Blogging Begins Soon!

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As we prepare to set up our blogs for the 2016-17 school year, we need to have a sense of what it is that we are creating.  What is a blog? What makes some blogs more inviting and effective than others?

First, a brief overview of blogs, courtesy Edublogs:

One way to learn more about blogging is to visit some blogs.  As you explore the sites below, think about what you like (or don’t like) about the design and layout of the blogs. How important is ease of navigation?  Which posts draw your interest more than others?
What’s the difference between a page and a post?

Paper Fury is a blog by Cait, a young Australian writer who likes to review books.

Mrs. Smith’s class in Canada blogs about what they are learning.

Our Westlake High School librarians keep a blog.

This teen homeschooler blogs about life on her family’s farm.

Anthony Wyatt is a chef who publishes a food blog.

Amanda Eccleston blogs about her career as an elite mid-distance runner.

Sky is a student who blogs to share his passion for cars.

Mrs. Kriese publishes a blog about her interests, experiences, and random thoughts.

 

Welcome, 2016!

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A new year has begun.

What will we do with it?  How will we grow?

The answers to those questions as they pertain to English class are partly determined by the Texas TEKS, but also by teacher and student choice.  We as individuals can decide a lot about how we want to stretch ourselves and develop our abilities as writers and readers.

What do we want to know more about?  Let’s explore!  We each have the tools:  curiosity, ability, resources…and time.  That’s the key, isn’t it?  We have to make the time to learn what we want to learn, to do what we want to do.

Here a few places to visit to get started on some individual inquiry:

What are some of your favorite resources for learning?  Leave us a link in the comments!

 Image credit: Pixabay CC0

 

Getting Ready

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Welcome, new bloggers!

We’ve been in the computer lab for the past few days, getting everyone set up with his or her own blog.  This week, we’ve been learning blog vocabulary and other basics as we explore options for style and content.  Next week, we’ll have lessons on adding media, respecting copyright, and linking to supplementary articles.  Our blogs are taking shape!

By October 1st, we’ll be ready to email family and friends, inviting them to subscribe to our blogs.  We look forward to exchanging our ideas with others as we share our writing.

Talk to you soon!

For Mr. Webb’s Class in New Zealand

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Our sixth period students are excited about their upcoming Skype chat with Mr. Webb’s class in New Zealand.  The two classes have been visiting each other’s blogs, and now the kids will get to visit in person…sort of 🙂

We started preparing for our chat by brainstorming what we think we know about New Zealand:

  • New Zealanders have little tiny ponies that are awesome
  • The Lord of the Rings movies were filmed there
  • “Kids ride kangaroos to school,” said Clark (really, Clark, really?!)
  • You can order kangaroo meat at a restaurant
  • Some schools let the kids go barefoot
  • People in New Zealand have really cool accents
  • There are tiny cows in New Zealand
  • It rains more there than in Texas
  • It’s hot and humid in New Zealand
  • People drive on the left side of the road
  • The Auroa School kids are amazing 🙂
  • There are volcanoes in New Zealand

When we compared the size of Texas with the size of New Zealand, we were just as amazed as Mr. Webb’s kids. We know Texas is big, but wow, Texas is BIG!

Capturevia OverlapMaps.com

Some students insisted that our above “facts” are wrong, with some saying kangaroos are in Australia, not New Zealand. We’ll have to do some investigating in the coming days!

Blog Power

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BeFunky_Wildcats-1 (2).jpgAs we prepare to complete our blog self-assessments next week and set goals for the spring, let’s take a look at what some other student writers have done with their own blogging.  Do you have a particular passion that could become the focus of your blogging this semester?

Jake’s Bones
Jake is a thirteen-year-old Scottish student who has been collecting and studying bones since he was six.  His blog has been featured on television and radio, and his work has become a book by the same name.

Cayla and Ashley
Cayla and Ashley are two sisters, age fifteen and thirteen, who have used their blog to showcase their singing and song-writing talent.  They now have a YouTube channel, and they have released two CD’s via iTunes.

Sky’s Cars
Sky is a fifth grader who has been blogging about cars for two years.  His visits to car dealerships and his interviews with car experts have given his blog a wide readership.

LibDemChild
British student Maelo Manning started blogging about politics when she was only ten years old.  Since then, her blog has won many awards for political commentary, and she has been a guest on several political talk shows in England.

Tolly Dolly Posh
Tolemia is a fourteen-year-old who has been blogging about fashion since she was eleven. Her blog has been featured in many publications, television segments, and radio spots.

Call Me Hannah
Hannah Alper is an eleven-year-old blogger who describes herself as a “Change Maker, Activist, Eco Warrior, Animal Lover.” Her blogging has led Hannah to roles as a TEDx speaker and a student ambassador for Free the Children.

Check out the work of these “kid reporters” from SIKids and Time for Kids.

Student bloggers also share their work at TeenInk (must be at least 13) and their book and movie reviews at DogoBooks and DogoMovies.

What do you want to do with your blog in 2015?

Image created with befunky.com

Fiction Becomes Fact?

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Wow!

This invention is like something straight out of Star Trek, isn’t it? I know the article makes mention of Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, but before there were the deathly hallows, there was first a cloaking device.  I’ve known about the concept since I first watched The Enterprise Incident in the early 1970’s.  Kirk’s ingenious plan to steal the secret cloaking device from the Romulans makes for one of my favorite Star Trek episodes ever.  Just think of the military implications of an invention that could hide the presence of a ship!  The Federation certainly couldn’t leave such technology in the hands of their enemies.

There are other examples of Star Trek technology becoming real-life inventions.  Spock, Dr. McCoy and Mr. Scott would be proud of us 21st century humans.  Gene Roddenberry and his team knew what they were doing!

Interested in more articles like this? Dogo News is all about current events for kids.  Just click the tab that interests you the most:  science, social studies, sports, entertainment, international, green, fun…there’s something there for every reader.

Find an article that interests you, click to get the embed code, and put it in a blog post. Then share your thoughts by adding a paragraph or two of your writing beneath the embedded article.

Notice that in addition to Dogo News, you can also find Dogo Books and Dogo Movies…all reviewed by kids for kids! If you create an account with your school email (ask your parents first), you can post your own book and movie reviews on the Dogo website.

 

About Us

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We have been working on our new blogs this week.  Drop in for a visit and read some of the “About Me” pages that have been created:

About Avery O
About William
About Madeline McG
About Ethan H
About Lorena
About Madeleine J
About Thomas
About McKala
About Maddy B
About Reda
About Samantha
About Caroline
About David S

and over 100 more!

What fun to hear our students’ vivid voices come through in their writing.  Our blogs are looking good and sounding great!

 

New Zealand!

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We’re excited to have new blogging partners in Mr. Webb’s Room 1 in Auroa, New Zealand.  After introducing ourselves, Room 1 wrote a post about what they knew about Texas, so we thought we’d put together a list of what we know about New Zealand.  Like Mr. Webb’s class, we realize we have some research to do in order to complete (or correct?) our knowledge and impressions.

From period 2 and 3, here’s a compilation of what we think we know:

  • New Zealand is near Australia
  • The fly fishing for trout is supposed to be awesome there!
  • Some students have heard of a famous NZ rugby team called All Blacks
  • Cricket is a popular game (but most of us aren’t sure what it is)
  • There are many sharks in the waters off the coast of NZ
  • New Zealand has a sister city to our Aspen, Colorado…but we can’t remember its name
  • There are REALLY big turtles in New Zealand
  • New Zealand is in the Ring of Fire
  • The countryside is beautiful (we saw the scenery in the Lord of the Rings movies!)
  • People in New Zealand say “mate” after their sentences

We look forward to learning more about New Zealand and Mr. Webb’s class in the weeks ahead!

 

 

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Some students have asked about how to add some special text effects to their blogs. Enjoy playing with the possibilities below! You can search the web for more options. If you find more cool bling for blogs, leave your recommendations in the comments!


Glitter Text @ Glitterfy.com

 

Get this text and many more glowing fonts here .  After you create your message, choose “get web code” and paste it into your post.  Remember to use the “text” option when pasting in codes.

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Do you like Minecraft? Check out this site for generating text. When you finish designing your message or header, there is no html code to copy. Just download your text for use in your blog, or use a tool like the snipping tool to cut out and save the image for upload as you would any photo. That’s what I did for “Purple Power.”