Friday, December 23, 2011

Growing your Blog Audience

Each of you should have a blog post measuring the reach of your blog.  We did this on Wednesday. Some of you began your campaign to grow your audience by commenting on blogs.  We will continue this today.

Click here to go to student blogs.

We discussed the difference between spam comments and valuable comments.  We discussed the proper way to format your comment (no email, first name last initial, blog address).  We discussed the value of responding to comments.  We recognized how hard it is to build an audience.

Building an audience is one of the most important skills we will work on.  Nearly every product, service, and idea is sold via the web now.  You MUST know how to get your work out there to survive and eat.  This blog is practice for that.

I'm also hoping to raise the level of work on your google profile.  For many of you your twitter feed is your #1 result on google.  For many of you this is NOT good.  Seriously.  And remember, swearing is bad.

Today you will do three things:
1. Write blog posts to increase the quality of your blog (see topics below).  You need posts that people will link to, email their friends, post on twitter.  We want people to be saying "Read this!".
2. Comment, comment, comment.  Using blogmeister or google you will find blogs to comment on.  You will leave comments everywhere.  You will make the comments interesting and they will extend the conversation.
3. If you find an interesting blog post you will write about and link back to the original blog.  This is "polite blogging".  This is how traffic gets generated.

Suggested blog posts (remember to include links, a cool title, embed video/images if needed).  Choose one or all:
1. If you are a football player: Explain when you would punt the ball and when you "go for it" so anyone can understand it.
2. If you are a cheerleader: Is cheerleading becoming more dangerous?  Describe how cheerleading has changed over time.  Where is the line between OK and too dangerous?
3. If you are a musician:  How have headphones and iPods changed music?
4. If you are an artist/photographer: How has the internet changed how we view art?  Does the internet help or hurt art?
5. If you eat: What should we eat?  Should we be allowed to eat whatever we want?  What if we know what we eat is slowly killing us?
6. If you breath: Whats in the air that you breath?  Is it safe to breath?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Split Day

Monday was a wash for H block and for some of E block so be sure you complete everything on Monday's lesson before you move onto today's lesson.  Read Monday's lesson first.

Your task is to create an audience for your blog.  How will you do this?  The best way is to comment on other people's blogs.  Creating an audience for your work is HARD.  It took me a long time to build even my meager audience.

Using the first page of blogmeister you should search for other blogs.  This is not an easy process as that search engine does not recognize new blogs.  One way to do it is to click on Featured Articles.  Or you can search by state, country, or age group.

When you leave a comment be sure it extends the conversation about the blog post.  Don't spam them ("Hey, check out my blog!" or "If you click this link you can read my new eBook!").  But be sure the information boxes are filled out correctly (first name, last initial: leave email blank; your blog address).

Now, when they return to your blog do you have interesting content?  Will you have something for them to read?

How will we measure/grade this?  Write a blog post RIGHT NOW where you list:

  • How many countries have visited your blog.
  • How many red dots do you have.
  • How many comments from non-SHS people.
Then we measure the growth.  Good luck.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Project Wrap-up and TED talks

I am in meetings today.  I have left comments on most of your blogs and most of your .pdf books.  Please make sure you check and edit anything today.  Wednesday I will work on grading everything with you.

Please answer the following questions on your blog:
1. List the projects that you completed and the story subject for each. (I wrote an ebook about German Cuisine).
2. Which is your best project?  Which tells the best story?  Why?
3. Whose classwork has impressed you?  Why? Be sure when you list their name you make it a link to their blog.
4. Each of these assignments has been published on the web.  Does that change the quality of your work?  Why or why not?
5. Which is your favorite way to tell a story? Animation, voicethread, eBooks, images, or showme?  Which is your favorite way to "read/watch" a story?

Please include links to your work or your classmates work.


I would like you to watch at least three videos today from start to finish. Everyone must watch the Bobby McFerrin video. I give you some prompts to start a discussion on your blog. Some of these videos are about 10-20 minutes long. They say teenagers can't pay attention to anything. Prove them wrong.

Hans Rosling: How data is cool. Think of your little Excel charts. Will you be ready to use data like this. This guy is fun to listen to.
Jeff Han: How displays will change. This would profoundly change how we use computers.  This is from four years ago.  How fast technology evolves (Hello iPod!).
John Maeda: A smart, funny guy talks about simplicity. Think about how simplicity is the driving force in design (hint: iPods).
Rives: This guy can talk.  Power of the spoken word.  I laughed out loud (also notice his use of powerpoint).  Check this poem about the internet by Rives.  Fascinating (and why you should work on your poetry).

Bobby McFerrin: How does that work without rehearsal?  Is music hard-wired to our brains?  Bobby's genius is awe inspiring.
John Bohannon: Why you should dance and not use powerpoint.  This is super-awesome. Can dance make you understand science?  Do that google search he speaks about. Any dancers here?  That would be an AWESOME project.
David Blaine: Not for the faint of heart.  Is he crazy, or focussed?
William Kamkwamba: Inspiring.  Many of you are 14.  What is on your resume?  Think about all that you have to work with here.

What did you learn? Share what you learned. What did you watch? Start a conversation. Can you add something to a discussion?

You should give me multiple paragraphs.  There is a lot of content here.

Be sure to have links to the talk on your blog.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Projects are due today.  There may be some special cases that get extensions, but they know who they are.  I've given you nine hours of class time (and three weeks of HW or after school time!) and I think that is enough.

I have read many of your .PDF books that were submitted but I haven't uploaded them or finished editing them.  I'll get to them.  Be patient.  Things are a bit crazy with the concert tonight.

Be sure to write a clear blog post today.  I encourage you to comment on a classmates blog that did good work or helped you on this project.  I will be leaving comments on your blog.  Please be sure to respond if needed.

Read this about swearing.

What do you want to appear when people google your name?  For most of you your facebook or twitter feed comes up first.  Do you want that to be your public face?  "I block my tweets" you say?  I say you are a fool if you think people can't see the posts.

In my capacity as a track and cross country coach my job is to handle recruiting for the student athletes on our team.  College coaches are amazed at the stupidity of students who post negative comments about opponents, coaches, games.  The worst offense is posts about teammates.  That is a red flag.

Do you know everyone on your friend list?  If they know you are applying for a job or applying to a college do you think they might take a screen shot and send it on?  It takes two seconds.  This happens all the time.  You know this is true because it happens every day here (people sending stuff to Mr Lucke or Mr Freund).

EVERYTHING you do online is there FOREVER.  If you delete a page its still there.  Archived.  Forever.

Including this project.  Do you have other school work thats online?  If not, this will be THE project people can look at.  Is your blog your only online academic writing that employers or colleges will see (try googling yourself and "blog" or "assignments" and see what comes up)?  Do your best.

Friday, December 09, 2011

First Book

I started a page to compile our eBooks.  Remember, you need to open the ebooks on an iDevice or Kindle app.

When you complete the report card be sure to print out two copies and turn one in to me.

If you complete a PDF book remember you must share it with me.  My email is on the board.  Be sure to talk with me that its done so I can edit and check.

If you complete a VoiceThread or ShowMe then we can upload that together OR send me the link.  Be sure I can hear your voice.

Animations should be saved to the UDrive.  Be sure to save the movie, we dont need the Flash file.  Check out Humpty Dumpty.

Have you made a blog post every day that contains a link and tells a story?  Have you commented on someone's blog?

I expect most of you will complete this project on Thursday.  I will give more time to those I feel deserve it, but 95% of you will finish on Thursday.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I'm out

I'm out today.  First drafts of projects are still due.  Save any drafts to UDrive (label correctly).

I understand the iPads are not in the room.  Adapt.  Work on something else.  I understand.

You can do voicethread or google doc book at home or on any computer.  You can do design work for the animation or report card anywhere.

Get it done.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Web Project Work

Please fill out this form before you do anything else today.

Then take 2 minutes to look through the Best Images of 2011.

Some of you were exploring making a Children's book.  I think some of you thought this was an easy way out.  Check some Children's Counting Books (amazon will allow you to look at the cover and first pages).  Children's books are no joke.  The illustrations are serious.  Second, I will not accept ANY projects with images that do not have citations and creative commons license.  We will check each one.

Watch these 4th graders use voice thread (you can google a thousand other examples) explain their math homework.

I saw many report card designs that really seemed to copy the current report card.  You really need to think bigger.  If you are having trouble google some more examples.  You really need to tell a story with your report card.  I suggest you write your story first (in one paragraph) before you tackle the design.

Here is a project by an 11th grade student. youTube and google demonstrate the amazing talent students have. He sang, played the instruments and directed and edited the movie.  You will publish this project. Do your best.