iTeach Challenges

Challenge Yourself

Activity 2: Create & publish a post

Objectives:

  1. Discover how posts are used on professional blogs.
  2. Consider tips for writing effective posts.
  3.  Create and publish your first post.

INTRODUCTION TO POSTS

Your posts are where you’ll publish your main content such as your reflections, what you’ve learnt and information you want to share with others. They are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order with the most recent post at the top of the page.

By default, your home page is your blog post page and this is where you’ll see your new posts published.

If you look closely at a post you will see it is normally made up of:

  1. Post Title – tells the reader what the post is about.  A great post title grabs readers attention and is more likely to encourage them to read your post.
  2. Date published – all post display the date a post was published.  You’ll normally see this displayed at the top of the post.
  3. Written by – most themes display the name of the post author.  Your username is automatically displayed unless you’ve changed your display name.
  4. Your post content – this is the main information that you want to share or reflect on with your readers
  5. Comments – all themes have a link to comments.  This is where your readers can click to write a comment in response to your post.  Comments allow students, and other readers, to engage in discussions, share their thoughts and connect with your class blog.
  6. Tags – are used to help readers locate posts on your blog.  Tags are more like the index at the back of the book and explode the topic into a million bits.
  7. Categories – are used to help readers locate posts on your blog.  Categories are often used like chapters of a book; they provide a general overview of the topics you blog about.



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WHO PUBLISHES THE POSTS

If you look closely at educator blogs you’ll see some are group blogs where several individuals publish posts on the blog while on other blogs the posts are published by just that educator.  Individual educator blogs are more common because most people are more motivated to post on their own blog due to personal ownership.

The Connected Principals and The Edublogger are examples of Group blogs.  You can check out other group blogs here!

Here are examples of personal educator blogs:

Watch this video by Steve Wheeler on 3 Things you need to know about blogging!


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EXAMPLES OF POSTS ON PROFESSIONAL BLOGS

So what do you publish as posts on your blog?  Pretty much anything you want to share you’ll publish as a post.  Your reflections, what you’ve learnt, how-to’s and cool information  — there’s so much you can share!

Here’s some examples of posts to check out for ideas:

Please note the posts I’ve shared include some of our well known educational bloggers!

Starting out your posts don’t have to be perfect — blogging is a work in progress!

The key is to take the first steps!  Here’s my very first post ever — if I never wrote my first posts I wouldn’t be here helping you today!


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HOW TO PUBLISH A NEW POST

Publishing a post is as simple as:

1.  Go to Posts > Add New.

2.  Give your post a title and add your content.

Add your title and content

3.  Add your tags and categories (learn about categories and tags here).

Add your title and content

4.  When finished writing click Publish.

3.  Presto! Your post will now display on your blog so others can read!

Below is a quick video tutorial on publishing a new post:

Previewing your Draft

Before you publish your post it is a good idea to use the Preview option to see what it looks like to your readers.

You preview a post by clicking on Save Draft and then click Preview. This opens up a draft version of your post in a new tab.

Preview post

Then just go back to your draft and make any changes you want!

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INTRODUCTION TO YOUR VISUAL EDITOR

The area where you write your post is by default in Visual Editing mode which uses WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) option for formatting.

It works similar to any Word processing software.

Simply write your post, highlight any text you want to format and then click the appropriate button in the toolbar to add formatting such as bold, italics, number list.

The Show/Hide Kitchen Sink button is used to view the advanced formatting options including heading styles, underlining, font color, custom characters, undo, redo.

You switch between Visual Editing mode and HTML editing mode by clicking on the Visual or Text tab.

Intro to visual edito

 Tutorial of the visual editor


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TIPS FOR WRITING BETTER BLOG POSTS

Reading online is different from reading in a text book.

The easier to read and more engaging your posts are the more likely they’ll be read and the better your message will be conveyed.

Here’s some tips to help you write better posts on personal blogs:


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1. Use attention grabbing titles

Titles on blog posts are like titles on books. The better the title, the more it’ll grab the attention of readers and the greater the chance people will read what you’ve written.

Captivating and intriguing titles draw readers every time. Back that with a well written post and you can’t lose.

For further tips on writing post titles refer to 15 Ways to rework your next blog post title.


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2.  Use short paragraphs

Posts with really long paragraphs are harder to read online.

Best options are:

  • Break your posts up with paragraphs.
  • The more paragraphs the better.
  • Short paragraphs are better than long.
  • If you need to make some paragraphs one or two sentences long so they are visually easier to read online then do it if needed!
  • Make the first sentence of each paragraph make your readers want to read the rest of the paragraph.


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3.  Use Headings

Use headings, and where appropriate bullet points and number lists, to break up the post into manageable bit size chunks.

Creating a heading is as simple as:

  1. Highlight the text you want to change into a heading
  2. Select the Heading Style you want to apply from the advanced formatting toolbar (you access the advanced formatting toolbar by clicking on the Show/Hide Kitchen sink icon) – for most themes your best option is Heading 3
  3. Preview your post to make sure that headings you’ve used has broken your post into manageable chunks



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4.  Remember to Link

Failing to link is one of the biggest mistakes made by new bloggers.

Linking to articles, websites or other blogger’s post when you write about them is an important part of blogging.

Your readers want to be able to easy check out the information without needing to Google.

Links are the building blocks of the web.

When you link:

  1. You are crediting those who inspired your post.
  2. Making it easy for readers to check out resources and information for themselves.
  3. Building community, continuation of the conversation and reciprocity.

It’s good blogging etiquette to link to:

  1. A person’s blog if you mention a blogger
  2. The post if you are talking about a particular post on a blog
  3. Website or article if mentioned in your post

Here’s how simple it is:

Without linking:

Listened to Sue Waters’s session on Intro to blogging.

With linking:

Listened to Sue Waters’s session on Intro to blogging (here’s her post from the session).

And it looks like this:

How to link

Creating a link is as simple as:

  1. Highlight the text you want to link to a website, blog or post
  2. Click on the Insert/Edit Link icon in the standard formatting toolbar
  3. Paste the link URL
  4. Then click Add Link

Adding a link

When you view your post you should now see the text is now linked in the post.  Remember to check the URL you added is linking properly!

 

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5.  Enhancing posts with images and media

When you look at class blog you’ll notice they enhance their posts with images and other types of media including videos and by embedding online tools.

We’ll show you how this is done later in this professional learning series on class and student blogging.

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COMMON QUESTIONS WE’RE ASKED ABOUT POSTS

Here’s answers to commonly asked questions we receive into Edublogs Support:

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1.  What does the “Not found” message on my homepage mean?

By default, the front page of your blog is set to display your latest posts.

If you delete the default “Hello World’ post before you publish a new post then your front page will display ‘Nothing Found’, ’404 – Not Found Error’ or something similar depending on the theme you are using.

This message is displayed because there is nothing to display on your front page.

Not found message

All you need to do is go to Posts > Add New and publish a new post.

Once the new post is published you’ll see it displayed on your homepage.

You’ll find more detailed step by step instructions on how to fix a Not Found message here.


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2.  How do you delete the Hello World Post?

Every newly created blog is the same default lay out with posts displayed on its home page with a ‘Hello World’ post and an ‘Sample’ page.

You can delete this post at any time by going to Posts > All Posts.  

Hovering your mouse over the title of  the Hello post brings up four action links.

Now just click on Trash.  This sends it to your Trash folder where it is permanently deleted within 30 days of when you trashed it.

Remember if you delete all posts, and your homepage is your blog post page, you will see a “Not Found” message.

To remove that message you just need to publish a new post by going to Posts > Add New.

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3.  How do I change font type and size?

We’re often asked how to change the font type and size in post.  This is really easy to do.

Just go to plugins and activate the Supreme Google Webfonts plugin.

Now when write your post you just highlight the text you want to change and then select the Front family or font size from the drop down menu that has been added to your advanced formatting toolbar in your visual editor.

Change Font


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4.  Is it possible to publish posts to different pages on my blog?

We’re often asked if it is possible to add posts to other pages, rather than just the front page of the blog.   This is commonly asked by educators who want to use one blog for multiple classes or subjects.  Some teachers use this approach on their personal blog if they are setting up an ePortfolio to document their skills.

And yes you can!  But it does involve slightly advanced blogging skills.

You do it by sending posts to different pages on your blog by assigning different categories to posts, based on the class or subject, and using a custom menu to create link to the categories from your top navigation.  When students and parents click on their category they’re taken to all the posts for that class or subject.

We’ve set up a demo blog to show you it in action.  When you click on the Geography link in the top navigation of our demo blog you are taken to all posts assigned the category Geography.

If you look at the AITSL Standards sub-menu on Paul Huebl’s blog you’ll see he has used this approach on his personal blog.

You’ll find step by step instructions on using categories to organize multiple classes or subjects on your blog here.

It does involve slightly advanced blogging skills — so leave a comment or email us at Edublogs Support if you need our assistance.


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Activity 2: Create your first blog post . 

  1. Create a blog post (sensemaking artifact) that provides some understanding of why you love to teach. What gets you up in the morning? What’s your core reason for doing what you do? Everybody has a reason WHY, but we can lose sight of our WHY, and so we want you to reclaim and embrace it!
  2. Write an attention grabbing title
  3. Insert a link to some text
  4. Use short paragraphs
  5. Comment on another learners blog post by analyzing OR asking a question that proposes answers.
    Your comment takes something from the artifact and analyzes it. It might make a criticism, an observation an interpretation, or draw a conclusion.
    Your comment is a question. The good question asks “why” and “how” and demonstrates you have thought about, and have done some research, on the question. Ask for feedback.
  6. COMPLETE AND SUBMIT THE ACTIVITY 2 COMPLETION FORM (click on link).
    1. For credit, please complete and submit after you have completed Activity 1.

 

 

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