Tasmanian Blogs

Giving a helping hand

Has your class or school thought of giving a helping hand to Dunalley Primary School which burnt down during the January bushfires this year?

Have a look at this video put together by Triabunna District High School. Maybe your class could sponsor some of the students on their exciting bike ride from Triabunna to Dunalley.

Check out more about the Bunna Bash at their education department website.

Mrs Westthorp has a grade 4/5 at Dunalley and they have their own class blog started this year. Visit them and also their school facebook page run by parents I think.

Do you think all schools should have a sponsored child or some form of community volunteering as part of their classroom programs?

Creating slideshows

I notice a few teachers have started creating slideshows on their blogs. There are a few websites that you could use.

Slideshare – will convert powerpoints to slides you can embed on your blog. But remember every image and sound in the slideshare has to be creative commons or taken by you, the teacher or student.

Photopeach allows you to add words at the bottom of each image so great for storytelling. Check out this grade 2 story about a sign in the forest. There is an educational version but costs $9 US per month. I have only ever used the free version.

Animoto is the one I would recommend for teachers and students. Teachers need to join first then apply for the education version. They are then given a special code which students can use. The teacher then sees the animotos created by the students and can delete them if not made correctly. Again all images and sound used in the animoto must be creative commons. Using the free version only allows 32 seconds video play but the educational version is a lot longer.

Adding Animoto to your blog post

1. I always suggest writing the post first including saving it as a draft before you try adding the Animoto. Remember to include the category and tags before saving.

2. Once you have created your Animoto, you will see some symbols beside the video you have created.

3. Click on the more button.

4. Now click on the embedded video tab and then the blue button copy to clipboard.

5. Final step is to add your animoto to your blog post. Do this by opening your draft post, click on the HTML tab, then paste in the code that you had copied to the clipboard – just press CTRL V. You can add it at the beginning of the post or at the end after the    which is code for enter a new line  Now press publish and your Animoto will appear in the actual post.

Using plugins

You may have noticed when you have your dashboard open, that there is a section down the side called ‘Plugins’.

You may ask what is a plugin?

A plugin extends the way you can use your blog. It might be a form to add to posts, some extra widgets for the sidebar, an easy way to add images to posts – all these are done by activating a particular plugin. Here are some posts to read about activating plugins and an overview of those available on your blogs (instructions included).

There are some plugins I would recommend you have for your blogs. These are in alphabetical order but compfight is a necessity I feel.

Compfight – easy way to add creative commons images to your blog posts. Make sure you have the settings correct. This is how I have them set for this blog. Here is a post I wrote for the student blogging challenge which gives instructions on using the compfight plugin.

WP cumulus is an interesting way to show the tags or categories on your blog as if they are floating on a cloud.

Contact form allows parents or visitors to send an email to you through your blog. Might be handy on a page called  ‘Contact Us”.

DOGO content widget allows book reviews, movie reviews etc from DOGO site.

Footnotes would be great for those students in the Big Picture program to give references in their blog posts. Could also be used with younger students teaching them about referencing any posts they write after they have researched a topic.

Google maps if you want to include a map in a post or in your ‘About Us’ page

Image widget for your sidebar for students who might be more visually focussed rather than links written as words – good for those commonly used websites like studyladder, reading eggs, mathletics etc.

Notifier reviewer if you want to receive an email every time a student has written a post that is pending review. If you visit your blog often, you probably don’t need to have this plugin.

Subscribe to comments is handy for visitors to your blog. They might leave a comment and want to know when someone replies to the comment – they tick the box about subscribing to comments. This is for only one post at a time. Your visitors can tick this box on as many posts as they want to hear about comment replies.

Supreme google webfonts has 291 fonts available but this slows your blog down quite a bit having to load this each time.


National Youth Week 5-14 April

Before u wake upIs your school taking part in anything related to National Youth Week 5th-14th April?

Perhaps you could help Tash, one of our big picture bloggers at Ogilvie, who is asking you to go without your bed for at least one night and then comment on her blog post about what you did. Maybe you could also write a class blog post.

She also has a survey you might like to answer as part of National Youth Week.

When checking my Facebook page, I found a link from the Education Department about a blogging challenge relating to National Youth Week. Visit this website and decide if you want to take part. There are money prizes and examples of previous winners to look at – must be grade 7-12 for this competition though.
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: M1k3 via Compfight

Adding a class cyber pet

I notice many classes are starting to add class pets but some are not working properly, so I decided to write a post with step by step instructions for adding a cyber pet as a widget on your blog sidebar.

1. Go to this website which is the gallery at widgetbox.

2. Click on cyber pet.

3. Click on Bunnyhero labs


4. Choose the pet you want by clicking on it.

5. Now customize your pet by changing colour, adding a name for the pet and putting in your class name as the adopter. Change the text colour as well if you want. You should be seeing on the right of the page what your changes will make your pet look like.

6.  Make sure the number for the width is between 180 and 200 if you are putting your pet in the sidebar. Finally click on the first button  </>  This is the embed code button on many websites.

7. When the following screen appears click on the green copy button. This copies the code to your clipboard on your computer.

8. If you have done all the above steps correctly the final screen will look like this.

9. Now the last step is to copy the code into your blog widget area. Go to your blog dashboard> appearance> widgets

Drag a text box to the sidebar where you want the pet to appear. Put in a title if you want and paste in the code that is on your clipboard – use control V.

Save and then close. Go to your class blog, refresh the blog and you should now have your pet in the sidebar.


Do you know of any other great websites with widgets other than widgetbox?

What other widgets would you like on your class blog?

Many thanks to Sue Waters for telling me about the program SnagIT which I have used for the arrows and numbers on the images.  Next learning step for me will be creating a video as well.

Welcome to a new year of blogging!

As you may have noticed, we have a lot more class blogs listed on the links in the sidebar. This is because many teachers took part in some professional development during the school holidays and began learning about using a class blog as part of their curriculum.

Some teachers have decided to keep their blogs private at this stage until they have taught their students about quality commenting and how to write great posts. But most blogs are open to the world, so please start visiting them and connecting students within our state. If you want to know what the posts are about, check out the widget on the right sidebar  “Posts from all our blogs”.

Here are some great posts from last year and some from this year that your students might like to comment on:

You will all be receiving a copy of this post in your email because I have added all the teachers and students who are administrators of blogs to the blog subscription list. That way, you will know every time I have written a post. All the posts will help you in some way to improve your blog or topics to write about on your blogs.

If you need any help with your blog, just send me a message by email (see widget on right sidebar) or use the blog inbox where I am tasteach.

Good luck with the blogging in 2013.

G’day from Australia

January 26 is Australia Day. Did you and your family do anything special to celebrate? I found this great video – watch it and see how many different typical Aussie icons you can recognize. In the comment area, leave some information about that icon or what your family did.


Safer Internet Day 5th February

What a great way to begin a new year with a new group of students!

Around the world, 5th February 2013 has been designated Safer Internet Day. This is the 10th anniversary of this event which began in  the UK by the company Insafe.

The theme this year is

online rights and responsibilities.

To get involved check out these links:

If you want some Australian resources, check out the cyber smart website.


As a teacher, what do you think are the most important aspects of online safety we need to teach the students?

Will I still use my class blog next year?

It is now getting to that time of year when things in and around the classroom are being tidied up. One thing you are going to have to think about is your class blog.

Are you going to continue blogging next year?

I hope your answer is YES.

If you are moving schools, you can still use the same blog if it is under your name rather than a school name. That blog with your name belongs to you, no matter what school you are at.

Early next year, you will need to add in your new students – I read that the Department is changing student email addresses, so you will need to know their new address or else use the Gmail+1 hack like a couple of teachers have.  Remember the only reason students need an email address is in case they forget their password to get into the blog. If you need to learn how to use the Gmail addresses, contact me early in 2013 and I will give you some help otherwise check out this YouTube video, which is rather long but shows how to use the Gmail+1 to create usernames.

Do you need to delete the posts you already have on your blog? No, I would leave them there as examples for next year’s class to see and learn from. Just make sure you have in your sidebar the widget called Archives.

Do I need to delete this year’s students as users on the blog? You can if you want to, but if you have each student role as contributor, they might still like to write a post next year especially if their new class doesn’t have a blog. You can have hundreds of users on your class blog, but if you do delete any of them, please notify me so I can delete them from the eSchoolblog database.

Here is a post giving tips for getting your blog ready at the end of the year. As you all have class blogs, go to the end of the post to the section labelled Approaches used with Class Blogs and check out what the people at Edublogs suggest you could be doing.

Keep a look out at Infostream in the next couple of weeks as hopefully we will be offering some blogging workshops during the holidays and it would be great if some of you could come in and give your experiences of blogging this year.

A big thank you to all the classes and teachers who have taken part in the first year of the blogging program with the Tasmanian eSchool. I hope you all continue your blogging in 2013 and remember, I am only an email away.

Adding clock widgets

We have had some classes start joining in global activities such as:

Other global projects you might like to check out include:

Once you start involving your class in global collaborative activities, students start asking questions like:

Why aren’t the students answering my comments straight away?

What is the time over there?

To help students understand time zones around the world, you can always add some widgets to your sidebar, or as a page like Mrs Yollis does.

Here are some websites for clocks -weatherandtimeworld time server, widgetbox, clocklink, timeanddate,

Here is a world clock, set it for Tassie time (click on Tasmania) then hover over the area where you want to know what the time is eg east coast of America.

Here is a post from Ronnie Burt at Edublogs with other widgets to add to your sidebar.

Image: ‘SAF#2