Cougar Chronicles

Writing to Learn – Learning to Lead

October 30, 2017
by StarPilot
1 Comment

Week 4 (We missed week 3!)

Part 1:

Attention Cougars! We should have been practicing using media that has Creative Commons licensing and showing appropriate credit for those.  Here is an example:

Original image credit: Autumn falls by paul bica via Flicker under CC BY 2.0
Edited with addition of words from “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer

I used the original image and edited by adding words from a favorite poem. Editing was done on This editing is permitted because Mr. Bica has licensed his photo in such a way that allows someone to freely use the image in any way as long as he receives attribution for the image. The attribution should contain the name of the work (in this case the name of the photo), the owner/creator of the work (in this case Paul Bica), and the license under which it is being shared. See all Creative Commons licenses here. Each of those 3 elements provides a link to the source.

Not every CC photo can be edited however. Here is another example.

Image credit:
And the light goes on and on and on… by Vincent Brassinne via Flickr under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

This beautiful photo that has been shared by Mr. Brassinne has some special restrictions. We must give credit to him, which is the attribution part, but the other conditions are that it cannot be used for commercial purposes AND it cannot be altered in any way . That is the meaning of ND – no derivatives. We cannot create a new work that uses all or part of his photo.

Part 2:

Week 4 is a Free Choice week. You can write about anything that interests you, and would hopefully in turn, interest other readers. There are many great suggestions on Miss W’s post for Week 4. Please read the post!

It is important that you find some student blogs you have visited to add to your sidebar. You will need to have some other students’ blog links on the sidebar in order to participate in the game Miss W will be posting where you hop from 1 blog to another. I have added a blog roll to our main class page. Can you follow the example by adding a widget to your sidebar? Directions are here but I will be glad to help you! How many of the blogs listed have you visited?

October 17, 2017
by StarPilot
1 Comment

Week 2 challenge – Playing catch up!

Cougars, we have fallen behind! I will chalk it up to a 3 day week for us last week, but that is just making excuses! The challenge for week 2 was to leave some good quality comments. Some of our students have been receiving comments but have we reached out to others? (I have approved several comments. Did you get one yet?)

Here are some students who have some interesting posts and are worth a visit. Please explore other class/student blogs and make some new connections! I have left one or more comments on these class blogs. (If you click on the logo for the blogging challenge on the side bar and then look at the top of the page you will see a link to the list of 2017 classes. Look around and see who you can find.)

Grade 6 Explorers blog – I have left comments for Kait and Vince but all 7 of the students have shared a lot of great posts. Check out their writing and also note that in some cases when a commenter has asked a question the blogger has continued the conversation and made a follow up comment. The class blog lists Thailand as the location but Kait is talking about her experiences in Indonesia. Check the map.

CJH Bobcat Bloggers, junior high students from Texas – Check out some very interesting posts from 7th and 8th graders. I can also recommend you check out Beta Academy Middle School blog in Texas. There are also students such as Riley from Louisiana writing about their experience with the recent hurricane and the flooding.

How do you know if you are leaving a quality comment? There are several things to be included. Saying, “Good job” or “I like your post” just doesn’t cut it. Here is a video that clearly explains how to write a quality comment. Don’t be turned off by the fact that this advice is being given by a group of third graders (who are now about your age). Their advice is spot on and this video has been used all over the world to teach about commenting.

How do you know if you have visitors to your page? Sometimes people come and read but do not comment for one reason or another. You may want to consider adding a visitor widget to your sidebar. Check out Sue Waters post on widgets and look at some of the visitor options on the right side of the page. By the way, some of you have chosen cool themes but they do not have a sidebar area so you would not be able to add widgets with that theme. Reach out to me if you would like help with adding a widget. I have added 2 widgets to our class blog side bar.

Mrs. R.

October 2, 2017
by StarPilot

Blogging Challenge Week 1 : Let’s introduce ourselves

Miss W. has posted the first week’s challenge.  Some of you have already made an introduction but it would be great to have the rest of you jump in. If there are visitors to our class blog and they randomly click on some names, they may hit people who haven’t posted and think there is nothing here to see so they will move on.

What do we need to do this week?

  1. Create an avatar. Since we are using iPads we will need to find the best way to do this with our iOS devices. Here are some suggestions.

    PICKAYOO – This is a free avatar creation app for both male and female simple style avatars. Here is my example. 


Montouchable – This is a free app that creates just an avatar head; male and female options are available.



Portrait Shop Cute -free app for both male and female avatars. There is also a Portrait Shop Animal version if you prefer. Here is a male avatar from this app.




Avatar Maker: Selfie – This is a free app for male or female avatars.  There are many variations of this app.




You can write a post to explain your avatar or just add it as an image widget on your sidebar.

2.  A second aspect of this week’s challenge is to create an About Me page.  A “page” will be accessible on another tab of your blog and it will be static, unlike a post that will gradually move down the page as more posts are added. We can talk more about this and how to create an About Me page. Look at the top of our class blog page.  Do you see “About Us” at the top? That’s a different location than where the posts are appearing.

Have fun and remember to reach out to me if you need help.

Mrs. R.


September 24, 2017
by StarPilot
1 Comment

Preparing to leave our mark

Ms. G and Mrs. R are beginning a journey with our eighth grade students. This is a journey that will allow us to interact not only with each other but with students and teachers across the globe. We can share our thoughts, our hopes, our questions, and our dreams. As we make global connections we can learn about and celebrate our differences while growing in our understanding of all that we have in common.

We are excited to begin our blogging journey with the Edublog Student Blogging Challenge in October. This challenge has been taking place twice a year since 2008 and thousands of students and teachers have taken part. Miss W. from Tasmania has moderated the challenge and devoted much energy to helping students make connections as they grow as writers.  It is an opportunity not only to connect with other classes but also to grow in our knowledge of digital citizenship as we move toward digital leadership. Pernille Ripp, originator of the Global Read Aloud, had an excellent post a few years back , Why Students Should Blog – My Top 10, about why she felt it was important for students to have the opportunity to blog. We also believe in this opportunity.

In her famous TED talk in 2011, Adora Svitak, speaking to an adult audience said, “You must lend an ear today, because we are the leaders of tomorrow.” Adora wanted to get her writing published. She wanted to be heard. With a real world audience our students can come to the realization that what they think and say does matter, and they have much to contribute to the world. Adora Svitak says, “Writing is the mark you leave on the world.” Students, get ready to leave your mark!


Header Image: Watercolour by Prawny via Pixabay under CC0 Public Domain
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