Family Blogging Afternoon For 4KM and 4KJ

Link to the original 4KM and 4KJ post...

Family Blogging Afternoon

Hello 4KM and 4KJ,

Your Family Blogging Afternoon looks like it was fun and informative. From the introduction, care of a Skype session with Mrs. Yollis, to the interactions of students and their special person, it looks like a very valuable session.

Congratulations to Riley and his dad, Ashley, in 4KM, and Kadyn and his mum, Tracey, in 4KJ. Being selected as winners of the challenge shows how good your teams were at blogging.

Now for your questions...

How did you like the Family Blogging Afternoon? Who did you invite?

This made me think, if I were to be part of a Family Blogging Afternoon, whom would I ask?

Perhaps my older brother, Robert, if he had time. He is a researcher and lecturer in linguistics at Macquarie University. He is working on ways of improving artificial hearing as in the Cochlea Implant.

Then there is my younger brother, Phillip. He has been a nurse but now works as a property valuer in Canberra and is writing a novel based around my Great Uncle Ernie who was killed in WWI.

Maybe I would ask my eldest niece. Kristy started as a high school English teacher this year but hopes to return to university to continue her English Literature studies.

Then there is my nephew, Reuben. He has taken a break from university and is working in an IT support role in a company.

My youngest niece, Tara, is studying costume design at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts) in Sydney. She designs and makes clothing and hopes to work for a theatre or ballet company.

Then there are all of my cousins with very different careers, many now retired, some now great grandparents. Families can be very large. 🙂

When we think about it, there are many we could ask. Each would bring their talents and contributions to such a wonderful afternoon.


What do you like about blogging?

I only started blogging a little less than a year ago but I now have five blogs, two very active. I had joined Twitter early last year and saw a link to a school blog in England. I was fascinated to see what a class in England was doing so I clicked the link and found myself looking at work from children almost on the other side of the world. I quickly became hooked on the idea of commenting and realised I could be supportive of students anywhere in the world through blogging.

Clicking on one link, I found I had to join a blog provider in order to comment. After joining and making a comment on the class blog, I kept on being invited to set up a blog.

As I had designed some websites before I learnt of blogging, I knew some html coding and how to set out pages. I found it very easy to set to set up a blog and modify it. I also found I could register it as a website for a low annual fee and so was born. It has become my story writing blog and now has had over 5000 visitors. That’s something I find hard to believe.

Blogging, for me, is a way of sharing with a world of schools and classes. It’s a way I can be part of classes and support students often very far away. Now I no longer teach full time or have a class of my own, it’s a way I can still support the education of others. Blogging and commenting has become a passion.

What tips would you give to new bloggers?


The first and most important tip is to have a go. Sometimes people are held back because of a fear others mightn’t like what they post or people might think them dumb. It’s true, there are some people out there who only want to criticise others but you will find the majority of people are supportive. For younger users, there is always comment moderation. A trusted adult checks on comments before they are allowed on the blog.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The second is to make posts. There is no use setting up a blog if you don’t intend making regular posts. While people may enjoy what you write, they will stop visiting your blog if nothing new appears.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The third is to visit other blogs. It’s not only polite to visit a blog of someone who regularly visits your blog, it’s also an opportunity to add comments to another person’s blog. When you do this and possibly add a link to your blog in the comment, the other person is more likely to visit and comment on your blog.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The fourth is to be positive in comments. I like to look for the good things in a persons post and highlight these in my comments. When I am in my role as a member of the 100 Word Challenge Team  (Team 100WC), I also make suggestions of how a student’s writing might be improved. I never say their writing is bad. They have taken the time to share their ideas and I appreciate what they do and know they’re doing their best.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The fifth would be to reply to anyone who leaves a comment on your blog. I try to write a reply on my blog to any comments left. This can sometimes take up a reasonable part of my day. Any comment left on my story blog gets a reply thanking them for commenting. I always add a little extra in my reply to acknowledge what they have written.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The sixth tip is one I don’t always use due to lack of time. In your comments, ask questions of the person who wrote the blog if you want to carry on a discussion with them. Questions invite the person to answer you. My longest discussion in this way was with a 17 year-old student in the USA. She was studying political science. One comment led to a reply then another comment. We had six to eight exchanges in all. Each of us had complex ideas in our comments. Writing to a 17 year-old student is very different to writing to a 7 year-old student. 🙂

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Going back to tip one, I was once asked by someone who had a choice to make in her life, “Do you think I should?”

She was making an important choice in life about her career.

I replied, “If you don’t take a chance because you’re afraid it may not work, you may end up regretting it for the rest of your life. By taking the chance, it may not work but at least you can say you tried.’

Blogging is like that. Take a chance and see how much you can gain.


Teacher, NSW, Australia

4 thoughts on “Family Blogging Afternoon For 4KM and 4KJ

  1. Kealee and Maha

    Dear Ross Mannell,

    Our names are Kealee and Maha from Mrs Morris’s grade.

    What a extraordinary post! You must of put so much effort into it.
    How long did it take you to write this post?

    We like your pictures and your tips. We also like how much thought you put into your information. Kealee and Maha’s favourite picture is the kookabura
    Did you take the pictures?

    Maha brought her Mum (Shazia)
    and Kealee brought her Dad (Ian)

    When Mrs Morris was reading the post we were eating lunch and it took her 15 minutes! That shows that you have taken the time to write us a lovely post! Thank you!

    The 17-year old you were having a conversation to sounds very interesting.

    Talk to you soon,
    Kealee and Maha :mrgreen:

    1. rossmannell

      Post author

      Hello Kealee and Maha,

      Thank you for commenting on my blog.

      How long did it take to write the post? When I sometimes start, I can lose track of time. Because I added some of my photos to pretty up the post a little, it would have taken between one and two hours I would estimate although I do take breaks at times. I think I can remember helping Angry Birds for a short time. 🙂

      Did I take the pictures? Yes. Photography is one of my hobbies. I not only take photos for school and community groups, I’ve often taken a camera with me when I bushwalk. You never know when a chance for a nice photo might come along. Some photos were taken at my favourite local wildlife sanctuary called Potoroo Palace.

      Since posting your comment today (Friday), I’ve added two more posts to this blog for schools in England and USA, sent a number of tweets on Twitter, made shorter comments on a number of blogs, been to the cinema to see a movie, and checked out video links sent by some young entertainers I know. I have no idea how many words I type in a day.

      To see some of the other posts sent to students and classes, you need only click on “Extended Comments and Lesson Materials” written in blue at the top of the page. This will take you to the blog’s home page.

      The 17 year old was an intelligent girl who had some great ideas for making the world a better place. She lives somewhere in the USA.

      Keep blogging,

  2. Skye

    Dear Ross Mannell,

    I’m Skye from 4KJ (Miss Jordan’s grade).

    I enjoyed listening to Mrs Morris reading this post. I liked the pictures. They were funny because when you said in one of your tips Ásk questions when you comment’, the lizard said ‘Who, Me? Why?

    If anyone did not know how to blog they should come to this blog for tips. You are a big inspiration. The conversation that you had with the 17-year old girl sounds interesting.

    The family blogging afternoon was awesome. I think it is a great idea to get parents blogging and learning. Technology is amazing, don’t you think? There is more and more each year.

    I have a blog and this is the address if you want to visit:

    What is your favourite thing about blogging?

    Skye 😀

    1. rossmannell

      Post author

      Hello Skye.

      I had fun creating the comment for your class blog. I often like to play around with photos I have taken and find them sometimes useful when blogging.

      My favourite thing about blogging is a two way process. I enjoy reading blog posts from students of all ages and I enjoy commenting. My only problem is sometimes finding the time I would like,

      I will be visiting your blog. 🙂



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