Starting your own Blog

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					  Starting your own Blog


                                 Rob Chambers
                                                                     Page Number
 Part 1 – Setting up a new Wordpress Blog                                        3

 Part 2 – Setting up the Layout / Wording of your new Blog                       3
    (i)    Changing your Password                                                4
    (ii)   Changing the wording on your blog header                              5
    (iii) Altering the style / layout of your blog                               6

 Part 3 – Writing a Blog Post
    (i)    Making a simple post                                                  8
    (ii)   Other options when making a post                                      9
    (iii) Creating a hyperlink in a blog post to link to another website         9
    (iv) Uploading materials for linking to on your blog                         10
    (v)    Linking to your resource from your blog                               12
    (vi) Adding a photograph to a blog post                                      12
    (vii) Uploading and embedding a powerpoint                                   13
           a. Creating a slideshare account                                      13
           b. Embedding slideshare powerpoint in a post                          15
    (viii) Embedding a Youtube Video in your blog post                           16

 Part 4 – Adding widgets to your side bar                                        17

 Part 5 – Creating pages for your wordpress blog                                 19

 Part 6 - Editing a page or post that you have created                           20

 Part 7 – Use of the comments function / moderation options                      21

 Part 8 – Adding authors to your blog                                            23

 Part 9 – Examples of Blogs                                                      24

 Part 10 – Follow up links related to Blogging                                   26

                       LOGGING BACK INTO YOUR BLOG
A reminder of how to log back into your blog when returning to make a post – simply
   go to and enter your username and password – you will go
  straight to your dashboard. Or alternatively, type in your blog address - scroll
 down to bottom of page and click on “Blog at” and log in with your
                             username and password.

           Please note online help pages by Wordpress can be found here

PART 1 - Setting up a new Wordpress Blog

1. Go to and click on “Start
your free WordPress Blog

2. Setting up your account details
Complete the details as seen in the screen below – remember you CANNOT
change your user name once you have selected it so think carefully – choose a
user name you will remember easily. Put in an e-mail address – you will need to
choose an e-mail address that you can access easily so that you can activate your
blog straight away. Make sure you have selected the “I have read and agree to…”
box and the “Gimme a blog” box and then click Next.

3. Deciding on your domain name
You now need to think of a domain name (e.g. for your
blog – try and think of something that is catchy and that is easy for staff and
students to remember – YOU CANNOT CHANGE THIS so choose carefully!!. You
will also be asked to give your blog a title – this can be the same as your domain if
you wish – you CAN change the title of your blog – when you have selected the
appropriate boxes – click on Signup.

4. Activating your Blog
Before you can use your blog you first need to activate your account to retrieve
your log in details. You will first of all see the following screen.

You now need to log into your e-mail account where you will find a message similar
to this one. Click on the link given to activate your blog.

5. Accessing your account details – your account will now be active and you will
see your username and password – you can change your password and you will see
how to do this later – but for now you must write down your user name and
password in a safe place!

6. Now click on Login and you will see the follow screen -
enter your username and password and click on Login.

PART 2 – Setting up the layout / wording of your new blog

Having logged in you will see your new blog straight away! You can now start
adding posts and altering the look and feel of your blog until you are happy with

You will see at the top of your blog is a toolbar – this will only be seen when you
are actually logged into your account – you MUST be logged into your account in
order to make any changes / updates to your blog.

1. Changing your password
The first thing you should do is change your password to
something that is easy to remember. To do this – click on My
Account on the tool bar and then select Edit Profile from
the list of options you are given.

You will then see the screen below – in the Update Your password box – type in
your new password twice

Whilst you are in this area you will also want to change what your name is publicly
displayed as. Everytime you make a blog post – it will state who has made this
post – this is by default your user name – which you may wish to change. In the
example above my display name is currently robcha – imagine I wanted to change

this so on my posts it read Mr C or Mr Chambers. In Nickname – type in what you
would like your name to be seen as and click on Update Profile -

                                                         Then select the drop
                                                         down box under “Display
                                                         name publicly as” – and
                                                         select the new name that
                                                         wish to be shown on all
                                                         blog posts.

                                                         Once you have down this
                                                         click on update profile

If you wish you can also add a photograph or an image to be used as an avatar
image on your blog – e.g. the school logo or a department logo (see the upload part
at the top of the page).

2. Changing the wording on your blog header
Before using your blog you will want to make sure the look of your blog is how you
want it. Let’s start by altering what is shown in the heading of your blog:
                                                          At the moment it will
                                                          have your weblog title
                                                          and a default tagline of
                                                          “Just another

To alter this – click on Options on the tool bar at the top and change either the
Weblog Title and / or the Tagline.

Click Update Options and then click on (View site) along the top of the page- you
will then see your updated blog title.

3. Altering the style / layout of your blog

There are many different templates you can use to alter the style and layout of
your blog and you can change these at any time even whilst you have started
blogging – your posts will just be fitted into the new layout.

To do this – select My
Dashboard from the toolbar
at the top (remember this
toolbar will only be present
when you are logged into your account).

From here – select Presentation

You will then be given
a whole page of
themes to choose
from. To select a
theme – simply click
on the chosen theme
and wait – at the top
it will then say New
Theme activated and
your chosen theme
will be shown as the
current theme. To
view this – select
(View Site) from the top of the toolbar. You can keep going back to this to try
out a number of different templates until you are happy with your chosen one.

       Here are four examples – showing the same blog in different themes:

                                               You can make changes to your theme at
                                               any time if you fancy a change! Some
                                               work better than others and as you
                                               develop your blog you may wish to
                                               change your theme to something which
                                               suits the content layout of your blog

 Example 1: Theme - Connections

                                                             Example 2: Theme – Andreas04

Example 3: Theme – Freshy

       You are now
       ready to start
       using your blog!

                                                   Example 4: Theme – Cutline

PART 3 – Writing a blog post

1. Making a simple post

                                              1. To write a post on your blog
                                              simply select “New Post” from the
                                              toolbar at the top of the page.

2. To write a straightforward post is very simple – simply give your post a title
and then type your post in the box provided (see below for example) – you have
simple editing tools such as Bold / Italic / Bullet points / Justification in the
toolbar provided. Once you are ready simply press Publish and your post will now
appear on your blog!

Remember a blog
shows post in
chronological order
so the most recent
post is always shown
first on your site.

Adding a post to
your blog is as
simple as that and
you can make a post
in a matter of minutes!

2. Other options when making a post

When writing a post you will see that on the right hand
side there is an options bar which enables you to make
other changes / additions to your post.

1. Categories / Taglines – you can add categories to each post
in the form of a tag. For example if I was adding a post on
climate change – I might add “Climate Change” “Global Warming”
and “Environment” as tag lines. (simply put type in the tag you
want and click add) – as you add more tags they will appear as
boxes you can just tick. As you add more to your blog – the tags
mean your blog can easily be searched and so you can call up all
posts you have made with a particular tagline – e.g. students
could access all posts on climate change. If a post is relevant to
a particular year group – you may wish to add this as your tag.

2. Discussion – we will look at the discussion / comments facility
more later – but you can at this point disable or allow comments
on a particular post by simply ticking or unticking the box (at
this stage don’t worry about pings!)

3. Password Protect – it is possible to keep a particular post
private by adding a password to it (keep it written down safe
though) – it may be that you only want students from a
particular group, or from your school to see that particular post.

 The other options on here are more advanced and you are
 unlikely to need these at the moment – if you wish to find
   out more about them you can find out what they mean
 (including pings) on these online help pages by Wordpress

3. Creating a hyperlink in a Blogpost to link across to another website

When writing a post – the beauty of a blog is that you can make links to other
sites and other resources to help students access further reading materials /
follow up particular points. To make a hyperlink – simply highlight the words you
want to be linked (see below) and click on the chain link which will appear. Add the
URL of your link
in the box that
appear and click
Insert – the
hyperlink is now

4. Uploading materials for linking to on your blog

You can also add links to your blogs which allow students to download materials
such as worksheets, powerpoints, .pdf files, photographs etc.

To do this you will first need to upload the files you wish to share to an online
storage area. The easiest way for us to do this at St Ivo is to use your Digital
Brain accounts.

To do this you will need to first login to your Digital Brain account. To make it
easy to link across to your blog once you have uploaded your materials, it is best
to first open a new window in which to upload your materials to DB.

   1. Click on File on the Browser tool bar and then select New Window
   2. Go to and then select Login from the top of the page.
   3. Login to your digital brain account.
   4. Select “View” from the toolbar and then “Folder Listing”
   5. Click on New and then select folder and Next
   6. Give your folder an appropriate name (this is where you will store all
      resources you make available through your blog) – e.g. “Blog Resources” and
      click next.
   7. Now double click on your folder to open it – it should say “Folder is empty”
      (as below)

   8. Firstly select New – and then create a new folder (using the same method
      as previously used – i.e. select New Folder and then next) – add a suitable
      name for your folder – e.g. Key Stage 3 resources, Year 8, 8Ln, Schemes of
      work etc. (you should use this to organise your resources – by key stage or
      topic area so that they are easy for you find.

9. Then select the folder you want to put your resources into by double clicking

10 . Now select Upload and using the browsing function find the resources that
you want to upload – you
can upload up to five
resources at a time – if you
don’t want them to all be in
the same folder you can
still upload them all and
then use cut and paste to
move them around within

Try uploading any 2 or 3
  of the resources you
 have bought with you –
   create appropriate
folders for them (we can
   delete these later)

 (you can upload powerpoints / games etc.. and make them easily available for students!)

11. Once you have uploaded your
resources you are ready to make the
link to them in your post. To do this
you first need to get the URL of your
resource – by right clicking over it and
selecting “Copy Link” from the options
box – you will get a message telling you
your link has been copied to your

5. Linking to your resource from your blog
   1. Return to your Blog window (by minimising your digital brain window)
   2. Start a New Post if you are not writing one already (remember select New
      Post from the top toolbar)
   3. Compose your post – where you want to make a link to a resource, make an
      appropriate statement – e.g. You can download a copy of the worksheet
      here – and follow the instructions for making links from before – i.e.
      highlight the words – select the chain link – and then paste in the URL you
      copied from digital brain – by clicking on the link URL box and then right
      clicking and select paste – finally select INSERT. When you publish your
      post this will now hyperlink across to the resource saved in your Digital
      brain account.

 (Please note it is possible to ‘protect’ a resource by forcing students to log in first before they
can download it – important if you don’t want the resource to be made public – if you want to know
 how to do this I can show you – but it is worth getting used to the basics first! Another way of
                  doing it is to simply password protect the post as shown above!)

6. Adding a photograph to a blog post

   1. Using the same instructions
      for uploading as above,
      upload a photograph file to
      your digital brain area.
   2. Copy the URL of your
      uploaded file (remember
      right click on file and select
      “copy link”)
   3. Return to your Blog post and
      select the picture button –
      then post your URL link into the Image URL box (remember right click and
      select paste) and select Insert – your image will appear in your post – you
      can justify it right or left using the edit toolbar.

7. Uploading and embedding a powerpoint

You can upload a powerpoint to your digital brain account and link to it in the same
way as shown before – however only students that have Powerpoint software on
their home computer will be able to access this. A good way of getting over this,
and to save students having to download a powerpoint you can embed the
powerpoint so it can be viewed within the blog itself (please note that animations
and embedded sounds will however not work – only the slides themselves will be
viewed). To do this you will need to get a slideshare account – once you have
registered for an account – you can upload as many presentations as you want and
simply link across to them.

i. Creating a Slideshare account

   1. Open a New Window (File – New Window on top toolbar) and go to
   2. Select Signup from the top toolbar

   3. Complete the form that appears –
      make sure you keep your
      username and password safe – it
      may help to use the same details
      as for your blog in terms of
      remembering them – it is totally
      up to you!

   4. Once you have signed up you will
      need to go to your e-mail address
      and follow the instructions to
      activate your account and get
      your login details (as you did with your wordpress account).

5. Having activated
your account – select
upload from the tool
bar and use the
browse button to find
the file that you wish
to upload to your
SlideShare account

   6. Be patient whilst your file uploads (a status bar will show you the % upload
   7. Now give your presentation and if you wish a description and tags (which
      can be used to search for it). If you wish to allow others to actually
      download the presentation you can tick the box – you DO NOT have to tick
      the box to allow students to see it – they will be able to see it regardless.
      By ticking the box you are allowing others to download the original file and
      therefore make alterations to it – so you will need to decide whether you
      are happy for this to happen.

   8. When you have done this – select Publish – you will have to then wait for
      your file to be converted – click on see current status.

   9. Double click on your powerpoint and you will be taken to a screen which
      shows your powerpoint and will look something like this

On the right hand side you will see “Embed in” – click on the link
to highlight it, then right click and select copy. You are now ready to embed your
powerpoint into a blog post.

ii. Embedding Slideshare powerpoint into blog

   Minimise your window and return to your blog – and create your new post. At
   the point in your post where you wish your powerpoint to be displayed simply
   paste in the code you have copied by right clicking and selecting paste. Once
   you have done click publish.

   10. Now select “View Site” from the top toolbar and you will see your new post
       with the powerpoint embedded – students can navigate through the
       powerpoint using the forward and backward buttons

    Remember next time you visit Slideshare you can log straight in and start
uploading straight away (you only have to register the first time you visit in order
                              to create an account)

8. Embedding a youtube video in your blog post
Although Youtube can have some ‘dodgy content’ there are an increasing number
of very useful videos on YouTube with good educational value. You can embed the
actual video you want students to watch in your blog so that students do not
actually have to visit the YouTube site.

Please be aware that you will not be able to do this in school as YouTube is a
banned site in school – any posts which contain a YouTube video embedded
will simply leave a blank space when shown in school but will work fine

To do this start by finding the YouTube video page that you wish to embed – e.g.

                                                      As an example – I have
                                                      recently embedded the
                                                      new Madonna video for the
                                                      Live Earth concerts on a
                                                      post about raising
                                                      awareness of climate

                                                      1. Copy the URL for your
                                                      chosen video – by clicking
                                                      on the URL (NOT Embed)
                                                      box and then right click,

   2. Return to your Blog Post and select where in your post you want to embed
      the YouTube video – you then need to type in the following:
                [youtube=(paste your URL here)] (with no spaces)

   3. When you have finished your post – select publish and then “View Site” –
      your YouTube video will be embedded and will be played directly from your
      blog without your students needing to visit YouTube. Remember you will not
      see YouTube videos in school – it will just show as blank in a post

 (as a side point – for those of you who wish to use YouTube videos in school as
starters etc. you can download them at home using and then
bring the file into school on a memory pen / disc.) - see me if you need help with

PART 4 – Adding widgets to your side bar

Adding a Blogroll
You can add a list of the most useful websites for your students to your side bar
by adding them to your blogroll. To do this – go to your dashboard and select

Simply click on Add Links
and then follow the
instructions to insert the
name and URL of the links
that you wish to add – you
can add as many as you like
(keep selecting Add link).

When you go back to “View
Site” – your Blogroll will
now be shown in your blog
side bar.

To add other extras to your side bar – go to your Dashboard – then select
“Presentation” and then “Widgets”

From here you will be taken to the Sidebar Arrangement page – you can then drag
and drop different widgets on to your side bar.

There are a number of extra widgets that you can add to your side bar by dragging
across a “Text” option and then copying and pasting the code from the site providing the
widget. (You can have more than one of these by increasing the number of text widgets
you have – simply scroll down the screen for this option)

Some examples include:
                  Weather Pixie -
                  Create a graphical representation showing weather from a particular
                  place – the picture will change according to the weather conditions
                  predicted (great for geography – but can add interest to any site)
                  Follow the instructions on the site – and then add the text to a text
                  widget (from the sidebar arrangement panel shown above)

            free polling tool – can
either be used in your sidebar on actually within a post – you could
set a poll homework where students have to vote in a poll to be used
as a discussion starting point in the next lesson. (select the free
polling widget option)

              - get a free tool
                       showing the geographical location of the
                       visitors to your site – can be fascinating!

You can also embed podcasts, slideshows with music etc.. – see additional handout
for these sites.

PART 5 - Creating pages for your wordpress blog

One of the benefits of Wordpress over Blogger is that you can create individual
pages, which enable you to organise your blog content more, for example by topic,
year group etc. For example, my GeoBlogBytes Blog which is my personal blog for
the classes I teach, has the blog on the front on which I post anything of general
interest – like events, details of competitions, geographical news stories etc. and
then it is divided into a series of pages in order to set homework tasks etc.

You need to remember though when you create a page that a page works in a
different way to the blog as a page simply becomes a chronological document
which you simply add to - rather than the blog which although you write it
chronologically is displayed in a reverse chronological order. You do not add
individual posts – you simply add to the page as you go (I often just underline
each post to separate them out) – see for an
example of pages in action.

To create pages in your blog – go to your Dashboard and select “Write”

Then make sure that you select the Write Page tab, rather than the Write Post
                                                      tab. You then create a
                                                      title for your page and
                                                      start adding content to
                                                      your page. When you have
                                                      added some content to
                                                      your page, click on
                                                      publish and you will see
                                                      that depending on the
                                                      blog template you are
                                                      using, your page will
                                                      either be shown as a tab
                                                      at the top of the blog
                                                      (like geoblogbytes) or as
                                                      a list in the sidebar.

PART 6 Editing a page or post that you have created

It is possible to go back and edit a post, to make changes or additions, or to edit
a page and add more content – e.g. to add the homework for a particular week for
a particular year group.

   1. Return to your dashboard (remember this will only show when you are
      logged into your blog)
   2. Click on “Manage” – by default the list of blog posts will show first – you
      have options to view, edit or delete the posts.

   3. To edit a page – simply click on the Pages tab – again a similar page will
      appear this time listing your pages and giving you the options to view, edit
      or delete.

PART 7 – Use of the Comments function / Moderation Options

The comments function of the blog can be really useful – both for dialogue
between staff and students, but also for dialogue between students.

I have tried using the
comments function with
my Year 13 students
over the exam period
and over their period of
study leave (obviously
you don’t have to check
or comment in your own
time if you don’t wish to
– you can choose when
you do so – you are
alerted by e-mail that
someone has added a

This was very successful and well received by Year 13 – as can be seen from some
of the feedback comments they gave (above).

You can see some of the dialogue which currently is still on GeoBlogBytes (until I
clear it ready for the new year) on

The comments function has great potential across many subjects and for many
different purposes e.g:
         • languages – encouraging dialogue in a particular language
         • question / answer during revision time
         • posting point of views on a posted discussion point (could then be
            used as a starter for a following lesson)
         • generating ideas for answering an exam question by students
            contributing towards developing a good answer
         • feedback on a piece of literature / poem read etc.

Use / Moderation of Comments

As the blogs are public and therefore anybody can comment (not just our
students – unless it is a password protected post) we need to think about our
moderation of comments.

The default for comments is that there is NO moderation and that anyone can
comment and that comments will show immediately!

We therefore need to set our conditions for moderation of comments on our blog
using the following method.
From your dashboard, select “Options” and then “Discussion”

You will then be able to set the appropriate setting for you with regards to
comments – to start with you may wish to approve all comments before they are
posted – although this may depend on which group you intend to use it. Other options
include contributors having to either have filled out a name and email (this is not
shown on screen and is only visible by you) and / or contributors having to have had a
previously approved comment before comments will appear straight away. You can
also add words to the comment blacklist to ensure posts containing certain words do
not appear.
You probably need to have an “appropriate use” discussion with the students you are
aiming at using it – and I’m sure you will find that 99% of the time there are no
issues. As anyone can contribute (members of the public included) – by setting the
moderation conditions to e-mail you – you can also avoid any issues and only allow
appropriate comments.

For more details on the moderation of comments see these online help pages from

PART 8 - Adding Authors to your blog

You can assign different roles to users of your blog – Administrator (can do
everything), Editor (see link below), Author (can edit, post and upload files and
delete own posts) and Contributor (can edit but can’t publish posts). For full
details of the roles and the rights they have see this link

To set rights for this you need to go to Users and then Authors and Users – to
be add people as administrators, editors, contributors or authors they will need
to have either a account or a user name.

For example – to allow fellow staff in the department to contribute to the blog –
if they also have a blog – you can simply add the user from community using the
form on the page shown above, or if the member of staff doesn’t have a blog and
doesn’t want one they can go to - and simply select
– “Just a user name please” – they can then signup simply for a username with
which you can then add them.

In this way you could therefore add trustworthy students as authors or
contributors (check carefully though on the rights you are assigning them). For
larger groups you could stick with just the comments function, whilst for small
groups, e.g. a lunchtime club or reading group you could get them actively involved
in contributing to the blog!

Part 9 Examples of Subject Specific Blogs

GeoBlogBytes (St Ivo) –
GeoBytesGCSE (St Ivo) –
GeoBytes Coursework (St Ivo) –
Geobytes Advanced Extension (St Ivo) –
Gorgeous Geography
Pilot GCSE (Tony Cassidy) -
Geography and all that Jazz (Alan Parkinson) -
The Higher Geog (Val Vannet) -
Geography: My Place and Yours (Val Vannet) -
Geography Schemes of Work -
Geog Animations

ICT Blog
ICT at Shrewsbury High School
Lacon Childe ICT Weblog
Thomas Adams ICT Blog

MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGES - Joe Dale – inspirational blog – looks at
practical tips and advice on using ICT to enhance the teaching and learning of
Two Stars and a Wish – French Department Blog – nodehillfrench
Spectacular Spanish and Fabulous French
MFL@Northgate – The Blog
Edgehill College Spanish Blog
A ship in the country

ENGLISH - students studying Anne Frank part
of a literature circle – having discussed and debated points from different
perspectives – results here.
GWS English Faculty
Meole Brace English
St Mary’s High – English

                                                                                 26. - Blog run by an English Teacher for his students - with this blog- the teacher controls it and
students contribute – they can have their own logins and blogs as part of the
class blog
Great English Work – Ramblings of an English Teacher
Fernhill Book Worm Site

The History Blog
Mr H’s History Revision Blog
Nodehill History

GCSE Maths
Ms Caven’s Maths Blog
Mr Allan’s Maths Blog
Mr Thompson’s Maths Blog

Thomas Adams Music Department -
Norwell High School Music Department -

NKS Science Blog
Woodchurch Science

Believe it or not – Nodehill RE -

Part 10 Blogging – Background Reading and Links

    Blogging Links

   Although they lack the flexibility and adaptability of a website – a starting point for
   establishing a presence on the internet, or indeed a useful addition to complement a
website is the creation of a blog.

There are many useful resources on blogging – here’s some to get you started: See in
particular – which includes an
excellent presentation on Blogs, Wikis and Podcasts given by Dave Raynor and Val Vannet
at the recent GA Conference.

Blogging Articles
•   All about Blogs (LT Scotland)
•   Blogs make Links Easy (based on experimentation by Musselburgh Grammar School on
    the use of Blogs) Quick guide – Blogs and Blogging
•   Revise ICT site -
•   Writing the Web – case study of a primary school in Scotland with a School Blog (LT
    Scotland – Connected magazine)
•   Further examples of Class and School Blogs

Blogging Tools

•   Blogger - For more details see – Blogger – The
    Amazing Website Machine -
    also there is a useful tutorial for starting up a blog on blogger on Andrew Field’s
•   Word Press
•   Live Journal
•   My Blog Site
•   Xanga
•   Windows Live Spaces

Blogs – Adding Content / Widgets

Clustr Maps (mapping visitors) -
Amazing Counters (counter) –
Slideshare (upload and share powerpoints) -

Rock You (photosharing / online photo show-
Vizu (Web polls)
4Shared - Online File Storage -
Weather Pixie (graph showing weather around the world)
Scribd (putting word documents online)
Embedding mp3s


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