Step 1 – Create A Class Blog

Step 1: Create a class blogThe next Student Blogging Challenge starts in March September, 2010 and this time we’ve decided there are tasks that need to be done BEFORE your class actually takes part in the challenge.

So we’ve designed a series of nine steps, with how-to info, to help you with your class blogging.

Our first step is to create a class blog.

Why Have A Class Blog

A class blog is always a good starting point if you want to blog with your students.

It gives you to time to increase your skills while gradually introducing your students to blogging and educating them on appropriate online behaviour.

Start initially with you being responsible for writing posts, and the students responding in comments. As students demonstrate both keenness and responsibility give them their ‘blogging license’ where they earn the right to write posts on the class blog and/or get their own student blog.

Ultimately even if each student has their own blog it is always a good idea to have a class blog.

Blogging isn’t just about writing posts; it’s about sharing your learning and reflecting on what you have learnt.

Important parts of the blogging process include encouraging students to:

  1. Read each others posts
  2. Interact and comment on each others posts  by challenging each others thoughts and views
  3. Write posts in response to each others posts

The class blog is the central hub that connects your student blogs together; making it easier to share their learning, interact with each other and a global audience.

Aspects To Consider Before Creating Your Class Blog

Username and Display Name

Your username is what you use to sign into your blog dashboard and is displayed on posts and comments you write. While you can’t change your username, most blog platforms do allow you to change how your name is displayed.

In most cases it’s better to choose a username that makes it easier for others to relate to you as a real person. For example, compare spwat3 with suewaters — which is easier to relate to?

On a class blog you need to consider what is an appropriate username for you to use.  Most don’t allow students to use first and last name online so some prefer to model this by using names like Miss W or  Mrs Waters.

Changing your display name

Blog URL

Think carefully about your blog URL.

Once your blog has an established audience you’re less likely to want to change your blog URL and educators often use the same blog for the next year’s class.

Ideally you want to keep your blog URL short, easy to remember and suitable to be reused for several years.

A simple option is to use your name in the blog URL as these educators did:

  1. Ms Cahusac (http://mscahusac.edublogs.org/)
  2. Mrs Burton (http://msvrburton.edublogs.org)

Alternatively use something unique that has meaning like Jan Smith (http://huzzah.edublogs.org).

Blog Title

Think about the name of your blog.

Choose a name that reflects the purpose of your class blog and your students can relate to.

For example, Mrs Burton‘s blog title Blog, blog blog blog, blog some more is very clever.

Check out our class blog list for titles that other educators have used!

Example of a blog title

Check Out Class Blogs

Coming up with ideas on how you might use your blog with students can be hard to visualize.

Make time to check out how other educators use their class blogs to get ideas on “what works”/”doesn’t work”.

Here are some blogs for you to look at:

  1. Network Nine (Year 4)
  2. MrToft.ca (Grade 5)
  3. Grade 5e (Grade 5)
  4. Huzzah (Grade 6/7)
  5. Blog, blog blog blog, blog some more (English I)
  6. Endless Questions (Grade 6-8 languages)
  7. Or check out our class blog list (over 200 class blogs separated into grade and subject area)

Creating Your Class Blog

Now you’ve done all the research it’s time to set up your class blog.

Here are the instructions to follow if you would like to set up your class blog on Edublogs:

  1. Signing up for your blog
  2. Logging into your blog dashboard
  3. Using your blog dashboard
  4. Changing Your Blog’s Look
  5. Writing your First Post

You will find all Getting Started With Edublogs information here!

FINAL THOUGHTS

You can read more about the Student blogging challenge here:

  1. About the student challenge
  2. Student Blogging Challenge FAQs

And here’s where you find the other steps for setting up your class blog:

If you have any problems or questions while setting up your class blog just leave a comment on this post — I’m always happy to help!

If you are enjoying reading this blog, please consider feed-icon32x32 Finding and Adding Creative Commons Images To Your Blog PostsSubscribing For Free!

Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

99 Responses

  1. Tech4urcontent says:

    Sorry to submit this way, but I am having issues with accessing my blog dashboard and I need assistance. I am unable to post on the forum and could not find any contact information to submit my problem elsewhere. If you could help me with connecting to someone who could assist me with my problem that would be great. Thank you.

  2. jennyann24 says:

    Hi Sue,

    I have changed the address of our blog this year from Ourspace to Ourspace2010. http://blogs.tps.vic.edu.au/ourspace2010/

    Looking forward to introducing another group of students to blogging.
    Jennyann

  3. jdaw says:

    Sue
    I have been working so hard at setting up my blog and have enjoyed your teaching section on blogging but I am VERY frustrated when I see SPAM and advertisements being posted on my blog. How can I stop this from happening?

    Jeanne

  4. Techie Kids says:

    Hi Sue,

    Sorry to leave a message here…

    I started my blog at the end of February, so I’m very new to blogging. I tried to view my blog today and it wouldn’t connect. I believe there were some server issues because I couldn’t view other edublog accounts in our district, either. I am now able to view my blog, however several widgets are missing from my sidebars. This includes my Shelfari, 3 Wowzio widgets, Flag Counter, a text widget, and Site Counters which were around 4300 hits.

    I am very disappointed as I am expecting that I will just have to try them again. Do you have any solutions or at least ideas for why this would’ve happened so I can avoid making the same mistake in the future?

    Thanks for any help you can offer.

    • Sue Waters says:

      @Techie Kids, I’m sorry about that and wouldn’t have expected them to be missing. What I often do is paste the embed code into a .txt file so that if I need to reuse the code again I have it handy. For example, if I have added the code to a post I will often to do in case I accidentally edit the post using the Visual Tab and break the embed code.

      If you are using a PC you just need to open up NotePad and add the code. You can also save the embed code for all of them in the same .txt file.

      • Techie Kids says:

        @Sue Waters, Thanks for the advice on saving the code. My Shelfari was an account, so that was easy to replace. I will be sure to keep a .txt of my codes in the future.
        You mentioned pasting in Notepad. I know that I’ve read other posts that stress the importance of not copying and pasting in posts without using Notepad. I believe I directly copied the code and pasted it into my widgets. Would that have caused a problem? I just don’t know why the widgets would have disappeared. If I was the one that did something wrong, I just want to try and avoid this user error in the future. Do you think I did something or do we chalk it up to a glitch?
        Thanks for your help!

        • Sue Waters says:

          @Techie Kids, oops sorry for the delayed response :( Been a bit busy. Absolutely no problem copy/pasting embed code directly into NotePad,

          This latest vesion of WordPress MU that we use now seems to automatically delete the bad code that is carried across when you copy/paste directly from MS Word. So it is less than issue.

          I’m really not sure what happened with the widgets – sorry :( I’ve not had that happen on any of my blogs.

  5. pcrensh says:

    Ok, I have created my blog, but I can not get other pages I have made to show up. I crated an account as a user and even when I log in using that name I cannot see the other pages I have posted. I am trying to get this up as soon as possible for my students to use it. Also, do all my students have to have an e-mail account in order to have access to the site?

  6. tsimpsontest says:

    Sue,
    Thanks for sharing all this wonderful info on how to create and use blogs effectively.
    I have a bunch of teachers who are excited about setting up blogs for their classrooms.

    I don’t want to slow them down, so I am encouraging them to go ahead and set up blogs to experiment with (after they read your 6 Weeks tips pages, of course :)

    Here is my question: If they set up blogs individually, and we later decide to buy the campus version for our school, will we be able to “migrate” their blogs into our campus group, or will they have to start over with new blogs? Thanks for any advice.

    • Sue Waters says:

      @tsimpsontest, Glad to hear they are excited with setting up their blogs and my information is helping them.

      All Edublogs Campus sites are located on their own domain which is totally separate from Edublogs.org and each blog on the site will include that domain URL in their blog URL For example here are some Campus sites – http://literacy44.ca/ , http://blogs.joeys.org/ , http://mybcd.org/ . If you look at http://literacy44.ca/blogs/ you will see that the blog URLs include their domain name.

      So yes they would need to start over with a new blog (and URL) but it is really easy to move the blog from Edublogs (via Tools > Export and Tools > Import) and set it up on the Campus site. However, if you know that you would want to go onto Campus sooner than later — then you are probably better to start them directly on your own Campus site. That way you can build all the support into your Campus site like some of the examples I’ve given you have done,

      Best of luck with your blogging and don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any assistance with your class blogging!

  7. KyleJackowitz says:

    so how do I set my URL? already created using my first name, but i don’t want that in there for students. how to change? Thanks!

  8. Sue Waters says:

    @KyleJackowitz just a quick note to say that I’ve answered this question by email.

  9. teacherjane says:

    Hi sue,
    For next term, how can I reduce the semester 1 class list (in side column) to just a heading please?
    thanks,
    Jane

  10. Sue Waters says:

    @teacherjane Hopefully I have the question right, All you need to do is change all the links in your blogroll to one category e.g. blogroll or if you want to add to different sidebars and separate then add more than one links widget and select the category you want displayed.

  11. birgittenyc says:

    Very informative, thank you :-).
    Birgitte

  12. mrstrama says:

    Hi There!
    Sorry to put this here, but like some other people, I cannot put any new posts on the forum.
    I have just set up 96 class blogs for three year 5 classes. The students have been learning how to do everything in their blogs before we get up and running with them.
    My problem is that if I type in their URL to the browser, it comes up. I thought that by having them under each class blog, that they would come under the same privacy as that class blog. When they go to change the Privacy settings, it doesn’t allow them to. I have done the ‘upgrade 50 student blogs for free’ thinking that this would then change it. Then when I was searching for a solution on the forums, I came across a post saying to so ‘yes’ to adding you as a co-administrator when you set up their blogs (which I had not done). So then I created another blog for our deputy principal, checked this box, and yes, I have access to his dashboard, but I cannot change the privacy settings!
    Is there an easy way (or a way at all) to change these blogs so that only admistrators and subscribers can see and have access to the blogs?
    This si the first time this school has used them, so I am trying to get it ‘right’ and very safe for the kids.
    Thanks so much,
    Chenoa Trama

  13. Sue Waters says:

    @mrstrama Ability to change privacy is only an option on Edublogs Pro and Edublogs Campus blogs,

    “upgrade 50 student blogs for free” by a Pro blog converts the free blog into a Free+ blog which has ability to embed code, access to all themes and no ads displayed on the blog. It doesn’t make that free blog a Pro blog.

    With the number of student blogs and wanting to make them all Private you are better considering using an Edublogs Campus site because it is the most secure and has the greatest functionality for managing them all easier. You can read more about Edublogs Campus here – http://edublogs.org/campus

    Your other option would be to make all the student blogs private by upgrading them to Edublogs Pro. In your situation you would need a bulk upgrade of 100 blogs – http://help.edublogs.org/2009/09/10/how-to-purchase-a-bulk-upgrade-of-edublogs-pro/ However the Campus option is the better solution for you,

  14. dpeller says:

    I am having some trouble adding someone to my blog. I have a co-teacher in my class, and while she has been able to comment on my posts, I would like to change her designation to be an author, so she can create posts (and so I don’t have to approve all of her comments). When I go to my dashboard and click on users, her name does not appear. When I click on add users or add new users, it says that her email address is already in the system.
    Could you please help?
    Thanks,
    Dianna Peller

  15. Sue Waters says:

    Just quickly letting everyone know I helpd @dpeller (Dianna Peller) directly by email as I needed to confirm what email address she was using for the co-teacher so I could check if a username already existed in the system attached to that email address.

  16. teacherjasmine says:

    Hi Sue
    I’m very new to blogging and have just set up a class blog. I had 8 comments that I approved and that show as approved in my dashboard, but only 6 appear under my post with the heading Comments (6). When I click on that, only 6 comments can be seen. How can I get the others to show?
    Any help would be great, thanks
    Jasmine

  17. Sue Waters says:

    @Jasmine The other two comments were written on your Hello and welcome to 1 Y’s blog. You can see them here – 1ycroydon.edublogs.org/2010/09/07/11/

  18. bgilgoff says:

    Hi Sue,
    I’m looking for an explanation of all the various roles (administrator, editor, author, subscriber.) on line and can’t find it. I’d like to be able to point my students to it to help them (and me) understand the difference. Does such exist?

    Betty

  19. Sue Waters says:

    @Betty you will find this information in Different roles of users post.

  20. Thanks Sue, I did in fact find it after I commented here. Really all of your stuff is quite well laid out with so much great information. I’m enjoying browsing through all of the wonderful tidbits on student blogging. You and the edublog team are doing a great job. Thank you for all of the support.

  21. teacherjasmine says:

    Hi Sue
    I have 2 queries. Firstly, I can’t instal a widget (flower clock). I know I have Java enabled on my computer – do I need anything else? This is what I get on my blog when I copy, paste the code into the text sidebar, save & close:
    if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget(‘fe9c7933-0462-48ad-841b-6d4e75afaf68′);Get the Flower Clock Widget widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)
    I’ve read numerous posts in the forums about it, but nothing seems to work.

    Secondly, can I create a link sub category? I have ‘Learn English’ as a link category, and under that, 2 links. I would like to have a sub category called ‘Conversation videos’ and put links (about 10) under that, rather than list them all under ‘Learn English’.

    Thanks
    Jasmine

  22. Sue Waters says:

    @Betty Gilgoff thanks for the nice feedback. I try hard to provide the information in a format that covers the most important points.

    @Jasmine You need to be using an Edublogs Pro blog or have your blog upgraded by an Edublogs Pro blog to be able to embed.

    Unfortunatley sploggers, who create lots of blogs to promote products, were using the JavaScript for redirects on free blogs. ‘No’ other blog hosts powered by WordPress allows embedding like we have done so far and we’ve been forced to limit it due to this abuse by sloggers.

    This is why you aren’t able to embed.

    The key is we still want our users to have this ability but we had to provide it in such a way that the sploggers can’t use it.

    So what we have done is an Edublogs Pro is automatically able to embed all code including Voicethreads, Teachertube and is able to upgrade up to 50 blogs other blogs so that the 50 other blogs can also embed code, access premium themes and their ads are disabled.

  23. teacherjasmine says:

    Thanks for clearing up the issue with widgets, Sue. Can you please address my other query regarding sub link categories? I know you can have a sub category, but I want to have a heading for some of my links. I have ‘Learn English’ as a link category, and under that, 2 links. I would like to have a sub category called ‘Conversation videos’ and put links (about 10) under that, rather than list them all under ‘Learn English’.
    Thanks
    Jasmine

  24. Sue Waters says:

    @Jasmine You can’t have sub-categories of Liinks. You would need to use separate categories ofr each group of links as per this post – http://theedublogger.com/2010/01/28/week-4-add-your-student-blogs-to-your-blogroll/

  25. hholland says:

    Hello,
    I would like to set up a class blog for my tenth graders. I have 125 students. What kind of account should I get?

  26. Dr. Mowen says:

    Sue Waters: I would like to use your graphic showing revising, reviewing, reflecting, and evaluating as a process of blogging in a book chapter regarding technology and higher education. May I, please?

  27. Sue Waters says:

    @Dr. Mowen Glad you like my image and sure I would love it if you used it in your book. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you need anything else for it from me.

    And best of luck with your book!

  28. kilksail says:

    My mother asked me what I wanted to do with my life at dinner today. She basically wanted to know what I wanted to be because I had been putting that decision off for quite some time, however, I had my mind made up when my mother asked me the question.

  29. i like this story cuz it seem very nice to me and i kind of to make my own blog do u guys now how to make blogs

  30. Tim Anderway says:

    First used wordpress, then switched to Joomla.

  31. Justin says:

    Hi Sue,
    I have just started using edublog. My teacher has made a class blog which I`m having difficulty keeping check on. Is there a way to get automatic updates of posts from him or a notification?

  32. SaleS says:

    Hi, I am also interested in whether there is an automatic update a blog, or want to put my school class blog?

  33. Leslee says:

    I had no problem using the “Blog and user creator” — now how do I turn them off, or stop them. School year is over and do not want to allow kids to continue to update, etc. Is it possible to “reset” them so I can reuse them next school year?

  34. I just purchased a pro acct and am trying to set up my class blog. http://www.cynthiamadanski.edublogs.org
    When I set up pages, shouldn’t they be static, with no opportunity to comment or leave a post? I would like to have information links (like the about the class, blog guidelines…) that do not have the “blog” feel at the bottom, just the information, nothing to comment. Not sure what I am doing wrong. Tomorrow I will try to set up my students… thanks for any help!

  35. Theresa says:

    Help! I recently got an Edublog Pro account and set up a blog for my class. I would like for each of my students to have their own blog that is linked the the main class blog. At this point I have entered all my students usernames, email addresses and passwords. The list of their names shows up in the blogroll on the main page. However, when I click on a student’s name, instead of going to their page, I am sent to the Edublog page for setting up a new account. What am I missing? Why don’t my students have pages?

    • Sue Waters says:

      Hi Theresa, it looks like you have added them as a user to your blog rather than create a blog for them?

      What you need to do is go to Users > Blog & User Creator in your Pro blog dashboard and click on Create Blogs tab then follow the instructions on this page – http://help.edublogs.org/2009/08/31/creating-student-blogs-using-the-blog-user-creator/ For students who already have an existing username you just add their email address (and don’t include their username or password). Once you’ve done that you then set up the blog roll using the blog URLs you have created.

      • Theresa says:

        Thanks, that worked! I have a second question about user roles. I would like to change to role of students who have parent permission slips so that they are Administrators on their own blogs. I want them to be Subscribers on the class blog. When I go the class blog dashboard and click on Users, there is only one role I can change. Is that the role for the class blog? Where do I change their role on their own blog?

  36. Sue Waters says:

    Hi Theresa, to change it on each student blog you need to log into their dashboard and go to Users > All Users. If you are an admin user on their blogs you should have a link to their dashboard in Dashboard > My Blogs inside your account.

  37. I wonder if this is the kind of blog can share the page on the site through JS code? Also, is it possible to display such comments RSS? thank you

  38. Thanks for sharing this one,. Where can I have the next steps?

  39. Thanks for the tutorial in creating a class blog. It is nice looking for this one. I will try to create one, too.

  40. Friv says:

    thanks.Thank you! I have never won anything. This is great, I’m so excited. I can’t wait to get the book. Inspiration is always needed.

  41. Thanks for this tutorial about creating a class blog. This is very useful for me.

  42. Tahir says:

    如 NARS / Bobbi Brown / Armani / MAC 之類的 professional brand 會更適合 makuep artists 用~ Oily skin 的可揀 Armani Lasting Silk or NARS / Dry skin 的可揀 Covermark~

  43. http://www.popravkaracunara.com says:

    Is there a possibility to see and nice blog on your mobile. We use a tablet PC and the website has some problems with uploading – too slow or do not open them. Otherwise, we are very pleased with theedublogger – Thank you.

  44. kampmom says:

    I am looping with my class next year and want to create an authentic venue for kids to continue writing. I plan to start student blogging next year, but don’t really have the time to get that started before summer. Is there a way to keep our class blog private over the summer while we all adjust (parents, students & me) to this new venue? (Students would be able to post, but only class members would be able to view.)

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