Juliana, my 4th grade student, created a tutorial for embedding a google form on a blog.  Check out her blog post.  She embedded a form for anyone to ask her questions.

What do you think of her guestbook?
Categories are like chapters of a book; you can think of categories as the table of contents in a book, and tags as the index at the back of the book. Tags serve to describe your post in more detail and explode the topic into a million bits.

If you add new categories this means you will need to go back through old posts and assign them to these new categories.  For example if you have a personal blog where you write about your life as a kid. Your categories can be something like: Friends, Family, School, Rambling, and Books. Now when you write a post about something that happened at school, you will add it in the School category. You can add tags like math, writing, physical education, assemblies, etc...    

If you are planning on using categories you really need sit down, think carefully about what topics you will blog about and assign categories that reflect this. Each post goes into one category.  Categories are not for you, they are for your reader. 

You are better off with 5 generic categories that have fresh content rather than 30 top categories with topics which are not updated.  If you can’t write five blog post titles/ideas on a topic, then you don’t have a category.  Categories with only one post tells the reader you don’t know much about that topic.

If you do not categorize your post, then it will be categorized under the “uncategorized” category. People often rename the uncategorized category to something like Other, Rambling, Miscellaneous, etc...  

Categories can have unique names and be wordy; you want them sufficiently descriptive so your reader understands the type of subject matter they will find when they click on the link.

A tag is usually only a word or two and reflects the keywords or points of your blog post, keywords that your readers will understand.

Avoid duplication. Try not to use names for tags that are the same as the names of your categories. It’s redundant, and it can confuse your readers.

Your Turn

What do you think? How do you use Category and Tag? Share your experience and insights in the comments box below.

Learning Goals: 
  • write a comment that others find value in 
  • provide feedback
  • share ideas
  • initiate a discussion
  • encourage others to check out your blog

Success Criteria for written replies to blog posts:
  • (star) identifies 2 positive aspects of the work of a peer. What did you like about the blog post and why? Compliment in a specific way. It is a great way to begin a comment. "I really liked your vivid descriptions of the theme park. It made me feel I was there."
  • (wish) Expresses a wish about what the peer might do next time in order to improve another aspect of the work (identify an area that needs improvement).  "I want to give you a star for the start of your story and a star for the way you described your house. I wish that you will tell us more about Billy."
  • makes connections to your own life or learning. Add new facts. If you know something about the topic, add more factual information. Make a connection to yourself, to the world, or to another text. "Your post reminded me of the time I went to Great Adventure two years ago."
  • written in a positive way (looking for things to do well).  Compliments the blogger in a specific way.
  • Reply has question(s) for the blogger. Try to start a conversation. Ask the blogger a relevant question and hopefully the blogger will reply.
  • Reply is written in letter format (only first name at end and state, country mentioned; started with a greeting; addressed blogger by name).
  • connects your reaction to the blogger's intent. Put yourself in the place of the blogger. Why did the blogger write this particular piece? What's the ONE thing the writer wants you to know?
  • A link to the main page of the replier's blog is provided at the end of the reply.
  • Person commenting obviously proofread the reply before submitting. Many people may read your comment. Instead of using an exclamation mark, use stronger words to show more excitement. Reread your writing aloud to yourself before submitting. Write a capital letter when writing the word "I." Use capital letters at the beginning of sentences and punctuate at the end of sentences. Check your spelling to show you took your time and care about the writing you share. 

An example of a reply to a blog post:

Dear John,
Wow! That painting on your blog post looks so real. I felt like someone was surfing on the water. I really think that was cool. Could you imagine walking on that? 

I also liked your vivid description of your art classroom. It made me feel like I was there. I imagine being in a place with paint brushes in glasses with water, student work all over, and paint splatter all over the floor the way you described it. 

I wish you would tell me more about your art teacher since you mentioned she is your favorite teacher at school. I wonder how she is different than the other teachers at your school. Maybe you can describe her the way Joanna Coal described Ms. Frizzle in the Magic School Bus series. I want to know her personality and the way she looks.

I wonder how you could do a chalk painting like that. Would you need a different kind of chalk because it looks like you can't do that with normal chalk?

Good job John! Your blog is really coming together.

New Jersey, USA

**As you can see in the above reply Ana mentioned 2 stars (2 positive aspects of the blog post and explained WHY). She made a wish (mentioned an improvement that could be made/gave a helpful suggestion and explained the suggestion).  She asked a question to start a discussion with John.  Ana made sure it was written in letter format.

Remember that blogging is a conversation.  Keep this in mind: " bloggers blog because they are on a journey, a quest, and that every entry is an opportunity to continue that journey."

Try  filling out your own "How to Grow a Blog planning sheet."  A student sample is posted below the setting goals sheet.

If you want more information, visit 
Konrad Glogowski's blog.
How are you going to grow your own blog?
You can also read this blog post on kidblog.
Yellow Amphibian by cleber, on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  cleber 
Edmodo Post:  Read HERE

I did a Flickr advanced search and checked off “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content.”

Then I went to the website which gave me the HTML code with the proper attribution right underneath the photo.

I pasted the Flickr URL of the photo I was interested in and then presto….I got the HTML code!

With ImageCodr.org, there is no need to do all this manually, you simply enter in the URL of the picture page (as seen in your browser) you are interested in and ImageCodr.org will generate the ready to use HTML code. It will also display a brief and easy license summary, so you don’t get in legal trouble because you missed something.

Here is a sample.

You can search for images by clicking HERE.  Check off: “Find only images free to use commercially”

Following the steps above you will:
  • Link the image back to the Flickr photo page
  • Give the author of the image proper credits (Attribution)
  • Link to the Flickr profile of the author
  • Link to the license the image is licensed under
What do you think of ImageCodr.org? 
Curmudgeon by pepsobert, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  pepsobert 
Do you know what a curmudgeon is? 
A curmudgeon is a cranky person.  You might have a neighbor who is a curmudgeon. You wouldn’t want to go trick-or-treating at a curmudgeon’s house, because if you rang the doorbell he’d probably say, "Get off my porch!"

When we read a book like it’s gold it’s more than just reading like we’re interested, or reading with expression. It’s also being open to the story and letting whatever happens to the characters happen to us, too.  It’s letting a book really matter to us.

You have a choice as readers. You can read like a curmudgeon (reading text as if it were duller than dishwater).  Or you can, instead, read as if the text is gold (reading with heart and soul).

So, we can approach a book like a tough-skinned curmudgeon, or we can approach a book expecting it to matter!

Tips from Lucy Calkins
I will post a few topics.  If you see one you like, start writing!!!

  1. Instructions to do …. anything
  2. A discussion on what you’re learning at school
  3. A family tradition
  4. technology related article
  5. travel blog
  6. how to use edmodo properly
  7. tips on getting good grades
  8. Create A New Superhero-what are his or her powers?
  9. Friendly aliens have landed. What do you tell or show them about our city?
  10. What wild animal would you like to have as a pet?
  11. Recommend a movie or book and add a picture.
  12. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
  13. What would you do with a million dollars?
  14. What is your earliest memory?
  15. What bugs you? Here is your chance to complain!
  16. You’re in charge today-you make the rules. What are they?
  17. Make up some Olympic events for lazy people
  18. You find a genie in a bottle. What do you wish for?
  19. You are in charge of a scavenger hunt-what are 5 things to find?
  20. You’ve got a magic tree-what does it grow?
  21. What would you like to do on your next birthday? Don’t worry about the cost!!
  22. You can time travel! What period in history would you like to visit?
  23. Tell about your favorite restaurant. What makes it so great? What do you like to order?
  24. Create a new law that would make the world a more fun place
  25. What is your favorite sound?
  26. What is it you are absolutely sure you will never forget about being a kid, and why have adults forgotten it?
Tip #1: Choose short, meaningful and fun blog topics

Tip #2: Interact with the readers.  End the post with some questions.

Tip #3: Write a post once a week or once every two weeks.  Readers may forget about your blog if you wait too long to between posts.

Tip #4: Write about something you find interesting, but also something that will interest others.

Tip #5: Reply to all/most of your commenters.  Readers will be encouraged to comment again if their comment is acknowledged or if they engaged in a conversation. 

Tip #6: Understand that your blog is not only about you and what you like, but about your readers too. Readers = comments = interaction = learning and growth!