7 Tips to Add Some Punch and Zing to Your Blog Posts

Three Things

After perusing all the teacher blogs in Middle School, a few things stand out:
1. Teachers have  increased the frequency of their posts.
2. The diversity of topics covered has increased

and the focus for this post..
3. many posts lack an engaging look and feel

pic source@Flickr

Here are…

7 Tips to Add Some Punch and Zing to Your Blog Posts

1. Insert a picture per post. Too many posts are large black blob of text. Using a picture sets the tone for your blog post. Be sure to use and show attribution of the Creative Commons photos you use. Two easy way sot do this are by using Compfight and Google Advanced image search.

2. Chunk it. Draw the eye and create a smooth flow for the reader by chunking your text into short(er) paragraphs.

3. Add scanning points. Utilize the bold and text color options to emphasis key words and ideas to your reader.

4. Make lists. Readers like lists. They …

  • draw attention to the most important step
  • emphasis key ideas
  • make it easy to scan

5. Awesome titles and subtitles. Be a student for a second- would you be more likely to click Meet the FlyGuy! or Class Animation Projects.

6. Crisp links. Link the site name itself or a catchy word rather than linking a long ugly URL.

You can check out Mr. Pasamba’s cool class site is a little freiendlier than http://pasambag.ism-online.org

7. Engage your students. Get the students involved by asking a question, creating a contest, requesting a headline to a funny pictur, etc. and encouraging them to respond. Here is a good example of a teacher site that encourages dialogue.

 

Exporting WordPress Blogs

It’s a good practice to periodically export your WordPress blog. This will allow you to maintain a copy of your posts, tags, categories, and comments. This is especially vital if you’ll be leaving ISM or would like to import your blog into a new account. The screencast video below will demonstrate how to export your blog.

Should you have any questions or difficulty, please contact Brandon.


Adding Flickr Slideshows to WordPress Posts

Flickr Slideshows are a powerful and visually attractive method for displaying photos. Rather than displaying a series of photos in a long post one by one, the slideshows offer you a chance to share multiple images with maximum impact in a small space.

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this Flash video.

In order to display them, you’ll need to activate a plugin called, “Tylrslidr”, from the “Plugins” menu on the left side of your Dashboard.

Once activated, when you create a new post, you’ll see a small circular icon with “T|S”. Once clicked, this will open a window with various settings. This is where you would input either the Flickr ID (which is found via flickr.com) or the particular set you’d like to display.

In this case, above, I’ve chosen to display a set of photos from our trip to Angkor Wat, Cambodia. I simply selected the set and copied the URL from the address bar in the browser. Once pasted in, it displays as shown.

This would be a wonderful way of exhibiting student work, artwork, classroom activities, sports, community service, class trips, ICARE, and on and on!

Embedding YouTube Videos into Prezi

Teachers have asked about how to embed a YouTube video into their Prezi presentations. There are instructions in the Prezi manual under the learn tab at Prezi.com. The method essentially requires two steps:1) downloading the video from YouTube in the correct format 2) embedding into the Prezi.

Downloading from YouTube and saving as an FLV file

There a number of ways to do this. Here is just one that is straightforward and sure to work.

Step #1 Go to YouTube and find the video required. Copy the URL of that video page.

Step #2 Go to http://keepvid.com Paste the URL in the menubar. Click Download.

keepvid


Step #3 Download the FLV file

keepvid 2

Step #4 Lastly, embedding the video into your Prezi is straightforward- Use Media then File as you would insert a picture.

iLife PD Session: iMovie, GarageBand, iPhoto

As was mentioned in the tech session for iLife yesterday, the goal was to push the WOW factor of what iLife can do, while introducing what is possible with our new Macs on campus. There wasn’t much time for playing, so there will be follow-up training sessions in the upcoming weeks pertaining to using these applications. If you were unable to attend the iLife sessions, this would be a great time to become familiar with these powerfully creative tools!

iMovie 09

In the meantime, if you wish to play around with iPhoto, iMovie, or GarageBand, simply boot up to the Mac side (as soon as you turn on the computer, hold down the “alt” button for 10 seconds), and you’ll see the these three applications in the ‘dock’ at the bottom of the screen.

iLife Icons

And for those of you who feel daunted by the thought of using a Mac, or who would appreciate a refresh on navigating your way around a Mac, Brandon will be offering sessions and assistance for this as well.

As was also mentioned in the iLife session, approximately 35 video tutorials pertaining to iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand have been recorded and will be available on the server (the location has not yet been determined), OR you can drop by room 1086 anytime after school to copy them to your USB. These tutorials cover the basics of all three applications and are excellent resources for getting the feel for iLife.

If you have any Mac-related questions don’t hesitate to ask me (Brandon) or drop me an email: hooverb@ismanila.org.