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To Blog or Not To Blog

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					                                     TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG

                              USING WEBLOGS IN THE CLASSROOM

Statement of Purpose:

Goal 1: Improve Student Performance in Region 2

Objective 1: TAKS performance within the region is moving toward or exceeding the state performance
scores for all students and all student groups in the state and federal accountability systems.

Reading/Ela scores will increase for all students from 81% toward state score of 83%

Social Studies scores will increase for all students from 84% toward state score of 88%

Science scores will increase for all students from 60% toward state score of 66%

Writing scores will increase for all students from 81% toward state score of 83%




SLIDE ONE – TITLE SLIDE

SLIDE TWO – A TRUISM

Have you ever felt like this? Like you were drinking through a fire hose? So my question for you is this…
why would you want to take on one more task? Why would you want to go to the trouble of spending the
time to set up a blog for you and your students, teach them how to use it, and then begin using it in your
classroom? Don’t you already have enough to do? Aren’t you already overwhelmed? Haven’t you already
petitioned your principle to add at least 4 hours to the existing 24 just so you can stay caught up?

And yet, here you are at this workshop, presumably trying to learn another skill that you are going to add
to your already overflowing plate. Why would you do that? Why would anybody do that?

The answer is because you care… because you are teachers… and for some reason (maybe you read about
blogging or heard another teacher talk about blogging) you think that blogging might help your students
become better writers… or better readers… or better SOMETHING.

If that is why you are here I want you to know that you are in the right place and you came with the best
of motivations. And I believe, based on the research I did preparing for this workshop, that you won’t be
disappointed, that making the investment in time and effort to learn and implement blogging in your
classroom will yield results in your students in ways that you may not even be able to imagine yet.

So, with that in mind, let’s turn on the water hose.


SLIDE THREE - WHAT IS A BLOG?
So what exactly is a blog and why is everybody so excited about them? (Some are excited about the
potential and some are excited about the potential problems.) It has been very interested to see people,
superintendents, technology directors, and teachers, respond when I suggest that maybe they should
consider having a blogging workshop for their teachers this year. Some have been genuinely intrigued
while others have gotten this horrified look on their faces and would not even consider it. Let’s spend a
few minutes talking about what a blog is and maybe what it isn’t. I am going to focus the discussion here
on definitions and explanations that apply to using blogs in your school.


        FIRST EXPLOSION – (A WRITING TOOL THAT SUPPORTS PRACTICING WRITERS
        AND PREVIOUS NON-WRITERS )

        So a blog is a tool. Hmm. That’s interesting. Could we say that a blog is an instructional tool or a
        teaching tool? If I told you that anecdotal evidence suggests that students really enjoy writing on
        blogs, would you then agree that it could be a useful teaching tool? If I told you that students
        tend to divide their lives into two separate, distinct sections (the fun section and the boring
        section) and that blogging is definitely part of the fun section and that you could pull a piece of
        that fun section into your science or language arts or history class, would you then agree that
        blogging might really be a powerful tool for getting students to write?


        SECOND EXPLOSION – TRUNCATED FORM….

        This is more along the lines of a definition. Blog is a shortened version of the term Web Log.
        Think about that for a minute. It is a log (record) of something that is on the Web, something you
        and/or your students (who will be known as bloggers when you start using blogs) put on the web
        in your blog. And the way that you will put this stuff on a webpage is by writing it. I included this
        here because sometimes you will see blogs referred to as Weblogs or Web Logs. Those terms are
        all interchangeable.


        THIRD EXPLOSION

        Again, a place to write. But this idea takes it possibly a little farther. It is a place for students to
        write about anything that interests them. There is some thought out there in academia that
        students are not really blogging unless they are writing about something that they want to write
        about it. And there are those that think that it is a good thing to allow students to do this in the
        context of school because it will promote writing (and with a blog, even reading and thoughtful
        commentary and constructive criticism). According to these proponents, writing about anything
        is better than writing about nothing and will tend to make student life long writers. I am not
        necessarily a proponent of limiting blogging to this type of writing. The other side of this
        instructional blogging coin is to make definite, precise writing assignments to be completed on a
        blog and grade them once they are complete. Make it something rigid. Enforce strict rules. Make
        it… like… well…make it like school work!!! YUK!!!!! I am not a proponent of limiting blogging to
        this type of writing either.

        There is a happy medium between those two extremes, a balancing point, if you will, where you
        encourage students to write about things that interest them and also give writing assignments
and somehow try to communicate to their differently wired brain that writing is fun and enjoying
and useful.

I would like for you to take a few minutes to go to

http://dekita.org/articles/classroom-blogging-two-fundamental-approaches

and read this article. You can skip the first paragraph if you like, but really read the rest of the
article. (The link can be found at http://chris.esc2.net/blogging)


FOURTH EXPLOSION

This seems to be back tracking a little bit. Didn’t we already talk about this? What I want to
emphasize here is that a blog is a place on the WEB for publishing student writing. Actually, it is
even simpler than that. It is a place on the WEB to which students can write directly. One person
called it a piece of blank digital paper. And here is the cool thing about that. When a student is
writing in a blog he is writing for a much larger audience an audience of one (you the teacher).
They are potentially writing for an audience of millions or billions. Realistically, their audience
has the potential to reach a lot of people and students know that when they are blogging.
Researchers tell us that when students are writing for publication they tend to use better
grammar. Better spelling, and write more complex sentences. Empirical evidence suggests that
they are also more engaged in both the topic and the writing process when they are writing for a
larger audience, especially when it is an audience of their peers.


FIFTH EXPLOSION

Have you ever used journaling in your classroom? Blogging can be very similar to journaling but I
think, based on what I have seen on the web that you will find that students are much more
intrinsically motivated to do journaling when it is in a blog. Remember, blogs are part of your
students “fun” life as opposed to the boring school. (OK, I know that you are not boring teachers.
I doubt if you would be here if you were. But how many of your students ever get bored in your
classroom? Maybe blogging will help reach them too.)


SIXTH EXPLOSION

How many times have you heard school administrator harp on parent communication? (Oh wait
a minute. I want to take that back until I find out if there are any administrators in the room?
Yes? There are? Then the question should read “How many times have you heard administrators
extol the virtues of communication with parents and the community at large?) During my
preparation of this workshop I saw many excellent examples of teachers using blogs as a
communication tool to communicate with parents. Just image being able to easily post (can you
say “copy and paste”) your homework assignments on the web, or publishing the curriculum
outline for the next 6 weeks session, or posting homework help, and the list goes on and on. It is
only limited by your imagination and your need to communicate. I even saw one blog where
students were asked (required?) to write a short, daily reflection on what went on at school
today. Imagine that. Students (especially Junior High students) communicating (ostensibly with
      parents) about what went on at school today… what he learned… experiences he had. I thought
      that was a really cool idea. And guess what. It got students involved in writing!


      SEVENTH EXPLOSION

       The piece that I want to emphasize here is the fact that it is easy. Really, it is so easy that you are
      going to set up your very own blog today and do some posting before you go home. And that will
      be your blog… your very own blog… and you can do with it what you want after you leave today.
      It is far easier than learning FrontPage or Dreamweaver and creating your own website from
      scratch. You don’t need any special tools or special skills. All you need is a blog (most of which
      are available for free), a computer, a web browser, and a keyboard. It is sooooooo easy.


      EIGHTH EXPLOSION

      I really like this statement. It sums up many of the other ideas that we have mentioned on this
      slide. Think about the statement that blog have the potential to enhance writing and literacy
      skills. How are your students performing on the TAKS in writing and reading?


SLIDE FOUR – WHY BOTHER BLOGGING

     We have already talked about this a little. If you were to take a survey of all the students in your
      school that have internet access at home, what percentage of them do you think have a blog that
      they are using on a regular basis. I don’t have any figures on that question, but I am quite certain
      that the percentage would be very high. Just look at the extreme popularity of sites like MySpace
      and MyFace. Those who aren’t currently blogging more than likely wish they could.
      So, with that in mind, why not bring a part of your student’s “fun” life into the “boring” part of
      their life and spice it up a bit. Maybe, just maybe, you will reach out and touch a student and
      create a true, honest to goodness writer, communicator, and who knows what else.

     Students are motivated to blog because this type of writing is actually fun for them. Many have
      observed that often times, when they begin blogging with their students, they find that some of
      those students who lack writing skills and who are unmotivated to acquire those skills become
      very motivated to acquire, improve, and sharpen those skills because of their blog. Another thing
      that motivates students is the fact that they are being published on the web. Their writing, their
      research, their thoughts, their reflections are being published. They are becoming an author.
      Blogs also allow others to respond to what your students write, providing real feedback from
      peers, teachers, and possibly many others.

      Students don't tend to write unless they have to. Blogs are one way to change that. Asking
      students to keep a blog gets them in the habit of writing regularly; what's more, it gets them in
      the habit of writing regularly in the kind of electronic environments they'll be asked to work in
      outside the classroom.

      Those who know best (teachers) have made the following random observations…

          o    Even when they're out sick, students work on their blogs.
        o    I've got 6th graders coming in during their lunch and after school to add articles to their
             blog and to respond to their classmates' articles

        o    My students are floored when, as they say, "some random person from Texas
             commented on my blog!!" The students are getting real world experience with writing.

        o    Why would my students want to write on paper for their teacher to see, when they
             could write on their blog for the whole world to see.

        o    In fifteen years of teaching, I have never seen anything come along even CLOSE to
             motivating students to write - like blogging does.

    So, why should you use blogging in your classroom? Because it is a great motivator.

   This is an interesting thought, that blogging represents a “democratization of information
    dissemination.” But what does that mean and why should it motivate you to use blogging?
    Blogging provides each student with an opportunity that has never been available in the
    classroom. Your students actually have the ability to present their thoughts and opinions on any
    topic (of their choosing or your choosing or a combination of both) to an audience that far
    exceeds anything any other generation of students has had access to. As they blog you, the wise
    guide on the side, will help them develop and hone communication skills that enables them to
    present clear argument and support their opinions and thoughts, all the while developing writing
    skills that will enable them to perform well on the TAKS test. And many of them will enjoy doing
    it!!

   Blogging allows other students to see what their classmates have written in response to the
    assignments. This solidifies classroom community and implicitly creates collaborative learning.
    Blogs with a commenting feature allow you and other students to respond to journal postings,
    which only enhances the kinds of collaboration possible.

    Another thing that makes a difference with blogs is that the students are amazed when they
    realize that someone outside the classroom cares about what they are writing. It makes quite a
    difference.

    Many blog services allow multiple authors to contribute to a blog. Several students can work
    together on a blog centered on a single topic or assignment. Using a blog extends the
    collaborative space outside the classroom, allowing students to work together across time and
    space. At the same time, the blog records the process of collaboration, allowing teachers to
    observe, comment, and intervene as needed while allowing students to reflect on the process at
    the end of the assignment.
    (http://www.bgsu.edu/cconline/barrios/blogs/write/index.html)

   Students who know they have an audience other than their teacher write more credibly,
    accurately, and carefully. This is important on so many levels, including, but not limited to the
    TAKS test. Writing will continue to be a core skill for all students, because some information is
    simply communicated most effectively in text. However, other information might best be
    expressed using pictures, sound, animation, or video. Students must master a range of practical
    and technical skills involved in expressing ideas effectively and compellingly.
             o    Students must learn not only the mechanics of writing, but how to use text to
                  communicate knowledge and ideas more efficiently than ever. Blogs are a perfect place
                  to develop these skills.

             o    Students must also learn to match their message with the medium that best
                  communicates it, and then use the appropriate tools to create and or modify it in order
                  to attract the attention of an audience. (The TEKS actually say this in slightly different
                  language). If students only write on paper, they will never be able to develop these
                  kinds of skills. On a blog you can include all manner of multimedia elements to enhance
                  communication.


SLIDE FIVE – WHY BOTHER BLOGGING

        More than any other type of web presence, blogs are easy to create and maintain. You don’t
         need any special skills or any expensive tools. All you need is a computer connected to the
         internet and a computer with a browser. That’s it. If you can type (and even if you can’t type very
         well) you can blog.

        This bullet may be self evident, but I wanted to mention it anyway. Blogging as a writing genre
         (yes, it is quickly becoming a new writing genre) holds a great promise of developing all kinds of
         critical thinking skills and literacy skills in addition to the obvious writing skills. This alone, if there
         were no other benefit, would be reason enough to begin blogging with your students.

        So what is unique about the opportunities that blogging offers? Blogging, offers students a
         chance to…

             o    reflect on what they are writing and thinking as they write and think it

             o    carry on writing about a topic over a sustained period of time, maybe even a lifetime

             o    engage readers and audience in a sustained conversation that then leads to further
                  writing and thinking.

        …they have something to say
         …they have an authentic audience
         …they get feedback (Jeff Golub)
         And what offers all three of these things all the time? Blogging.

        Imagine that. Students writing when they want to because they want to. Or think about it like
         this… students practicing for the TAKS test when they want to because they want to. Is this real
         or is it Memorex? Well, many think it is real. It has become real in many classrooms across
         America. Whether it becomes a reality in your classroom is, in large part, up to you.


SLIDE 6 – IDEAS FOR USING BLOGGING

Now we get the meat and potatoes of this part of the workshop. By now, hopefully you have a fairly
decent idea of what a blog is and you are at least giving serious thought to the idea that you should start
using blogging in your classroom because it really could help your students in ways that you had never
thought of before. You have probably even (again hopefully) thought of some ways that you might be able
to effectively use blogging in your classroom to enhance learning.

Over the course of the next few slides I am going to give you some more ideas. These are not my ideas
(well, actually, a couple of them are my ideas). Most of these ideas come from teachers who are actually
using blogs in these ways. But I think one of the best ways to get some ideas is to spend some time
looking at some blogs. Go to http://chris.esc2.net/blogging and find the heading Sample      Blogs To
Explore. Take a look at a few of these blogs (at least three) in the next few minutes and then we will
talk about some ideas for using blogs in your classroom


SLIDE 7 – IDEAS

       Does that sound “TAKSish” to you? You could add a post to your blog with a writing prompt and
        have the students to a TAKS–like writing assignment using the comment feature in your blog. You
        could also post the prompt on your blog and have the students complete the writing assignment
        in their student blog.

       Chapter summaries. Hmm. That sounds somewhat boring, doesn’t it? Students have to read a
        chapter in the text book (or any other assigned reading) and summarize (high yield strategy) the
        chapter on their blog. Again, that seems pretty boring. But remember that when students are
        writing on their blog they are writing for a much wider audience than just you. That alone will
        make a difference in the quality of work that many students produce.

        But let’s take this assignment one step farther. As a part of the assignment, require students to
        go to other students’ summaries, read them, and provide constructive criticism (with strict
        guidelines and instructions from the teacher, of course). Now that begins to bring in the whole
        dynamic of collaboration, which, as we know, is a high yield strategy.

       Other Writing Assignments. This kind of builds on the chapter summaries idea. Almost any
        writing assignment that you can think of can be done on a blog, especially if students have their
        own blog. Think of the papers that students write in science and social studies. Students could
        post those writing assignments on their blog (wide audience) and comment on other students’
        writing as part of the assignment and grade for that assignment. If you are a SS or Science
        teacher, you may even be able to involve LA teachers in the writing. It is so easy to make this
        cross- curricular.

       I might even undertake a project where students in higher grades mentor my lower grade writers
        via their blog. That is going to help both the upper grade students as well as my lower grade
        students.

       Some schools (teachers) are even soliciting professional writers to edit their student blog and
        provide some mentoring on writing. This could happen with writing as well as any content area
        such as science or math or social studies.

       Collaborative research project
        We know that collaborative learning is a high yield strategy. Blogs would be a useful addition to
    any research writing project or course, particularly as students turn increasingly to the web to
    perform their research. Students can use the blog to record their reflections on various sources,
    sketch out their emerging arguments, or point to links that relate to their topic. The visibility of
    blogs records this research process for evaluation, comment, and review.
    (http://www.bgsu.edu/cconline/barrios/blogs/write/index.html)

   Students can use their own blogs or the commenting feature of a teacher blog to reflect on read
    assignments or classroom discussions. They can share classroom experiences or do a daily
    reflection of the day’s activities in your classroom. This type of blogging activity is useful for
    writing, but can also serve to a window into you classroom for parents. And of course, anything
    that we can do to get parents more involved and more informed about the goings on in our
    classrooms is a good thing. Parents could even use these reflections as a discussion starter at the
    dinner table, if they are so inclined.

   Journaling. We have already mentioned this… sort of. If your course lends itself to journaling, you
    can use a blog for this activity. An English teacher might give writing prompts for different types
    of writing and require students to add an entry every day. A science teacher might have students
    write about the day’s lesson, demonstrating that they understood the key points. Or, you could
    just have students write about anything that interests them. They might be interested in a
    particular rock band or the Dallas Cowboys. Some might have an investigative nature and do
    some “investigative reporting” on their blog. Some might dream about traveling to far away
    places. The possibilities are pretty endless here and the important thing is that they are thinking
    and they are writing. And one of the nice things about this is that it can happen any time form
    anywhere that the student can connect to the internet… in the library in the morning before
    class, at home after dinner, or at midnight while they are sitting at their computer in their
    pajamas.

   Reactions. You can post thought provoking questions, questions that don’t have a yes/no answer
    and have students record (translate that “write”) their reactions to the question. This could be in
    preparation for the next day’s lesson or an after lesson assignment that leads to better
    understand of the topic or verifies that the students “got it.” They could express their opinions
    on topics you are studying in class. (On this one you would probably want to make it illegal to use
    the word “boring.) You could a “Daily News” journal where students write comments, opinions,
    and/or questions about daily news items or even issues of interest.

   In-Class Discussion Done Out of Class… Huh?
    Post a discussion question each week on your blog and have students debate it in the comments.
    There can be some real critical thinking skills development going on here if you write good
    questions. Plus, you will be able to monitor student participation (translate that grade) much
    more easily and fairly than if you were doing this as an in-class discussion (the old fashioned
    type). Both you and the students themselves will be able to go back and look at how their
    thinking, debating, and writing skills have developed over the course of the year.

   Class Webpage/Website
    As I mentioned earlier, there are no special programming or web authoring skills needed to
    create a blog. All you really need is a browser. So you could use your blog for you class website,
    posting important, relevant information in addition to the assignment type things mentioned
        above. You could post announcements, homework assignments (not just blogging assignments,
        but any kind of homework assignment), parent communication, examples of class work,
        vocabulary and spelling word, homework helping hints for parents, Internet resources for specific
        units with annotated links, show cases of student work, a class newsletter using student-written
        articles and photos they take, calendars, events, class activities, reminders, notices, course
        outlines, testing dates, class syllabi, and any other pertinent class information. In short (oh wait,
        it is too late for that) you can put anything in your blog that you would put on a full-blown
        website, but you can do it with almost no special skills. That is one of the really beautiful things
        about blogging. It is simple and easy. If you can surf the net and type, you can do blogging.

       Make It Personal
        I know I have already mentioned this, but I wanted to emphasize it because I think it is
        important. Some people believe that for a blog to really be a blog it must be personal. That is, I
        must be allowed to write about the things that interest me and interact on other bloggers’ blogs
        that interest me. So why not just create student blogs and let them write! Let them choose the
        topics. Let them be the content creators. But let them write. You can have requirements for how
        much they must write during the course of the year (one article per week or whatever is
        appropriate for your students) but it is entirely upon them to choose the topic. You might have a
        suggested category or two for each week for those who might struggle to think of something to
        write about, but let them write. You can even create a rubric to provide guidelines for their
        creativity and a way to assign grades if you need to do that.

        Maybe they are interested in the latest rock band. Let them write about that band or the latest
        fad in tennis shoes or the football game last week. Whatever it is that interests them, let them
        write. That is the true essence of blogging.


SLIDE 9 – WHAT ABOUT GRADES?

This is always an issue with teachers; as well it should be, if you ask me. Everyone wants (needs) to know
how to grade such open ended assignments such as a “free style, write what you want to write about”
blogging. Or, to use a bit more “educationese,” how do you take a qualitative-based activity like a blog
and turn it into a quantitative grade? The obvious answer is with a well thought out rubric. You may have
some other ideas and if you do, I would really be interested in hearing about them or seeing them. But for
today I would like you to take a look at some samples of some rubrics for blogging. Go to
http://chris.esc2.net/blogging and find the heading for Blogging Rubrics. Take a look at a few of these and
let me know what you think.


SLIDE 10 – BLOGGING DO’S AND DON’TS

The risks of blogging are real and you should be aware of them before you begin blogging with your
students. I hope that by now you would agree that the rewards are worth the risk. There are some
suggestions on these next few slides that may help you be successful and reap the benefits of blogging
with your students while mitigating the risks.
HANDS ON

  1.   Sign up for an edublogs blog or log in to your existing one.

  2.   The Dashboard contains links to all the features, all the stuff you will want to do with your blog.

           a.   Links across top of page (Write, Manage, etc) are the main navigation

           b.   Each main navigation item reveals a set of sublinks. (Click on Write and take note of the
                three options)

           c.   There is also a link to Write A New Page and Write a New Post (explain the difference)

           d.   You will be able to see how much space you have used and how much is left.

           e.   Also take not of the Getting Started with Edublogs section. This is a “Quick Link” type
                feature that links to the same features that the nav bar at the top links to.

  3.   The Write link (at the top) is where you will create all the content. You can…

           a.   Add a title

           b.   Add content

           c.   Tags are optional but they are a great way to organize your site.

           d.   There is a difference between Save and Publish. Save let’s you come back latter and
                work on the page but no one can see it yet. Publish makes it visible to the world.

           e.   Take note of the formatting options on the toolbar. You can easily make text bold, add
                bulleted or numbered lists, add images and other media, and even do a spell check.

                     i. If you want to link to an image on another website using the shortcut button on
                        the standard toolbar.

                     ii. If you want to add an image, a movie file, an audio file, or any other file such as
                         PowerPoint, Word, or Excel, use the Add Media toolbar.

           f.   At my blog (chrislharris.edublog.org) you will find a category (I will define that latter)
                named “Blogging Workshop.” Find the one named “Volcanos” and complete the
                assignment as your first post. I will give you a few minutes to complete the assignment
                and I will help you if you need help.

           g.   Publish the page and then right click on the “Visit Site” button at the top of the page.
                Choose “Open In New Window” (or new tab)

  4.   Now let’s create a page and publish it. You will see that creating a page is the same as creating a
       post. I want to emphasize that only difference between a post and a page is that a page is static
       and the posts page (the home page of your blog) is updated every time you create a new post.
         a.   Create an about me page that shares a bit of information about you that people coming
              to you blog might find interesting.

5.   Create a link. Links will show up in the side bar of your site. You may have to add a widget for
     them to show up. (A widget is a program that adds some feature or functionality to your blog.)

         a.   To add a widget go to Design and then click on widgets

         b.   If there is an Add link next to the widget’s name, it has not been added to your blog. To
              add it, click on that link.

         c.   You will see a list of widgets that have been added on the right hand side of the page.
              You can change their order by clicking and dragging. Add links, archives, and pages. And
              click Save Changes.

6.   Click on the Manage link. This is the place that you can come to manage all the stuff that you put
     in your blog.

         a.   Posts – From here you can edit or delete a post, a page, a link

         b.   You can add Categories. Categories are filters. So if I have a category called “Freshman
              English” and I have assigned that category to 13 of my 21 posts, my users can easily
              filter the posts to see only posts in the Freshman English category. This may require
              adding another widget to your site.

         c.   You can add and remove tags from this area also. Think of tags as “subfilters.” You
              usually only add a post to one category (although you can add more than one category if
              you choose). You can add many tags and should often do so. Maybe I have a category
              for Senior English. I can create tags for Shakespeare, Assignments, Romeo and Juliet,
              etc. Now my users can view all posts related to Senior English, or just view posts related
              to Romeo and Juliet. Tags are also used by the Google of Blogs search engine called
              Technorati. So if you use a tag “Shakespeare” and I search Technorati, there is a chance
              that I will find your post.

         d.   The Media Library link will reveal all the files that you have uploaded.

7.   The Design link is where you can change the look and feel of your site.

         a.   Click on the Themes link. To change the theme of your blog, simply click on the one that
              you like. It is really that easy.

         b.   The Widgets link opens a window that contains all the widgets that are available.
              Widgets can be placed in more than one location in some templates. In the one that I
              am using I only have one sidebar so that is my only option in the dropdown on the right
              hand side of the page. Add one and go look at your page to see the effect. These can
              add some really nice functionality to your site.

         c.   The Custom Image Header allows you to customize your look and feel by changing the
              image at the top of the page.
8.   Comments – On my blog (chrislharris.edublogs.org) you will find a category named “Blogging
     Workshop.” There are four posts in that category that contain assignments for you to complete.

         a.   Find the assignment called “Pumpkin Poem.” This assignment deals with posting
              comments. Complete this assignment and then we will talk about comments.

         b.   In the Manage – Comments section of edublogs you can do all the things that you need
              to do to manage comments, including delete them, mark them as spam, and
              “unapproved” them which will leave them in your blog but make them not show up in
              the comments section of the post. It has the effect of making them invisible.

         c.   While we are talking about comments let’s go take a look at some settings related to
              comments. Click on Settings and then click on Discussion

         d.   Notice the third checkbox in the “Default article settings.” You can allow people to post
              comments or uncheck that box and no one will be able to post comments.

         e.   In the next section you can tell Edublogs to email you whenever someone posts a
              comment or when a comment is being held for moderation.

         f.   The next section gives you some control on when and which comments appear

         g.   The Comment moderation area gives you the ability to require approval from you
              before a comment appears based on content or where it came from.

         h.   The Comment Blacklist gives you the ability to automatically mark comments as spam if
              they contain certain words or other content.

         i.   Now open any post (Manage-Post) and scroll down to the bottom. Click on “Comments
              & Pings. Notice that you can “turn off” commenting for any individual article.

         j.   And while we are talking about control, take a look at “Password Protect This Post.”

9.   Go back to Settings

         a.   General – The most significant item here is Membership. If I am not mistaken this means
              that before a person can comment on any post or page, they must have an edublog
              account and log in. That might be something to think about for a school or class blog but
              it does have some drawbacks.

         b.   Writing – You can change the size of the post box and choose to convert emoticons. This
              is pretty much fluff stuff.

         c.   Reading.- Here you can choose whether the home page of you blog is the page that
              contains all the latest posts or one on the static pages that you have created. You might
              choose the static page option if you are going to use this blog as your primary website.

10. Plugins – this link allows you to add more functionality to your site. The only one that is not
    somewhat geekish is the Widget Pack. Click on it then return to Design-Widgets and see what
    this plugin adds.
    11. Users – In this section you can control who can do what in your blog by assigning roles to users.

            a.    There are five types of users and each type has a set of capabilities associated with it.

                       i. Administrator - Somebody who has access to all the administration features

                      ii. Editor - Somebody who can publish posts, manage posts as well as manage
                          other people's posts, etc

                     iii. Author - Somebody who can publish and manage their own posts

                     iv. Contributor - Somebody who can write and manage their posts but not publish
                         posts

                      v. Subscriber - Somebody who can read comments/comment/receive news
                         letters, etc.

            b.   Your Profile – This is some basic stuff about your identity on the blog. Some of it is
                 changeable and some of it is not. Take note that you can change your password here.

            c.   The Blog and User Creator allows you to create blogs in batches, for students or
                 colleagues, for example.

            d.   The Add User page lets you add users and choose a role for them. Email is required.

            e.   The Authors and Users page allows you to manage all the users that have been added to
                 your site.

BLOG PLAY

If time permits, complete the other two assignments (Mt. McKinley and Political Cartoons) found on my
blog. These assignments involve finding pictures and writing posts with images.

				
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