Category Archives: Introductions

The first Chicago trip post!

Greetings, oh future Chicago travelers!  I promised yesterday at our meeting to post instructions on blogging and on how to make your blog look all nice and pretty.  Well, I figured why reinvent the wheel since I did this last year.  Therefore, if you look to the right of this post on your screen, you can see the links to those posts up on the section of our class blog.  Click part one first, then part two, then part three.  If this isn’t enough for you, remember that WordPress also has instructions, but the most important thing you’ll need to do before I see you in April is just hit “Add New” under Posts on the menu to the left of the dashboard.  Then cut and paste your assignments.

And that reminds me, blogging veterans will quickly realize that WordPress has changed the structure of their dashboards since last year.  Just look at it closely at first, and you’ll pick it up quickly.  Really.

And come to think of it, at least three of you newbies have yet to send me the web address of your blogs.  Please do so ASAP before I have to come looking for you.


Introduction to Blogging, Part III.

The hardest thing to do on a blog is post pictures. Many teacher/bloggers who tried it last year somehow found doing slideshows easier, and if you want to keep doing that that’s fine (but don’t ask me how to do it because I don’t know). However, here’s the picture-posting instructions for anybody who wants to upload a few to stand alone by themselves.

You can post pictures that you download from your camera to your laptop, or just take pictures from the Internet and post them from your laptop too. Below the box where you write is another box with the word “Upload” in the top left-hand corner. In there, press the “Browse” button and click on your picture. [I title each picture, but don’t bother w/ description.] Then hit the upload button. Under Show, move the dot to “Full size” and then hit “Send to editor” below that.

Since you hit “Full Size,” the resulting picture is probably huge. To shrink it, click on the image that just appeared where the cursor was in your blog post. Then click one of the little boxes in the corner of the highlighted picture. As you drag the corners towards the middle, the picture will shrink. To center the pictur, treat it like text. Just highlight it and click the align center key in your box above.

The result should look something like this:


Two more things about pictures while I’m thinking of them.  First, uploading to Flickr is a whole different animal.  I hope you’ll do that with all your best pictures so that other teachers might be able to use them in class.  Instructions for that are here.

Second, if these instructions don’t work for you, you might try starting a free account at Photobucket. I’ve had some success with it.  If you use these instructions, WordPress hosts your photos.  Use Photobucket and they’ll be hosted there (but readers won’t be able to tell the difference).  To post from Photobucket, simply embed the code for the picture they host there in the Code section of your post here.

Introduction to Blogging, Part II.

So you want to write a blog post?

Well, the easiest thing to do would be to go to the dashboard, hit “write” near the top.  Then just start writing.  Push the button that says “publish” near the bottom of the write screen when you’re done.

However, being ambitious teachers/students, you probably want to do more than that.  Directly above the box you write in are a whole set of other boxes that resemble the stuff in the tool bar for Microsoft Word.  In fact, they all work the same way as that program.  Highlight the text you want to alter, then click the bold “B” to bold, the italic “I” for italics, and so on and so forth.

The link key is the button with a link of chain above the writing box.  If you highlight text and click it, the program will automatically give you a box to insert a URL into.  When the blog post is published, a reader would be able to click those words and get to that page.  You may want to use this, for example, to reference someone else’s thoughts on another one of our blogs (click on their title to get the right URL) or to reference something else you found out on the WWW at large.

The button labeled code on top of the tool bar is for all of you who know a little HTML so that you can write in bells and whistles you don’t see covered in the buttons.  The one function I find useful is blockquote for when I’m quoting someone elsewhere.  For that, at least on my blog, you have to be in the code screen, so press code.   After that, write “<blockquote>” at the beginning of the text you’re blocking out, then “</blockquote> at the end.

With respect to what to write in a blog post, we had a lot of complaints last year about not showing what a good blog post looks like.  This year, I have samples I can cite.  Therefore, with apologies in case the authors are modest, look at this post, this post or maybe this post out of many fine examples from which I might choose.

When you read these you’ll see they’re all thoughtful,  reflective and most importantly, to at least some extent the authors all discuss how the information they’re learning might end up in their classes.

In a few days, I’ll tackle another big problem last year:  How to post pictures on your blog.

Introduction to Blogging, Part I.

Welcome to the start of the Philadelphia portion of this blog. Between now and our meeting in April, I want to try to lay out at least some guidance so that you can start playing with your class blog before we leave in June. It’s not a necessity for you to be versed in blogging by that time, but if you got the time to experiment it wouldn’t hurt.

First, I want you to know I recognize that some people are scared of technology. The word “blogs” with a circle around it and a line through it on the back of the Red Sox pennant I got last summer was all the indication I needed. So my first advice is just relax. If you experiment with any technological tool with an open mind and a little common sense it can be mastered. That’s probably why your average 5th grader can do PowerPoint better than you can, but you can catch up!

This post is on the central class blog for History 591. Future posts will appear on top of it on the blog home page (which can be reached by clicking the words “Philly Trip” at that top of the page). For this reason, a blog is kind of like a reverse diary where the last posts come first. Therefore, if you don’t follow these instructions right away, you’ll need to scroll down to this post to get started.

To find your blog, click on your name in the blog roll on the right. If you haven’t already accessed the blog on the computer you’re using you’ll have to log in with your name and password where it says “login” in the bottom righthand corner.

Once you’re logged in, you want to access the main dashboard for your blog. It will go automatically there when you log in, or if you’re logged in already click the word “admin” in the bottom righthand corner.

If you want to just start writing, click the word “write” near the top and give it a go. Before that though, you might want to try sprucing your blog up a bit. Try clicking the word “Presentation” on the first line and choose a theme. There are something liek 35 themes avaialble to you right there to make your blog look like more than just a blue and white blob. When you find one you like, click “apply.” You can try as many themes as you like until you’re happy with the way it looks, but one recommendation: If the theme you like has the words “Custom Image Header” near the top when you apply it, that means you can import your own picture into the them. [That’s how I got the Liberty Bell at the top of our class blog.] I’m not sure I can duplicate the steps I took to do that without messing it up for this blog, but if you can get a picture you like on your desktop, it’s really not that hard.

That’s all for now. In a few days, I’ll write a post about writing posts.

Welcome to the History 591 Colloquium

We’re going to Boston!