submit for Review.
5. Your post will now display on your blog so others can read!
Below is a quick video tutorial on publishing a new post:
Previewing your Draft
Before you publish your post it is a good idea to use the Preview option to see what it looks like to your readers.
You preview a post by clicking on Save Draft and then click Preview. This opens up a draft version of your post in a new tab.
Then just go back to your draft and make any changes you want!
Introduction to the visual editor
The area where you write your post is by default in Visual Editing mode which uses WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) option for formating.
It works similar to any Word processing software.
Simply write your post, highlight any text you want to format and then click the appropriate button in the toolbar to add formatting such as bold, italics, number list.
The Show/Hide Kitchen Sink button is used to view the advanced formating options including heading styles, underlining, font color, custom characters, undo, redo.
You switch between Visual Editing mode and HTML editing mode by clicking on the Visual or Text tab.
Below is a quick video tutorial on the visual editor:
Tips for writing better blog posts
Reading online is different from reading in a text book.
The easier to read and more engaging your posts are the more likely they’ll be read and the better your message will be conveyed.
Here’s some tips to help you write better posts:
1. Use short paragraphs
Posts with really long paragraphs are harder to read online.
Best options are:
- Break your posts up with paragraphs.
- The more paragraphs the better.
- Short paragraphs are better than long.
- If you need to make some paragraphs one or two sentences long so they are visually easier to read online then do it if needed!
- Make the first sentence of each paragraph make your readers want to read the rest of the paragraph.
2. Use Headings
Use headings, and where appropriate bullet points and number lists, to break up the post into manageable bit size chunks.
Creating a heading is as simple as:
- Highlight the text you want to change into a heading
- Select the Heading Style you want to apply from the advanced formatting toolbar (you access the advanced formatting toolbar by clicking on the Show/Hide Kitchen sink icon) – for most themes your best option is Heading 3
- Preview your post to make sure that headings you’ve used has broken your post into manageable chunks
3. Remember to Link
When you write about a website you should link to it as your readers often want to check it out in more detail.
Creating a link is as simple as:
- Highlight the text you want to link to a website, blog or post
- Click on the Insert/Edit Link icon in the standard formatting toolbar
- Paste the link URL
- Then click Add Link
Below is a quick video tutorial on how to add links:
4. Using colored text
Colored text is sometimes used to engage readers and draw attention to specific information in posts.
You’ll see examples of it used in posts on the Student Challenge blog.
Changing the color of text is as simple as:
- Highlight the text you want to change
- Select the text color you want to apply from the advanced formatting toolbar (you access the advanced formatting toolbar by clicking on the Show/Hide Kitchen sink icon)
- Preview your post to make sure the text is readable and you like the color.
Blogging is about sharing, collaborating, and learning from each-other. Here’s your chance to ask a question, comment, and get involved!
Complete the following tasks:
- Create an avatar using an online avatar tool and upload it to Users > Your Avatar.
- Publish your first post or submit a post as pending review for your teacher to check.
- Leave a comment on this post and tell us how you went creating your avatar and writing your first post. Remember to leave a link to your post in your comment so we can have a look at your new post.