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Day 2 of 20 Days to BlogTastic - Pretty Stuff

Updated: now includes video showing how to add and remove gadgets on your blog.

You've made it to Day 2 of our 20 Days to BlogTastic Training.  If you'd like more information or want to join the training click here

Wow, great to see so many blogs being created and updated yesterday.  Hopefully I've ironed out the email bugs and we're full steam ahead.  

Here's a list I compiled from the comments with all the blog addresses in it.  




If you haven't already remember to add your blog address in the comments on yesterday's post here's a link to the post.  I'll keep updating this blog list as more blogs are added.  We'll use this list later in the training to make a few more connections for our students.

Today we're looking at the different things you can do to make your class blog personalised for your class.  This challenges looks at ways of changing the standard themes to suit your school and class.  

Template Designer
This video explains how to use template designer to change the basic theme behind your class blog.  You might want to skip through it once you've taken a peek at the first few items as they're all pretty similar.





Blog Header
A blog header is the image or text that sits at the top of your blog like your blog logo.  There are lots of different ways to create your own header for your blog. Here's a video that explains how to create your own header in Google Drawing.


Here are links for other sites you can use to make blog headers (please note I didn't create these tutorials):

PicMonkey
Here's an in depth tutorial using PicMonkey to make a blog header
Pixlr
Here's an in depth tutorial using Pixlr to make a blog header


Gadgets
Gadgets are links and small programs that can be added to your blog to preform different operations to enhance your blog.

Here's a video that shows how to add gadgets to your blog:



Here's a few gadgets you might like to consider:
Most of these will work if you add a gadget and then select the html gadget.  Once the gadget loads paste the code in from the websites below. 



Native Blogger Gadgets (Find these when you click the ‘add a gadget link)
Labels
Blog’s Stats (Hit counter)
Follow by Email
Visitor Statistics (hit counters)


Clocks and Calendars
Voice
Other
Please use gadgets with caution, check regularly to ensure these are appropriate for your students and community

A few gadgets to remove
Some of the gadgets that come as defaults on your blog may not be appropriate for you and your classroom.  
The contributors and profile gadgets link back to your Google + and Blogger profiles, if you'd prefer these not to be so visible on your blog I'd remove those two gadgets. 



Make your blog look different!  
Change it to reflect your classroom and your learners.  Decide if you're going to remove the profile and contributors gadget - remove them if that's what you want to do.  Add at least two gadgets to your blog - I'd highly recommend a hit counter and text or a profile that tells readers a bit about who you are.  Finally if you're feeling brave create your own blog header and add it to your blog.  Don't forget to let us know you've updated your blog by adding a comment on this post.


Have you completed the challenge?
Remember to update your challenge spreadsheet!  
If you'd like to join the challenge please click here for more information
See you tomorrow!

Comments

  1. Okay....playing around with Gadgets....chose one but now want to delete it...but how?! Have Googled it but not found a satisfactory answer...help?!

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  2. Make sure you're logged into blogger, view your blog and then click on the little spanner tool at the bottom of the gadget. I did a quick explanation of it at the end of the gadgets video above but will do a more in depth one later today. Hope that helps.

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  3. Day two completed! Pretty simple gadgets at this stage as we are setting up a new class.... cant wait to get some photos of the kids to add a slideshow as my next gadget.

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    1. Great start, love the map to show where your class is from!

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    1. Congrats on getting Day 2 done an dusted, love the clever clogs header you've created.

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    2. I've had to take this header down because I couldn't get it to work on the template I've chosen to use (there only seems to be one template that allows you to easily find posts by different contributors - do you know if there is a way of putting this on to another template??)

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    3. Try using labels to show who has made a post rather than contributors, this will ensure when someone clicks the label in the labels gadget they get all the posts about that person. When you click a contributor you're just taken to their profile. The template you're using puts the gadgets as small link/buttons on the right hand side of the screen.

      You've currently got your blog on the dynamic template, if you login to your blog via www.blogger.com and then use the drop down menu to select template you can change the template to any of the others. The dynamic template allows whoever is viewing the blog to change the way they see it, it doesn't display gadgets in the same way as the other templates.

      Hope that helps, feel free to email me if you need more info :)

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  5. Done .... few hiccups but seem to have sorted them out for now. Just a thought - I currently use kidblog and the kids obviously add their own posts and comments which I have to approve before they are published- does blogger work in the same way? So far I am thinking no?? That these webpages are for 'single - users'?

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    1. Kidblog is a great place for individual student blogs. I prefer blogger for its portability and you're right, blogger doesn't work in the same way. However if you have access to Hapara (http://hapara.com/) you can see when student's make posts. If not you can 'follow' each students blog and get an email each time they post and receive a comment.

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    2. Thanks Angela. We don't have Hapara yet. I did however see someone on this training course has a whole list of contributors down the side - maybe I should look into that option. I guess that would mean adding everyone in the class as a contributor. I much prefer blogger - so many more options but at the same time I want kids (year 7s) to have more ownership. Work and learning in progress ...

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    3. Try using labels to show who has made a post rather than contributors, this will ensure when someone clicks the label in the labels gadget they get all the posts about that person. When you click a contributor you're just taken to their profile.

      If you're keen for your class to contribute individually as well there are a couple of options - adding each one as an author or adding a class email address and giving students access to it. You can also add an email link which we'll go over in future challenges. I'll also go over a couple of other ways of getting students to post later on in the training.

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  6. day two done - Not sure what I'm doing wrong with the blogger gadgets you have above - when I copy and paste the addresses it tells me the URL has illegal characters - Am I not supposed to copy the whole box?

    Many thanks

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    1. I've added a video that shows how to add a gadget to your blog, I hope this helps clarify them a bit. For the gadgets that aren't native to blogger (the ones that have links to other sites) you need to read the instructions on their site to setup a gadget for your blog - this usually involves copying a bunch of code. Once you've copied the code you need to log back into blogger go to layout then add a gadget and select the HTML gadget the paste the code into it. If I have time tonight I'll do another update that shows how to do this specifically.

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    2. Hi Angela - thanks for your help. I had been entering the code into the part that says add your own. After watching today's video and recognising the similarities in the codes I went to HTML/Java script under add a gadget and voila - it worked. Day three done.

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    3. Yay! So glad to hear it worked :)

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  7. Day 1 and 2 completed! I have completely changed our team blog layout and don't particularly like it at the moment, so it will be a work in progress. http://2015whakahurangi.blogspot.co.nz/
    I am also working on a teaching blog and will share later as it is very disorganised. Thank you for this 20 day challenge Angela.

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    1. Awesome Lynette, congrats on completing both challenges. You'll get there with making the team blog look the way you want it to, keep playing. Great to hear you're working on a teaching blog, do share when you're ready to.

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  8. Day 2 is completed and my class blog has a totally new look! It is still a working progress as I would like to add images and create a new blog header but need time to figure out what i want.
    http://room3islabankschool.blogspot.co.nz

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    1. Awesome Rochelle, take your time working out a header and images that are right for you and your class, remember it doesn't have to be perfect the first time. That's one of the great things about blogs - it's easy to change the look and feel of them on a regular basis :).

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  9. Day two completed. I have recreated my page got lost in my previous. So here it is http://rm31franktonschool.blogspot.co.nz.
    A quick question is there anyway I can delete old post on my blog didn't use it much as it was confusing.

    Thanks Vickie

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    1. Great work Vickie! Yes you can delete old posts - login to your blog through www.blogger.com and click the drop down box on the right of your blog name then click 'posts'. Find the post you want to delete and hover your mouse just below the title of the post you'll get three options - edit/preview/delete just click delete and your old post will be deleted. Hope that helps.

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    2. Thanks Angela, I have delete old post from the previous year. On my blogger dashboard it shows blog titles that I have set up and don't want them on there, how can I delete that off. I will send you a picture to your email address.

      Vickie

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    3. Hey Vickie, login to www.blogger.com, use the drop down box on the right of the blog you don't want anymore and select settings, then click on Other in the left hand side bar, there is an option there to delete the blog. Make sure you really don't want the blog anymore before deleting it as it's not recoverable.

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  10. Really enjoyed making my own header. http://room2stts.blogspot.co.nz/
    So many gadgets to choose from! I am loving looking at other teachers amazing blogs too.

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    1. Thanks for sharing Lisa, header creation can be a bit addictive, great for students to do too. Class competitions to create a new header can be great art projects. So great to hear you're taking a look at the other blogs that have been posted. Looking forward to seeing everyone's blog develop further.

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  11. Done for today. Will do my PD blog tomorrow. Nice to have a bit of inspiration to add exciting bits n pieces :-)
    rs15technotitans.blogspot.co.nz

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    1. Awesome! Your class will love that Wonderopolis gadget :)

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  12. Had a go at adding gadgets. A work in progress. Thanks for your instructions, makes it so much easier. :)

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    1. Love the new header Fi, and the gadgets you've tried out. You might want to have a look at that counter gadget it doesn't seem quite right. Glad the instructions helped.

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  13. Hi Angela, I have added a blog header and changed some of my gadgets. I have made my blog public while doing this training. Blogger is great - so easy to use - your instructions are very clear.
    http://deepsouthptc.blogspot.co.nz/

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    1. Great background and colour scheme Tracy, glad you've decided to make it public.

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  14. Completed Day 2. Will continue to play with these and let the kids in my class share their ideas etc.
    Thanks :)

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  15. new blog page is Room7KeaTeam2015.blogspot.com
    I was going to try and use a blog page in the Weebly page we have in my class but wanted to follow your steps correctly. Would your steps transfer into my weebly page blogs?

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    1. I'm not as familiar with the setup of Weebly but I imagine you could take similar steps with the design and adding gadgets etc. Embedding Google Drawings would be very similar as embed codes work on most websites. The only difference might be how posts are labeled and I would think there wouldn't be as much scope to have students publishing to the site.

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  16. Day 2 complete :) I love the list gadget and can see that being a fun part of the blog with my children able to help adding to it and updating it over time. I've only put a couple of items in to get them started.

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    1. Fantastic! Will be great to see student voice coming through your blog.

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  17. I am enjoying this training and we are only into day two. Have attempted to create my own header today and am happy with my first attempt, never knew how to this before and now I know, very pleased that I have learnt something new and can pass this onto my students and colleagues.

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    1. That's fantastic, great to hear you're learning something new and that you're passing knowledge/skills on :)

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  18. blog site update Room7KeaTeam2015@blogspot.com gadget and new blog title heading. Trial but I think it works

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    1. Thanks for sharing Steph, great to hear you're working on new gadgets for your blog.

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  19. Day 2 completed a little late but oh well. :)

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    1. Not a problem at all, great to hear you've done it :).

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  20. Hi Angela,
    I am happy with how our blog looks when it was set up.
    I will play with creating a heading in google drawing and see if I want to change it.
    Are there any gadgets you think I should add/remove?
    Cheers
    Keri

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    1. Thanks for sharing, I'd probably take a few of your favourite blogs that haven't been updated in a long time off your list. Great to see you hit counters in action. Maybe look at adding an image gadget and upload images related to your current theme or topic once or twice a week. A way of contacting you or the class might be another good gadget to consider.

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  21. Day Two done! Enjoyed playing with a new header. I'll have to show my class how to customize their ones.

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    1. Glad to hear it was great fun, your students will love the ability to personalise their own blogs.

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  22. http://room42015waihopai.blogspot.co.nz/

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  23. great - ticked off day 2. Enjoyed learning how to make a heading. Good links to gadget codes :)

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    1. Thanks, glad to hear the gadgets are useful.

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  24. All done ... am enjoying being able to work at my own pace, and your clear instructions - thank you! :)

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    1. You're most welcome, glad you're having a good time.

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  25. Hi there

    I have added websites and image. Its fairly basic at this stage.

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    1. Basic is a great place to start, thanks for sharing.

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  26. Hi Angela, I have made a start, it is lots of fun and I can't wait to gain a full understanding of setting up a blog so I can help the class.

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    1. Yay, great to hear, your class will love it :)

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  27. Catching up! Day two attempted. I tried to put a calendar in as a new page but our school sharing permissions didn't allow me to show the events. I can see where I need to change it but it won't give me the option. Will have another go tomorrow. Thanks for giving me the motivation and ideas to change my blog.

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    1. Oh that's a bummer about your school calendar. If you weren't the person who created your calendar you may not have sharing permissions to be able to edit it. Please feel free to email me if you're still having a problem.

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