Taken from a painting of Kapiti Island at Sunset.
by Sonia Savage.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

So You Want to Widget?!

Widgets are fun!  I think they just brighten up your blog.  I remember back to when I put my first widget on my classroom blog. It was a major piece of learning. I think I made it a lot more difficult than it needed to be! My students love to widget.  One of the widgets that caught on with them was changing the cursor to a little animal!

My class blog is with edublogs. It is very easy (now!) to add widgets to an edublog.  Blogger is good as well.  Wordpress is not so easy because it won't take flash type widgets. 

So I am looking around at some other blogs and what they have on the side bar.  Of course there is the danger that you overload it, and your blog becomes too busy!  So a spring clean every so often is a good idea. I think I must suggest that to some of my students.

The first blog I want to share is Teegan's blog. Teegan is a student in my class this year, and from half way through last year. She has a lot on her side bars, possibly too much.  However what I really like is the way she has some blogs and websites put in the side bar with pictures. I love that. I am waiting until we go back to school and she has time to show me how she did it!!

Mrs Yollis has in her class blog a widget that shows her class Twitter news.  Now if you are a Twitter user, that would be a good idea.  I am not sure if I am that in to Twitter yet, but a class Twitter account as opposed to a personal Twitter account is a good idea I think, with the teacher's Twitter posts showing on the widget.

Laurie Fowler, one of the teachers doing this challenge has a personality badge that she has done after doing a test on a web site.  I like that, I have that bookmarked and I intend adding one to my teacher blog!!

Here is a class teacher here in New Zealand who always has a very alive classroom blog, and when I was beginning blogging I used to watch to see what he was doing.  I see while visiting he won a major New Zealand prize for his blog for 2010.  He has a poll in the side bar, another great idea for a widget in a side bar. I will be taking time to think through a poll, to leave on the side bar of my teacher blog and class blog.

The last blog I think I like the best of all the blogs I visited to do this activity.  It is another class blog here in New Zealand that I keep an eye on and drop in to visit every so often.  I like the weather map on this site, in fact I think I will add one to my teacher blog.  I like his world maps that track visitors, he has a number of interesting ones.  While I wouldn't have that many I still like them.  He also has a link to You T ube, Twitter etc. He has also included a picture in the side bar of their digital learning sequence.  That's a great idea too. Yes I definitely like the side bar on this blog!

Lastly I like the idea of making a badge for my blog. However this will go onto the backburner until I have a little more time. Perhaps my students can make one too, and we can all have a go together. They of course will have far better ideas than me, and I will just pick their brains!! As all teachers are geared to do.

Image: 'desktop130306'



  1. Thanks for including a lot of New Zealand-based classroom blogs in this post. I love widgets, but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

  2. This is a good reflective post.

    At the risk of sounding like I'm selling myself, I'm inviting you to come over to my blog for a couple of posts:
    Here's my post for this activity: Badges as Blog Blings Get my free badge or at least learn how.

    Here's my post for embedding media which focuses on 2 points mentioned above (1) Twitter and (2) asking students to do things we may not have attempted ourselves as teachers. Teacher be a learner - step out of your comfort zone

    Happy blogging.

  3. I like the idea of having a badge, but I don't know what I would add...I need to keep an eye on what others are posting on their sidebars. Let me know when you've posted your badge!

  4. Teacher trainee
    Yes I think you have to pick and choose, I looked at a lot of the winning blogs in edublogs, they actually didn't have a lot of widgets.
    Yes I am not sure about how to go about making a badge, maybe that's a question we need to ask someone.

  5. Another great post in the Teacher's Blogging Challenge Kathryn. I like the way you have linked to different blogs (both teachers and students) and mentioned which widgets you like. I am very impressed with your list of Teacher Challenge blogs with their latest posts - I haven't learnt how to do this yet. Is it an RSS feed link? I am back at school now, so less time for the blogging challenge, but I have learnt a great deal over the past few weeks.
    The Edublogs awards issued badges for nominees and winners in each category. Essentially, the are just images that you could make yourself using text, shapes and colour in MS Paint, Powerpoint or Word clipart.

  6. Hi Kathryn, I am with Britt, how did you get the Teacher Challenge feed into the sidebar. Students can be creative and will find and search for many different widgets. The younger girls in our school love lots of glitter and bling.
    However, I think it is good that they can customize their blogs and add that personal touch. As they get older their tastes change.
    I would like to know how the students added pics for the blog roll that they have. So, I hope you will add a post and tell us how to do that too.

  7. I like the links to blogs--especially student blogs. I see what my own students blog about, but it's refreshing see what other kids do with it, too. Hey, I just noticed I'm in your sidebar. How did you get the live feed with the latest update? That's nifty.

  8. Miss T, I enjoyed reading your blog post about widgets. I'm learning something new every time I visit one. I loved reading your About page too. I hope you have begun a wonderful new school year in NZ!
    Denise Krebs
    Dare to Care

  9. Britt and Murcha
    The blogroll is not a result of my technological wizardry!! It is one of the options Blogger offers when you add a blog to your blog roll. It took me awhile to make the list and I have missed people out. Actually both of you are in my reader, although you can feed your reader into your blog on the sidebar. I did that for my class blog with edublogs. I did that so long ago I can't remember it!
    Britt thanks for that extra bit about the badge I am going to have a go. Like you back to school and life has quicly unravelled bloggin wise!
    Murcha I will do a post on adding the blog picture/link to the side bar. Teegan explained it today to me. However I am going to get her to talk me through it. The internet is down at school for last 4 days. It is a real nuisance.

  10. Kay
    As you will see in my comment above. Its a Blogger option, which is quite good actually.

    Denise thanks for the good wishes for the new schoool year. :)


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