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Class Blog Challenge: Setting up your class blog

Now that you’ve worked out your objectives for your class blog it’s time to get it set up.
If you’ve not set up a blog before it can sound rather daunting, but I can promise you it’s not.  Sure, you can spend hundreds of hours and thousands of pounds themeing and tweaking if that’s your bag, but most class blogs will run just as well set up on a free and easy to use platform where much of the hard work is done for you.

 

I’m going to work on the assumption that your school is happy with you having a public facing blog – i.e. one that is searchable on the web.  This will enable your pupils to write for a real audience (the whole wide world!) and will also enable you to interact with other blogs through commenting.  Something we’ll be encouraging through the Class Blog Challenge.

 

What are you going to call it?

Take a moment or two to think about what you’re going to call your class blog.  There’s no need for it to be anything crazy, and often the simpler the better.

 

Most often classblogs end up being called something along the lines of:

 

“Mrs Johnson’s Class Blog”

“Class 5ZW’s Blog”

“Hill Rise Primary School’s Blog”

 

You get the picture… you just need something simple that will make sense to both your class and anyone visiting the blog.  If you have a very specific objective in mind for your blog then you might want a name that reflects that;

 

“Class 4H’s Sharing Blog”

“Class 6LW’s Best Work”

 

What should your URL be?

Next you’ll need to think about what your URL is going to be.  Now unless you’re willing to host the blog yourself and / or spend some money then much of this will be taken care of as there is a pretty standard format for blog URLs something like

 

http://YOURCHOSENNAME.wordpress.org or

http://YOURCHOSENNAME.edublogs.org

 

Do think carefully about the bit of the URL you have control over though.  You need something that both makes sense and is memorable.  Maybe

 

http://class6HB.edublogs.org or

http://MrJonesClass.edublogs.org

 

 

How to set up a class blog using Edublog

There are dozens of blogging platforms available and I’ve not been able to discover any particularly compelling reasons for using any of them over others.  If you have a strong desire to set up a blog using a specific platform then you should easily be able to find a video on YouTube to support you.  I have previously written a post about how to set up a class blog using primary blogger which takes about five minutes.  But as I’m hoping for a mix of primary and secondary bloggers to take part in the class blog challenge, today I’m recommending Edublogs which is a whole blogging community designed for teacher, pupil and class blogs.   I’ve had some great feedback on how easy to use EduBlogs is and I certainly found that it’s very easy to set up an account for your class blog.  (n.b. both Primary Blogger and Edublogs use the WordPress platform)

 

So here you go, step by step…

 

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

Signing up for your blog

Logging into your blog dashboard

Using your blog dashboard

Changing Your Blog’s Look

Writing your First Post

 

The Challenge:

So this session’s challenge is to set up your blog.  I promise it is less difficult than it sounds!  If you already have a blog from a previous class, think carefully about whether you should start a new blog for a new class.  A new blog will provide a fresh start and enable your new class to make their mark whereas an old blog may have some established visitors that you’d lose if you switch URLs.

If you do set up a new blog, whether it’s your first time, or simply a new blog for a new class, please include a link to your blog in a comment and if you’re on Twitter tweet the link to your new blog along with the hashtag #classblogchallenge

 

 

 

 

10 responses to “Class Blog Challenge: Setting up your class blog”

  1. Avatar Doug Woods says:

    Nice challenge.
    Yet getting the blogs setup is only the first part of the problem. The next step is getting the pupils to write posts and then, perhaps the biggest problem, is getting other people to read and leave comments on the blogs.
    For me the real power of blogging lies in the comments. Receiving comments is very motivating for students and encourages them to write more.
    I guess there is no simple way of attracting readers and comments but I would like to draw people’s attention to quadblogging http://quadblogging.net which is a service to encourage reading, commenting and sharing blogs.

    • The challenge will be ongoing and there will certainly be challenges geared towards writing posts, commenting, encouraging comments, motivating students and many other topics. But before we can do all that we have to have a blog set up!

      In addition to all the wonderful work we’ll be doing together via the Class Blog Challenge this year, I too would wholeheartedly encourage people to give quadblogging a go and I’d love to hear from anyone using it successfully.

      • Avatar Doug Woods says:

        Yep, I know this is only the beginning but …. before you even set up the blog, you need a plan and a purpose for the blog. I’d suggest that part of that plan and purpose will involve getting people to read and comment on the posts; which is often where blogs fall down. I just want people to know that something like quadblogging is available to help with this.
        Good luck with the challenge.

        Oh, BTW, is there a limit to the number of free blogs you can set up on edublogs?

  2. Your class blog challenge has arrived just in the nick of time. I spent the first few days of my hols (in true teacher style) thinking about September and decided that a class blog was the way to go… hence my wordpress site (http://wawne3.wordpress.com/).
    I have set up my blog (complete novice that I am) but it was so easy, added links and posted some work from last year just to get a feel for it.
    I’m really enjoying it so far but am hoping your ‘challanges’ will help me get the best from it.

    • Great to have you along – and well done for getting your blog set up. That’s the first hurdle. I think you’ll find you and your class will get a huge amount out of class blogging, and hopefully the class blog challenge will help you to push the boundaries and network with other class bloggers too.

  3. As for objectives.. I mainly set up the site to support homework, so that’s the first.A
    I want to share the childrens’ work on it, share it with home & family as well as other schools ( we have a link in the USA), so that’s the 2nd.
    Also I send home alot of letters, info etc and am always being asked for copies as they get lost so I will post them on it to (might need help with that!)… so developing teacher/school/parent/child relationships, that’s 3 objectives!
    I know these may change/develop as the new term starts, it’s a work in progress… thinking about it… I will add these objectives to the site… as any good teacher knows, sharing the LO ensures we are all working towards the same SC?! Isn’t that what they said in TT?!
    As for SC, how will I measure it?
    The number of visitors?
    The number & quality of comments?
    Pupil participation & enjoyment?
    Will have to think about that one. Any suggestions?

    • This sounds like a great set of objectives and we can definitely work towards them during the Class Blog Challenge – I agree that sharing your obejctives on the site is a good idea. As for measuring them, I think your ideas are good and we’ll look at some of them in more depth. I envisage that we’ll start of slowly covering the basics and work our way towards some more adventurous stuff as everyone gets more confident.

  4. […] now you’ve set your objectives and set up your class blog so it’s time to get […]

  5. Avatar Kay says:

    I’ve got 4 class blogs – I teach 4 classes. They are here:
    http://www.solomonbiblep1.wordpress.com
    http://www.solomonbiblep2.wordpress.com
    http://www.solomonbiblep3.wordpress.com
    http://www.solomonbiblep4.wordpress.com

    At least two of the URLs will have to change because the periods I teach them aren’t correct (I started these blogs before I’ve received my teaching schedule). That’s the great thing about wordpress.com blogs; you can change the URLs.

    I also have my own reflective blog that I use to model blogging for my students at http://www.kaysolomon.wordpress.com.

    Thanks for the challenge!

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