Back to School - Blogs are Born!Last year at my school, a handful of us became bloggers and blogevangalized to everyone who would listen. This year, our school theme and focus is technology and meeting the needs of our 21st century learners. Most everyone is wanting to dip their toe in the pool on blogging. So, during our first few days of teacher planning I offered Blogging 101.
What do we do in Blogging 101? It's really quite simple.
#1 What do you want you want to name your blog?As I went through my Blogging 101 sessions last week, one of my seasoned blogging teachers said, "Hey, what about me?" I said, "You already know how to blog!" She said, "Teach me something I don't know how to do!" So.... Blogging 201 formed.
I tell teachers that they can name their blogs whatever they want, but to be smart about the blog description listed under the title. Blog readers that are surfing to find new blogs to subscribe to might not go past the description, so tell them what or who will be doing this blog (your students, you, a group of teachers, etc. ).
#2 Consider something easy for your blog address.
When I created my blog I didn't know any better. I thought it had to be the title. Now I know if your blog is titled, "Mrs. Moore's Third Grade Mathematicians" it would be much better to have an address like math3.blogspot.com rather than mrsmooresthirdgrademathematicians.blogspot.com. Make it easy for your readers to remember where to come if they don't have a blog reader service.
#3 Follow the steps on Blogger to create your blog.
(There are many other platforms, but when training a group it is easier to stick with one and we know it is unblocked where we teach.) It literally only takes a few minutes.
#4 Make a post before you leave!
I like teachers to make a post telling something interesting about themselves or telling about their summer adventures. This gives us the opportunity to learn about hyperlinking and looking for images for the post. Also, it gives the reader something to read when they go there, because they will give out the address right away!
Here's what I decided to do in Blogging 201:
#1 Ways to build your readership.101 and 201 Bloggers alike have started off this first week of school with their blogs which are all linked on our school webpage under Websites, Blogs and Wikis. We'd love for you to follow us!
Read other blogs and comment so they will track back to you and read yours. Blogs are for two way communication, leave thought provoking posts with open ended questions at the end of the post soliciting responses. Make sticker labels to put in students' daily planners to remind parents to read the blog ad comment.
If you tag your posts they will be easier for people to find and link to you. You will also be able to sort through your old posts easier.
One of the first things I noticed as I continued to read blogs was the images that other bloggers were using in their posts. It always seemed like everyone found better images than I did. Most teachers know how to use Google images to find a particular image, but most don't know about stock photos. Here are my favorite free sites:
Public Domain Photos
Every Stock Photo
#4 HTML Code
Now, I don't know much about html code, but I handle it like I do everything else...I fiddle until I figure it out. I've had many people ask me why a widget or video posted on their blog was too wide. Sometimes I can't fix it. But...many times if you look through the code and find something that says: width 350 x 550 or something like that, you can tweak the numbers until it fits. The key here is writing down the original numbers in case you need to go back to the beginning.