Help Needed?

Looking for tips? How about some tricks?

We have a variety of Help Sheets posted. The latest ones include Interactive Projector tips. Many of these fall into the “one minute” category (meaning they take about one minute to read and implement).

Here are a couple of examples:

How’d they do that? Mrs. Walsh – iBlog and Google Docs

 

http://iblog.dearbornschools.org/kwalsh/
In this guided tour we will look at how Mrs. Walsh at Woodworth Middle School designed her brand new classroom website using iBlog.  Here is a run-down of what she has done so far.

  • Theme: Anarcho Notepad
  • Custom Menu
  • Static Homepage
  • Posts are moved to Announcement Page
  • Links to Monthly Google Presentation which contains bellwork, agenda, and learning targets for each day.

ELA Google SlidesWhat makes Mrs. Walsh’s website stand out is how she has maximized her communication workflow for both students and parents by utilizing both iBlog and Google Docs.  The website sports a static homepage and all blog posts appear on a sub-page titled “Announcements”.  Currently there are two additional links in the main menu which point to Google Presentations.  These presentations are the same docs used during class for bellwork, agendas, and learning targets.  There is no double work of posting daily homework.  The Google Presentation does that!   By using a presentation and linking it to the website, Mrs. Walsh is able to add new slides for each day and keep a monthly archive of everything they covered.

Adding Links To Google Docs

menusThe first thing to do is to allow anyone with the link to view your Google Presentation.  This is done through the sharing button inside Google Drive.  Copy the shared link and go into your iBlog Dashboard > Appearance > Menus.  Here you can create a custom menu.  To add a link to your Google Presentation you simply paste the ling into the “Custom Link” area and add it to the menu.

The menu can be arranged however you like and can include links to pages, posts, post categories, and other websites.  This give you the ultimate control over how your website navigation works.

In the next step you will be creating two new pages- Home and Announcements.  You will most likely need to come back to the menus page to re-arrange and add in the new pages you create next. Be sure to click the checkboxes at the bottom of the page for Primary Menu and Automatically Add New Pages.

You can take a look at what here powerpoint looks like as a download in PDF here:  
Language Arts Agendas October 5th – October 30th

menu-primary

Using a Static Homepage

Typically, websites on iBlog have all the posts appear on the homepage.  You can move the posts off of the homepage and utilize a normal page as your homepage.  To do this you must first go to Dashboard > Pages > Add New.  Create a page and title it “Home”.  Publish it.  Create another page and title it “Announcements” and publish it.  Now you can head over to the reading settings and let iBlog know you want to move your posts to the announcement page.  Go to Dashboard > Settings > Reading and make the changes seen here.

Reading Settings

 

If you have a cool website and want to share please send an email to kennibc@dearbornschools.org

How’d They Do That? ELL Department Website

ELL homepageIn this guided tour we will look at how the wonderful staff in the ELL department designed their brand new department website using iBlog.  Here is a run-down of what they have done so far.

What makes this site stand out is the clean design, custom menu, use of Google Drive, and static homepage.  Read the rest of the tour to learn how you can implement some of these concepts in your classroom website.

  • Theme: ePublishing
  • Widgets: Subscribe by Email, Links
  • Custom Homepage
  • Custom Menu
  • Documents Page which links to docs in Google Drive
  • Contact Us Page
  • Websites and Resources

Homepage

Reading SettingsDid you know that your iBlog website doesn’t have to show the posts on the homepage?  Yep!  You can have a nice clean homepage and have all your blog posts appear on a different page within your blog.  That is exactly what the folks in the ELL department decided to do.  To make this happen on your website do the following.

  1. Create two pages:  Home and News
  2. Go to Dashboard > Settings > Reading.  On the Reading Page change the Front Page Displays “Your Latest Posts” to  “A static page”.  Then from the drop down pick “home” for frontpage and “news” for posts page.
  3. Be sure to scroll down the page and Save your changes.

 


Custom Menu

The custom menu allows you to organize links on the site.  You can add links to pages, post categories, and other websites.  The nice part of the custom menu is that it is all organized by drag and drop.  You get to determine the order and can even create drop downs by simply moving a link to the right.  Here is an image of what a custom menu looks like.

ellcustom menu

Notice the indented menu items?  These are the drop downs that are generated when viewing the website.  To build your custom menu you select items from the right column and add them to the menu.  Once in the menu the item can be moved around simply by dragging it from place to place.  Each theme is a little different so you have to tell your theme to use the custom menu.  This is especially true when switching themes.


 

Summary

That’s it. iBlog allows you to have control over the user experience. You can customize your site as you want. Each department and teacher has the ability to create a fantastic experience for the viewer.

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