The 4th grade year is amazingly coming to an end shortly as we reach the end of April. April has been a very busy month for 4th grade as we prepared and took the PSSA’s. All students worked so hard during our testing and I know they gave their best effort which made me proud!
In ELA we have focused a lot of our reading and studying on science topics. Students created a project where they researched about the spotted lantern fly, found out why they are bad for our ecosystem, and came up with a solution to control their population. Students have done a lot of research about animals of their choice and are learning about things like adaptations animals have and the life cycle they go through. In the next week, students will begin a project where they will be making their own TED Talk video about a science topic that interests them. They will be sharing an opinion and researching about the topic for their video.
Students continue to do amazing things with their blogs! Many students have visitors from all over the world coming to see their work. I have loved seeing the creativity in the students as they make blog posts with video, pictures, slide shows, and even music! Keep on the lookout for new posts over the next few weeks.
In Math class we have spent a lot of time working with angles and shapes the last few weeks. We discussed the different types of angles and how to recognize them and even learned how to draw angles to exact degrees with protractors. We also reviewed the differences between lines, and line segments, and rays.
We are excited for a fun and productive end of the 4th grade year as we get ready for our summer break and becoming 5th graders!
As always, if you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to reach out!
Gabby wrote an excellent piece about celebrations that included multiple pictures and some fun polls.
Task 3: Holiday Craft
Some people enjoy making craft for special holidays and seasons.
This task involves creating something and then adding a photo of it to a blog post with a description. Or you could even make a video tutorial for your readers!
If you find inspiration from a website, be sure to include the link in your post.
Origami Club has a list of origami (paper folding) objects you can make for a variety of holidays.
DLTK has lots of ideas sorted into different holidays.
PBS Parents shares a range of craft ideas for different celebrations.
Easy Peasy and Fun have lots of holiday craft ideas. For example, there are many Easter ideas. Use the drop-down menu at the top of the site to explore other holidays or adapt the ideas for your own holidays!
Rhiann made a fantastic video to share a craft idea.
Kaylie made a candle and explained how she did it. She also including the link to the site she used.
There are so many different types of music enjoyed around the world.
As Greek Philosopher Plato apparently said,
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.
Music and the Law
Remember back in week 3 we discussed how you can’t just use any image that you find online? Well, the same applies for music.
Most music is protected by copyright. So you can’t use it for your own digital projects without permission or paying for a special license.
Listening to music
Not so long ago, when people wanted to listen to their favourite song, they had to wait until it came on the radio or buy the CD/cassette/record.
Now there are choices but it’s important to know what you can and can’t do with music.
Using music in projects
Normally, you can’t just use any music you like in something you’re creating — like a video.
However, in most countries, you are allowed to copy music to add to a video if:
a) it’s for educational purposes and
b) you’re not sharing your video publicly (or selling it!)
So, if you have a public blog, you aren’t allowed to put a video on there that you made with copyright music. And you couldn’t show your video at a public event. However, it’s okay if you’re just showing the video to your teachers and parents.
Hopefully you do want to share your work with a public audience. That’s what this challenge is all about! Don’t worry. You can still use music. I’ll share some options below.
Note: This is the case in Australia and the US but if you live in another country you may need to check your own guidelines.
Paying for music
There are popular sites and apps where you can pay to download music legally — for example, Apple Music, Google Play Music, and Spotify.
You can listen to your downloaded music yourself, but can’t upload it to your blog or to a video or other project you’re working on.
You also can’t use it publicly (e.g. at a school event, store, or public event).
It’s fine to stream music online on sites like YouTube (although remember, YouTube is 13+) but it’s not usually legal to download the audio from a YouTube video as explained in this article.
Also, streaming music in this way is meant for personal use — not for a public broadcast. As Spotify says,
…it’s not possible to use Spotify in public places (such as bars, restaurants, stores, schools, etc.). You may only make personal, non-commercial, entertainment use of the content.
Most streaming services are similar.
Embedding a video from a site like YouTube or Vimeo into your blog is usually allowed.
This week you can choose from a list of 8 ideas to create a post about music. Or you can come up with your own idea!
Because the topic of music is a new one for the Student Blogging Challenge, we don’t have many examples to share this week.
8 Prompts For Your Post About Music
Choose one or more of these ideas to create a post about music. Or, you might have your own idea!
1) Create a survey about music (opinions)
Create a poll to survey your readers (Google Forms is a good way to do this or you could use a tool like Crowd Signal).
Alternatively, you could write some questions that you’d like readers to answer in a comment.
Your survey questions could be about:
Your favourite music genre
Your favourite artists or groups
Would you rather? (e.g. Would you rather Ariana Grande or Billie Eilish? Would you rather classical music or rap?)
Idea: When your survey is completed, you could share a summary of your findings. I love a tool called Beam for making simple charts.
2) Create a quiz about music (facts)
Quiz your readers about anything music related. Perhaps your quiz could include questions like:
Facts about artists (year they were born, or first number one hit)
Facts about instruments
Questions about a certain genre or period of time (e.g. 1980s music)
Google Forms is great for making quizzes but please make sure it’s public. You could also make a Google Slides presentation. The question could be on one slide, and the answer on the next (or all the answers could be at the end of the presentation).
Remember to please make sure any Google Forms/Slides/Docs etc. are public.
3) Tell us about an instrument
Do you have a favourite instrument? Or perhaps there is an instrument that fascinates you and you might like to do some research and write a post about it.
You might include things like:
Construction or appearance
Technique or how to play it
Famous works or artists
Classification or family of instruments (e.g. strings, or percussion)
Don’t forget to include an image or embed a video.
Example: Ash wrote a post about the ukelele for her free choice post in week 4.
4) Research a famous artist or group
Find out more about a singer, songwriter, musician, or group. This might be someone who is popular now or performed long ago.
Share some interesting facts in a post.
Bring your research to life with an image or video.
5) Make a playlist
Music lovers have enjoyed making their own playlists for years. A playlist can celebrate a certain artist, genre, or mood.
Write a blog post that includes a playlist of your favourite songs. Don’t forget to explain why you like each song and why it’s part of your playlist.
Example: Principal Meredith Akers made a playlist by embedding YouTube videos into her blog post.
6) Discuss music and the law
Many people don’t realise that by using music illegally, you are putting artists at a disadvantage because they are not getting paid for their work.
Do some research and write an article about the downsides of using music illegally.
Alternatively, you might like to write a post about do’s and don’ts of using music legally. You might be able to teach others who aren’t aware that there are rules we need to abide by.
7) Guess the artist, song, or instrument
Guessing games are fun!
Give your readers some clues as they scroll down the page and have them guess the artist, song, or instrument.
You could put each clue on a slide of a Google Slides presentation if you prefer (just remember to make sure your Slides presentation is public).
Invite your readers to put their guesses in a comment.
8) Make some music
We don’t just have to talk about music or listen to others’ music. Why not make your own. There are lots of apps and websites where you can make music.
Write about your school day or make a slideshow or video to explain it.
You might include things like:
How do you get to school?
What is your timetable like? Do you have set subjects at certain times?
Do you have one teacher or many?
What time do you begin and end school?
Do you get to choose what you learn?
What technology do you have at school?
Remember to explain abbreviations you might use e.g. LOTE, STEM, or ELA
Example: Kayden wrote about her favourite school subjects
3) Do some research
Do a little bit of research for a new post.
Here are some ideas:
Research the history of your school and create an “About my school” page.
Research a famous person who attended your school.
How has schooling changed over the years? Interview parents or grandparents and ask questions about schooling. You could make a written interview, make a video, or make an audio recording (Anchor is a great tool for making audio recordings).
Find out more about someone at your school who you don’t talk to very much. Maybe you could interview a student who is older/younger than you. Or you might interview your cleaner, crossing supervisor, canteen worker etc.
Example: Farrah asked her parents about how school has changed.
4) What happens at break times?
Tell us what you do at break time or what’s popular at your school.
You might write about:
The food you eat at school. Do you take your own lunchbox or do you buy lunch? Include some photos if you can!
What do you do at break time? Are there any popular games, sports, or activities at your school?
What precautions do you have to take from the weather at break times? Hats? Sunscreen? Snowsuits? Is school ever cancelled or do you ever have to stay inside?
Example: Van Anh explained how to play a traditional Vietnamese game.
5) Describe your school grounds
Tell us a bit about your school grounds. You could even draw a map, or make a slideshow or video that gives readers a tour of your school.
Is your school big or small?
What sort of play areas do you have? Playgrounds? Fields? Courts?
What special buildings do you have? A gym? A library?
Example: Mrs. Yollis class made this great school tour video when I worked on a projectwith her for International Dot Day.
6) Tell us about your special events
Does your school hold any special events? Maybe a fair or fete, a dress up day, a fundraiser, camps or school trips?
Share the details in a post!
Example: Jueun wrote about a sports event held in his district.
7) Compare your school with another
Find a video, photo, or article to shows what school is like in a different part of the world.
Feel free to use the resources I added above.
Write about the similarities and differences as well as the questions you’re pondering.
Alternatively, if you’ve been to more than one more school you might be able to compare them in a post.
Example: Yuyang compared his school experiences in China and Senegal.
8) Share your opinions about school
No doubt you have some opinions about school and we’d like to hear them:
What’s your ideal school? You could even include a map of what it would look like.
Share your opinion on uniforms, school starting times, homework, recess, or another controversial issue.
What do you dream of doing once you finish school?
If you were principal for a week, what would you do?
If you have any other ideas, that’s great! Write about anything that relates to schooling around the world.
Examples: Fran wrote about his plans for when he finishes school while Van Anh shared her opinions on school uniforms.
When You’ve Published A Post, It’s Time To Visit
An important part of this topic is to find out about some other schools. You never know what you might learn or who you could connect with!
When you’ve finished your post, choose a couple of blogs to visit and leave a quality comment.
Remember to ask a question and check back to see if they replied to you (most platforms have a box to tick so you can get an email when there is a follow-up comment).
You will find the link to the week 5 participants’ posts on the sidebar of this blog on Tuesday.
Submit Your Post URL ⬇
If you’d like a commenter and others to visit your post about school, fill in the form below.
This video shows you how to find your URL…
Note, this isn’t a real class blog. Just one I used for testing 😉
This graphic below should help you understand what a post URL looks like if you’re using Edublogs/CampusPress/WordPress
The Google Form
Edit: Enter your details in the Google Form below or click here to open it in a new tab.
Teachers, feel free to put the Form URL on your class blog if it’s easier for your students to access.
Most images on Google are protected by copyright. This means, they are not free to use and you can get into trouble if you do use them without permission.
You can use Google Images advanced search filter to find images that you are allowed to use but this isn’t as simple as it seems. You need to know what the usage rights mean and how to attribute correctly.
We have some easier options to share with you this week.
Including the source is not enough…
A situation we commonly see on blogs is where someone uses an image they found online and then include a link to the site they got it from.
Just because you link to the source of an image, does not mean you can use it. You would need to ask the image creator for permission.
Unless stated otherwise, everything on the web is protected by copyright.
Let’s take a look at some options for finding images…
Where Can You Find Images?
I have a post on my own blog that goes through the 5 main ways to find images for blog posts or other digital work.
Here is a summary. Feel free to use this poster on your blog or in your classroom if it’s helpful.
We pay a hairdresser when we get a haircut, pay a baker for a loaf of bread, so why not pay a photographer for their work?
This is good to know about as an option but isn’t something schools or students would usually do.
3) Using Google Images is not usually a good idea
We talked about this above.
Most images that you find on Google are protected by copyright. Find out more about copyright by watching this short video.
4) Creative Commons is worth knowing about!
Everyone’s work is protected by copyright unless stated otherwise.
Many people are happy for others to use their work (as long as they give them credit etc.). They give their work a Creative Commons license to tell everyone what they can or cannot do with their image (or text, videos, music etc).
Copyright means the person who took the photo (or created the work) does not allow anyone to use it.
CreativeCommons means the person who took the photo (or created the work) does allow people to use it IF they follow certain rules.
Usually, these rules mean saying who created the image/work and where it’s from.
Sometimes the rules state that you can use the image/work only if you don’t change it or don’t use it as part of something you’re selling.
These rules are called licenses.
There are a number of Creative Commons licenses creators can choose from.
No matter what license is used, you must always attribute the creator of the image/work (unless it’s a Creative Commons Zero license — see point 5). Attributing means crediting the author. In a blog post, this usually means putting the attribution under an image as I’ve done below.
Here’s a short video by Nancy Minicozzi that explains Creative Commons.
This week there are five tasks to choose from to help you learn more about using images. The third task links with doing either task four or five.
Here is a summary. I will explain each task in more detail below with some examples and ideas for how classes can approach each task.
Task 1: Educate Others
Many teachers and students around the world know very little about using images legally, Creative Commons, attributing Creative Commons images etc. You can help them learn while learning more about this topic yourself.
Do some more research into any of the topics discussed this week and make a blog post, poster, video, slideshow etc.
If you’re working as a class on this activity, perhaps students could work in small groups to create a poster or video to share in a post (or a series of posts). Or, all the students could make a slide for a slideshow.
This video is the reaction of students in Mrs. Yollis’ class when she mislabelled their artwork. It helps people learn about the importance of correct attribution.
Remember, some online tools have age restrictions.
Leave a comment on this post if you know any other good tools for making your own images.
Add your image(s) to a blog post and tell us a bit about the images and how you made them. If you used an online tool, include the link so others can try it.
If you’re working as a class on this activity, all the students could make their own image and the teacher could compile them into a Google Slide presentation or simply add them to a blog post (or series of posts).
Sue Waters from Edublogs took this funny photo of something odd she spotted at the supermarket. What can you find in your surroundings that makes you feel surprised, happy, amused, frustrated etc?
Task 3: Image Task Cards
This connects with task 4 and 5.
In the blog post I wrote about images for teachers and students, I prepared two task cards.
Depending on your age, use one of these task cards to find an image or a series of images to add to your post.
You could add a slideshow with some of your favourite images you found and write about why you like them. Or, you could use your images to complete task 4 or 5 below.
Tip: If you’re using Edublogs Pro or CampusPress, you can use the slider feature in the Live Shortcodes plugin to quickly add a slideshow to a post, page, or sidebar. Instructions are here. (Another option is the Metaslider Plugin) Find the instructions here.
You’re welcome to print these task cards, or add them to your blog. To do this, you’ll need to click on the download button under the task card. Find out how to add a PDF file to your blog using Edublogs or CampusPress here.
If you’re working as a class on this activity, perhaps all students could use the task card to find an image. They could create a story, poem, or description for the image and these could be placed in a blog post (or series of blog posts). Or, the teacher could add some images to a post and ask the students to write an imaginative response in a comment.
Task 4: Write A Poem
Find an image using one of the task cards above. Or you can try the Pixabay plugin if you’re an Edublogs/CampusPress user.
Now write a poem about your image.
Need some inspiration or advice? Check out Ken Nesbitt’s site which has lots of poetry resources.
If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could write a poem as a class, or have students write their own poetry and publish them as a series of posts. Alternatively, the teacher could publish a photo and have the students write a poem in a comment.
Tip: You might need to visit some other bloggers and invite them to look at your post and complete your story or guess your word. Remember to leave the URL of your post for them to click on.
If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could publish a series of posts with the students’ picture prompts. Perhaps students could work in small groups. Or the teacher could publish the picture prompts and invite the students to respond in a comment.
Beware of advertisements
Remember, some of the free image sites have advertisements for paid image sites. We don’t want to click on those ads.
For example, on Pixabay, I typed ‘dolphin’ into the search box. The top row of results has a Shutterstock watermark on it. Clicking on this takes me to the Shutterstock website which is a site where you can pay for images.
Note: You won’t see advertisements when using the Pixabay plugin.
Do you need to go back and fix images in old posts?
Have you been using images from Google on your blog so far? Whoops. You might want to go back and fix these up when you have time. Remove the image or replace with a Creative Commons image.
Have you tried using categories, tags, or labels yet?
Categories, tags, or labels are all ways to organise your posts. It’s a good idea to set up a category (or label in Blogger) called Student Blogging Challenge or STUBC. You can assign this category to all the posts you write for the challenge.
If you use Edublogs or CampusPress, maybe you need to start using categories? You can also use tags once you get the hang of it.
You can just write your guidelines down as text or make some sort of poster, graphic, or slideshow.
If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could come up with your guidelines together and all the students could make a graphic or poster to share on a page (or a series of posts). Perhaps a small group of students could illustrate one step each. Or the teacher can make the page and the students can comment on it.
You might make a How To Write A Quality Comment poster like I did below. Teachers, if you want to use this poster for your own class blog, feel free. You can grab a PDF copy here.
Rajyashori used emojis to explain her commenting guidelines.
Task 2: How To Comment
Many themes and blogging platforms have different ways to leave a comment.
You might need to click on the title of the post, or click on a number in a circle, or click on the words ‘Leave a comment’.
This task involves writing a page (or post) for your blog explaining how to leave a comment. (Remember, if you change themes in future, you might need to change your instructions).
You could write it as a set of steps or perhaps create a video showing what to do. Alternatively, make a slideshow like the one I shared in this post.
If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could come up with your instructions together and all the students could make a graphic, poster, or video to share on a page (or a series of posts). Or the teacher can make the page and the students can work on other activities.
I used a free Chrome extension called Screencastify to make the video above.
Loom is another good tool for making screencast videos if you use the Chrome browser.
If you use an iPad you can make a screencast without any special app. Tony Vincent shows us how to do that in this graphic…
Tip: Find out how to add a video to an Edublogs or CampusPress blog here.
Need Pro? If you have a free Edublogs blog, you won’t be able to embed the video into your post or page. This is to prevent misuse by spammers. Contact me to get a free upgrade to Pro for the duration of the challenge.
Visit one of the participants’ blog posts then write a post telling everyone about the HTML you used. You might make your own tutorial for others.
Tip: If you want to include a demonstration of HTML code in a blog post, it can be best to write it in another program like Word, Google Docs etc. and take a screenshot of the code. Then insert the screenshot into your post like any other image.
Click here to find out how to add an image to an Edublogs or CampusPress blog.
See this example below from Mrs. Yollis: she didn’t write it straight in the post. She made it into an image…
If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could try leaving some comments with HTML as a whole class activity. Or perhaps the teacher can publish a post with instructions for HTML and the students can leave a comment trying out some codes.
Task 4: Comment On Other Blogs
We know the benefits of commenting, so let’s leave some comments!
Find three or four blogs you’d like to leave a comment on. Check out the green week one list or purple week two list on the sidebar (it will appear on Tuesday). These are the lists of students and classes who have submitted a task so far.
Leave a quality comment on one post on each blog.
Write a post on your blog mentioning who you visited, which post you left a comment on and why, then include the comment you left. Include a link to the blogs you commented on too. Hint: make sure you copy the comment or take a screenshot before you hit the submit button.
Figgy wrote a post telling us about the comments she left on other blogs and included the links.
Ms. Blessings’ grade two/three students shared some examples of the comments they left during the last challenge.
If you’re working as a class on this activity, you could try leaving some comments as a whole class activity. Or perhaps each student could leave a comment on a different blog and write about the experience. The students’ writing could be compiled into one post or multiple blog posts.
Encourage comments: end with questions
A great way to encourage your visitors to comment on your post is to ask a couple of questions at the end of the post. You might make these bold or coloured so they really stand out.
Try using open-ended questions. So, instead of saying, “Do you have a dog?”, you might say, “Please comment and tell me about your favourite animals”.