Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 2: Blogging

Welcome to week 2! I hope you got a chance to read everyone’s introductions from week 1. I know I enjoyed getting to know each of you a bit more.  This week we dive right in to the good stuff. It’s time to get your hands on some great online tools you can use in the classroom and for your own personal use.

Blogs are one web 2.0 tool you can easily use in your classroom to communicate with students, parents, other teachers, and your community. If you aren’t very familiar with the concept of blogging, be sure to watch the video “Blogs in Plain English” lined on the Week 1 post. It provides a great overview of blogging.

Thing 3: Create a Blog

One of the main ways you will be demonstrating and sharing what you learn in this course is through your own blog. For the purposes of this workshop, we are going to use Blogger to create your blog. There are many other free blog sites available online, but Blogger is very easy to use and quick to set up. You will use this blog to post reflections on each of your weekly assignments. I also chose to have you use Blogger because it is a great site to use if you ever want to create a personal, non-school related blog. It is the program I use for my What’s for Dinner? blog.

Important: Blogger does have one main drawback for using it with students – the “next blog” button. At the top of all Blogger blogs, you will see a navigation bar (see as an example). One of the options on this bar is a button that randomly takes to you to another blog created with Blogger. You can imagine that this would be pretty risky in an education setting. You never know what might show up when you click the button. Luckily Blogger now has an option to get rid of the Navbar! If you ever use Blogger to create a blog for a student project, be sure to turn off the Navbar. Just go to Settings, Layout, edit the Navbar, and set it to Off. 

Go to the, and follow the prompts to create your blog. Log in with your Branson Google account (your school email address) and follow the prompts to set up your blog. The following video tutorial gives an overview on setting up a blog in Blogger.

Once you create your blog, be sure to email me a link to your new blog address.

Thing 4: Create a blog post and link to a website

Once you have your blog created in Blogger, your next task is to create your first post. The topic of your post should be on blogging in education. More specifically, I want you to think about why you would use a blog in your teaching. The following two articles provide some thoughts on why teachers should blog and why students should blog. Read both articles to help you get ideas for your post.

I also want you to find an example of an education blog that you find inspiring. Here are two sites where you can find examples of education blogs. You can also do a search on Google for the topic in which you are interested (i.e. High School English blog). Create a link to that blog in your post (see the tech tip below if you are unsure how to link), and be sure to include in the post the reason that blog was inspiring to youIf you don't know how to add a link to a site in a post see the Tech Tip below.

Edublogs Awards

The following video tutorial shows you how to add a post to your blog.

Adding a Post in Blogger

 This video gives you an overview of the Blogger Dashboard so you can see what each of the menu items contains. 

Thing 5: Add a Gadget/Widget to your blog

A gadget (sometimes called a widget) is a separate little program that you can embed into a blog. Blogger has several gadgets you can add to your blog such as polls, slideshows, follow by email, etc. The last part of your task for week 2 is to add a gadget/widget to your blog. The following video shows you how to add a gadget.

Adding a Gadget to a Blogger Blog

As always, if you have any questions as you work through the assignments, please post a comment to this post, or send me an email. Good luck, and I hope you enjoy creating your Blogger blog. 
Tech Tip: How to add a link in Blogger
1. Go to the website to which you want to link and copy the website address.
2. Now go to your blog post and type the name of the site you want to which you want to link (i.e. Cindy’s Blog).
3. Click and drag to highlight that text, and then click on the Link button above the post box.
4. A dialogue box will pop up. Make sure the link to web address choice is selected. Paste the address you copied earlier into the link box.
5. Your text should now be linked.
For the over-achiever ;)

These are just options for those who are already comfortable with blog creation. They are not a required part of your assignment this week.

Try customizing the look of your blog page. The Overview video above will get you started. 

Try adding a You Tube video in a blog post. The following tutorial will show you how. It is in the old Blogger format, but you can probably figure it out on the new version if you're up for a challenge.
How to add a You Tube video in your blog

There's a lot of information in this week's assignment, so here's a checklist of this week's tasks:

Thing 3:

  • Create your own blog using Blogger for the purpose of completing the assignments for this course.
  • Send me an email with your new blog address.
Thing 4:
  • Read the two articles about why you might choose to blog as an educator.
  • Create your first post on your blog telling why you might use a blog in your teaching.
  • Explore other educational blogs using the links listed in the assignment or just do a Google search for blogs in your grade level/subject area. Find a blog that you find inspiring.
  • Create a link in your post to that blog and include the reason the blog was inspiring to you.
Thing 5:
  • Add a gadget to your blog.

  • Customize the look of your blog.
  • Add a You Tube video to a post. 


  1. How do you set it so as soon as you post something new, it will tweet that you have a new post? I see this a lot on Twitter but can't figure out how to do it on mine?

    1. Try and see if that does what you want. :)