How to … add links to blogroll

You have started visiting other students in the Student Blogging Challenge and there are some you want to go back and visit often. Or you have some teachers leaving comments on your blog  and you want to visit their class blog easily. You want to get to our online classroom quickly.

How do you do that?

Answer: You add a link from their blog to your blogroll on your sidebar.

Step 1. Decide on some categories for your links eg My overseas friends, Class Blogs, Helpful Websites

Step 2. Dashboard> links> link categories Fill in the name, click the add link category button and make sure it appears on the list on the right hand side.

Step 3. Now to add your actual links to the blogs.  We are going to add the link to our online classroom first. We will put it under the category Helpful Websites.

Step 4. Go to student bloggers blog, down the sidebar to find the link for the online classroom. Right click on link then copy link location or copy shortcut if using Internet Explorer.

Step 5. Dashboard> links> add new

Type in the name, paste in the web address, choose category to add it into then click big blue add link button.

Step 6. Adding other links is very similar. Go your class blog. Copy the URL from up in the address bar. Come back to your blog and follow step 5 again.

Step 7. When you got your blog, there were some blogs already under the category Blogroll. You might want to change them to Helpful Websites instead. Dashboard> links> all links  Under  Edublogs Help and Support, click on edit then untick blogroll,  click Helpful Websites and update the link (big blue button)  Do the same for Tasmanian Blogs and The Edublogger.  The one labelled Edublogs.org you can delete as you don’t need this one.

Step 8. Some themes don’t allow you to group your links into categories. Instead they are just listed in alphabetical order.

Make sure you have added at least five new links to your blog : online classroom, your class blog and three others. Have at least one in each link category.

How to … crop and resize

When you buy a new camera, the size setting is generally large. This means you can take a photo using 1000′s of pixels and the image could print out well as a large poster to put on your bedroom wall.

Do you need images this large for your blog?

No, you only need images no bigger than a postcard size.  If you own a camera, then change the size to standard or small.

Let’s now practice cropping and resizing your image.

Step 1. Go to start button, open computer then pictures under libraries and finally the sample folder. Should be a big picture of a mountain in the desert in USA somewhere.

Step 2. Hover  over the image and ask these questions from a previous post

  • type – JPEG?
  • dimensions – under 500×500?
  • size – in KBs?

If the answer is no to dimensions or size then we need to crop and/or resize.

Cropping

Step 1. Right click on image and open with Microsoft Image Picture Manager.

Step 2. Top left> picture> crop

Step 3. Now you see the dark black handles allowing you to drag your picture in to where you want it cropped.

Step 4. Now to resize the image if needed. Over on the right hand side you can see original size and new size. Is the new size less than 500×500?

  • Yes, then file>save as> give it a new name and check it is still JPEG.
  • No, click OK and now follow resizing steps below.

Resizing

Step 1.  Top left> picture> resize

Step 2. Change to predefined web small then click OK. File >Save as> give it a name

Step 3. Now it is time to write your post then jump to step 4 with these instructions.

 

How to … add photos from the internet

Smiles are overrated.Sometimes you will need to use an image from the internet to make your post stand out.

Can you use any image on the internet?

No you can’t.

You can use images that are creative commons where the owner has given you permission to use the image as long as you include attribution. Here is a chart about the different licenses for images. There are many websites and search tools on the web for finding images that are creative commons. Some of these give you the attribution in an easy format as well. The one I have found easiest to use is compfight.

Back in activity 4, we activated the compfight plugin. To check whether you have done this correctly, check the icons above your post icons. If you see this, then you can use compfight.

To add a creative commons image to your blog post is now only one click away. You also have attribution  included.

How to add the image and attribution.

  • 1. Write your complete post and save as a draft.
  • 2. At the end of your post on a new line, click on the compfight icon.
  • 3. Put in your search term and find a small image that you want to use.
  • 4. Click on the S under the image.
  • 5. Now the image you chose and the attribution is at the bottom of your post.

Moving and aligning your image

You will notice most images I use are in the top right corner of my post with writing to the left of that image. How do I do that?

  • 1. While in your post dashboard, click and drag the image so the cursor (a little black line behind the image) is at the beginning of the first line on your post.
  • 2. Click on the image and click on the first icon you see. This will take you to an area where you can align the image to the right.
  • 3. Click on the advanced settings tab of this page and put 10 in both the vertical and horizontal boxes. This will now give you a space around the image so your writing doesn’t run right into the image.
  • 4. Now update.

Now that you have added two images to your blog – one that you took and one somebody else took – what were some of the things you found easy or difficult when adding images?


Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Sean Molin via Compfight

How to … add a photo you took

These instructions are for adding a photo you have taken yourself (or your teacher or parents have taken) and is saved on your computer. You need parental permission if the photo actually includes you or some of your family members.

Step 1. Write  your post completely – check spelling and punctuation especially the word I which should always be a capital letter.

Step 2. Add your categories and tags then save the draft of your post.

Now let’s check out the image you want to use – you need to make sure the image is not too large, otherwise it will take up too much memory on your post.

  • Is the image a JPEG image?
  • Are the dimensions smaller than 500x 500?
  • Is the size in kB rather than MB?

Would I be able to use this image? Tell me in a comment and explain why.

Step 3. Hover over your image – is it the right type, dimension and size? If yes, go on to step 4. If no, you will need to resize the image.

Adding image to your post

Step 4. Go to your post and click at the beginning of the line where you want your image to be placed.

Step 5. Click on the Add Media icon above your post icons.

Step 6. A new window opens and you can either drag and drop your image into the area or find and select your image on the computer then click open.

Step 7. A progress bar shows you how far your photo has loaded.

Step 8. Now all you need to do is:

  • Add a title for the image – caption too if you want!
  • choose how you want the image aligned (None, Left, Center or Right)
  • select size of image you want to insert (Thumbnail, Medium, Large or Full Size)
  • and then click Insert into Post

You should now have a great post with an image you, your parents or teacher have taken.

Post ideas – cyber pet

In the last post, you learnt how to create a cyber pet to put in your sidebar and to play with at home (not at school!)

But your readers might like to know a bit more about your pet.

  • Why did you name it Llarry Llama?
  • How did it get its colour purple?
  • Where did it come from?
  • Why is it staying at your place?

Perhaps you could be creative and write a story or a poem about your cyber pet. You could also include your pet in the post.

To include pet in post.

  1. Write your post about your animal. Save draft.
  2. Get the code for your animal either at the website or from inside your text box in your widget area. Copy it.
  3. Come back to your post and change the post tab from Visual to HTML or text
  4. Paste in your code underneath all your writing.
  5. Save draft or publish.

How to … add a cyber pet

Here is 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 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 about 250 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 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 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.

Activity 8 – Widgets

Chumby - TimeThere are hundreds of different widgets you can add to the sidebar of your blog. But you need to think about the design of your blog as well.

  • some widgets are noisy- music, games, pets
  • some take up a lot of space – games, shelfari
  • some distract your readers – noisy games

There are some widgets I would like to see on your blog and these are provided by Edublogs so are easy to add to your sidebar.

How to add Edublogs widgets

  1. Go to blog dashboard> appearance> widgets
  2. Open your sidebars
  3. Now just drag and drop into the dotted boxes
  4. Move widgets around, just drag and drop within the sidebars

Widgets to add: class blogs, links, recent comments (10), recent posts (10), categories  If you can already see it in the sidebar, don’t add a second time.

You want to add a pet to your blog? Follow these instructions.

Here is a post showing many other widgets you could add to your blog sidebar. The instructions for adding the code is found at the bottom of the post.

When visiting other blogs from classes or students, which widgets did you find distracted you from the posts on the blog?
Photo Credit: William Hook via Compfight

Writing posts

Two Bloggers, after Norman RockwellYour blog is looking good now, so it is time to write some posts so other students and teachers can start leaving comments.

Your first post might be about why you are blogging and what you will be writing about in your blog. You might mention any problems you have had so far with the first seven activities in the blogging course.

Maybe a second post about yourself and your family. Remember though to be internet savvy and not give out any private information.

How to write a post

  1. In your dashboard, hover over the +new and click on post.
  2. Make sure you have two rows of icons visible. If the icons are words or letters rather than pictures, then click on the Visual tab at the right.  We only use the HTML tab when embedding – more on that later in the course.
  3. Remember to include a title for each post.
  4. If you have written your post on a Word document and used the spellchecker, then click on the icon with the W. Copy and paste your word document in here, then click insert.
  5. If you haven’t written in a Word document, then start typing in the big post box. There is a spellchecker icon with the ABC on it.
  6. When typing in Word, don’t do any formatting like headings or larger font or coloured words. Do all that once the document is in your blog post area.
  7. When you have finished writing the post, click the large blue button so either your teacher or I can check it then publish it for you. If you still haven’t finished the post, click the save draft button instead. This shows your teachers that you don’t want the writing published yet.
  8. Later in the course you will learn how to include categories and tags as well as add images to your posts. But if you want to get ahead, you can always go to the Edublogs help and support page here. Instructions might be wordy but they do show step by step how to do something.
  9. To get back to a post you saved as a draft, go to your dashboard> posts> all posts.  Find the post you want to edit, hover over it and click on edit underneath. This should take you to your post that you need to finish. Keep saving as a draft or click the blue button when ready to publish.

Photo Credit: Mike Licht via Compfight

Activity 7 – Avatars

All students taking part in this course should already have created an avatar when you became part of your class blog. But here is a chance for you to create one of your own choosing rather than the type set by your teacher.

I have included below some avatar creation sites suitable for students in primary school. Just click on the image and it will take you to the website.

    

  

   

doppelme avatar 

Step 1. Create your avatar

Step 2. Using printscreen or snipping tool to save your avatar – make sure it is saved as a JPEG file

So you decided to create an avatar like “Hero Factory” or “Build your wildself” or “Mini Mizer” where you can’t download it easily. You need to take a picture of the screen first. Most computers have a printscreen button on the keyboard or if using Windows 7 you have an icon called “snipping tool”.

When you press printscreen an image of your screen is now copied to your clipboard. If using snipping tool, try to get only the part of the avatar you want to use. You will still need to crop and resize to get an avatar that fits well on your blog.

Here is a video showing how to find and use the snipping tool. When saving, make sure it is JPEG.

Go to your drive where you saved your avatar, right click on the icon for your avatar image and choose “Open with” choose Microsoft Office Picture Manager.

In the icons at the top, go to View> task pane.  On the right go to edit pictures > crop.  Now move the black bars on the side of your image in, to crop your picture to what you want in your avatar.

Click OK, then back to edit pictures. Now click on resize. In the box “custom width and height” put  97 in both boxes. These numbers might be slightly different but one has to be 97 and the other smaller than 97. Click OK.

Back up to file>save as> call it sueava2 or similar> make sure it is still JPEG. Make sure you have saved it to your drive again.

Step 3. Upload avatar to your  blog

Now to upload to your blog.  Go to your dashboard> users>your avatar> browse to find your image wherever you saved it>alternate upload.  This is your comment avatar.

If you want your avatar to appear on your sidebar like mine does – Dashboard>appearance>widget> blog avatar drag to your sidebar.  To upload the avatar, dashboard>settings>blog avatar> browse to find your image>alternate upload. Go to your blog page and refresh. Your blog avatar should appear on your blog now.

If it  looks like a black coloured square then you haven’t cropped the image to the correct size in step 2 . Or maybe you didn’t save the image as a JPEG in step 2 .

 Having fun with avatars

Why not create an avatar for each member of your family? Save each avatar then you will be able to write a post including each avatar when you tell your readers about your family members and their interests.

Want to create an avatar using Publisher? Read Mrs Smith’s post about how her class did this activity. PS Make sure you read  Mrs Smith’s comment linked here before using Publisher to create avatars.

Activity 6 – Themes

El patito feoBefore you start week 2 activities, check the list below to make sure you have completed week 1.

  • Know how to login from your own blog, your class blog and this student bloggers blog and how to get to your dashboard .
  • You have updated your profile and changed your original password.
  • You have at least two other users called administrators or teachers on your blog.
  • Added mum or dad if they want to be an administrator – so this is optional – see activity 3 for instructions
  • You have installed the plugin called compfight.
  • You have created a page all about yourself.
  • You have left a comment on 2 posts – the basics and all about me.

WOW! You have worked hard in the first week of this course. To check if I have marked your work, in the header is a page called work finished. Green means I have marked it and it is correct, yellow means you still need to do some work on it, white I have not checked yet. I will be marking your work every weekend, so remember you can work on it at home or at school if your teacher gives you time.  I will also be running an online classroom on Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 1.30 till 3pm for any students or teachers wanting help with blogging. The link is on the sidebar under get help here.

Activity 6 – Choosing a theme

This is an activity that could take you ages to do. There are over 140 themes to choose from.  So before you start fiddling with themes, think about what you want your blog’s appearance to look like.

  • Do you want 1 sidebar or 2 sidebars?
  • Do you want to be able to change the picture in the header?
  • Do you want a tagline?
  • Do you want pages mentioned in the header?

Sue Waters, one of the managers at Edublogs, has written a post grouping themes according to what they can offer you. Check out her post then look at some examples of student blogs below. Also check out the widgets in their sidebars. Take note of any you would like on your blog.

Caitlin uses Cordoba Green Park, Lauren uses Bouquet, Adena uses  Bluebird, Cole uses Mandigo, Elysa uses greenery, Jacob uses Misty Look, Jenna uses Brand New Day, Kehana uses Notepad Chaos, Kyle uses Mystique, Liam uses TerraFirma, Bianca uses Ocean Mist, Bronte uses Twenty Ten, Brooklyn uses Pink Kupy, Jacob uses Grassland, Lily uses borderline chaos, May uses Blak Magik

To change your theme:

Step 1. Blog dashboard, go to appearance then themes

Step 2. Look for one you like then click live preview underneath. If you want this, now click the big blue save and activate button. If you want to choose another click cancel instead.

Step 3. To customise your theme go to appearance and check which options are available for you to change. Sometimes you can change the background image or colour. You might be able to change the header image or colour.  If changing a header image, make sure you write down the number of pixels eg 1200x 450 so you can create your own image the right size in paint or an image editing program.

Themes

You can change your theme as often as you like, but each time check for widgets that might have changed.

 Leave a comment telling me three themes you liked and why you chose the one you have used.
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Julen Landa via Compfight