In our homeschool co-op blogging class this week, we are talking about Copyright and how to give someone credit for their work.
For bloggers, “giving credit” usually means linking. Be generous with your links — that’s what makes the internet go ’round!
But first, let’s warm up our brains with some editing practice…
Readers almost always consider active sentences (“somebody does something”) more interesting than passive sentences (“something was done”). You want whatever you write to be interesting, don’t you? So let’s practice writing active sentences.
Orally in Class: pages 20-21.
On Your Own: Do as much of pages 22-23 as you like. If you enjoy the silly stories, finish them to create a blog post.
Extra Tip: Judging from the examples in our textbook, you might assume it’s easy to recognize passive sentences from the phrase “by so-and-so” — but not so! Usually, passive voice drops the doer entirely out of the sentence. Stuff just “was done.” So watch out when you use the words “was” or “were” in your writing. Double-check your sentence, and if it’s passive, try to rewrite!
How to Find Photos
Photos and videos break up the expanse of gray text and make a blog post more interesting. And the way I figure it, anything that makes the reader happy makes a blogger happy, too!
Just be careful that you have permission to use the photo or video. The best kind of permission is Creative Commons Attribution, which means that you may change the image however you like (for instance, by cropping or adding text), but you must tell (and link to) the original source.
When writing a WordPress.com blog post, you can use Zemanta to find cool photos that are free to use — and best of all, Zemanta does all the links for you!
Here’s how to use it:
(Non-Wordpress bloggers can use Zemanta, too. Just go to their Downloads Page and find the plug-in that works with your browser.)
To use more than one Zemanta photo, click on the ones you want and drag them into your blog post.
If you don’t like any of the pictures Zemanta offers, you can “refine” the recommendations by typing in key words. For this post, I typed in blogging and computers and pictures and children — and I don’t know how the dog got in there. But he’s cute!
If you would rather find photos on your own, read How to Navigate the New Flickr.
How to Find Videos
YouTube is a great source for funny videos and clips from old TV shows, but it also has a lot of rude and crude film clips. So the best way to find a good video is to get recommendations from a friend you trust.
Or try the Kim Komando Video Picks. These are always family friendly — but you have to click on the gray YouTube logo in the bottom corner of the picture to get to the original video’s page before you can put it on your blog.
For instance, here’s a funny video I found on Kim’s site:
How to include a YouTube video in your blog post:
- Find a video you like.
- Go to the original YouTube page. Click the Share button, which is just below the video. (If there is no Share button, then you don’t have permission!)
- Copy the highlighted link, which will look like:
- In your blog post, type
youtube=and then paste in the URL you copied and type
]. No spaces anywhere! It should look like this:
- Click Save Draft and Preview to make sure the video is showing up where you want it.
Optional: I like to add
&hd=1&rel=0 before the last
], to make the video display in high-definition and to turn off the related videos feature (because sometimes the related videos are rude.)
Other Video Formats
WordPress allows quite a few other video formats, too. Learn more at the WordPress.com Support > Videos page. The various formats are listed in the blue box. Click any name to find out how to use that type of video.
To the Computers!
Let’s get a head-start on this week’s homework:
- Work on a blog post. Add a photo or video, and be sure to give credit!
- Visit at least one classmate’s blog and leave an encouraging comment.
“Extra Credit”: Challenge Yourself to Blog
If you have extra time this week, check out the new tips and ideas at Challenge Yourself to Blog. Or browse the student bloggers list for other students who have similar interests or who are about your age, and encourage them by visiting their blogs, reading their posts, and leaving comments. And if you find fellow bloggers whose work you enjoy, add them to your Blogroll!