Anyone up to a challenge? How about two?
I’ve been slowly working my way through the original 31 Day Challenge by Darren Rowse. It is hard to believe there are only 7 more challenges remaining. As you read in my last post, my class and I joined another challenge – 2009 Blogging Challenge. This post is actually a reflection on my 31 Day Challenge, but if you are looking for some blogging fun or maybe you would like to just improve your skills, there is still time to join both challenges.
My last post actually summarizes and reflects on my reader survey for day 20. Throughout this challenge Ive been discussion various things with my PLN. Some of those are readers. The 31 day challenge has been a great kick start to getting readers:) For day 20, I revisited a survey I conducted awhile back on web 2.0 and wrote a post on the results last week. I will definitely come back to this at a later date and run more surveys. I used poll daddy and it was very quick and easy. Day 21’s challenge asked us to make someone famous, like I have that ability 🙂 lol. I did include @ccroad in my last post and asked readers to add her to their twitter.
I really enjoyed day 22’s challenge to make readers aware of my blog basics. There were several topic to choose from and I basically choose to cover the creation of my blog and it’s purpose. This is a great reflection to do regularly! I am actually still working on day 23 in which we were suppose to go on a dead links hunt. I used the one Sue suggested, W3C link checker. I am still checking links. It did find categories that I had made when creating the blog, but didn’t actually use. This is a great resource. After I finish the blog, I will be checking out our school website for deadlinks!
So are you ready for a challenge? If so, here are two for you to consider:
1) 31 Day Challenge
contact: Mrs. D firstname.lastname@example.org
2) 2009 Challenge
contact: Miss Wyatt email@example.com
My students and I are working through the 2009 Blogging Challenge. Last week’s challenge was to work on our “about page.” I’m sure this gives a few of my readers chuckles as I am also working through the 31 Day Challenge with several of my PLN friends and have already completed this task once. Isn’t it funny that you can be given the same task in a short amount of time and still find needed improvements? The experience was especially fun with all the students’ inputs. Actually as I write this I keep thinking of a couple “about page” changes I haven’t yet completed.
Last week’s class challenge along with day 22
in the 31 day challenge has me reflecting on my overall blog. I started this blog as an extension of my classroom website to bring in more interactive elements. The process seemed grueling at first not because of the blog itself, but instead the red tape to get the site unblocked for use at school. I can honestly say I had an entirely different outlook trying to add this element back in November versus in years past. In the past after one (or maybe two) attempts to get something unblocked I would move on to another avenue that would be “good enough”. This time was different. If they wouldn’t unblock it, I would just give my students a weekly blog assignment.
Yes, I realize that many students don’t have computers at home, but this would give them 7 days in which to complete the relatively short weekly assignment. We are in a small town with a community center and library within walking distance of many homes. I also talked my husband into my “much needed” iphone. Thus if a student couldn’t use the resources, they could just use my phone internet to read and post comments. During January and February, the phone actually came in handy with our connection to Ms. Michaelson’s Norway class
. It took over a month to get the class as well as the individual student’s blogs unblocked. Then I had to request the comment page for each student:)
Why a new attitude? First was my “get out of the box” moment when I decided to get involved with web 2.0 elements even if I couldn’t incorporate them into my class because of internet filter limits. Next, as I became more involved in web 2.0 elements such as twitter and meet up sessions with people from around the globe, I truly understood that my student’s were being left behind.
When I first started to design the blog, I had trouble deciding what to include. I wanted the blog to be just that, a blog. So I started by revamping our class website. I striped it down to the basics. Then I started on the blog. I decided to record the process through “creating a class blog
” posts. Ok, this posting thing is pretty cool, so I quickly decided I would not only use posting for my student information but also for various personal interest in education. My personal posts (as well as many others) have become great post examples for my students. Though I don’t post as often as I would like, I know this will change during the summer!
The students started by learning about blogs
We used the blog daily for assignments. Then, they each had the opportunity to earn their own blog. The addition of student blogs was definately a highlight to our class blog. We actually change to a Web Design course this week, so I hope we will even have more time for the blogs in the upcoming two weeks.
If you would like to follow our blogging adventure, click the apple rss feed icon on the top right of the page. To learn more about rss feeds, including setting up your own igoogle page, see Sue Water’s post
Yes, I realize that today isn’t Tuesday, but why not get a jump start on next week’s blogging?
I have finally completed another week of the 31 Day Challenge. This was definitely a “one thing leads to another” challenge week for me. I have gotten very good at day 12’s task to introduce myself to other bloggers. This task was much easier due to my twitter addiction:) I decided to branch outside of my PLN and googled to find someone blogging about high school reform. I found Mike’s blog post about small learning communities. I quickly emailed him an introduction and question about his work.
For day 14 we were asked to analyze our blog competition. Mine is so new that I actually spend more time looking at other blogs for ideas not for competition:) Day 15 asked us to make our posts sticky by adding rss feed to the bottom of posts. So I created this feed image. Im still working on getting it to work correctly.
I wasn’t able to complete the day 16 challenge, because I can’t add the code to my blog. It was still informative to sign up and learn about the heat map. I might create one for our school website:) This led me to my most time consuming task…day 18: sneeze page. I decided to create a sneeze page about the 31 day challenge hopeing more of our teachers would decide to join at a later date. When I went to add the page my theme caused the nav link to no longer be one nice neat line and instead became a double. Im sure some of you can guess that this led me to searching for more themes…which led to creating a new header…which led to editing my widget sizes….
I guess it was time for a new look, but I really wanted to wait until summer to venture into a new theme. I really want a three column so maybe that will come later.
Thank goodness the next two tasks were easy enough:) I already respond to all comments on my blog and interact with my PLN and readers frequently. Ok, not so frequently over the past few weeks but I was snowed under:)
Oh, the irony I found in day seven’s challenge. Have you ever been lackadaisical about something only to have it bite you back?
While completing day seven’s challenge to plan the next week’s posting, I thought to myself, “This won’t take long ’cause I already have it figured out.” Maybe I should have stopped right then and gotten started on actually writing because an entire week flew by while the plan remained just that a plan.
I really enjoyed the day 8 challenge to comment on a blog that I haven’t commented on before. I visited everyones blog or emailed them. I tried to do this again last week, but seem to have too much on my plate. On a good note, I did get my daughter wedding invitations created and mailed on time:)
Declutter? I can’t get my house decluttered much less my sidebar. I did switch around a few things on my sidebar for day 10. Honestly I need others to comment on likes and dislikes to know where to go from here. I do have two category links, but wasn’t able to get one to delete. Maybe someone reading will have a solution to this!
I LOVE Google statistics!!! It is so great to be able to see where your visitors are arriving from and what they look at while visiting. The students are amazed at all the locations that are popping up on our cluster maps!
As far as the actual statistics that I went through, my bounce rate was lower for twitter visitors and the about page statistics have gone up tremendously since the start of this challenge – thanks challenge participants;)
My favorite two challenges so far have been the about page and the google statistics. What is your favorite challenge activity?
A few week’s back I was catching up with my google reader feeds and spotted Sue Water‘s post, Life is One Big Top Ten In it she mentioned
One of my Top personal blogging I want To-Do’s is to revisit the 31 Day Project by working through Steve Dembo’s 30 Days to Being A Better Blogger!
Oh cool, there are directions to being better at blogging without all this trial and error (oh, and error). I started the 31 Day Challenge by myself while out for Christmas break. I was actually also working the Steve Dembo challenge to Be a Better Blogger. I thought hey these are quick little tasks, I can do two at once:)
Reality check! I first of all spent more time than I originally thought completing the challenges. Not that they are hard. I just have a very active brain and one challenge leads to another idea, and another, and you get the picture! So I decided to only complete the 31 Day Challenge and then skim Steve’s.
Via Sue’s Suggestion, I tweeted that I was starting the challenge to see if anyone else wanted to join in. That is when I met Bill and then we met Ana and Pam. Basically one thing led to another and then Sue posted about the challenge and we are currently up to 15 participants. Of course, that could change any minute.
So how has the first 5 days gone? GREAT!
I feel that day one is a vital part of building your PLN. Each email, comment, or twitter response acts as building blocks to build your Personal(professional) Learning Network. Day two I will probably visit several times during this challenge. The audit of a blog by people outside of you local support system (or family) is GREAT! I loved Jenny Wood’s idea to post a poll and then send out a tweet. I need to change a few things from my latest audit via Sue Water’s. Then I want to tweet and poll:)
Joining a forum (day 3) is a great resource. I found it helpful to search for various topics as well as expanding my PLN members. The interlink activity for day 4 is a great idea I had never thought about. I will do more of this as I add posts to my blog. Of course there had to be another challenge I would want to visit more than once, about page audit (day 5). I completed this challenge and am already ready to revamp again. I think I might be visiting day 2 and 5 every week:)