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Welcome to our latest free professional learning series on personal blogging!

This series guides you step by step through the process of setting up your own personal or professional educator blog.

Refer our class and student blogging series if you want to set up a class blog.

The activities can be completed at your own pace and in any order!

Wherever you’re at – we’ll step you through the tasks designed to increase your skills while providing help to support your learning.  Don’t stress, have fun, and remember to ask for help by leaving a comment any time you need assistance!

The aim of this first activity is to:

  • Help you learn more about what is a blog and why educators have their own personal or professional educator blog.
  • Help you set up your blog, customize your settings and change your theme.


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What is a blog?

One of the biggest challenges educators new to blogging face is understanding the basics of how a blog works.

So we made this quick intro video to explain.

We’ve recommend you start by watching this video.

We’ve included explanations of key blogging vocabulary which will help as you work through this series including Footers, Headers, Menus, Pages, Posts, Comments, Sidebars, Theme and Widgets.

Feel free to share this video on your own blogs, with students or teachers, or with whomever you think may enjoy!  Later in this series we show you how easy it is to add videos to your blog.

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Why educators use blogs

The main reasons why educators have personal / professional blogs include:

  • Share information and tips with other educators.
  • Collaborate with a global audience. Increased collaboration with others, leads to greater innovation and ideas, because each individual sees a different perspective – giving all involved greater “food for thought!”
  • To reflect on their learning or their teaching /work practices.
  • To learn how to blog themselves so they can use blogs effectively with their students.
  • Create an ePortfolio.

Blogs are an important part of many educators’ PLN (Personal Learning Network).

Refer to The State of Educational blogging in 2014 for more information on why educators use blogs.


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Example of Personal Educator blogs

Your personal / professional blog extends your relationships outside of your school and allows you to connect with global educators who all willingly help each other.

Here’s some examples of real Personal / Professional Educator blogs to see how they are used:

  1. Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day
  2. The Edublogger
  3. The Principal of Change
  4. Free Technology for Teachers
  5. Cool Cat Teacher Blog
  6. Teacher Reboot Camp
  7. Dangerously Irrelevant
  8. Edublog Awards Best Individual Blog 2015

Below are some examples of how educators use blogs for ePortofolio and to document achieving Teaching Standards:

  1. Paul Heubl’s blog
  2. Jarrod Lamshed’s Connect Learning.


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Sign up for your blog

Your first step if you don’t currently have your own blog, or you would like to use a new blog for this challenge, is to sign up for a blog.

You can use any blogging platform you would like including EdublogsWordPress and Blogger, however when we write detailed instructions they will refer to Edublogs.  You will be able to adapt this information to the blogging platform you are using.

Here is some important things to consider before creating your blog:

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1.  Your Username

Username

Your username is what you use to sign into your blog dashboard and is displayed on posts and comments you write.

While you can’t change your username, most blog platforms do allow you to change how your name is displayed on posts and comments.

Most teachers don’t allow students to use first and last name online and it is common for them to model this by using display names like Miss W or  Mrs. Waters on their class blog.

Whereas on their personal blog they are more likely to use their first and last name because their primary goal is often to connect with other educators.  Using their full name helps others connect with them better on a personal level.

So you are more likely to see them use a username like suewaters and a display name like Sue Waters.


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2. Blog URL (Domain)

During the creation of your blog you have to select a URL for it.  When you want others to visit your blog you give them the URL link of your blog.   For example, the URL for the Teacher Challenge blog is http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/

Think carefully about your blog URL.

Once your blog has an established audience you’re less likely to want to change your blog URL.

A simple option is to use your name in the blog URL or use something that has meaning:

  1. Sue Waters Blog ( http://suewaters.com/ )
  2. Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day ( http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/)
  3. The Edublogger ( http://theedublogger.com/ )
  4. Free Technology for Teachers ( http://www.freetech4teachers.com/ )


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3.  Blog Title

Your blog title is one of the first things a reader sees when visiting your blog.  Choose a name that reflects the purpose of your class blog and your students can relate to.

But don’t stress too much!  You can always change your blog title any time via Settings > General in your dashboard.

Some teachers organize a class activity so students can help choose the blog title.

Check out the Edublog Awards nomination lists for ideas of blog titles other educators have used.

Blog Title

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4.  Password

Passwords are our line of defense for protecting our online accounts.

The stronger your password the more protected your accounts are.  You should always use strong passwords for all accounts and use strong passwords that are different for each of your important accounts.

While remembering multiple strong passwords can be annoying, at least all your other accounts are protected even if a password is compromised for one account.

A strong password:

  • Is at least 8 characters long
  • Is unique and different from your other passwords.
  • Doesn’t include terms that are significant to you like pet’s name, username, real name, date, phone number that are easy to guess or use complete words that make it easier for hackers who use dictionary attack programs.  Also avoid common word misspellings and words in which letters have been replaced by numbers or symbols because some dictionary attack programs also check for these.
  • Contains a combination of uppercase and lower case letters, numbers and symbols (keyboard characters that aren’t letters or numbers).

A common method used for creating a strong random password is to turn a sentence that you can easily remember and turn into a password by using the first letter of each word, parts of words, substituting numbers and symbols as appropriate.  Choose phrases that are meaningful to you or includes your favorite hobby or sport to help you remember.

For example, my phrase might be:

Rush Hour 3 is my favorite movie might become rH/3iMfm

or

I love football could become iLuVfb

You’ll find more tips for creating strong passwords here.

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Create your blog

Now you’ve done all the research it’s time to create your blog!  All you need to do is follow these instructions if you would like to set up your blog on Edublogs.

Alternately, check out The State of Educational Blogging 2014 to read more about the different blog platforms used by educators.

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Update your Profile

Your Profile page is where you can control the global settings for your username including where you set up your display name, change your password and email address.

Your Profile is most commonly used to update display name. password and email address so we’ll focus on this.   You’ll notice there are lots of personal settings options in Your Profile and you can read more about each Personal setting here.

The most important thing to update is your display name.  Setting up a display name makes it easier for some who leaves a comment to quickly look at your first name to personalize their comment.  If your username is displayed on posts means they have to search to see if they work out your first name.

Here’s how to update your Profile:

1.  Log into your blog dashboard.

2.  Go to Users > Your Profile in your blog dashboard.

Your Profile

3. Scroll to near the bottom of the page to  Nickname in the Name area.

4.  Change the Nickname to the name you want displayed on posts and comments.

Type your preferred display name

5.  Click on the drop down arrow and select your preferred publicly displayed name.

Select your preferred display name

6.  Now look at the email under Contact info.  All comment notification and password reset emails are sent to this address.

If you’ve set up your blog using our no email option it will look like this:

No email option

If you would like to receive comment notifications and be able to retrieve your password using the Lost Password link then we recommend you add your email address.

Please  note:

Your email address is required. You may change this, but you can only use one e-mail address per username.  This email address must be valid because to confirm that change an  email will be sent to this address and it won’t be changed until you click on the link in the email.

Change your email address

7.  Now scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see the new password field.

Change  your password by typing your new password into both boxes.  There is no need to update your password (unless you want to).  We just wanted to show you how it is done.

  • Using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols makes it hard for others to guess your password.
  • The strength indicator provides an indication of how good your password choice is!
  • Read more about creating strong passwords here.

Changing your password

8.  Now just click on Update Profile to apply the changes.

Remember to always click on Update Profile whenever you make any changes on Your Profile page!

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Upload your user avatar

Your avatar is an online representation of you.

The user avatar is also known as your comment avatar.  You upload the user avatar via Users > Your Avatar and it displays in places where you leave comments and next to posts you publish on some themes.

The default avatar set in Settings > Discussions is automatically display next to comments you leave unless you upload your own Avatar.

Your user avatar helps your readers visualize who you are.   It helps create a personal connection with  your readers.

Below is an example of a user avatar and display name next to a comment.

Comment avatar

Uploading your avatar is as simple as:

1.  Select a photo.

Most educators use a photo of themselves on their personal blogs.

2.  Resize your image to 200 pixels wide by 200 pixels high.

3.  Go to Users > Your Avatar.

Your avatar

4.  Click on Browse and locate the avatar you want to upload.

5.  Click on Upload.

Upload your photo

6.  Move the crop area to one corner, then expand the crop area to include your full image and click Crop image.

Crop image

7.  Now when you view a post where you’ve left a comment you will see your new comment avatar.

Important tips:

  1. If you change your avatar and still see the old avatar it may be your web browser remembering your old image.
  2. Hold the Ctrl key and press F5 to clear your browser cache.


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Check your settings

The General Settings is where you configure the broad settings of your blog including your blog title, tagline, blog admin email address, timezone.

The most important setting to update in General Settings is your timezone.  Educators often assume that blogs are automatically created set to their timezone and weeks later wonder why the post and comments date and times are weird.

The other important thing to consider is the blog admin email address.  This email address is where all comment moderation emails are sent; and is used for payment receipts (if you are an Edublogs Pro subscriber). If you would like to receive comment moderation emails then we recommend you add your email address.

You’ll find more information on the configurations options in General Settings here.

Here’s how to change your timezone:

1.  Go to Settings > General.

Settings

2.  Select your timezone from the drop down menu option.

Timezone

3.  Click Save Changes.


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Customize your blog theme

Your theme is what controls the look and appearance of your blog; this is what people see when they visit your blog.

This is how you give your class blog its personal touch.

Like most things in life, first impressions count.

Great blog themes make good impressions on readers so that visitors are more likely to check out your blog.   Overwhelming themes detract from your blog content, and make visitors less likely to read your content.

Every newly created blog normally has the same default theme.  The last thing you want is to look like all the other blogs.

Customizing your blog theme is normally one of the first thing most people want to do when they first log into their blog.

So lets finish off getting your class blog started by showing you how to customize your theme!

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Using the theme customizer

With the theme customizer you can customize your theme and see the results in real time before activating the theme.

Here’s how to change your theme using the theme customizer:

1.  Go to Appearance > Themes

Theme

2.  Click on ‘Live Preview‘ below the theme you want to use.

Click on Live Preview

Or if you want to customize your current theme, click on ‘Customize‘ under the current theme.

Click on Customize

3.  This loads the customizer.  Now all you do is work through the control panels on the left to customize the theme to preview the theme changes in real time before activating it on your blog.

4.  Once you’re happy with the changes you just click ‘Save & Publish’.

The customizer

Below’s a quick summary of each customizer control panel:

Control Panel

We recommend you leave the static front page set to ‘Latest Posts’.

Most class blogs use a blog post page for their homepage and we’ll explain why you might use a static page in our next post.

You’ll find more detailed information on using the customizer here.


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Almost all Edublogs themes include an option to upload your own custom image header.

A custom image header means you can obtain a much more customized look and feel adding your “own personal touch” to your blog.

Uploading your own custom header image is as simple as:

1.  Click on Add new image in the header image section of the customizer.

Click on Add Image

2.  Choose an image from your media library or upload a new image from your computer.

  • Only .jpeg, .gif, and .png files can be used for image headers.
  • For best results we recommend you re-size the image to the exact dimensions recommended for the theme before uploading by using an image editing program.

Select image

3.  Click on Select and Crop.

Save and publish

4.  Click on Crop image.

Crop image

5.  Your new header image should appear in your blog preview window.

6.  Click Save & Publish on the Customizer to activate the new header on your blog.

Save and publish


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Uploading your own Background Image

On many themes, much like custom header images, you can add images to your blog’s background.   A background image  is another great way of adding that personal touch to your class blog.

Uploading your own custom background image is as simple as:

Click on Background Image in the Customizer.

  • If you don’t see the Background Header section in the Customizer it means the theme doesn’t support this option.

Click on Background

3.  Click on Add new image.

4.  Choose an image from your media library or upload a new image from your computer.

  • Only .jpeg, .gif, and .png files can be used.

Add your image

5.  Click on Choose Image.

Click on Choose Image

Once you have selected an image the background image options will appear:

  • Background repeat:  controls if the background image is repeated.  Choice are:
    • No Repeat -background image is only displayed once on the page.
    • Tile – background image is tiled horizontally and vertically.
    • Tile horizontally – the background image only repeats horizontally.
    • Tiled vertically – the background image only repeats vertically.
  • Background position:  allows you to control the position of the background image.  Options are left, center and right.
  • Background attachment: determines if you want the image to scroll with the content or to remain ‘fixed’ in place when a reader scrolls down the page.

For best results we recommend you use Tile, left and Scroll.

6.  Your new background image should appear in your blog preview window.

7.  Click Save & Publish on the Customizer to activate the new background on your blog.

Click Save and Publish


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Common asked theme questions

Here’s answers to commonly asked theme questions we receive into Edublogs Support:

1.  Can I upload my own theme?

Because of  the way blog platforms like Edublogs, WordPress.com and Blogger work you can only use the themes provided and can’t upload your own custom themes.  Most themes are designed to work on single installs and many don’t work or can have compatibility issues on blog platforms.

Remember that custom image headers and backgrounds  are an very effective way of customising your theme to meet your needs.

2.  How do I change the font color, font size and text color?

Some themes have extensive theme customization options which aren’t supported by the theme customizer.

They often include options to change font color, font size and text color.

These types of themes add a theme option menu item under Appearance once the theme is activated.  To do more extensive customization you just need to go to Appearance > Theme Options.

You can also change font type, size and color in posts or on pages using the Supreme Google Webfonts plugin.

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Your Task

Blogging is about sharing, collaborating, and learning from each-other. So here’s your chance to ask a question, comment, and get involved!

We’d like you to add your voice and ideas to our ongoing conversation about blogging by undertaking one or more of the following challenges:

  1. Visit some of the blogs on the examples of personal educators blog list then leave a comment on this post to tell us which were your favorite blog(s) on the list and why they were your favorite blog(s).
  2. Leave a comment on this post and tell us how you went setting up your blog.  For example, you could tell us what theme you chose and why?  Or what you found easy? What aspects were hard and you would like to know more about?
  3. Leave a link to your blog in a comment on this post so we can have a look at your new blog.

234 Comments

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    • Hi Jennifer, thanks for entering the Teacher Challenge. You’ve laid some great groundwork by creating a menu structure that divides your information up well. A few suggestions if I may. In your theme settings, you can change the header image to one that reflects you and your blog. You also need to consider using widgets to help site visitors navigate around your site, and easily find your blog posts.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

    • You can do it!

      • Jason Teitelman
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  1. Hi! I just started a blog to communicate with a friend teaching in Bahrain…she is very tech-savvy…and suggested we blog as classroom Pen/Blog Pals…my class with hers. That is going very well…I am wondering how to upload a video for their viewing…

    • ​Hi Michelle, thanks for entering the Teacher Challenge. Sharing a blogging platform with a class in another country is a great idea! A very comprehensive guide to using videos in blogs can be found at http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/step-8-video/
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

        • Hi Michelle, thanks for sharing your blog. I really like the theme you have chosen, as it makes your students the center of your blog. You have also made good use of widgets. Well done!
          Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  2. I am new to the teacher blogging world and am still in the process of setting up my personal blog. I would say my biggest roadblock in getting it up and running would be the lack of technological support in my class space – unattached portable with questionable wifi, and my desire to not work on work in my personal time(despite much better wifi service). I have been able to choose a theme after much jilted scrolling, haha, and picked “Visual” – one that I like the style of, felt was clean looking and didn’t require any payment ;D. My next challenge will be to organize the page and decide on some really exciting content! Looking through the blogs listed above, I really enjoyed the “Edublogger” and “Dangerously Irrelevant” both because of the content and the clean look. I found some of the others difficult to find the content I would be interested in as there was a lot of content/inks/widgets – same reason I have difficulty at shopping at stores that sell only one of each item (not a hunter). Anyways, here’s the link to my yet to be completed blog, hopefully it will be filled with amazing info shortly! http://staceycropper.edublogs.org

    • staceycropper
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    • It seems like you have a good idea of what you want and how you want to present the information on your blog. Now comes the hard part…creating engaging content! 😉 It’s also the fun part too.

      • Jason Teitelman
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  3. My new blog’s name is IDSJA State Buzz: idsja.edublogs.org. I am creating it for the idsja.com site, where I am a State Director of the organization. It’s got a long way to go, and I don’t like what I’ve created so far, but I like that I’ve so methodically understood the steps, as I forced myself to do each step one-by-one instead of rushing through it thinking I knew how to do it.
    I’ve started several blogs, never kept going with them. The motivation for this one is to create an extra feature that might attract viewers and membership to our state journalism website. I also teach blogging in my journalism classroom. Unfortunately, I’ve moved to Weebly for teaching in the classroom, because Edublogs proved itself a little too complex for teaching purposes (or perhaps I didn’t spend enough time understanding Edublogs itself). One thing I like about Edublogs is that it mirrors the Word Press environment of the school’s news site.
    I hope I can change themes if I need to. I like the Teacher Challenge as it gives me motivation to do it as a good teacher!

    • Michelle Harmon
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    • First, to adress your concern, you can switch themes at any time. 🙂 If Weebly works best for you, then that is great. Teachers need to feel entirely comfortable with the platforms they are using. Different people will favor different platforms. Maybe after working through the challenge you’ll be more comfortable with Edublogs and WordPress. If there are specific questions you have or issues you’d like to clear up, let us know and we’ll be happy to help.

      • Jason Teitelman
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  4. I enjoy read all the blogs. However, the most interesting blog was Primary Tech by Kathleen Morris.

    • Musekiwa Mafara
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    • Hi Musekiwa. I have to agree, Kathleen runs a great blog full of interesting resources. I particularly enjoy her posts on internet safety.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  5. I like the Free Technology for Teachers blog because of its bright background and eye catching header.
    I chose the theme ‘Brand New Day’ as it appealed to me with its fun look and uplifting title.
    My blog link is http://renateschultz.edublogs.org/

    • renateschultz
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  6. 1) I love The Edublogger because it is packed with information and support
    I also like Free Technology for Teachers and Teacher Reboot Camp for the same reason
    The blogs that appealed most to me visually were Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the day and Primary Tech.
    2) I have 3 current blogs all set up using WordPress
    Gifted Resources Blog https://giftedresources.wordpress.com/
    This is the blog for Gifted Resources which is an information service for teachers, parents and service providers of gifted and 2E twice exceptional students. The theme used for the blog is Twenty Eleven
    Sprite’s Site http://spritessite.wordpress.com/
    Sprite is a cartoon character developed to illustrate presentations about 2E twice exceptional students who are both gifted and also have learning difficulties or differences
    The theme used for the blog is Twenty Eleven
    3) My new blog which I will be using for this Challenge
    Personas, Profiles and Portraits https://jofreitag.wordpress.com/
    The theme I used for the new blog is Oxygen.
    So far most of the images for this blog are photos which I have taken myself.
    Topics that will be discussed on this blog will include
    Persona/Diversity Dolls
    Personal story narration
    Dr. Maureen Neihart and Dr. George Betts Revised Profiles of the Gifted and Talented 2010
    Prof Francoys Gagne Differentiated Model of Giftedness & Talent 2.0
    Building gifts into talents: Brief overview of the DMGT 2.0
    Gifted and 2E Twice exceptional students (who are both gifted and have a learning disability/difference)
    De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes
    Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities
    The characters and topics from Sprite’s Site blog depicted as dolls and soft toys

    I am hoping to learn more about how to use this theme specially including sharing options, widgets etc.
    Thank you very much for this opportunity.

    • Hi Jo, thanks for your comprehensive feedback. You certainly keep yourself busy with your blogging. I love the idea of your new blog. It’s such a unique approach!
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

      • I have a quick question. I would like to write blog posts about doing this challenge on my new blog. May I use the challenge logo badge which is at the top of the challenge emails to illustrate those posts?

    • The tow tweet feeds with different color backgrounds is a good idea. I’m wondering if a title like “Tweets From @WCSD21” might be better since the @ symbol is hard to read in that title font.

      • Jason Teitelman
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  7. I chose the designfolio theme because it was free and responsive, so my students and parents will be able to easily view on tablets or phones.

    http://yclarkhhs.edublogs.org/

  8. Hi everyone! I loved the educator blogs, and like someone else said, I follow most of the blog authors on Twitter and read most of their posts already. I do have to say that I liked “The Principal of Change” most in regards to layout and aesthetics. It seemed clean and professional, and not cluttered with too many graphics or ads. My purpose for my blog is more personal; it’s more for reflection and to share my thoughts with other teachers, and not to serve as a class blog.

    Here’s my blog: https://mscheska.wordpress.com/

    I’ve tried to keep it clean, but I do also like photographs. I swapped the stock photos in this particular theme with my own photographs.

    • Hi Cheska

      Welcome to the Teacher Challenge and thanks for sharing a link to your blog!

      Great to hear you’re following most of these bloggers on Twitter. They all share good articles by twitter as well as on their blogs.

      Interesting that both you and Michelle liked George’s blog because he has kept the theme simple. I had never considered that aspect! He’s using a great mobile friendly theme but because I’m the person who selects most of our new themes I look at his blog and think of the theme as a safe choice. Perhaps safe is good because it is clean.

      Great theme choice on your blog! I use the same theme on my personal blog. Like Hexa this theme make the text easy to read while allowing you to customize with own images. I’ve used my own photos but I’m not the greatest photographer (but that is okay because the photo is what it means for me).

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

    • Hi Cheska,
      I’m new to making my own blog and liked the different fonts, sizes and colors you use. It makes it easier to read. Is the “Rate it” at the bottom part of Edublogs?

  9. My blog is usemorecas.wordpress.com

    • Michelle Bonds
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  10. I chose the Hexa theme for my blog because it was a math blog. Also I love the Geometry part of math so it reflected my likes. It was easy to set everything up and post the first blog. I had trouble getting some other blogs I thought would be good on the site but finally figured out a way to add it as a page.

    • Michelle Bonds
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  11. I liked The Principal of Change because it was not so flooded with pictures that I had to search for the most recent blog. I also liked what he had to say.

    • Michelle Bonds
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    • Hi Michelle

      Welcome to the Teacher Challenge!

      Thanks for sharing a link to your blog. I confess that Hexa is one of my favorite themes. It is a very clean looking theme that makes text easy to read.

      I’m assuming by having trouble adding links to other blogs you mean your Favorite Maths Blog page ( https://usemorecas.wordpress.com/my-favorite-math-blogs/ )? Or blogs you follow? You would normally add a link to these using the Links widget. We cover the links widget in our step on working with Widgets. Hexa is slightly less suited to using widgets and the solution you’ve used to linking to your favorite blogs is a good option.

      George Couros tends to use less images, and widgets, on his blog which does help readers focus on his text.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  12. 2) Having signed up for my challenge, I went straight to the themes. I like my one as it makes me smile. It isn’t overly colourful, but not plain and boring. At some point I would love the children that I support to be able to have their own blog or start commenting on a class one.

    3) http://gorgana.edublogs.org/

    • Hi Gorgana. I found you original message. It had somehow been filtered to the spam folder. Sorry about that.

      There are two options for student blogging that may work for you in the future. One would be to have all the students submit blog posts to one class blog. You can make them contributors, which means they can write posts but their posts would then need to be approved before being published. The other option would be to set up blogs for each student and have them linked to a main class blog.

      We run a separate Student Blogging Challenge that takes you through the process of creating a class blog and blogging with students. You may be interested in doing that one as well.

      • Jason Teitelman
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  13. I have signed up for the challenge, and have attempted to post it twice as its not showing up! What am I doing wrong?

    • Hi gorgana, thanks for accepting the challenge! Please note that all comments are moderated, so your comment will only show once it has been approved.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

      • Thank you. (Although I find it strange that my question appeared immediately). How long does this take, for future reference?

        • Hi Gorgana

          We normally approve the comments in batches and when they are checked depends on our workload. It can be up to 24 hours.

          Your previous comment was approved quickly because Eugene was working through replying to comments when you submitted your comment.

          Sue Waters
          Support Manager
          Edublogs | CampusPress

          • A week later and my reply for my orginal challenge still hasn’t been seen?? But there are lots of other people. I think I will give up on this.

            • gorgana
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          • Hi Gorgana. Sorry I just searched for another comment under your username but do not see one. I hope you will keep up with the challenge and let us know if you have any other comments or questions.

            • Jason Teitelman
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  14. I finally got around to joining and starting this; interestingly, I already follow several of the people on the list above via Twitter, so I was already familiar with their blog. I read Larry Ferlazzo pretty regularly, and also enjoy the CoolCat teacher.

    • Hi Chris, congratulations on setting up your new blog. I see you have made a great start. I suggest you create Categories and Tags next and put some widgets in your sidebar.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

    • I, too, enjoy CoolCat Teacher. I like that Vicki uses lots of supporting sites to ground her blog. It gets me out and reading more!

  15. Hello,
    Thank you for setting up/organizing this 30-day blog challenge!
    1. I like the Principal of Change for the simplicity and the content.
    2. I started a 30-day Sculpting Challenge today and thought documenting the process via the Edublogs Teacher Challenge would be an excellent way to learn how to blog. I chose Autofocus for the theme because I will post a photo each day for each piece I create.
    3. http://connectingtospirit.edublogs.org – I’m looking forward to learning how to post – posts tomorrow.
    With gratitude,
    Kellie

    • Hi kleepell, thanks for participating in the Teacher Challenge series, and congratulations on setting up your first blog. Documenting the process is a great idea. I’m sure it will help others through the process too. You can find great information on adding posts and pages at the following link http://help.edublogs.org/user-guide/posts-pages/
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  16. One of my favorite blogs was “Teacher Reboot Camp”; I especially liked the catchy title. I also liked the vast array of topics from poetry to digital diversity. From this blog, I discovered several useful links and even listened to a webinar. I was impressed by the creator’s vast knowledge in many areas and willingness to share her personal experience.

  17. I liked all the examples! I was wondering how a blog is selected for the Edublogs awards? I’ve been blogging since 2012 at http://gallaghertech.edublogs.org/ and like to take these challenges to update/enhance my own blog. Hopefully as this challenge goes on I will find new blogs to add to my Feedly and maybe even gain a few subscribers on my own.

    • Blogs are nominated for the awards by other bloggers, teachers, and visitors.

      • Jason Teitelman
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  18. I liked almost every one of the blogs I visited. Each had its own pros and cons. Should I pick one, then that’s http://www.coolcatteacher.com/, because due to its font size I found it easy to read the introductory paragraph of each post and chose whish to go on reading further.

    I even set up my own blog. This is the link: http://samonaskostas.edublogs.org/. I’m from Greece so the title and subtitle might look awkward to you (It’s all Greek to me!) I chose the Mystic Lake theme, because (a) it was one of the few free themes and (b) reading poetry and literature is a mystic travel. I changed the color and added a background photo. I would like to hear your opinion, if something needs to change to make it better.

    • Κώστας Σαμωνάς
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    • Hi. I have 2 suggestions for you. First, would be to find a larger image to use in the header area. Tiled images usually end up not looking as good and being a bit visually distracting. A larger image that goes all the way across the top of the site will look better. Your theme recommends a header size of 1015 × 276 pixels. Second, I’d edit the background color to be more in tune with the rest of the colors on your site.

      • Jason Teitelman
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  19. Good morning. I am new to blogging and am interested in this challenge to start a blog for Adult Learners in basically an ESL tutoring program. I am trying to use your edublog, but currently have a Weebly site, so I may change over to that format.
    I love Larry Ferlazzo’s site and send students there often.

    So far there is nothing on my blog: kbutzen300a.edublogs.org but I am looking forward to see what I can do with it.
    Thanks for the guidance.
    Karen

  20. http://mrscopen.weebly.com/

    I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be posting, but I wanted to create a space where, if I go back into the classroom next year, could function not only as a blog, but also as a Landing Zone of sorts.

  21. The hardest part about setting up my blog was finding a format that works for me. I am still not completely sure what I want it to look like!

    • Hi, mrscopen, well done on accepting the Teacher Challenge. You are not alone in your struggle to find the perfect theme. It is worth taking time to decide though. Perhaps start by creating some content, placing some widgets, and creating a menu; and see how those fit in with the themes you are testing.
      Having a look at the featured blogs above will also provide you with some inspiration.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  22. 2) So, having recently signed up to this site, the first thing I did was go straight to the Themes page and chose something pretty and eyecatching. Something that makes me smile when I look at it.
    It was easy to set up and I love the dashboard. The thing that did, or rather does, confuse me, is how to add students. I think I have worked it out, and imagine I would have to upgrade, as I worry about the privacy settings as they are only young. Once I have worked this out for myself I may have a look at starting a class.

    3) My blog :

    http://gorgana.edublogs.org/

    • Hi Reine, welcome to the Teacher challenge. I love the title of your blog! You have a open and honest writing style. It is refreshing to read. I hope this Teacher Challenge does indeed inspire you to write. My favorite line from one of your posts is “2015. I’m anxious… but anxiety is a valuable tool these days!”
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

      • Thank you so much! Your feedback does mean a lot 🙂 planning to take part in the challenge and see where it all leads to.

  23. Hi! It is difficult to choose from the blog sample. But if I had to choose I would choosen Edublogger and Cool Cat. They both provide inforation I need as a teacher and as a student.
    Best regards
    TM (Teresa Monteiro)

    • Hi Teresa, thank you for choice. They are both great blogs and worth following. Congratulations on taking up the challenge and setting up your new blog.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  24. 1) My favourite blog listed was Teacher Reboot Camp (http://shellyterrell.com/) because it had a simple, open layout and was centered around creative writing.

    2) I made my blog with blogger, as it’s better suited for articles than photos, like Tumblr. I’d like to learn more about labels, self promotion, and maybe HTML tips.

    3) Here’s a link to mine: http://christopherrafalcarter.blogspot.com/

    • Hi Christopher, thanks for your feedback. I also like that the Teacher Reboot Camp has made full use of the home page by strategically placing Categories and Tags to help visitors find what they are looking for. This would be a good approach for your blog too. Try and fill the right sidebar up so the space is effectively used.
      I had a look at your short-story blog. I love that you are writing to a theme. I read the “Cat Sìth”. Great story!
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  25. I have taken a look the blog examples you have listed and I can’t wait to customize more of my blog. I had already been to several of these sites not realizing that they were actually blogs . freetech4teachers is one of my favorites! I enjoyed the ones with additional links to more resources.

    • Hi Jan, I agree, freetech4teachers is a great blog and resource site. I see freetech4teachers links to number of blogs Richard writes for; all of which are very good. For your blog I suggest you create categories to group your blog posts in to. This helps your visitors find information easier.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  26. I enjoyed looking at the blogs for examples. I use weebly for my blog as part of my professional e-portfolio. I aim to share resources and interesting articles. I am only in the beginning stages of setting up my teaching blog.

    http://missmiam.weebly.com/

    • Hi Mia, it is easy to see from your blog that you are passionate about education. I’m sure your students must benefit from you being so widely traveled too. Your blog topics are varied, which makes for interesting reading. One thing that we recommend is that you feature your blog posts on your home page by publishing them there and featuring them using a menu or widget. This will draw more people to your blog.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  27. I liked CoolCatTeacher’s site the best–I follow her on Twitter, and I like that she curates the content of others, too. I have had my blog studentcenteredflip.wordpress.com set up for a while, now. I really like WordPress’s easy use. I chose a theme that I thought was clean and easy to follow and that was mobile friendly, Twenty Thirteen.

    • Hi Beth, thanks for participating in the Teacher Challenge series. Your blog has some thought-provoking articles about teaching and education in the modern age. I totally agree, WordPress is a great blogging platform, and the Twenty Thirteen theme is very clean and easy to use. I suggest you customize your theme by adding your own header image to give your blog a personal touch.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  28. Hi, my blog was already set up at stmartinsyear1blog.edublogs.org but I am still really new to it and want to find out what else I can do. We chose an animal theme because our topic at the moment is The Zoo. We also wanted one with a child friendly look which was also mobile friendly. It was quite hard choosing a theme as there are so many and they all work slightly differently with menus etc.

    • I’ve just had a look at the blogs listed and like Integrating Tech in the Primary Classroom the best. The layout just seems to appeal to me the most, I also found it the most interesting content.

    • ​Hi Karen, thank you for your feedback. I love the theme you’ve chosen. It is indeed appropriate to the age group and topic. You’ve also covered blog safety, and provide a weekly note to parents. Well done!
      ​There are a lot of “Uncategorized” posts. Placing these in a category and adding a category widget to the sidebar will provide another way for visitors to find information on your blog.
      Eugene Brown, Edublogs Support

  29. Totally Agree

  30. I set up my personal teaching blog on Blogger( http://ignitngthefire.blogspot.co.nz/). When I start a class blog I would be tempted to use edublogs or similar.

    I adjusted my own theme as the themes provided all seemed too dark or overwhelming. I wanted a theme that was bright and colourful and reflected my blog title. I also decided to upload a background image that I had created in keeping with this and also to create a recognisable brand. The image only shows across the top of my blog as I feel that if it was tiled throughout the background it would overpower and detract from my blog. I’ve also tried to keep widgets to a minimum for the same reason.

    The hardest thing about blogging is knowing how to reach your audience and wanting to keep and grow that audience. I have linked my blog with my google+ and twitter accounts in the hope of gaining more watchers. I am also looking and commenting on others blogs in hopes of creating a dialogue with my fellow teacher bloggers. I’ve only had attention from NZ and the US so far. I wonder how I can reach teachers in other countries too?

  31. I’ve come to this thru connected educator month. Hadn’t really considered the educational aspect of blogging at all. Interesting learning journey this October for me with #cenz14.

    • Karyn Liddell
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  32. Thank you. This is so very well explained. I am heading back to my blog to see if I can now change the font type…all exploration!

  33. I have been blogging on and off for some time. A couple of years ago, I discovered Edublogs, and decided to use this great platform instead of the one my school district provides. (It’s fine, but I love how Edublogs caters to educators!)

    I’ve been working on the Georgia Virtual School TOOL (a MOOC), and I’ve learned the importance of having multiple sites for multiple purposes. And so I created yet another for #CE14 Connected Educators’ Month.

  34. Just set up my blog – journeyofabt (Journey of a beginning teacher). Thing I found the hardest was writing something that is relevant and not waffley in the static pages I created!! Good to have an idea of who your audience is otherwise the whole blog would have no purpose. Will also have to keep my audience in mind when I start adding more posts. And finally, need to figure out a way of getting that audience!!

  35. I started with the Teacher Challenge for Student Blogging. My students are thrilled to be part of the Student Challenge. I am currently working on ‘Building your PLN’ and intend to set up a personal blog that is seperate to our class blog but for some reason my blog appears in the list with the student blogs. When I work this out, I look forward to compiling some of my favourite resources and ideas.

  36. Brilliant, thanks for the tips! Easy to follow steps (even if I applied them to Blogger rather than EduBlogs)

    • Gareth Sinton
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  37. Hi I am finally able to try and catch up to you all. I have been trying to get around to a class blog all year but I kept putting it in the too hard basket. But here I go at last. My blog( the little that i have to show so far) is at http://mrsbronwyn.edublogs.org/ I will be adding to it as soon as I can. It is good to see so many of you struggle with this as well as myself. My favourite blogs are the less cluttered but colourful ones. I am not a fan of ads. Looking forward to the next few lessons.

    • Clean, with a splash of color – always a nice look for a blog. You won’t have to worry about ads with your Edublog 🙂

      Let us know if you need any help!

      Dan Leeman, Edublogs Support

      • I like the less cluttered blogs myself and I did like Teacher Reboot and then Colorful Learning with 20+ Tolls, Apps. Do we have to have a particular theme or can we just use the Edublog default? Thanks.

        • I forgot to add my blog. Here it is: mjck12.edublogs.org

          • Hi Marilyn

            Thanks for sharing a link to your new blog! It is entirely up to you which theme you use. Edublogs Default has been really popular and looks very nice with a custom header image.

            Sue Waters
            Support Manager
            Edublogs | CampusPress

            • Sue Waters
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  38. I’m behind on this already, but trying to catch up. I’ve had a blog for several years but feel like I’m doing something wrong because I can’t get students to look at it. My blog is “Eagle Eyes,” . Most of the examples are blogs that I already follow. I like the cleaner – “middle of the road” look such as The Principal of Change and Primary Tech, even though I know that there is a need for advertising. I keep getting discouraged with my lack of readers but I’m ready to try again this year.

    • Hi Donna,

      Glad to see you’re able to get caught up on the Teacher Challenge series!

      The reason students may not be able to find your blog is that you need to share your blog URL, not your site title with them. For example, http://google.com as opposed to “Google.” I tried to find your blog with your email address, but it appears you might have registered with a different address. Would you mind sharing your blog URL so I can provide some feedback?

      Thanks,
      Dan Leeman, Edublogs Support

  39. Hi,

    I really like all of the sample blogs, most of them were already on my reader! I understand the need for advertising, but sometimes the clutter of it seems to get in the way of the message. I’m running behind on this already, but I do have a blog set up named Eagle Eyes . I feel like I’m doing something wrong because I can’t seem to get students to look at it, and then I get discouraged and by posts drop off. I’m hoping to make a better go of it this year.

    • Whoops! thought I had included the URL: sjgslmc.edublogs.org

  40. I have finally set up my own teacher blog! I am finding parts very confusing at the moment and I’m hoping the future teacher blog challenges will help!

    Check out my blog at:
    http://missashworth.edublogs.org/

    • Hi Miss Ashworth

      Your Teacher blog is coming along well! You’ve chosen a good theme. It is nice, clean and very easy to read text on. It can be confusing when you first start out so don’t hesitate to contact us for help! We are always happy to provide assistance.

      I’ve made a couple of adjustments to your widgets to help. I’ve removed the meta widget and moved the subscribe by email widget to the top of the sidebar. Hope that was okay?

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  41. I often visit The Edublogger via the internal updates on my classroom blog. I find the clear, easy instructions and links to fantastic resources very handy. Cool Cat Teacher Blog, Free Technology for Teachers and Teacher Reboot Camp all have a clean layout that is easy to navigate.

    A few months ago, after Edutech in Brisbane, educators in my small country town decided to meet for tech sessions. We are 13 hours from our closest major city but that has not stopped us from gathering and sharing our developing tech skills. I created the blog http://techbrekkiesbowen.edublogs.org to document our sessions. At the last session, we called upon our school Chaplain to show us Evernote and our SEP teacher showed us the app Prizmo. I love how these sessions use the skills of staff within schools and districts. Staff from three local school now attend our sessions.

    The theme chosen for our blog is Sixteen due to its uncluttered layout. I really like how the topics discussed in our sessions can be easily identified by the large picture boxes.

    http://techbrekkiesbowen.edublogs.org

    • I like that you use the Sixteen theme in your blog- I do to. I love the format as it is very visual. How do you go about making/acquiring images for you blog? I tend to use Canva as it allows me to mix images together.

      • Hi Technbrekkies

        The theme Sixteen has been really popular as it is a bit different and has an uncluttered look. Great to see how well your Tech Breakfast sessions are going.

        Hi Lisa

        Hadn’t thought about using Canva to create images! I’m going to have a look.

        The most common way we create images is to use Snagit for screenshots (you can download a 30 day free trial),use a free to use image source or a Creative Commons image source.

        I’ll make @techbrekkies aware of your comment so they can share how they create their images.

        Sue Waters
        Support Manager
        Edublogs | CampusPress

      • Hi Lisa,
        Thank you for your comment. The pictures I have used so far on this blog have mostly been screenshots of the app on iTunes then blended together using Pic Collage and Pic Stitch. If I need a certain picture and I can’t find one labeled for reuse then I download from shuttorstock. I haven’t heard of Canva so I will be looking into it further.

        • With Canva you can modify their images and can also create pic collages. I like altering them to suit my blog.

  42. I’m a little late to this challenge, but I finally started. I didn’t really have a favorite from the examples – I like them all! The ones I liked the best tended to be a fairly clean style, but with bold colors.

    Here is my start: http://thirdgradenerd.edublogs.org

    My posts are mostly nonsense right now, just so I could see how the themes looked with multiple posts. I’m planning to do some more customization later, probably a custom header and maybe background.

    • Hi Lisa

      Definitely not too late! We have quite a few teachers who are just starting out on the Class Challenge series.

      The theme you have chosen is a good mobile friendly theme.

      It is worth editing the tagline to change it from Another Edublogs Site. You edit the tagline in Settings > General and I use it as a way to help readers know what I blog about or what I am about. For example, my tagline is Helping educators using technology with students.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  43. This is my first attempt at using a blog – a friend helped me set it up. I intend to keep it fairly simple as I teach in a nursery and plan using it as a way of keeping parents informed and getting them more involved in their child’s education. I am in the process of getting parental permission for photos and video clips to be published. Viewing other blogs has been worthwhile but not easy to choose a favourite yet! My blog address is http://newdeernursery.edublogs.org

    • Alison Baxter
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    • Hi Alison,

      Looks like you’re off to a good start! I like the photo of Spencer Bear in the header 🙂

      You might want to consider adding a tagline to your blog, or simply deleting the “Just another Edublogs site” that appears on the header image. You can do this by going to Settings > General in your dashboard.

      Once you get an About page set up (next lesson) I’d recommend deleting the sample page that displays in your menu. You can do this under Pages > All Pages and select it to delete.

      Dan Leeman, Edublogs Support

  44. 1) I enjoyed looking at Kathleen Morris’ Primary Tech blog. I found it full of wonderful tips and tricks to setting up your own blog and all written in very easy to understand language. The setup, colours and graphics are great as well as I thought they drew the eye naturally. Cool Cat Teacher’s blog I enjoyed also as it was full of great thoughts and questions – I have bookmarked it to return to when I have a bit more time!
    2) I like websites and blogs that are clean, colourful and not too crowded. I set my blog up on the Victorian DEECD Global2 platform which is WordPress based and chose the theme Able. It is simple to look at, easy to read and fills the page – not a lot of empty space on either side of the posts! It also transfers easily to mobile devices – just in case I gain readers at some point!!…… I enjoyed setting up an image widget so I could share a book that grabbed my attention from a PD I went to with Will Richardson and of course I had to make sure to include a ClusterMap widget. I want to keep my widgets simple and easy so I don’t crowd my pages so I am leaving it simple – aside from those I plan on having Share me tags, recent posts, tags and bookmark links I like.
    3) My new professional blog is called “Teaching and Learning in Primary” and the link is http://teachingandlearning.global2.vic.edu.au/

    I look forward to continuing with these challenges – even though I am slightly behind!! 🙂

    Thanks!

    • Candice Huntly
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    • Hi Candice

      Kathleen publishes some really great posts and Vicki Davis’s blog is very popular.

      Able is a great theme choice. You can also upload a custom header image to Able if you wanted to personalize it more.

      Your blog is coming along well!

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress

  45. 1) My favorite blog from the list was “Dangerously Irrelevant,” because the layout was clean and easy to read. Too many photos, buttons, widgets, etc., tend to distract me from the content and make it difficult for me to navigate a site well. I noticed some of the sample blogs are actually more like a class website. I already have one of those and plan to use my edublogger site purely as a blog.

    2) Since I like blogs that are clean, simple, and make content easy to find, I chose a theme that seemed to fit my criteria. I also chose one that was mobile-friendly so parents and students using mobile devices at home can have an easier experience. I didn’t get into a lot of customization at this point. I will be purchasing the pro version soon in order to set up a class blog, at which point I hope I’ll be able to add the subscribers widget.

    3) Here’s my start: http://mrssheffels.edublogs.org

    • Hi Megan, I replied to your comment on the set up Class blog page but it looks like you are working through a combination of the two series. Scott McLeod “Dangerously Irrelevant” is very popular. Not sure what you mean by class website as all the examples on this post are personal educator blogs and the ones of the class blog series are pretty much more like class blogs rather than websites. The exception on this post is for the screenshots of theme customization which are of class blogs.

      Love your theme choice.

      Sue Waters
      Support Manager
      Edublogs | CampusPress